Friday, October 29, 2004

My dad made these -- just some cardboard boxes painted metallic silver with drawn-on dials and reflectors attached. But even to this day, me and my big sister think these were pretty cool costumes. Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Here's another freaky pic from the ol' archives. Not a self-portrait -- I can't snarl that good.

No idea what was on my mind when I drew this. Probably wasn't rainbows and lollipops and waterfalls and sunsets. Or maybe it was.

Don't worry, I'm better now. Electroshock therapy does wonders.

"You call this a manicure?!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Congratulations to you Red Sox fans out there. I'm truly happy for y'all. Wow. Who'd a thunk it, huh?

In the spirit of ending that 86-year curse, and with Halloween coming up, I'll try to post some random scary and weird stuff over the next couple of days.


Going through my old drawings, I found this one I did for a friend. He wrote a low-budget campy horror script, and wanted to try and produce it, so he asked me to sketch something that might be the poster for the movie. I don't think this helped market his schlock 'cause he never raised a dime... and the world is probably a better place.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Stuart’s another writer-slash-office-slave who toils away on the other end of the plantation, so I don’t run into him that often. When I do, he’ll have some amusing anecdote to share.

Last week he was telling me about how he enjoys zinging the pompous partner with wiseass remarks. Something about the partner returning from minor orthoscopic surgery, and Stuart asking him how the hysterectomy went. It was audacious and funny, but at the time, I just kinda nodded and said nothing.

A minute later, I told Stuart that the only time the partner ever talked to me was when the schmo struck up a conversation in the men’s room. How it was weird that he decided to get chatty while we were both taking a piss. Then Stuart understood why I was so laconic a moment ago. "Oh," he said. "And I was just talking to you at the urinal, wasn’t I?"

So when I saw Stuart the next day, he started to launch into another story, but hesitated. Why? Because we ran into each other at the men’s room again. What, are we on the same bladder schedule? "Oh," he said. "I remember. You don’t like to talk at the urinal."

Like this is some kinda strange foible of mine. No, I’ve got plenty of personal peculiarities.

For example, I won’t sleep in the same room as a plant. Not even a plastic one. I’ve mentioned this before. If you saw Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Day of the Triffids, you’d understand.

Also, I don’t like fruits that start with the letter P. Not because of their spelling; it just works out that way. Don’t care for peaches, plums, pears, papaya, pomegranates, persimmons. Pineapple’s the worst -- yecch.

And when I enter any running competition, I prefer that my race number not be prime. Just a silly superstition. My last half-marathon, they offered me #647. Hmm… did some quick math in my head... Uh... could I wait and take 648 instead?

But I don’t think this bathroom thing is just me. It’s common courtesy. Universal men’s room etiquette. The unwritten understood code of male bonding: When the schvantz comes out, the mouth stays shut.

"Yeah, I know," Stuart said. But I still think he considers me crazy. ‘Cause his story had to do with uptight fetishes about bathrooms.

Seems he was at a sports stadium, waiting on a long line to use the men’s room. Ahead of him was a father with his kid. And this dad was SuperGermophobe. You know the type. Telling his son don’t touch this, don’t touch that. Germs-germs-germs-germs!

It’s one thing to teach the little rugrat not to use discarded cigarette butts as chewing gum, it’s another to get the tyke completely paranoid about those insidious microbes. The way Stuart described the situation, it sounded like Pops was Dick Cheney and germs were the WMDs -- ya can’t see ‘em, but they’re definitely there and deadly as hell, boy...

George Carlin had a great bit about this. How some people are so nuts about antisepticising everything, they wind up getting sick even more often. Because they’ve mollycoddled their immunity system. George preferred to give his a workout once in a while. Sit on that toilet seat, he ranted. Eat something off the floor. Don’t let those white blood cells become a buncha pussies.

Well, Dirt-Fearing Daddy didn’t even wanna use one of the toilets ‘cause it was too cramped inside the stalls. His son might end up -- gasp! -- touching the door or something.

Instead, they went to the trough. In case you don’t know what I mean, it’s exactly that -- a long metal or porcelain basin at which guys line up, stand there and fire away. The trough usually has a running stream of water to wash everything into a drain... otherwise it’d be even more disgusting.

But Germophobe Junior wasn’t tall enough for the trough, so Pops hoisted him up so the kid’s teenyweenypeeny would reach over the edge. And as the little dude was leaking away... the father lost his grip... and dropped the kid into the trough.

Holy shit. That’s enough to traumatize anyone, but after being raised by the Sultan of Sterility...

Stuart told me the father quickly pulled him back out. The kid was soaking wet with -- ugh, I don’t even wanna think about it -- just hope he had a dry change of clothes... but he wasn’t hurt. At least not physically.

I tell ya, as crazy as Stuart might think I am... that poor kid is gonna need years of therapy.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Obviously, I enjoy doing cartoons about my friends and family, but I also like when they draw them about me.

My friend Jerry created this one while we were working on a screenplay together, a teen comedy called This Means War.

One idea we considered for the movie was having a character named "Scoop", a nerdy school newspaper reporter who may or may not have a press pass stashed in his hat band, but would definitely provide the other students, and the audience, the buzz on all important occurrences. Then Jerry and I discussed whether Scoop was a good idea. Was he a clever tongue-in-cheek shortcut for revealing info? Would he fit well into the narrative and the tone of our script? Or was this too self-referential and similar to "Basil Exposition" in the Austin Powers movies?

We discussed this with no animosity whatsoever. Nope, none at all. Collaborating is difficult. I don't know any writing partners who don't have disagreements that sometimes get a bit ugly. Except for me and Jerry. See, if it got tense, I simply explained that he was completely wrong about everything. Sometimes I'd draw a cartoon to illustrate my point. Problem solved, right? But then Jerry drew this one in response. Say what you will about his artistic abilities... I thought this sketch completely out-funnied me. Curse your hilarious hide, Jerkydog.

(Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Friday, October 22, 2004

Backing out of a tight spot last night, with the car radio blasting, I almost didn’t hear other guy yell, "Whoa! WHOA!" Holy shit. Did I run over a puppy or something? I didn’t feel any bump or bang. No, turns out, I just barely scraped into his sedan. He had the exact same car as me. And now they were completely identical, ‘cause my car reflects me -- all scruffy and full o’ battle scars. I gave his Pristine-Mobile a nice scratch along the side. Fine, dude, I’ll pay for the damages. This is actually good, ‘cause, y’know, I just happen to have all this extra money and no idea what to do with it.

So, feeling excited about solving my cash surplus problem, this morning I went for a nice run along Palisades Park. It was beautiful out -- the sky was clear except for a few pink clouds way out over the Pacific and you could see all the way up to Malibu. I had plenty of time to enjoy the view since I was lugging my ass like a sloth on sedatives or a cooter on codeine or a dastard on dope or a... well, you get the idea. The aging New Wave hippies practicing tai chi in the park seemed to be doing that slo-mo fly swatting routine faster than me.

Still, I felt good when I got home, and decided to look good, even if it is casual Friday. My face didn’t have to be as scruffy as my car. But I gotta remember not to shave after exercise -- see, Mikey’s tender heart’s still a-pumpin’ strong. Improved circulation is great when it’s within your body, but when you nick the skin and give the capillaries an open-air outlet, well, thar she blows. It was like a friggin’ faucet, blood trickling outta my chin, turning my sink into a polka-dotted mess. It wouldn't stop. Yes, I ran cold water on it. Yes, and an astringent. And a whole roll of toilet paper. Pressure on the wound? Try 500 pounds per square inch. I thought I was gonna press my jaw back into my skull.

I showed up to work late after giving up a few pints of B positive. And even though I’m feeling a bit drained of blood – and cash -- I’ll still be positive... ‘cause I learned a lesson from all this: If you wanna avoid scratches on a car, don’t run your radio too loud. And if you wanna avoid scratches on your face... well, just don’t run.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

My co-workers aren't as interesting as the lunatics in The Dave's asylum. But then I remembered sketching this portrait of one of the loudmouths in the office. Actually, a lot of 'em are like this. Maybe this schmo is pecking around at your job, too.

It ain't cool bein' no jive turkey so close to Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Conversation at the pitcher's mound at Fenway Park between Yankees Manager Joe Torre, team captain and shortstop Derek Jeter, and star relief man Mariano Rivera:

Torre: Okay, guys, let’s do just like we did last night.
Jeter: Uh, Mr. Torre, we lost last night.
Rivera: He means give it our all.
Torre: No, I mean let’s let the Red Sox tie it up like last night. Mo, I want you to blow this save.
Rivera: Blow a save? But I almost never blow a save.
Torre: And the Sox almost never beat us for the pennant, but we gotta let ‘em have hope.
Jeter: Now I’m confused. Joe—
Torre: What’d you call me?!
Jeter: Mr. Torre. Sorry. We have a one-run lead. Mo can put these bums away and we can rest up for the World Series.
Torre: Who cares about the World Series? So we play Houston or St. Louis. Big whoop. If we lose to them, so what? But we can’t lose to the Red Sox.
Jeter: Exactly. So--
Torre: Are you forgetting about that guy Mike?
Jeter: Oh, yeah... the Yankees fan who lives in L.A.!
Rivera: Right. I remember that guy. From last year when we went to game 7 in the playoffs against the Red Sox.
Jeter: And we kept going into extra innings...
Rivera; And that poor schmo nearly had a heart attack with every pitch.
Jeter: It’s ridiculous. I mean, why does he care? He laughs at people who watch soap operas or reality TV. "What’s in it for them?", he always wonders. Well, what’s in it for Mike? He doesn’t get a bonus like we do if we win a pennant. Is his life really gonna fall apart if Boston actually beats us? So he has to endure some ribbing from the haters who don't even follow baseball and just like to be contrary.
Rivera: Well, it is fun to torture Mike.
Jeter: True dat, Mo.
Torre: Now you guys get it. Okay, so let the Red Sox score, but only one run. Then we’ll go into extra innings. Like 4 or 5 lonnnng extra innings.
Jeter: Heh-heh-heh.
Rivera: I can just picture Mike squirming now....

Friday, October 15, 2004

This is a photo from my high school yearbook. Not much going on, just a buncha kids hanging out in class. I think the caption read, "Five more minutes to go."

The reason I like it, though, is that’s a perfect example of why I do what I do.

See me, the guy chewing on his pen? I’m watching the guy on the left in the black and white striped shirt. That’s my friend Andy.

He had the ability to make fun of me, good-naturedly, but so bad, that I was often too busy cracking up at myself to even retort. I don’t remember all the jokes. Once after I mentioned how much I liked the character Indiana Jones, Andy said "Mike probably goes right home after school, puts on the Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack and starts jerking off." Then he’d act out the hand motion while singing, "Dun-de-dun-DAH... dun-de-dahh..."

My friends would bust up laughing. And so did I. Hey, we were teenagers. I’d try to catch my breath and say, "Oh yeah? Well, you--you-- you suck at basketball!"

Andy’d just look at me. "Yeah, good one, Mike."

See, he didn’t play on the high school team; he joined the temple youth group league. Can you imagine the trash-talk between the Temple Beth Torah kids and the Dix Hills Jewish Center team?

"Yo, bubbalah, Dix Hills gonna kick your tuchus in Jew ball tonight!"

"Dream on, boyee. We gonna circumcise your defense. TBT is fresh! Dix throws bricks, ya schmendrick."

That schtick may have appeared in one of my cartoons. Maybe it’s the one Andy’s reading in the picture. When I drew my stuff, I got sweet revenge. The ‘toons got passed around so everyone in class could get in a chuckle. Many of the teachers didn’t even mind; if they confiscated it, they’d sometimes laugh too. Ha-HA, Andy! The pen is mightier than the sword-like tongue.

Speaking of which, I remember having a series of strips about his long ski-slope nose, which was used as a dueling epee as he swash-buckled through our high school as "Andy, the Gay Blade!" Hey, like I said, we were teenagers -- that shit was funny back then. Even he thought so -- see the smile, the anticipation on his face?

I wish I had saved those silly cartoons. I did so many back then, just to make people laugh. I lived for that. Still do.

Oh well. At least I have this photo.

And I can just keep writing and drawing more...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Years ago, I saw Little Shop of Horrors during its original off-Broadway run. Prior to the show, I didn’t even know what it was about; the play had been recommended to me probably because of my budding phobia of plants. But instead of being further traumatized, I was enthralled. That jive-talking man-eating Audrey 2, brilliant songs like "Suddenly, Seymour" and the biker-sadist who turns out to be -- what else? -- a dentist!

So I caught another performance at the Ahmanson Theater last night. It didn’t have quite the impact and thrill of seeing it for the first time. I couldn’t help but think the dentist guy wasn’t as good as Steve Martin in the movie. Still, it was a really great show.

The situation reminded me of a former girlfriend who was really into the theatre. A stylish world-traveler who spoke fluent French and had very refined taste. But she wasn’t pretentious -- she could appreciate my blow-‘em-up action movies (she agreed Terminator 2 was awesome) and I could be all sophistimicated when I needed to, check out her foreign flix (we both loved Cinema Paradiso). So I thought I’d make her happy and got us tickets to Les Miz.

At the time, I didn’t know that -- with the exception of the excellent Evita -- Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals (or ALW-type musicals -- thanks, Riz) sucked. And Les Miz tops the Tonys of Terribleness. I didn’t catch the show on an off-night either -- the actors, musicians & crew all did what they were supposed to do. It’s just a horrible play. Forced lyrics and music, uninteresting characters, and I never read the original book, but what the hell was Victor Hugo thinking? I mean, at least when he wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it had a mutant, a hot gypsy chick and flying buttresses. This was just a buncha Frogs and their class struggles. Excruciating.

Finally, the lights came up. Thank goodness. But then I realized it was just the intermission. Jeez, I had to sit through a second half of this merde?!

Okay, okay, I knew everyone loved this play. Didn’t wanna complain, come off like some kinda Philistine, or my girlfriend probably wouldn’t give me none. I forced a smile -- straining every muscle on my face. But man, I was dreading having to fake this.

My girlfriend turned to me. I couldn’t get a read on her expression. Did she look as uncomfortable as I did?

Very tentatively, she said, "I hope this doesn’t ruin it for you, but... this is the worst play I’ve ever seen."

I grabbed her right there in the theatre and kissed her.

Monday, October 11, 2004

The job of any studio development executive is to find that next big blockbuster or prestige picture. Which really means they get paid to find a reason to pass on 99.9% of all scripts that come their way.

My film school thesis instructor Jeff had worked extensively in The Biz, so he was well aware of this and took it upon himself to prepare us for the hardships to come. Which really meant he got paid to explore his sadistic tendencies and bark at us maggots for our lame story proposals. Boot camp for writers, I guess.

And granted, most of our ideas sucked. Garrett with his disturbing violence, me with my high-concept schlock, Joseph with his gratuitous sex stuff and Aldo with his I-don't-know-what-the-fuck. But while I've slightly exaggerated our pitches here, most of Jeff's responses are paraphrased from actual things he said in class.

No one I've encountered in the studio system was as bitter and cruel as Jeff; when they pass on your project, they're usually more polite about it. Hooray for Hollywood.

(Click on the image to enlarge it)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Damn blogger. I just added some new links to my sidebar, and it reformatted my whole blog to this ugly style. I kept trying to fix it, but couldn't. It's late; I'll try again tomorrow. This is why I'm hesitant to update my template.
I fixed it. No idea why this happened -- all I did was add links. And I had saved my template from before, but when I put it back it still looked funky. So I just more or less started over from scratch. There's actually more I wanted to do, including put up a new post, but my eyeballs are about to fall out from staring at all this $%@# html.

Enjoy your Sunday, kids. Save me the funnies.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Back when I was consumed with pre-medical studies, I experimented with some untraditional superhero cartoon ideas. This one never made it past the rough draft stage. Wonder why.

Coming soon: Fly Man a.k.a. Dr. Drosophila

Hey, my sitemeter's at 9,999. Be the first to comment and announce yourself as the 10,000th visitor.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Click on the cartoon to enlarge it... but first allow me to Spillane: Influenced by gumshoe-authors like Raymond Chandler, Daschiell Hammett and Haschiell Dammit... not to mention such P.I. parodies as MAD Magazine's "Kane Keen", Steve Martin's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, and of course, "Tracer Bullet" from Calvin & Hobbes, I created this rough-draft cartoon a while back. Not sure if I shoulda kept the private detective private, or uh, pull my dick out again.

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