Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Its Ok

Re~reading the last blog post, its a bit of a downer. It certainly was a pit of despair and I wanted to post a follow~up to everyone. It was not my intent to sound so angry and frustrated with things. I was having a bad day. When I dont have the rhythm, I feel definite frustration. To be fair, I spent a whole almost two weeks sick. Then my GF got sick. Things just spiraled and every bad thing in my life got amplified. In the moment, I was honest.

Today, I am better. In fact, the night after I posted the last blog, I got some work done. I word ballooned the first 25 pages of STARSLAM 3, made In Design layouts for all the completed pages I have for the Patreon. I pulled reference for the new Star Wars card set I am on. So really, I just needed to get the gunk out of my head and admit how afraid I was, in order to clear the palate. I needed it to get out of my own way.

Failure? Essentially the question for myself is: Failure at WHAT? Nothing stops me from just doing what I do and if even one person reads it, its a bonus. Measuring myself according to this number or that number does nothing. In the end, my art has always been about me. I really have let the outside world into my head too much. The anger and snarkiness of the wicked world has seeped in and I let it beat me down. Everyday I am presented with assholeism... either online or even driving to my day job. But these are anonymous assholes. If we were face to face and not behind the anonymity of a keyboard/avatar or a cold car, they wouldn't be that way to me, a fellow human being. I gotta believe that. And when I read the bad news online, I always have to remember, that is THEIR fight.... not mine. I must pay it no mind and not let it into my head.

So here I am, back in my little world. The ranting and despair leaves my brain and I sit alone. The only thing left before me is the blank page. The curser blinks. The pencils are sharpened, waiting. The smell of ink drying in my pen taunts me.

NEXT PAGE.

NEXT PAGE.

Truthfully, it excites me. Because I know nothing else. Art has always been there for me in my darkest times. It will be there for me in some form for the rest of my days. I will never leave it. Never. I have a hard time turning my back on things that mean something to me. And Art is at the top of that list.

Today, I read the final issue of my favorite modern comic: INVINCIBLE. It was released this morning and with that ends a couple decades of solid reading. Now, thanks to it finishing its run, I dont have anything on a pull list. Most of my old favorite writers and artists arent doing new stuff. Oh I pick up a new book every now and then from a random artist or writer, but not much. I cannot tell you the last time I walked into a comic book store. In fact, my favorite comic book store in town here recently did a management change and let go all the people there I liked and considered friends when I walked in. So it ends.

But yet it begins. Because there are stories and drawings in my head I want to do. And I am going to finish them all and publish them online or some in a small print run. I will finish everything I planned. I promise that to you, of course, but mainly to myself. Because I can and it is what I want.

This week I got my blank cards for the next Star Wars set. I am excited to work on them, honestly. Last night at work, I came up with a couple new scenes I can squeeze into Pleasant Life 2. All of these things will happen. I just gotta get free and find a rhythm again. I will. I know I will.

So, its ok. Im ok. You are ok. Onward and upward.

We good?

~T

BTW, my newest STAR WARS RETURN CARDS are available!! Email me at phymns@yahoo.com if interested! Have a look:




Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Inevitable Change...



Well, now that I am mostly on the mend from my week long sickness, my girlfriend now has it worse. She has what I had, coupled with a bad sore throat and other ailments. Im at home taking care of her this weekend. I had planned to go to a new convention called ASTRONOMICON to see some old friends and finally meet a modern hero of mine: James Rolfe... (AKA the Angry Video Game Nerd). But the snow had other plans for both of us. James cancelled and so did I. So it goes. I dont mind being stuck at home for once. I felt like I should be productive. So far today, I havent. I finished off THE ORVILLE, restrung my new acoustic guitar and cooked food and ran errands for my sick girlfriend.

Now my attention turns to the thing that I keep dreading.... the inevitable point of no return.

Ive mentioned it back in December and I reiterate it now: Everything here will cease. The blog and store will close. The Podcast has already ran its last episode. Everything is waiting for me to jump it all over to PATREON and start the launch. I had planned on it being January 30th but that didnt happen. Then I felt like Valentines Day would be good. But I wont be ready. So now its in March. OF course, I will announce it here, when it happens.

To be honest, this has been in my brain a long time. Two years in fact. I was going to pull the trigger on it last year, but I had the carpal tunnel scare. I shelved it and contemplated retirement. (whatever the hell that means) But I got better. Now I am forced to make a decision. Dedicate myself to the plan or scrap it and fade away.

Im scared, honestly. Im scared that this might be the final stage of the failure of what I have sought all my life. All I wanted was for my work to sustain itself financially. It has not. Sure, I have self published for almost 25 years, met great friends, travelled all over the United States and entertained God knows how many people. But my work has always been free and very accessible. Now it all goes behind a paywall... in a world where everyone is begging you for your pocket change. Im about to do the same. I hate monetizing my work. I really do. But I have to. I know I have to.

And.... I know I deserve to. Ive earned the chance to ask. I think the work I want to do is worth asking people to pay for it. I know Ive cultivated the audience to give it a shot. I know there are new people willing to pay their hard earned to support the work because they WANT to. I know I can reach more people than I have been able to on my own.

I know all of this. But still I am scared. Im scared I will fail. I am scared that what I offer will not be enough. I am scared of leaving the (old ways) behind once and for all. Im scared I will run out of time. Im scared no one will give a shit, but me.

Its people like James Rolfe and other artists who have been successful at the Patreon and their other personal en devours that fuel me and make me want to take the shot.  I know I will always have to work a day job to make ends meet. The dream itself is not over. But the fear will always remain. And with it comes the shame. I let my dreams fade with everything that has happened and now I dont honestly know what I want anymore.

Some days I am so driven to finish STARSLAM 3 and get PLEASANT LIFE 2 done. To record new music and write my novels that I always talk about. But then the next day to just not give a shit about any of it. Id rather just draw STAR WARS cards and not think about my own shit. My motivation goes right out the door. I have no rhythm and no desire to continue.

Honestly, what is the matter with me? I do not have a clue.

But here I am being honest. I'm excited and scared. I'm fueled but bone dry. Maybe its the weather and sickness that has me down. Maybe its the rat race and no day off except when I am sick as fuck. Maybe its the lack of vacation or alone time. Maybe its the confined space of my small apartment. I don't know. I wish I did. There are so many things on my mind. Wants, desires, failures and fears.

Well, none of this is new. Almost all of my 17,000 blog posts here at Idiothead.com have reitereated that same feeling over and over. Maybe someday I will have it figured out.

~~T

Thursday, February 08, 2018

SICK of Being SICK!!!!!


Hey friends.

Well its about a week later and it has been a week of hell. I was bed ridden for almost five days total, out of work for two, sore as hell for all the rest of them. I had to return to work due to the attendance stuff at work, but I toughed it out so far. Today I reported in and felt like absolute shit all day. Finally around 9pm, I filled up on more Chicken soup and some Advil instead of my off brand ibuprofin. Ill tell you... an hour later I felt much better. My ears drained out and I was feeling even (gulp) energetic!! I got home and did the dishes and emptied all the trash. And here I am, jamming to some Beatles and updating you all with a blog at my desktop. So maybe... dare I say... I'm getting better???

Unfortunately, my girlfriend now has what I had. We went to the doctors late last night and got her some meds as well. She is resting while I am hoping this upward trend continues for me. I had originally planned to go to ASTRONOMICON in Detroit this weekend for a day, but with the snow and me still not guaranteed to be 100%, I am still shelving the idea. Although Id REALLY love to go. I think I need a show, man. I miss the hustle and bustle just a tiny bit. Not manning a table, mind you... but just going and seeing a bunch of dealers and doing some digging.

Im going to hope that me feeling a bit better tonight continues and I am finally indeed better after all this shit. But I will take it easy this weekend and try to relax when I can. But my TO DO list grows longer and longer and I gotta get cracking on shit that I need to get done. I need some solid solid solid productive time. Seems like everything keeps getting in my way and I have to keep pushing things back! Its a bullshit hill I gotta keep pushing that rock up after it rolls down at the halfway point. Fucking Sisyphus.

Anyway, just thought Id update everyone on how I am feeling. Please: AVOID THE SICKNESS AT ALL COSTS! Everyone I know has managed to get some sort of bug this season. You could be next!!

~T


Sunday, February 04, 2018

Of Sickness and Toys

Hello friends.

Reporting to you from my bed via my son's iPad. I bought him a new one for xmas last year and I forgot that I can actually use it too if I want to. Right now he mostly uses my ps4 to play Lego Star Wars and later for calm down we watch Episode 4 together. I don't think I will ever get sick of that. It's a moment I've always waited for as a nerd dad. I didn't get that experience with my oldest son, (who just turned 18 this week btw) nor my middle kid, who could never focus enough on a movie to sit down and enjoy it. Part of the joys of autism. He told me he went to the movies and saw THE LAST JEDI. I'm sure he enjoyed it. He is a big BB8 fan. I was actually thinking about taking him to see it, hoping that five years old would be good enough to try and take him to the movies and he would act okay, but I missed the chance. Oh well. Maybe Episode 9 I will get my shot.

Anyway, I am doing this from bed and not my computer because I am severely sick and am to be bedridden for at least the next couple days. At the day job, a couple people were out sick and a few came to work sick... So it's likely I got it from someone there in the office. All week I could feel the symptoms start and then would dissapate, only to return worse the next day. By Friday I had developed a really bad cough and chills. I spent all day Saturday in bed, not being able to enjoy my kids' visit at all. By midnight I had enough and reported to a 24 hour urgent care clinic. You know it's serious when I actually volentarilly go to a doctor!

Surprisingly, I had dropped more weight and my blood pressure is slowly inching toward normal. Which, as a fat fuck, is great news! What isn't good news is that I was diagnosed with a major bronchial infection that is borderline pneumonia if not dealt with immediately. I got prescribed four meds and ordered to stay in bed or I would get worse. Also the news that I was HIGHLY contagious and would be for another two days. So I had to abort the weekend visit with the boys. It really sucks all around. I cannot afford to take two days off of work and get points racked up on attendance there. (They have VERY strict policies) But it is what it is and I have to to what is best for my health. Luckily I have a very supportive and helpful girl at my side who helped with the boys and has been tucking me in and checking on me. I sure hope she doesn't get what I got!!

Most of today I slept and sweated. Ive finally been able to keep some food down me. I hope this upward trend continues. But this will be my life for the next couple days. Hey, I wanted a "vacation," I guess I got one! (Sneezes)

I've been falling asleep to old DEEP SPACE NINE episodes, as I am giving that series another run through. Tonight I watched a couple documentaries. One on The Beatles making of SGT PEPPER called IT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY. The other was another part of Netflix's THE TOYS THAT MADE US. I've seen the He-Man episode already, so tonight I watched the Star Wars one.

I am a complete nut for vintage Star Wars figures, as they were my "Woody and Buzz Lightyear" of my childhood. I have some of my original figures still, but none in the box like I do my Trek figures. The prices are astronomical now to collect them for real. But I sure love to look at them! I've always called myself a big child for collecting toys still and I even get strange looks when I am in a Toys R us by myself. But something a dude in the doc said made me feel better about it.

Religion has its symbols, things they use so you can define your faith. Sci Fi is something not real. You cannot touch it. But you can define your love and devotion to it by collecting the toys... Symbols of nostalgia.... Symbols of your faith in a thing... A rememberance of better times. I will have to remember this the next time I am looking at a toy and I put it back because I "should be too old for that sort of thing." Like a football jersey or a rookie card means something to a sports fan, so should it be with the toys.

I have been blessed to work on Star Wars art in an official (albeit small) capacity. It truly is a special thing and it means a lot to me. I had a fan come to me at a con one time and he had a binder full of my cards because he loved my style on all those Star Wars figures I had drawn. I was floored, to say the least. I am honored to do so and this next week, I will again. But this time I think I will keep one of my return cards for my kid. Maybe a BB8... For when he grows older. And maybe he will appreciate his dad and his love of Star Wars... and that he got paid to work on stuff for it. That would be very cool.

I watched the tail end of the Super Bowl via a crappy stream on my phone. Congrats to the Eagles on their big win. I did not watch much football this year, unfortunately. Good cable TV is just too expensive!

Anyway, Ive typed on this thing enough and my nose is really starting to run, I better sign off. Listen folks, this flu season is NO JOKE!!! It is worth it to be a little obsessive germaphobe this year. Carry a small sanitizer bottle with you. Invest in Clorox wipes and Lysol. And if you are sick, for god sakes stay at home and dont infect your coworkers!!! We have families and obligations too, you know! Don’t be an arsehole. Stay home and get well. I had my weekend, and my errand running plans for tomorrow ruined because of this. Dammit (sneeze)

-T

Monday, January 29, 2018

Trapped inside the Circle of Random Thoughts


Well I planned to head out early this morning before work and get a few things off my massive TO DO list taken care of... but mother nature made other plans. Weather app said clear skies all week. I woke up to about 5 inches of new snow. That is Michigan for you. Yippie. So I am gonna stay in and take care of some home stuff before I have to venture out for yet another 10 hour shift.

This is the quarter of constant overtime at the day job. It is absolutely necessary as it will pay for my summer vacation and the transition to a newer and bigger home later in the year. Plus I got a couple other small mini vacation ideas I would like to attempt this year. Also, little promises Ive made myself that I hope to actually keep at some point. So the money is nice, but my sanity is waning. I try to save for things and every time I turn around something comes and dips into it. Seems like I can never get ahead. There is constant fear of it all falling apart just over my shoulder. Drives me fucking nuts. I find that the older I get, the more I cannot handle as I once did. Stress and anxiety leaves me burned out with restlessness, irritable bowel syndrome and anxiety attacks out of nowhere. I just am not myself anymore. I am irritable and I very easily can write toxicity out of my life. That is a good thing but man, am I changing every day.

I used to stay up all night and draw art. Well.... I cannot do it anymore. Back hurts. Hand goes numb. Brain gets frazzled. So I do it in chunks, when I feel like I can do it. Like last night I was gifted with penciling and inking four new Starslam 3 pages. I got about 30 pages I have to scan in and send to my colorist. Home stretch on the comic. Maybe about 25 pages to go. Then all the post production stuff. I really want to get this book out the door so I can move forward with other stuff I want to do.

Meanwhile I have been working on stories for the PATREON page launch. I got about four in the can right now, plus a bunch of other stuff. I still have to letter and PDF the stories, but they are mostly done other than that. The hard parts are anyway. If I only had the time to focus completely on it. I got no rhythm of getting things done like I used to.

This week Ive made no secret of the fact that I have felt tired and burned out more than normal. Ive tried to celebrate my 40th birthday all week and stay happy. Sometimes I have succeeded but mostly Ive drifted through. I leaned heavy on my girl and she helped me get through it. This weekend I took a Friday off so I could just relax. We went to Chili's and I had a nice lunch with her.


Sharp knives help with the stress!!!
We spent the rest of Friday just relaxing. I watched some DEEP SPACE NINE in bed and just vegged out. I even played some video games. But then the need to get some work done hit me late into the day. I scanned a few new pages and dropped some flat colors on them. I negotiated getting onto a new card set and even a new commission. Seems the freelance work will always be in my corner. Im grateful that people still want my stuff, so I find it hard not to turn it down. It also helps keep me focused that this IS a job, and a major source of extra income to help when I need it. Its what I went to college for, for fucks sake. Gotta keep it rolling and never give up on it.

On Saturday, we left town and just got away for a night. Once away I felt wonderful. A panic attack triggered before we left. I honestly have no idea why. But once we arrived and were safe, I felt completely fine. It was a good night for both of us to get away and enjoy the weather and another town. We got crunk and had fun. Necessary.

Then Sunday we returned home and I was feeling very ill. I slept most of the day, hung over and with bad irritable bowel syndrome issues. I find that I simply cannot drink like I used to. I have not drank much alcohol since October, with the exception of New Years. After nursing a sleepy hangover for a few hours, I got some groceries and then hit East Coast Subs for some eats. Then I watched some Star Trek and (GASP!) drew four pages on Starslam. Its good to know the desire to get the job done is still there even on my days of relaxing.

These are just examples of my days. Just some things on my mind.

I realized that January 27th this year, my Grandma Opal has been gone 30 years. I still remember her voice. Unreal.

My friend and coworker has been dealing with far more than I am. He and his wife's first child was born in October and was given very little chance to survive with a multitude of health issues. It is now almost February and baby Frank is still beating the odds with a body slam and a drop kick. He is now on the heart donor list and getting healthier every day. I'm very happy for his progress and cannot wait to see the day when he will go home, finally. I know it will be very soon.

Father and son enjoying a day together.
I decided I am going to back off TWITTER for a while... just to help curb the noise a bit. So far Ive found that I do not miss the yelling and mean spirited nature there. I much prefer spending time on my tumblr where its all porn 24/7! The world needs less politics and fighting and more porn, don't you think? 

Ive been re-watching through STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE off and on, as well as the ANIMATED series. But last night I sat at my small coffee table and watched TOS TREK while working on pages...

Necessary

So now begins three long weeks of solid work/sleep/work/sleep/kids on weekends/work/sleep pattern before another day off. However if the weather gets decent again, in the middle I might be able to hit a local pop culture con and meet a hero of mine. Cross my fingers on that. Either way, I know that I will be fine. I will make it to the next day off where I can relax and smell the roses a minute. I also got my oldest sons 18th Birthday this weekend. Lots to celebrate and be thankful for. Its hard to even let the stress into my brain anymore when there is so much to do... so much to celebrate and smile about.

Lets hope the smoke keeps clearing for us all and we can get to the spring in once piece. There is so many great things coming. It will all be worth it. Stay tuned...

~~T

Thursday, January 25, 2018

40 Years

Ive thought about what I wanted to write in this blog about turning 40. Ive gone over it a few times and I still do not know what to say. I got a million things I would love to bitch about, sing praises for, plug, scream and cry about, remember, forget, etc.  Just everything. The wickedness of the world seeps into my brain. The push/pull feelings of my own lack of time or creative rhythm beat in my head like a sore throbbing and leaking varicose vein. Im happy, grateful, excited, tired and worn out all at once. The distant past swirls in my thoughts and my future hangs over my head if I only were to reach up and grab it. But I dont. I just sit here thinking. Plotting. Pondering. Worrying.

So I wont go into any of it. I will just let the pictures of my recent life do the talking for me. Because right now, I just don't have much to say.

Not yet. 

I'm grateful for everyone who sent me an email, a private message, a gift, a twitter or facebook post acknowledging my birthday. I saw you and I appreciate you caring enough to toss me a thought. Its means the world to me. Thank you.

My girl made me a birthday cake!
My two youngest enjoying STAR WARS. Its hard to get Scotty to sit and watch anything, but he and James were glued to the TV for the most part of watching A NEW HOPE this last weekend. Maybe I will never have to sit through another episode of PAW PATROL or PEPPA PIG again. :)
For my birthday, I told my girl to not get me any presents. She of course, would not listen. She dug through my want lists and scored these.... four vintage STAR TREK TMP mint on card figures. Will go very nice in my collection!

My in laws got me a nice collection of comics and graphic novels to read, as well as a card with a large amount of money in it to get something else I want. I really am blessed to have her and them in my life.

A couple weekends ago, my coworkers and I had another vintage game night. I beat DUCK TAILS for NES...

Hard to see, but they tag teamed and beat the original GHOSTS AND GOBLINS... which as some of you know is next to impossible to do!

While they wrestled with that, I did an entire playthrough of the first quest in THE LEGEND OF ZELDA... which shows you how long they were playing it! I started Zelda here when they were on their second play through near level 5. The beat Ghosts N Goblins when I was in the middle of beating level nine. So about an hour and a half of playing just one level to my whole original quest! Some patience they got, thats for sure!

To cap it off, we played a quick run through MARIO 3. Necessary.

Lastly on the pictures front, I found this meme this week and it very much rings true. Do not worry about me folks. I am just overworked, overtired and burned out. I haven't had a true vacation since last May. I have tried to take a day for myself here and there, but it has not really helped. This coming weekend I am going away for a bit, so I hope that fills my bone dry fuel tanks. Because feeling this way just sucks. But Ive been through worse. I will push through.


Final thoughts:

I recorded the LAST EPISODE of the IDIOTHEAD MORNING SHOW. Stream it HERE ~~ News about the new, reworked podcast is coming via my PATREON.... which will launch sometime this first quarter of the year. I have a bunch of stuff I am working on and saving for when it launches. I just want to be sure it is all ready before I pull the trigger on it and commit. I hope to shake this big draining cry of ennui off my shoulders for good and get to work on what I know I need to work on. It will be worth it when it rolls out. You will see!

Anyway, Thanks for reading and supporting. You will hear from me again soon.

~~Much love eternal, T

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Your Own Ruler

As an artist, it is easy to beat yourself up and say that you do not matter. You do. You make art? You matter. It is that simple.  No matter how much you hate yourself for not achieving this or that, or being this person or that person, you have to remember that in art there is no standard for success or even being a complete person. The only one you are measuring up against is yourself. If you keep losing, it is because you are reaching too impossibly high and you will always fail against this.

We spend so much time dwelling on the things we have not achieved but never look at what we HAVE achieved. It took a lot for you to get where you are. We need to dwell in that a bit more. Not in a TOOT YOUR OWN HORN/ENJOY MY EGO kind of way, but just acknowledge what you have done to be who you are today. It is important. Do it. Make a list. Because you are your own ruler and you need to know how you measure up to only one thing: Who you WERE and who you are NOW. 

My list:

I have 24 years in self publishing.  

I have published 14 graphic novels, all over 84 pages at its smallest. 550 at its biggest. 

I have published 16 individual one shot comics. 

I have collaborated with a few folks to make their comics come to life... for no pay. Just the satisfaction of helping and making things happen for someone else. 

Over ten years podcasting on Talkshoe.com. Including 505 episodes of my own personal podcast. 

On this blog you are reading now, I have wrote and posted over 17,000 posts. All published online for free. 

I maintain social media presence through Facebook and Twitter, as well as a few videos on the youtube. 

I have co-wrote, recorded and released three albums of music with my best friend and there is more to come. 

I have done small story and pinup work with several different companies. 

I have many satisfied commission customers all across the globe who own a piece of mine or had a request fulfilled at very low prices.

I got a college degree while writing, drawing and publishing my own work.

I have been a part of over 22 sketch card sets with big properties such as: Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Avengers, Xmen, Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, The Titanic, Mars Attacks, The Walking Dead, Night of the Living Dead and others. 

I have toured the United States over 20 years selling my artwork at various comic book conventions and trade shows.

I have done big scale erotica work for a large gallery in Switzerland, satisfying many customers with my large pictures and drawings of fetish work. 

I have six successfully funded Kickstarter campaigns. 

I have never forgot where I came from, nor have I ever turned my back on anyone who helped get me there. I am always grateful and reflective to people or places who helped shape me and where I am today.

I have made some wonderful, deep and close relationships where fans have become friends. 

I do not have any drug addictions. 

I have never screwed over someone or stepped on someone to get what I want. 

I chose art as a way to express myself and have done it through illustration, oil and acrylic painting, radio and video performance, model kit making, pearler bead ironing, cooking, sewing, gluing, collecting and grinding. Most importantly of all: Writing. Like what you are reading now. 

All of this I did while working 1 to sometimes 3 full time jobs at the same time, raising a family and keeping myself sane. (mostly)

Everything I listed and more... this means a lot to me. I have worked very, very, very hard for what I have accomplished. Do I need to be a part of X or Y or win THIS or THAT or be HERE or THERE to feel validation? No. Not anymore. Because all of that is bullshit. And these things above, are all that matter in the end. My own personal ruler. Calibrated to me and my preferences, alone.

And all of the above, folks, is just the beginning.... There is so much more to come, before the long TREK is over!

Lets do it.

~~T