Destroy your Comfort Zone

Chapter Six: Destroy your Comfort Zone
Soundtrack: It’s Never Too Late – Steppenwolf / No One Lives For Ever – Oingo Boingo |

How do, neighbors? Well, where do I start? This past weekend was an introspective spectacle. I drove down to Tucson to see some pals I hadn’t seen in some time.

On Friday night, Luke and I talked until after 1:00am about a trustworthy and dependable evil: Your Comfort Zone. It’s always there to protect you and confide in. In it you are untouchable, impervious to failure and looking the fool– that’s a truckload of shit.

Opening, expanding and flat out kicking the hell out of my comfort zone is what I’m looking to do. Granted, new and different experiences can bite, but if you stay in that warm and safe cocoon too long, you’ll surely suffocate.

On Saturday, Luke and I got to do some “idea cruising” like back in the old days. We just drive around town looking for cool backstreet neighborhoods and vacant lots to build [a house/studio] on. We talk about success and failure and get ideas for anything from architecture and furniture to money-making plans to do next. We talk about when we’re rich.

These drives always make me feel like there’s nothing we can’t do.

That night I went out to Danny’s house for a pachanga. [He was home on leave from the Army] I raced a huge thunderstorm through Gate’s pass and made it down the mountain before it hit. It was a helluva party. They had live norteño music and a ton of good food. There were also a few hundred pallets of beer– damn, those guys can put it away!

I got to meet Danny’s wife, Shari, and his new son, Bernie. Danny was spread pretty thin talking to all of the guests (50 or so) so we didn’t get much time to catch up on shit. I left at around ten I guess. He said that he’d write back more often– I know it’s bullshit, but he’s there in spirit.

Driving back to Luke’s that night I felt right. I went down there to close some doors as well as to open a few. The past is great to remember but I’m tired of being stuck there. As I topped the hill coming back into Tucson down Ajo, I felt like I was ready to go. Move on. Give me something new.

On Sunday, Ben and I went to see the movie Independence Day (ID4) at my work. Fox has a copy of it. We saw it three days before it hits theaters. (July 4th) It was kick ass as far as effects but there were a lot of little things that made it teeter on the edge of sucky.

[Side note: I can’t believe that my reviews of The Rock and ID4 were so nice… WTH?]

The Time Slip Production Dept.

This was a helluvan eventful weekend. It’s 11:30pm on Sunday and I’m tired. Last night something surreal and– until just then– far away happened. Ryan and Ashley stopped by the house while Ben and I were working on the front yard.

Ben and Ashley went into the house for a while and Ryan and I talked out front. It was around 7:30 and the sun was gone. Just streaks of red and violet were left in the sky. Ryan told me that he had asked Ashley to marry him and she had of course accepted.

The moment that struck me was when we walked across the yard toward where the sun used to be. I was coiling the extension cord for the weed-eater while Ryan spoke excitedly about his marriage plans.

Everything went away and I was inside myself wondering what was happening to us.

Here I am mowing the lawn of my own house, talking to my younger brother about getting married. I saw time pass.

You know how sometimes when you were a kid you’d stare at the minute hand on the clock and you could see it move ever so slightly? But no matter how hard you concentrated on the hour hand it seemed stationary.

I saw the hour hand move yesterday.

[Direct rip of a Lobo cover by the amazing Glenn Fabry.]

At work today, Rory, Gary, Greg and I went into the Pre-Production Department to check out the preliminary artwork for our next movie, Ice Planet. (That’s just a cheezy fake-out-the-bad-guys working title.)

Anyway, one of the head guys there is John Lakey– he freakin’ rules the earth! Plus, he’s totally cool and let us look at all of his stuff. There’s a bunch of other kick ass people who work in the department too. These people are so awesome!

Part of me is inspired to kick ass and try to someday get into that dept. All they do is make up all the cool characters, ships and vehicles n’ stuff. They do all the conceptualizing, the CREATING.

Ten Dollar Gas Station Blowie

Good evening people and welcome to Horse Shit Village, a master planned community of crap. Let me let you in on the wonderful ‘haps of the day. This morning was the final walk-through and inspection on the property. The butt-munch termite guy was an hour and a half late, so I got to hang out with eighty year old Mr. Smith [the owner] and shoot the shit.

He told me the same five stories of his life that he told me the other three times I’d been there. And then he asked me again if I was the one buying the house. The poor old sod’s lost a few marbles from his Chinese Checkers game– I mean that lovingly.

Anyway, now I’m late for work and blasting down the 202 freeway. My car starts wobbling with the foreboding forewarning of bubbled rubber at the rear right…


With haunting coincidence, I slugged to the shoulder at the very spot Ben pulled to when his driveline blew not two months prior. So with a song on my lips and joy in my heart, I bail out to check the damage. A huge piece of the tread and sidewall had blasted away leaving steel cord and shredded rubber asunder, but miraculously the tire was still holding air.

And oh yeah, I didn’t spin out over the guard rail to my death– so that was another good thing.

I limped the car down the now legendary 32nd street offramp and all the way to work. I knew I was gonna change it sooner or later, but as long as my luck was holding out why not push it?

After work I went to change the tire but couldn’t get the lugs loose with the short-handled wrench that comes with the car. Yay! So I drove the tire two more miles to an Exxon with garage services. The garage closed at 6:00 and it’s now 7:15 so I threw on my best “down and out” face and asked if the guy could do me a favor. Eddie was his name and he obliged, so I hooked him up with a ten spot and Mr. Bluebird was on my shoulder.

[Shit, that sounded like I just bought an after hours ten dollar gas station BJ from a dude.]

Driving home, the car performed splendidly and on my voicemail there was a message. Yes, can you believe it? Yet another problem with the lender. Remember our friend Mr Bluebird? He shit on my shoulder and flew away laughing.

Let’s also remember that the seller is signing closing papers tomorrow at 11:00am. A regular feast of fun, huh? Does corn-filled log licking contest come to mind? That’s life my friends– I’ll give 110% but take what I can get.

MINI UPDATE: Working on getting a new lender– we still have a sliver of a chance to get the house…

The Murder of Mr. Clementé

Yes, this waste of paint sucks. I did learn some things though. I’ve got to get over to Eric’s sometime soon and learn the basics of badass painting. I’ve seen some of his work and it kicks ass.

It’s 10:15pm and I’ve got to get up early tomorrow to go to work. I’m doing the lead in of 095/010, the big ocean scene that opens the Spooky Vapor attack sequence. It’s a total pain in the gnads.

Anyway, just wanted to update on the house thing– still sketchy. I’m pretty much approved for the loan but they want to see my college transcripts to know that I was going to school to train for the job I have now. I was, but only took 9 classes before I got the Fox job so I don’t know if they’re gonna frown on that or not.

I did get some of the preliminary papers to sign today, so that’s a good sign. Also, they’ve ordered the appraisal already which usually means that you’re pretty good to go. I’m gonna try not to wig out about it– no postponement of joy, my friends.

Oh yeah, there’s talk of another comic magazine to be created by some guys at work and me. Maybe this time it’ll be for real– probably not hahaha!

I’m always (not enough) doing sketches and sketches, practicing and getting ready to get ready. Nothing finished. Granted, a lot of awesome ideas but no end result. I just keep waiting to get better magically. Damn that’s lame. Practice is great but I gotta start thinking of finished projects as the practice and get some work done.

Swap Meet Fight and House Hunting in the Dark Ages

Chapter 5: It’s Hero Time – Soundtrack: Shine by Rollins Band

Whoops, got a little carried away there, didn’t I? It’s been a while, huh? Well, let me tell ya what I’ve seen and done since last I blabbed.

Last Saturday, Ben and I went to the Queen Mother of all redneck fests– the swap meet. The big one out by Greyhound Park. They should call it The Landfill. Don’t mark me wrong, sometimes you can hook up some good scores on stuff at these things, but that weekend must have been Nat’l Worthless Junk Weekend.

We just walked around making fun of people and sunburnin’ our fore noggins. We did see an awesome super-bout on our way out to the car. Actually, it was Ben’s Jeep– we cruised topless out to the joint. Not us, the Jeep.

Anyway, back to the fight. Evidently this old guy had been ripped off by one of the garbage pushers, and was exacting his revenge. There was a huge crowd gathering around as he smashed the shit out of the proprietor’s stuff. He used his cane to bash everything to bits. He even went into the back of the guy’s big ol’ truck an clobbered away. So that was worth going out there.

This past week I did a lot of production work for the film. I’m still bustin’ ass at the gym– started back with weights, too. By the way, this monster with slippers is the last pic that was put in the book late. From here on, all sketches match the dates in the book.

(Half the page is torn out here) Damn, those two weeks flew by! This is my new pen, by the way. Mom got it especially for journal stuff – says it’s the best archival ink. I gave it the spit test and it didn’t bleed. Gee, that’s so interesting, Harp. Anyway, a lot of stuff has gone on the past two weeks. Let’s see, last week our refrigerator died and we lost about 120 bucks in food– we had all just gone shopping. And then, my alternator went out = $265. So needless to say, that week lapped log.

Last weekend we dropped the new motor in Ben’s Jeep. He busted ass and got it done in two and a half days– big thanks goes out to Rick on that one. Honorable mention for Ben, he’s a damn scrappy mechanic! The motor is tighter than hell and faster than fuck! He also had a $200 custom exhaust installed. Three inch diagonal-cut pipes just in front of the back tires. Sounds killer!

I’m back to looking at houses. I’ve looked at a dozen or so– a few were close but just not right. My realtor, Joan, has turned out to be an excellent choice. Last week I had four realtors and I gave them all the “terribly sorry” shoe– except Joan. She kicks ass.

( A quick note on house hunting before it was a big on the internet: It was completely different. Regular people didn’t have access to the MLS, only realtors did. They would give you a sheet with all the info for the homes available. If you were lucky, the sheet had one tiny black and white picture of the exterior of the house. You had to look at way more houses because every one of them was a surprise when you got there. )

So tomorrow I’m going to look at a house that could be the one. I’ve done a drive-by and checked it from the outside. I don’t know, I’m trying not to get my hopes up because I’m not quite ready with the mortgage company. I’ve got a meeting with them at 6:30am on Monday. It’ll take 15 days to find out if they’ll lend to me for sure. I’m pre-qualified already at 115k. Joan said that they might be able to write a pre-approval letter that will encourage the seller, but we’ll see.

The house kicks it on the outside, but may be a pile of piss on the inside– I’ve seen that a bunch of times already. It’s a cool house though. 1750 sq ft, corner lot in an above excellent neighborhood.

Who knows, my luck was running great today. I scored 3 new shirts at Factory 2U for 5 bucks a piece, got back a great roll of film, and then scooped up two file cabinets at the Salvation Army Store for $20. Plus, when I was at Borders today buying blank tapes, I thought, “Damn, my life kicks total ass! Work during the week, shop on Saturday and draw n’ read on Sunday!”

Elvis, Marshal Law and a Very Scary Valentine


On Saturday I went to a bunch of furniture stores and antique shops looking for good stuff for the house. I found a really cool Saba cabinet radio/ turntable from the 50s. It still works and they only want 55 bucks for it. I think I’ll pick it up next weekend. I also uncovered a pristine condition 40s era floor fan– can’t remember the brand.

Although I plan to have a wide variety of furniture styles in my hut, the main feel will be Thunderbird Shaker. Sleek and clean lines with no frills. Today Ben and I went to an unfinished wood store on Main St and I found a dresser I might get but I’m waiting on word from a few other stores.

Gonna go with charcoal and natural in the bedrooms and the rest of the house muted primary colors. Sort of a Pee Wee’s Playhouse on prozac look. [WTF? I can’t tell if I’m joking or not. Glad that never happened.]

When we were at the antique store I bought mom a dressmaker image ink stamp and gave it to her when Ben and I went over to check out the engine in his Jeep. He’s got it all together and painted up real ‘charp, well.

It’s 12:07am and this is a boring blab so I’m out of here. Oh yeah, this morning I had a great idea come to me while having a squat on the cosmic utensil. (I think Zappa meant the toilet when he said that, right?) Anyway, it’s top secret for now but look out for sketches– later.


Ladies and gentlemen, if you’ll kindly turn your attention to the top right-hand corner of the page, you’ll see the infamous Marshal Law custom leather jacket I plan on making some day– damn straight, Jerky!

Also on this page is one of the first sketches of “The King’s Throne.” (Where Elvis did his business… and Death did his.) I’m gonna paint it on the toilet lid in the new house. Yeah, I’ve got plenty of ideas, I just never do ‘em! After it’s painted, I’m gonna get one of those fluffy lid covers and cut the center out and use it for a frame. Probably a big furry red one.

Oh and by the way, I’m blastin’ The Best of Motörhead. Ace of Spades, Iron Fist and Killed by Death– gotta love it.

St Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast

Chapter Four: And All At Once I Get The Feeling That I’ll Never Get The Chance To Talk To You. [ From Say It Isn’t True by Agent Orange] Soundtrack: St Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast by Frank Zappa

This ugly-ass sludge pile of wasted paint was done with a purpose– this sketchbook was getting too pretty. Like I said before, I don’t want to come off as, “Oh, I’m an artist, look how precious my little booky is.”

Howdy, farmers in the dill-hole. Well, I’m totally blocked– not in me arse, in me head. I’ve completely lost my drawing powers. Don’t believe me? Just take a gander at this tripe! Damn scary, huh?

I was all pissed yesterday because of this situation. Lucky for us, I’m probably manic/depressive so today I have a better outlook. Okay, get this, from now on I’m gonna (you just love when I make resolutions, huh?) just leave all the shitty drawings in here along with the not-so-shitty ones. After all, it’s a sketchbook not a work of art, right?

[Half of this page is torn out, talking about Lipo-Man again.]

…as you know Carl’s mom is destroyed by the evil Dr. DeChromium Cob and blah, blah, blah. So sometime in the story, LM will be reunited with his dad. Oh yeah, I’d like to see LM in a pair of spandex bike shorts and the Coiffeur Club’s hair is bio-mechanic. Thank you, and good night.

Hola, you wonky wankers! This is just a little bonus paragraph to let you in on a tid bit of “so what” trivia. Some of the pictures that are pasted into this drooling spitpile are from ’95.

Remember when I told you I had the idea to do another collage of stupid little sketches and stuff? I was gonna call it Refrigerator Art Expo, or something. Well, wipe that from your memory completely. I brought those cheesy drawings home to paste into this beloved book. They were done at work on the scratch paper I use to sharpen my pencils.reclining trash

Happy St. Pat’s! Running through Bad Religion’s new tape, The Gray Race. Come Join Us is the best song on it. Got it at Zia today along with Weight by Rollins Band. That’s a great tape for the gym! Did I tell you I’m back? I’m just doing cardio three times a week right now. Guess I didn’t say anything until I had some kind of track record. I’ve got three weeks under my belt so far and it’s a bit looser for it.touchdown

Greasy Heroes on Acid Bowl for Jesus

1-13-96 Chapter Three: Nineteen Times
Sountrack: Blood Stains by Agent Orange

A buddy at work said his friends all told him that if he did acid more than 12 times it was a “well-known stoner fact” that you would go insane. He did it nineteen times. It’s also the title I suggested for his autobio comic. [ This was at Fox Animation. We would draw, tell stories and talk shit every day on lunch break.]

There’s a new team of super villains to be on the look out for: The Holy Bowlers. They’re a bible-thumping all preacher bowling team. Probably 5 guys and a woman. Issue one: Bowling for Jesus.

They should have biblical names like: Enoch, Gabriel, David, Ezekiel (Zeke), and some old guy named Lazarus. They have a public access cable bowling and bingo prayer service revival show. They can heal bowling injuries and stuff. They preach from a pulpit that has one of those built-in hand blower things. They perform miracles like a 7-10 split.

Their mainstay of badness however, is their religious bombing. They carry the bombs in their bowling bags and wear bowling shirts with their logo and name on it over the classic preacher collar shirt.

Work was pretty smooth this week except for Friday. I had to bust ass on a production scene that we didn’t get done by the deadline because it turned into a giant cluster pump. The person who did the breakdowns did some of them wrong, so most of us inbetweeners were jacked. I guess we’ve got until tomorrow to get it finished.

Also this week, the big boss guy in charge of operations was given the shoe. Nobody knows why, but we had a special all staff meeting about it. All they said was, “He’s no longer with us.” There are all kinds of rumor-theories going around but no solid answers.

We’re gonna go with a sorta pseudo 50s look to the book so we need to get some reference on hairstyles, clothes, and if we can, slightly obscure Americana. As for some of the characters and backgrounds, I’ll need to round up some mags like Bowler’s World or junk like that. [The internet was a baby back then, Google didn’t exist.]

[The comic Adam and I were planning on making. Lipo-Man was his character who shot blubber out of a hose connected to his belly and the sidekick I came up with was Captain Unfathomable, an angry elderly man who used to be a real superhero in the 50s.]Grease musical

Ben, Ryan, Ashley and I saw Grease tonight. Our seats were clear up on the second balcony– and when I say clear, I mean CLEAR! The damn balcony’s gotta be at least 50-60 feet above the stage! [Um… probably more like 25.] Well, as you may or may not know, I’m deathly afraid of heights. So I said F that and asked the escort door watcher guy if there was anywhere else I could sit.

Hey man, it was either that or go hang out on Mill Ave until those guys got done watching the show. By the way, I at least tried to sit up there, but I got all vertigo and dizzy.

Anyway, the people at the hall were really cool about it and I got to sit in a totally good spot on floor level! Turns out, the three seats next to me were empty so those guys got to sit down there in the good seats for the second half!

It was a really good show except the stage sets were a 9 on the Velveeta Scale.