Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Starslam 3 Pages and Random Updates/Thoughts/Schemes

Hey friends! A blog of pure randomness, plus new STARSLAM 3 pages for you to see! First, here is the kitten we decided to keep. I have named him "Sebastian." Fear him, for he rules the night!

I'll tell you, having a batch of kittens around is a joy but also a pain in the ass sometimes. Mommy cat keeps howling while we are sleeping and her kittens are starting to wander around. Empty nest syndrome or something? I have no idea. Another few weeks and the other two cats will go to new homes. I'm sure I'll miss them, but I also like the idea of things returning to a bit of normal around here.

I've been watching the new MST3K on Netflix. So far, its pretty good. Nothing will ever compare to the original Joel episodes for me, but that is okay. There's enough there to keep me interested and they do callbacks to the old shows quite a lot. I'm about halfway through the episodes now. After that, I'm gonna try to tackle Better Call Saul. Speaking of which, Kitty D is hip deep into some Breaking Bad now herself. We watched a bunch of episodes last night after work. So good!

Caleb's tree at work is in full bloom for the spring! Check it out:

This Carpal Tunnel thing is a distraction to be sure, but I am dealing with it. I'm doing daily exercises and at work I wear a brace for pressure points. My colorist Andy graciously sent me some ice spray to try out. I need to get a hand brace to wear at night when I sleep. Life adjusts. I'm determined to not let this thing slow me down. I got writing and drawing to do. And I'll go down with the ship if I have to!

For those who participated in the TALES FROM THE GORE Kickstarter: All the books on my end are mailed out and done. The only ones left to ship are the Olya Stevens related sketched books and the commissions. Its hard to get together with a gal who lives 30 minutes out of town and has a ton of things going on (as do I!). But rest assured we will and all the mailers will go out within the next couple weeks with her books. Thanks for your patience. I'm damn proud of the book.

I got a couple messages asking if I will be back at Summit for Free Comic Book Day. Unfortunately, I will not be doing anything for Free Comic Book Day as I will have my kids that weekend. That is okay, because I don't have anything to sell beyond books as it is. I will try to get an appearance rolling next year. But if you are in the Lansing area, check out Summit Comics in downtown anyway as they will have a great guest lineup, prizes and hey, FREE COMICS! Great for the kids and their reading, ya dig?

While I'm talking about comics, I wanted to briefly mention that I am still busy working on Pleasant Life 2 and comics for the Patreon! Right now I got about 60 pages done for Pleasant Life 2 and three new stories done for the Patreon... as well as all the old content I already have created for it. I hope to launch that Patreon sometime soon... this summer! In addition to comics, it will have a new BLOG there as well as an exclusive PODCAST. You only get this content if you are a paying subscriber. Trust me, I think the content will be well worth it for you to dig into. Tons of erotica and a bold new step into that direction, full on. For now, that's enough teasing....

Okay, by the blog's title I promised you some new STARSLAM 3 pages and so here they are! Obviously I cannot show you any pages with T&A as this blog is visually PG-13 for the most part. But rest assured there are PLENTY of naughty pages done so far for the book. As for our progress we got 48 pages completely done and in the can. There are 16 more floating around in various stages of pencils and inks. Wednesdays are my main drawing days on the book and so I hope to push a new batch out tomorrow. But for now, here are these new ones for your viewing pleasure:

Candid photographs!

Doc Nelson and Bear Girl have a special journey of their own in the new book!

Um, we're gonna need a bigger boat!

Updating the team's image!
I got a plan in my head as to when you will see this book complete. I'll be working all summer on it to get it done. With Starslam 3 and the upcoming Patreon stuff, you'll be seeing a lot of my erotica comics headed your way!

Thanks for reading...


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Embrace What You Got

Life hits us pretty fast. We're all tired. We're all stressed. We've got a pile of TO DO, and a mountain of I WANT. But its best to keep in mind the John Lennon quote: "Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans." But hey, keep trying your best. Chase the whimsies and find your happiness.

Over the last few months, I've crawled out of some nice depression and with the help of therapy and self evaluation, I've learned to stop the triggers and put ME first. If people think I am a dick to do that, that is okay. But in the end, I am all I will have when the long trek is over. I have to be able to live with myself and the choices I've made. And so far things are rolling along. Things are truly better. I'm happier now. I can get goofy and take a chance to stop and breathe. And when bad things happen, I can cope with them. Its a good head space I've dug in and cultivated. I've created a nice happy sanctuary of sanity for myself and I am enjoying its existence. Its a thrill to wake up in the morning. Its a joy to create something new or think about what is to come. Beats not caring, like I felt a few months ago!

Depression sucks. No doubt about it. But it can be controlled.

You have to face your anger and your fears and put them into perspective. I'll give you one example.

One of the things that really added to my depression last year was the death of my friend Caleb. I've talked about it many times on this blog, as you know. And I've tried my best to turn that all around. I made a book with him in it. I helped with all the fundraisers. I did all the travels to the places we planned to go and did things he could no longer do. Seemed like everything I did involved "honoring him." I tried all I could to be there for his family and friends. So I was there for everyone else, but myself and how I felt about it. So the inner struggle continued. But still, there was one major thing I had yet to do. That was, going to see him. I just couldn't do it. It took me forever to even sit in his cubicle at work when there were no available seats left in the room when I was on overtime! In a way, I guess it was acknowledging the truth. It always felt more comfortable to me to pretend he was just on holiday and was coming back. Its the same fantasy I had when my mom died.

But as I went through therapy, we discussed Caleb's influence on my life and how I should feel sad sometimes, yes, but I should also be happy I even got to know him. That I should celebrate his life and find peace and happiness that I got to know him, his family and friends. It was tough. I had Jacob and his wife (his longtime co-worker and close friend) over one night for drinks and of course, I got drunk and cried hard about missing him. I knew I still had more work to do. Even today, I still do. His name was brought up yesterday at work. And I had to pause and stop myself because I felt that sting behind my eyes start to rise up. His name cannot be a trigger word for tears. But rather it should trigger a smile! Most of the times, it does.

But I knew there was one thing I needed to do. I had to go see him.

I went to the funeral back in August but I didn't go to the graveside service. I had no idea where he was or what graveyard he was in. So finding myself open for a couple hours on Saturday, I did a google search and found the location of the graveyard. It was a few miles north of Owosso. I found it and drove around the place. I wasn't sure what I was looking for. But eventually I found it.

It certainly is one of the most beautiful stones I've ever seen. There's a tree design on the front that matches a tree tattoo his wife has. And there's a nice tree nearby the stone itself! On the stone is a jar with little notes inside. And there are pictures on the front and back of him, his wife and family. 

I was out there for almost an hour. Just crying and talking. Crying and talking. I poured out my heart and said everything I needed to say. It had to be done. The mountain I was carrying with me, I was now climbing. I shared all my thoughts and stared out into the clouds beyond the field, hoping to feel something. Some sort of comfort or some words to pop into my head. Some sort of, "answer." Even as I said everything I'd need to say, I'd wipe the tears away and look back at his picture and see that all familiar smile. And I'd start laughing. That smile is forever burned into my memory.

I chased some demons away that day and as I drove away, I felt better. I waved goodbye and promised I'd visit often.

I've been to graveyards all my life. I know deep down that "they" aren't really "there." Because they are stored in memory. They reside inside your heart and soul. And you can recall memories or create fantasies at any time. You can talk to them. And sometimes if you listen hard enough, they will answer you. But I always make it a point to stop and visit my grandparents and my uncle Rich and mom and Gloria when I visit southern Illinois. And I told my dad that I know one day he will be gone too. And I'll not have too many reasons to come back to visit there when he is gone. But I made the promise that I will go back just to make sure he always has flowers on his grave. Just because I can. He will lay next to those he loves most. Forever at peace and rest.

I decided long ago that I will not have a grave. No stone. I will be cremated and dumped into a river somewhere. Probably Mt. Pleasant, land of my childhood. I don't want anyone to feel the obligation to put flowers on a stone bearing my name or feel guilt that they haven't come chatted with me. I've always felt that if someone wants a chat with me, do it by reading my stuff. Blogs or comics. Or listen to my favorite music or watching some of my favorite tv or movies. That is the best way to connect with my energy from beyond. But there is some comfort in having a final stop, in a field of stone, resting next to the one you love. I love that, even though I know its not for me. Its a far better resting place to come to. A nice quiet corner, near a tree, next to the one you love most dear. One day.

But I left there feeling one thing: Envy. I'm happy my friend is at peace. Looking back to all the people who helped him and his family through their rough time, has me thrilled at how we can still love and help each other. That he indeed had a good world around him when he left, and how we can cultivate that and keep it alive. I left knowing that his grave isn't a place of sadness, but a place of celebration. He made it through and had a great world around him. Because he cultivated that around him by the way he was. And we were better people for having known him. I was envious of him at rest in a quiet corner, with a beautiful stone created with love and care. He had a place to go in the end. And he will lay next to his love at rest someday. He has something I will never have. That realization made me smile. 

But back to today: We got what we got. TO DO, I WANT... and we embrace what we got. Now and coming up. What happened and what we can make happen. Face the fears, honor what has happened and who we know. Have a good world when we die. Thats the ultimate goal.

After I visited Caleb I spent some time in Owosso. I had never been there before. I found a Ponderosa and ate an old familiar meal. Then I found a used book/Cd/DVD store:

I walked out of there with some old Metal Edge and Starlog magazines. Stuff I don't really NEED, but stuff I had when I was a kid. I've been thumbing through the pages, remembering. I'm comforted by the past. I'm a nostalgia guy, let's face it. All I collect are CDs and old video games. Things from when I was happy in the past. I'm embracing the memories.

..but most important to know, is that I am conjuring that happiness into the now. embracing who I was and who I am. And today, I am happy with that. I got what I got and that is just enough. And I'm happy to go and visit old and new friends. To spend time with those I love and hold most dear. To pick up a pencil even though my hands now hurt and still pencil the next page, and dream of the next story to come.

This is the life I got. And this is all I'll ever need.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Random Things That I Am Excited About + General Gripings and Updates

Hello friends! I haven't had a lot of free time to podcast or write a blog here for a few days. My day job schedule has been up and down with covering vacations and now new training on some new skills. I'll be doing that all summer. So far the new stuff is not hurting my brain too much and it really is helping me advance my skills and abilities in the world of graphic design to more modern industry standards. In every job I've ever had, I always strive to be a "backbone" to the place. After many places treating me like shit and asshole customers/co-workers, its a relief to be somewhere that I actually like going to, get along with everyone and I can expand my knowledge and skill set. There are problems, sure... but I rarely deal with them directly. Now I probably will a bit more, but that's okay. I think I can bring a lot to the table. In not just skills but attitude in dealing with the problems.

On the health front, diet is still at a stand-still. And my carpal tunnel is still in full swing. Its got to the point that even as I am typing here, my right hand will just randomly go numb for a few seconds and then go back to normal. I dismantled my upright art desk and got a smaller flat table to draw at. This will help things a bit. I got a brace as well and do daily hand and arm exercises. But gripping things, pulling up things with my right hand does cause pain. I guess its just something I will have to live with now. (Good thing I jerk it with my LEFT hand! TMI...)

The good news is that it doesn't seem to effect my drawing too much. This week I inked two commissions and SEVEN new pages on Starslam 3! I got back some new colored pages from Andy and once again, the dude killed it! We're becoming a well oiled train now and ramping up production on this book. I am hoping that by after summer I will have a clear picture of when we can do a Kickstarter for it. Also I am still working on Pleasant Life 2 pages (randomly) and pages for the short Patreon stories. Its all rolling along. Its a nice creative outlet for me.

--- KITTIES! ---

I'm happy to report that all three have their eyes open now and are randomly deciding to crawl out of their crib and explore. Still VERY shakey and nervous, but cute as hell! We seem to have found homes for all of them, so that is good. It will be hard to see them go.

Things from my pop-culture front:

Today, the first new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 hits Netflix. They raised a lot of cash via a Kickstarter two years ago and now here it is. Patton Oswalt plays a character too. I've been a fan since I saw the show on Comedy Central back in 1990. Then Dean loaned me his tapes back in college and I fell in love with more episodes I have never seen by that time. I now own all the first 5 seasons and random other ones. I still haven't seen EVERY episode, especially the ones from when the show went to the Sci Fi channel, but that is ok. I've seen the best and know the best. And this new guy, Jonah, I love from the Nerdist Podcast. He will do great. It premiered on Netflix today and I will spend some time this weekend and next week digging through them. Its great to know that no matter how much time passes, I can still relive my favorite stuff from the past all over again. Cause the best stuff always comes back!

I feel like I am toy crazy lately. I pretty much got all the DVDs/BluRays I want, so now I've shifted attention back to CDs, Toys and Games. I picked up another Jedi Luke last night (my favorite version of Luke Skywalker) and I'm scouring ebay for some lost gems from my youth. Mostly window shopping for now. Cannot go too crazy with money right now. But I'm always on the lookout for CD special editions of my favorite albums as well. And on the video game front, there will be a cool Disney collection coming next week which will have a copy of DUCK TAILS 2 on it! (Rare to get on the NES) Unfortunately, I was dealt the harsh news that Nintendo is halting production on the NES CLASSIC... I never got one unfortunately. They went on sale in Nov 2016, and scalpers scoop them up in stores for $60 and flip them on ebay for stupid money. Now they will go even higher. I am VERY resistant to their bullshit so fuck it, I will just go buy all the cartridges for those classic games for my NES. Might as well, since I'm spending the same amount of cash. But then I am also investing in my collection and not some asshole's pockets. I scored a few random gems on my recent trip to Midland/Saginaw and that has me hyped up for some gaming.

I just learned that Trainspotting 2 is finally in Lansing! So I will go see that maybe this weekend. Necessary. Been waiting to see this flick for a while now.

I'm planning a trip to go see my dad in May. Then I will be back in Illinois (Chicago area) in June for Exxxotica Con. So, exciting things are on the horizon. Right now its just the daily grind to get through and the worries over my car randomly acting up. I drive it across town every day, sometimes twice. That gets hard on a 20 year old vehicle. I hope the thing its doing now isn't too expensive. :(

Anyway, just thought I'd give a general update on everything in my world. Much love to you all!


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Late Night Rumblings about Music, Art and Other Forgettable Things

Its 10:30pm on Wednesday. I can't sleep.

My sleep is all jacked up from switching shifts this week from my usual 3-11pm shift to a 7-3pm shift at my day job. Its my fault, I volunteered for the gig. Starting next week I do split shifts to train in a new skill set of outputting graphic design for different products than what I currently do. Its an industry standard now, and the experience will be greatly valuable for me as I move forward in my career there or wherever I may roam. Meanwhile at home, I'm doing sketches in books and commissions for clients for the Kickstarter and private commissions. Then I am dreaming up the next page art on Starslam 3 and stuff for the Patreon stories and eventual launch. Anything to get some legs under the table of my "art career."

Meanwhile, I'm battling a new health issue: Carpal Tunnel... which has recently surfaced and is becoming a literal pain. Right now its something I can cope with, especially with the use of braces and other such devices. But does it really have to effect my right hand and arm? The one I use to click a mouse and to draw with? Universe... sometimes you play unfairly.

My mind is swimming with the passage of time, lack of stability and routine. This week I am on a major music kick, thanks no doubt to my recent weekend recording music and hanging with my friend. I realized there are some major holes in my collection of music paraphernalia and collectibles. There are some Special Edition Cds I don't have and Live DVDs I somehow never got. All gleefully added to my wish lists now, thank goodness. The hunt begins for those.

Today I am on a big Beatles kick, because of the announcement of the SE of Sgt. Peppers... a 50 year old album that signifies a major step up in music creation. The first "prog rock" album, which launched the careers of some of my favorite music. Today marks the 15th anniversary of Layne Staley's death, as well as the 23rd anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death (however that happened). It sucks that mainstream music has been utter shit since they left us. And all we can do is examine the small details and listen to the remastered versions and isolated vocal tracks. Pure genius with all of those musicians. Certainly not repeated like that since. So it goes.

In all of this, I realize that there are some albums I have always neglected to drill down on. Some of the deeper cuts or influences on these bands that I just have neglected to dissect yet. I got the music, but never bothered to scope it out. I made some new playlists, and so I will. That is a new mission I have now taken on... as if I didn't have enough self imposed things to do!

I got asked back to the same comic store I always set up at for Free Comic Book Day. But I'm bowing out because its the same weekend I already scheduled with my kids. That's fine, I don't have anything new to sell anyway. Maybe next year. Maybe never. Who knows where this new Patreon/Kickstarter/porn comics thing will lead me? Can't sell that stuff at a family establishment! Oh well.

I'm sitting here in my tiny apartment, stuffed full of things I love and the things she loves. A bunch of stuff I should be reading or playing or listening to or watching. Stuff I'll hopefully get to enjoy one day. Stuff that will decorate a home I will earn for myself very soon. I'm trying to get to everything and everyone I have had to neglect for one reason or the other.

Duties call.
Time slips by.
Life happens around you.

Some good stuff is coming up. I got a trip planned to go see my dad. Some much needed R&R as well. No agenda. Just... BEING. I can handle that I think.

Also coming up is the Exxxotica. I had to bow out as an exhibitor but I'm excited for the trip to promote Starslam and what I am doing. Maybe see if it would work for me next year.

Other than that, hard work every day. At the day job, at home, and in my thoughts and feelings. Things are better. Things are brighter today. Instead of being sad that heroes and musicians I love are gone, I am grateful to have them at all. I'm especially grateful for the art they left behind. I hope I am that something to someone, someday. I get emails or messages of praise and support of my work and you have no idea how that makes me feel. Like all of it was worth it. Like what I do and the struggle I have internally to get it done is a good fight to have. Keep making it important. Keep it going. I love creating passionately enough that no amount of hand and arm numbness or pain can stop it. No fear of the future or fatigue of the daily grind can pull me down.

I create for you, sure. But mostly and selfishly, I do it for me.

Forgive me for that won't you? But rest assured, I am not about to quit. Not on myself and certainly not you!

The music rolls on.


Sunday, April 02, 2017

Weekend Recording

Hey friends! I'm back home from a couple days in Midland recording music and hanging out with my oldest friend (and IDIOTHEAD bandmate) Shane Logan. It has been almost 11 years since we recorded music together and about 6 years since we hung out together. Finally we got a spare couple days off and we make it happen. We did skit tapes, shopped for retro games and played VR and PS4 games. Then we also recorded two songs. One is a remake of an old old old song of ours, another was a brand new one. Not sure what will be done with them beyond appearances on the podcast or if they will appear on a new album yet, but you never know! We plan to get together again this summer for another session.

All in all it was quite enjoyable for me to get away from it all and reconnect with my past a bit. Plus collaborate with one of the only people on this planet who can literally read my mind. It is comforting to know that no matter how much older one gets, or how much has changed and new responsibilities have been taken on, that at the core we can still be our old selves. Very refreshing weekend of fun and creativity!

I'll let the pics do the talking now. Its back to the grind for me. I got a ton of things to do all this week and for the next few weeks as well. See you folks soon!

Recording some audio skit comedy.

Lego room panorama

Shane's boy Evan is really creative! He made this arcade cabinet. I did something very similar when I was his age.

Holy Crap!!!

Where the magic happens.

Sometimes I try the drums too.... badly.

Sight reading some Beatles while we jam.

Recording a guitar track for our song.

Two old men making new offensive music. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Cheers, T

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Re-Applying For My Dream/My NSFW Smut Comics...and Kittens!

Hello my friends, welcome back.

In an effort to aid my re-applying for my dream job that I've been doing since 1994, I've been evolving my thinking and my business model. This is something I started early last year but it got shelved as I dealt with everything that happened in the personal life. Now that the smoke has cleared, and I've got more clarity and research done, its almost time to get rolling on it.

Before I get to that, some personal postings: 

This weekend Kitty D and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary with a trip to Mongolian BBQ... one of our favorite places!

Good news! Our cat Belle had her kittens! In total there were five born, but two didn't make it. It was a tough thing to see happen and deal with. But so far, three are healthy and strong. For the first week its constant nursing and tiny mews. But within a couple weeks here, they will be crawling all over and digging those tiny claws into my leg and what not. We're talking with some various folks to get them good homes to go to. We didn't know Belle was pregnant when we got her, so we got quite a bargain I say!

Now on to business: Check out some newer art...

Spoiler free peeks at PLEASANT LIFE 2 and something else that has been secret for a while...
I started out last year with the drive to launch a Patreon page dedicated to new exclusive NSFW adults only comics. Some would be side Starslam stories but most of them would be stand alone erotica and only exclusive to the Patreon supporters and followers. I shelved the comics and stories I was working on when everything in the personal life got in the way. But now that the smoke has cleared and I've been more productive that usual, its time to start thinking about doing that again.

What I want to do is get a few stories in the can and then launch it. Right now, it will be set up in such a way where you get one exclusive story a month, a few side erotica/humor comics, stories and blogs/vlogs/audio exclusive to ONLY the Patreon. It is my intention to take the momentum I've harvested here on my idiothead.com site and bring it over there as well and build a nice community of followers and supporters. I really hope that you will consider following me over there. I intend to keep the prices low for my supporters and use it as the new business model for me to do things.

Crowd funding is the way of the future. And through those efforts I've done on Kickstarter, I've discovered that the majority of my audience likes and enjoys my NSFW content. Its something I've grown increasingly comfortable with and needed to find a way to get it out to everyone. Taking smut books to a family friendly comic con isn't ideal. But Patreon and Kickstarter seem to have a lot of like minded folks who want to support good adult content. And I've strived to keep my things female friendly and sex positive.

I started this movement in my work back in the mid-2000s when I started taking on more adults only commission work. And in 2009 when I started STARSLAM as a superhero erotica comic. Then it became a webcomic in 2011. Then a Kickstarter in 2014. Its just snowballed from there. And currently, I'm busy working on the third STARSLAM book in the trilogy! Check out a newly colored page right here: 

Andy's colors are just killing it, man! Its never looked better.
With Kickstarter working with my Starslam work and Patreon backing up my other NSFW content, this will keep the business afloat for me to continue other endevours. Like my slice of life comic: Pleasant Life and other stuff I have planned. So expect PLENTY from me in the coming days.

Right now, I'm planning on launching the Patreon page sometime this summer. I could launch it today if I wanted to, but I want to be sure that the stories are all set in my backlog before I attempt a launch. I really want to come out the gate with this thing on all four legs and moving. I'm gonna chase the whimsy and see where it goes. Its been my plan all along.

So the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. This is what I've been teasing and building towards until life got in the way. But now we're almost ready to go. Will you be willing to join me at the Patreon and support the new comic work I will be doing? Do you like the way I write and draw erotica comics? Will you help me build that community there as you have supported me here?

We're in this together, folks. Help me make the leap toward the future and we can get new readers involved with what we're doing here. Onward and upward!

....I intend to!


Monday, March 27, 2017

VLOG 3 is Live!

New VLOG has been uploaded! See behind the scenes making of "TALES FROM THE GORE" comic, cat craziness and shark slippers! Enjoy!