Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Here's a page from my sketchbook.  It started off with a drawing game Jade and I were playing.  We were drawing alien fish monsters.  I was running out of room on other pages and exploring a character for animation based on a song some friends and I wrote and recorded called WhiteWolf.

It's a groovy song about an elderly werewolf hobo.  The song is due out on our next album which is totally dragging it's heels in it's wrapping up phase.  If all goes swell, we'll have a few animated music videos done by the end of 2012.  Still need to design the art for the whole album.  Yikes!

I think I finally got the guy down, and once I get Flash up and running on my old G5 tower I can start jumping right into it.  Still working out some of the storyboards, but it's a lot easier when you have the character defined.  Thought it would be funny if he was bald on top despite his "state".

I think this year I'm going to be doing a lot of animation both at work and at home on personal projects.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Just say no to saying yes.

I had a dream the other night that I got back together with my ex-girlfriend.  In the dream, it was unbelievable in a believable way.  You know dreams.  They're often full of horseshit.  The kind of shit that you can stand and doesn't make you puke, but you know it's still shit.  I was warm and filled with the happiness though in my unconscious state.  Then, alarm clock.  It was one of the few times in the last few months I woke up depressed and full of self-pity.  I had to get Jade to school so the "boo hoo" feeling wasn't there long.  And when those mornings involve a 5 minute pajama wrestling session on the bed, it's really hard to stay bummed.  The feeling's been creeping it's head up more and more.  It's not the feeling that I wish I was still with this girl, because now more than ever I know it wouldn't and shouldn't have worked out.  It's just this holding pattern I'm in and the exhaustion of compounded extreme patience in dealing with this lame situation.  She gave me the feeling that life could move past this divorce and be interesting with someone new...filled with new love.  I tell people yes I can do this and that, when I should be saying "like-hell".  This is my time right now and what I have to work with is this series of gears that are stripped, clunking me to the same place despite whatever effort.  I'm always wary of being an asshole, then I anally rape myself with my own passive aggression when the world moves on without me.

Getting a divorce is not as hard on my nerves in the sense you might think it is.  More of a time ticking away thing.  Over two years now since separation, it's not the definitive finality of it that's bugging me.  It's not the loss of family, the unity here and gone, the hurt, the back stabbing and lying, the worry of surviving raising a daughter as a single dad.  The cooking, cleaning, purging of old toys and the plate spinning act required in a hectic schedule.  I don't hate Tana.  In fact we get along quite well these days.  You know what it is?  The fact it's taking so fucking long.  Life doesn't stop.  Work doesn't stop.  Friends don't stop getting themselves in trouble and my daughter doesn't stop growing up.  Always a hierarchy of urgent priorities.  Time escapes me.  I'm getting older.  I'm not old, but at some point, I'm going to be past the age of possibly starting another family.  I'm still pretty sure I want to do that.  I was young and naive when I got married to Tana.  Buried in art and music, I knew a family was what I wanted and we spent so much time laughing and loving that it seemed like the right thing.  So we did it.  Tana wanted it too.  Then, bingo, we were a family.  But obviously it wasn't meant to be for so many reasons.  And like I said, that's not what is eating at me.  I want to move on.  My not being divorced is what really broke my ex-girlfriend and I up, and it's the reason I can't keep looking for Mrs. Right.  Still kinda heart-fucked on that side of things.  The marriage is over in my mind and heart, but not on paper.  And apparently, paper counts.  I can definitely see that.

So, next journey pretty fucking please.  Seems impossible when the divorce process crawls along and each step of the procedure involves me and Tana pushing a fat sack of bullshit mixed in with our lives and daughter up a ladder just to be eventually pushed off a cliff as a reward when it's all done.  Nifty prize!  Like, I bought my ticket to go, I'm at the train station, and "Lazy Joe" the train conductor is at some point most likely going to arrive at the station.  Worst part is, I can see the train stopped about a half mile down the tracks (still in metaphor here) with Joe taking in the view and happily snapping pictures of the sunset and I just have to wait for him to get his fill.  Because driving a train IS Joe's journey thus he's taking his time…and such is the way the world works.  I'm always in some queue.  And Lazy Joe isn't lazy at all.  In fact he holds the key to happiness.  A key that fits in his own personal lock and no one else's.  So I must forge my own key.

More and more as Jade grows up I see myself judging people.  And lets just say, 99 percent of the time I judge myself more than anybody else in the world.  Sounds bad, judging people, but there's really no room for assholes and idiots in my life.  I should say, there's no room for "more" assholes and idiots in my life.  The ones that are here are here and I love them…myself included of course.  I'm in a phase of phasing out crap.  A mission of omission.  I feel like I want to pick the whole house up, turn it upside down and shake it out over a dump.  Instead, I'm a hamster in a large burrow sorting this and that indefinitely.  Try getting into a relationship while still being married.  Even if they are cool with it, I'm not.  And my nerves are getting the best of me.  I find myself, wanting a dog, to go out and spend lonely days and evenings walking around aimlessly and pointlessly until I need new shoes.  Find myself hating everything and everybody on some level.  People are either too happy, or compromised against their will or too weak.  And here I am.  All of those things at once.  Absorbing hell and heaven in the same breath.

Work is great, Jade is great.  But I'm getting bitter from the inside out.  Other girls have come into my life recently whom have been funny and or beautiful and I've pushed them away for one reason or another.  Unsatisfied with this thing or that or restless with feelings of staying true to myself.  Which is what?  So I find myself mostly encumbered and shackled by how I will judge myself as the god of me given any certain circumstance.  It's this mentality that screws me and will screw me indefinitely unless I squash it.  I'm not bending as much as I need to.  My expectations are set too high.  I live with two great people.  Both currently seeing other people.  It's irritating, but I'm happy for them at the same time.  I see I have one of the most wonderful people in the world by my side, but I must share her.  And let's face it.  Jade will eventually leave home and be her own person and I'll be on my own working my way perfectly into being a sour ass man-bitch.  The days Tana has her are already a window into this reality yet in the present, given these spans by myself I look forward to catching my breath, regardless of the me-smog that pollutes the potential rest.  Only human I suppose.  Parenting is amazingly fulfilling and difficult.

It's not always like this.  When at work or in good company I hardly show signs of the hole I'm in.  Friends say, I cant understand how you can be so cool headed given the predicament you're in.  I say, I'm good and I have pride in my abilities as an artist and love for the times I create music or even just being born who I am with these gifts not wasted.  I sincerely hold my head high most hours of the day.  Love my folks and family, cut myself breaks and genuinely try to share the richness of my life with the ones who have enriched mine.  Most of my friends will tell you this.  But then comes the darkness.  It's not booze or depression that gets me.  I'm not an alcoholic or anything.  I'm just stuck and mad a certain amount of the time.  And it seems, like the fate of our environment, if a big change isn't made soon, I'll collapse.

Maybe I just need to work out.  Maybe I need to go to counseling.  Maybe I need Huey Lewis to give me a new drug.  Maybe I need to start saying no to saying yes.  Because the more I rely on the reserve tank of good fortune I've built up, the more it runs out and I'm itching with dissatisfaction.  This is not a cry for help, no no.  More an act of art.  A verbal expression of creativity most likely at my own expense but mentally needed in order for me to sleep.  Even a retarded sketch releases frustration inside me.  Oh the creative types.  We do our own thing...or try to.  And that I'm sure takes the burden off others to perpetually feel they need to entertain.  Because when we're all on our death bed and our loved ones are with us, lets hope the key we've forged for our own locks helps unlock the frustration gate into the next chapters of their lives.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Seeing is Believing

Wouldn’t it be nice to just know when somebody told you something it was absolutely true?  Always? Belief in people. 

And yet there’s a reason the info we get is so twisted and false and fluffed.  We want to believe each other.  Still?  Yes.  We don’t want to apply the filter to everything the other person is saying.  Pride and self-confidence will and often do muddle the truth, but mostly it’s word of mouth that spreads false news faster than light speed.  News spreads quicker than ever these days.  That goes for things that are actually happening like huge country crushing natural disasters, and things that aren’t happening like “no child left behind”.  So many are so left behind…and yet we trust in such things.  For some of us it’s a day job that fuels ambition.  Others, it’s that thing that pumps blood through their body.  What is that thing called again?

There are promises of a better health care system, more money for teachers and schools, creating jobs here instead of outsourcing to other countries…and I think when they are promised by a politician you trust, you still believe it.  And then, nothing happens.  America is the ever-plunging sinking ship that is taking forever to sink.  And yet more people keep hopping on board to see if they can bail this beautiful boat out.  Why?  And others hop on to raid it, abuse it and leave it still sinking and manipulated.  I guess this is my patriotic cynicism coming out.  A rare thing.

Living in Berkeley is exciting to me.  One of my best friends is tired of this place.  Tired of the snooty upright self entitled smug middle upper class that does infest more and more of the “neat” places here.  Even the dive bars have retrofitted themselves for the “elites”.  But Jade’s school has introduced me to a cross section of Berkeley that I really love.  Maybe I got lucky.  The majority of the parents I see, meet, and know, have ended up some of the most genuine, understanding and down to earth yet creative people I’ve ever met.  In other words I’m pretty happy with the general population here.  Maybe it’s the shared respect and sympathy of parenting that bond us.  Maybe it’s the fact we’re stuck with each other for the duration of our children’s education and we don’t want to piss each other off.  Personally, I know there are options for the hermit parent, but what I witness is a real blend of kids and parents that humbles the pompous and elevates the meek.  I’ll never let Jade learn to drive in this crazy city, but there’s definitely a richer environment here than say the suburbs of San Jose where I grew up.

I surely learned to be a better human from my experiences growing up in schools with kids from every ethnicity and religion.  That, I’ll never take for granted.  I wasn’t supposed to go to the high school I went to.  My uncle’s home was in the zone for a much better school than where my home was.  Recently his house burnt down to nothing.  Huge electrical fire.  He barely got out with his pants on.  When I saw him soon after, he wasn’t shaken or weak, just a bit surprised that everything was gone and everything the house held was a loss.  I told him that I was still very thankful for the education I received due to using his address.  Something that was not lost.  A little self centered, but I think it made him feel better.

Independence High school had more than 4000 students.  It was meant to be a college, but I don’t know what the fuck happened.  It ended up a high school with two Olympic sized pools, diving platform, huge campus with admin driving around in golf carts to get around, and a planetarium.  I met some of my best friends there.  They are more family at this point.  Also had some life changing teachers.  A math teacher that taught me more about life and respect and ambition than well, math.  Freshman year I was failing.  By senior year I was surely not valedictorian but surely excited about writing and reading.

All is not wrong with the world.  If shit news spreads like hot peanut butter on sandpaper, then we still have some hope.  Are we not just desperate?  Do we just hear enough so we can claim such breaking news so we each can claim the “intelligent cool king crown of current events”?  That’s a half-full/empty thing I believe.

I think people still weren’t totally sure the earth was round until the first set of human eyes saw earth from outer space and conveyed that truth to the rest of us.  Only then did we know.  We believed previously, but we didn’t know.  The validity of human experience and how we convey our journeys and lessons to each other is crucial in the success of our species.  Positive tone, negative tone, weird strange pauses in conversations, chemical imbalances, and the overall still-in-place survival of the fittest thing no human can let go of.  We can really annoy the fuck out of each other.  Now, there’s a lot of meatheaded businessmen who have changed our views of “fittest”.  We’ve evolved into desk gorillas.  It’s not how fast you can run and hunt, but how well you can thump your chest in front of others from a cubicle desk.  Even in the office environment I’ve seen the best and worst of people.  I’ve seen the best of the worst people and the worst of the best.  Dedication and loyalty.  I’ve seen such contrast and hypocrisy within all people at this point.

Marriage and the state it’s in as an idea in is serious jeopardy.  Divorce is a tangible option for many.  Nearly my whole family stayed married through thick and thin.  It’s what I knew.  I saw it work and I believed in it.  Still do.  More than a god.  Grandparents, my parents, aunts and uncles…it wasn’t a choice to fuck over your loved one. It was belief and trust and fighting for someone that always had your back.   Real love.  Not the love that was forced down my generation’s throats through Disney, John Hughes and TV sitcoms. Divorce wasn’t even on the radar with my family.  Some hippie shithead may say it’s better to get on with your life and not be monogamous for too long.  I find myself being that hippie shithead all the time.

I’ve reread some of my previous posts and yeah I know nothing I say is new.  Everything I express has been documented by someone in one way or another.  I do this for me.  I rant, I edit, I post.  In the end, Jade may want to read this and imagine who I was at this juncture in my life.  Maybe not, but mostly, I read this shit.  I know what I experience, I know my reality.  I believe in a higher power.  That higher power is us and our future.  It’s who we aren’t...yet.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Finally got around to writing this.  Many of you know my dog Che had to be put to sleep recently.  Hard.

When I first met Che, she was Tana's puppy of a couple months.  She picked her up from some trailer hick-style family in the Brentwood area if my memory is correct.  Che was the last of the litter and the story as I've heard it, is that when Tana pulled up, Che was but a tiny pup tugging on a toddler's diaper.  Only Tana knows why she named her Che.

Any of you who knew this dog, loved her.  She was the sweetest sweetest dog.  Tana and I taught her to swim as a puppy near our delta spot.  Hikes, and swims around the island, fetching for any adult and joyously jumping into the water summer after summer.  Fireside nights she heard a lot of beers and jokes cracked, lots of laughing and trips to see grandma and grandpa.  

She knew when Jade was going to be born.  Somehow sensed it almost seconds before Tana went into labor.  As a baby, Jade used her to learn to walk and as a perpetually shedding pillow.  Jade and her friends wrestled Che as babies.  I think Che made it easier for Jade to learn to swim as she was always game and made it look like so much fun.  Jade got big enough that Che finally accepted her as a fetch partner.

Che saw family dogs come and go, saw friends come and go, family feuds, thanksgiving feasts, house parties, and even in the end, her own family dissolve.  But she was a dog.  I'm being dramatic aren't I?  True to her breed, true to her kind.

This is the way I see it though.  I really see it as a big transition.  Had she died early last year this would be a whole different thing.  I needed her.  Now I'm thinking about traveling hopefully with Jade.  Nowhere far, but camping and friends far away.

I have some guilt because I feel like I never really caught on to her oldness and thus I felt like she was going to be around forever…or maybe not go downhill this fast.  I feel like I should have spent more time holding her when she was in pain.  Or should have given her more attention when I knew something was wrong.  Even in the end though, she always always seemed a bit puppyish to me.  So many nights, last year in particular it was me and her…before I met Gaby.  Then Che had a bed there as well.  But back when Tana and I split, I was so thankful at that time to be able to get comfort in someone nonjudgmental or human, really.  Dogs are awesome like that.  Dream eaters if you let them be.  

Gaby was the one that got her to the vet initially.  Thanks, you.  I was slammed at work, figured Che sprained her ankle.  Turned out to be bone cancer.  I wanted Gaby to be there with us when we took her.  It made sense to me.  I even called her and said I wanted her there but she was away.  

Gaby's dog Niko and Che got along very well.  I say this remembering us at Albany beach not so many weeks ago.  Che and Niko would fetch and retrieve at the same time a huge log Gaby threw in the water.  Che would normally despise any other animal getting in the way of her "task".  Twas not the case.  She had one of those faces that always looked worried unless she was swimming in circles biting her splashes.  Her favorite pastime.  Neurotic if you think that way, adorable if you think this way.

Eddie is still around.  Jade's chubby yellow little brother follows her around from Tana's to my place.  He's full of action and physical unpredictability making him probably one of the most humorous animals I've ever had.  It totally helps.

   This journal entry wouldn't be complete if I didn't talk about Che's shits.  Che's craps were not only unpredictable in their firmness but also in their "placement"…and they seemed almost strategically placed on the concrete path to the music studio…appropriately named "DOGRUN studio".    I won't miss being under her ass with a shovel waiting for the poos to drop.  Who's neurotic?  Even today, she's gone, but some of her craps are still dissipating into the back lawn or crabgrass if you will.  And thats if I was lucky.  Never telling when she got the squirts in the house.  And many a rug has suffered the fate.  Her craps were like little mines she would plant.  A season would go by, then wham, need a new mop and spatula.

I think the day we put her to sleep, I reflected through the last 11 plus years opening up memories and happy times we had together as a family and before with our big yellow dog.  It made me smile given where we are now.  Things move on you know.  The void is the clackety paws on the kitchen floor, the way she cleaned a floor, midnight walks…I'll miss her catching a frisbee perfectly in her chops, jumping off the back of the boat before we hit the island at the Delta.   Great running partner, horrible watchdog…devoted family member and completely beautiful.  I'll miss you bird.