Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

1983 GHS Yearbook - A

OK... I'm not going to lie. The next project I've decided to tackle is going to be a challenge for me. But I think it will also be a good learning experience... force me to pay more attention to detail, build skills.

I recently read about a guy who decided to sketch everyone in his mother's 1968 high school yearbook. I figured since I'm coming up on my 25 high school reunion, it might be fun to do that for my own yearbook. 1983. The dark spectacles, the feathered hair, the polyester shirts, the wide collars, a walk back in time! The guy who did the other yearbook took a strictly cartoon approach. That's not quite my style, so here goes.

Luckily, I had a small high school class. Here are the "A"s .

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Timber Wolf #3

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Iron and Wine - The Shepard's Dog

From old 1980's favorites to my last record purchase - Iron and Wine. Iron and Wine is the recording name of Sam Beam, a singer/songwriter with a soft but eerie kind of voice and intelligent, poetic lyrics. I cannot get the song "Boy with the Coin" out of my head... it could be the rhythmic hand clapping, the deep lyrics or the darkness that's kind of rolling along underneath the tune. It's mesmerizing.

April Wine - Nature of the Beast

Once in awhile in high school, we would go to the local movie theater... which where I grew up was a half-hour drive from home. This was just enough time to listen through "Nature of the Beast" on the way there. The first side had the best four song lineup of any tape in my collection.

1. All Over Town
2. Telling Me Lies
3. Sign of the Gypsy Queen
4. Just Between You and Me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Journey - Escape

It's hard to describe the epitome of coolness that was Journey in 1981 when this album was released. Nobody was cooler than Steve Perry in Jordache jeans, shirt open down to his belly button with hair that took at least an hour to blow dry and feather back properly.

When this album was released, I was a sophmore in high school, on the verge of getting my driver's license. Before even buying my first car, I got a 8 track tape deck that I had ready to install, with the Journey Escape album one of the handful of 8 tracks I had raring to go.

The Cure - Staring at the Sea

Staring at the Sea was the first Cure album I ever bought. I got it on cassette tape (1986), mainly on the strength of the song "Close to Me." I remember hosting an apartment party in college, with a girl asking me to "play that song again"... over and over.

The rest of the songs led me to eventually go back and get most of the other Cure albums that this singles compilation borrowed from, along with most of the Cure albums since, all of which I've enjoyed immensely.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Cars

I did this one with a felt tip pen. Not pleased with the results.

But the Cars album had most of the anthems of my freshman and sophmore years of high school.. "Best Friend's Girl," "Just What I Needed," "Let The Good Times Roll," "You're All I've Got Tonight." Wow. Just thinking about those songs makes me thing about working on homecoming floats and trying to walk through halls without looking too much like a dweeb... while at the same time avoiding girls that were trying to get me to ask them out.

Back then, there was nothing scarier than a 14 or 15 year old girl. I guess that's still true.

ELO - Discovery

With the current fad of taking pictures with album sleeves (see here) I thought it might be fun to sketch some old album art.

ELO was one of my favorite bands from the 1970s-80s and the "Discovery" album was high on the list. Yes, yes, everyone loves "Don't Bring Me Down," but I was a softy for lesser known tunes from this album "Need Her Love" and "Wishing" Honesty, there wasn't really a weak song on this one... I wore the grooves out of this album I played it so much.

And I also loved the album art... Arabian Nights!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Huffy Rangler - 1970s

When I was a kid, the coolest bike you could have was a Huffy. And if you had it tricked out with an extra tall sissy bar and big ape-hanger handle bars, so much the better.

Down the street from where we lived was a family of about 7 brothers. You knew that you could always ride down there for extra parts if you blew a tire or bent your handlebars doing an Evil Knievel trick.

One of the crowning moments of my childhood was claiming the block championship by popping a wheelie all the way from the corner of the block down to our house... a distance of maybe 500 feet? The trick was to start real slow, because you could only pedal faster and faster to keep the front wheel off the ground. By the time I got to our house, I couldn't pedal any faster... and it takes real skill to pop a wheelie, pedal so fast your feet are a blur and keep the bike on the road all at the same time.

My glory was short lived however. Soon after that feat, my coolness factor was dimmed when my little brother got a Huffy Thunder Road, along with one of those boxes you revved up on the handgrip. It growled like a Harley (or seemed so to us) every time you twisted it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


A favorite from classic Marvel comics, the Vision was an android created by the super-intelligent robot Ultron. He was sent to kill the Avengers and in turn became one of them.

Later was was to become even more human-like, and married the Scarlet Witch.

Vision was able to control the molecular weight of his body, becoming transparent and ethereal, or turning as dense as diamond.

Battlestar Galactica - Centurion

The new Battlestar Centurions. They are far more menacing than the 70s version centurions. Not having them speak was a wise choice.

Whenever you see them appear on the show, you know that something really brutal is going to happen.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Curious George

The kids love Curious George, and I love him too. Mainly because he's the spitting image of my son at age three.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Ah... when I was a kid, nothing beat riding the bike down to the local drugstore on a Saturday afternoon and buying four or five comic books for a buck. Then I'd ride back, sneaking glances at them as I rode, and then devour them for the next couple of hours, reading them over and over again.

One of my favorites was Daredevil... the Man Without Fear! As a kid, Matt Murdock is blinded by a radioactive canister, that also pushes all of his other senses into superhuman territories. I just never got sick of the stories, although in the 1970s, they got pretty cheesy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mule Deer Fawn

Back to animals for a change.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Number Six - Battlestar Galactica

Cylon model Number Six... another of my favorites in the new Battlestar series. Especially fun to watch is Baltar's "inner Six", who functions on screen as his conscience... or sometimes inner tormentor. Is she real or a figment of his imagination?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dr. Gaius Baltar - Battlestar Galactica

I think what they are doing with Giaus Baltar in this, final season of Battlestar Galactica is absolutely brilliant. An intelligent but pious and self-centered fool, he bumbles from one mishap to another, but with a unerring sense of self-preservation. At the same time, he also seems to have the capacity for selflessness, or at least he yearns for the possibility of redemption.

Maybe redemption would be more accurate, because that is, when you really boil it down, a self-centered motivation as well.

And given all that, there is a group that now sees him as a messiah figure. And maybe they are right?

Season and episode recaps are available at the Battlestar Galactica site but you're really doing yourself a disservice if you're not watching the show.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Jesus of Nazareth

As a Lutheran, the Jesus I was raised on is the lamb-hugging Jesus with the stylish 70s hair... as shown here.

I think its interesting how different eras depict Jesus. Most recently, I've seen renderings of him with his head thrown back, hair wild, laughing towards heaven. That's much different than the meek Jesus of the 70s or the reverent, eyes-raised-in-praise Jesus of the 50s.

Beyond the art, beyond the religion, it's hard to dispute the historical impact Jesus has had on the human race. Born penniless, he never owned a home. Never ruled an army. Never led a country. Never wrote a book. Never discovered anything or invented anything. But unquestionably, he has had more impact on human history than any other individual who ever lived.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Geronimo - Apache Leader

The name "Geronimo" is actually a name given to this Apache leader by the Mexicans he spent most of his life fighting. It's a reference to the Mexican pleas for Saint Jerome in a battle where Geronimo repeatedly attacked the Mexicans with a knife, ignoring a constant hail of bullets. Geronimo's Chiricahua Apache name is "Goyathlay."

Geronimo was a ruthless warrior, perhaps with good reason, as his entire family (wife, three children and mother) were murdered by Mexicans during a raid in 1851. For the next 25 years, he led ragged bands of Apaches in the mountains in the Arizona Territory until finally surrendering to US Calvary in 1886. He went on living in captivity, even appearing in Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade, until he died in 1909 at the age of 79. After his capture, he was never allowed to return to his homelands. He was to eventually take on most of the white man's ways, including a conversion to Christianity.

One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. Geronimo (and most Apaches for that matter) weren't above the torture and killing of innocents themselves. If you have time, you should listen to Dan Carlin's excellent podcast "Apache Tears"- at Look for show number 19. Carlin calls the Apache the "tigers of the human species" with good reason.

The sketch above is from a widely available photo of Geronimo taken shortly after his surrender (1887). I don't know about the sketch, but the photo certainly shows Geronimo's ferociousness, madness... maybe even a hint of sadness or hopelessness. I hope I've captured at least a bit of that here.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Some people consider them "flying rats", but I've always been a fan of seagulls. Maybe it's the result of reading "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" at a young age.

Vehicle Memories - 1975 AMC Pacer

In the 70s, my parents bought a brand new AMC Pacer. Shortly after, my grandfather bought the same car in a maroon “wagon” model. Back then, it was just about the coolest thing ever. I understand that now these cars are so retro they are cool again… icons of 1970s design.

The Pacer was shaped like a big goldfish bowl on wheels, or, as my cousin once said, “it looks like a goldfish bowl with farmer’s over-alls on.” The “over-all” straps were the support beams that ran down the hatch-back.

Bright sunshine yellow, with a tan vinyl interior, you couldn’t confuse this car in a parking lot with any other car. It had huge bucket seats for the driver and passenger. The back seat was kind of an after-thought, and folded down to maximize the storage space for the hatchback.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Vehicle Memories - 1966 Ford F-100

1966 Ford F100.

I’m kind of guessing on the year here. The body style of the 1966 seems right.

In the early to mid 1970s, my dad got an older Ford F-100 and fixed it up. I’m not sure of the original color of the truck... it might have been a dark army green, but my dad painted it minty green.

I remember riding around town in the back of this truck with my brothers, cousins, dogs, etc.

That’s another thing you never see these days… kids (or anyone for that matter) riding around in the back of a pickup truck. But in the 70s and 80s, it was a fairly common sight… trucks hurtling down the interstate freeway with the back of it full of kids… sitting on the edge of the pickup bed.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Vehicle Memories - 1970 Suzuki 100 cc

My first motorcycle was a Suzuki 100 cc. I bought it from my older brother for $125. He had beaten the crap out of it, including once running over a neighbor's dog. The dog accident launched him over the handlebars ala Evil Knievel. He tore all the skin off of his palms as he skidded across the pavement. The poor dog died.

After that, I was surprised that my parents let me buy the cycle from him.

As a result of the dog accident, the handlebars never really lined up perfectly, but I didn’t care.

I used to run the bike in the woods around the tiny airport north of our house, much to the chagrin of the airport people, who never caught me. I also used to ride this motorcycle around the Crex Meadows for hours on end, exploring all of the dirt paths and gravel roads in that massive nature area.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Vehicle Memories - 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88

My first car was a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 hardtop coupe. I bought it from a great aunt for $500 when I was 15. My entire sophmore year, I took auto shop and spent dozens of hours grinding off rust and replacing large sections with fiberglass and Bondo.

For my 16th birthday, my dad painted it cherry red. It had bench seats, a massive trunk capable of smuggling about 6 teenagers into a drive-in, and an enormous 350 eight cylinder engine. I put in a smokin' eight track tape player and some kickin' speakers in the back.

One time, I got it up to 110 mph on a long country road. It was a very scary couple minutes.

When I joined the Army in 1983, I sold it to a local kid for $200. I'm sure he didn't love it as much as I did.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bill Gates

OK... some people would seriously cringe at having Bill Gates on the same page as intellectual giants like Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein, but here's why he's here. No one can doubt his influence on the birth and life (thus far) of the computer. But perhaps more important to humanity will be the impact of his charitable organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

As of last year, the foundation had an endowment of $34 billion dollars, making it the largest transparently operated charity in the world. To maintain it's classification as a charity, it must give away at least 5% of its assets every year. It focuses its efforts on the eradication of disease and reaction to disasters on a global scale.

Say what you want about Bill G. and Microsoft Windows, but history will probably recognize him as the most important philanthropist that ever lived.