Meet Asshole, The Three-Legged Dog (A Photo Essay)

I visited my parents today (which, as an endeavor itself, is probably worthy of its own photo essay, but not today) and when my father and I were leaving out to go do a little male bonding, I saw this dog laying in the middle of the street:

"Oh no..." I said aloud, "Someone hit a dog and left it in the street. Dad, we have to go check him out."

My father agreed, and we pulled up closer:

I wanted to maintain a little distance, so that cars driving up behind me would have plenty of opportunity to, you know... Not hit me. And just as I was getting ready to get out of the truck and walk up to him, Asshole the Three-Legged Dog surprised me (happily!) and raised his head:

"Good!" I exclaimed aloud. "But I wonder if he's hurt..." 

Just as I said that, Asshole sat up:

"Oh, what a relief," I said to my father. "He looks fine." 

"I bet he was just getting some sun and enjoying the warm asphalt," my dad opined. 

"That sounds like a lovely way to spend a Saturday," I agreed. 

We decided to venture forth to the hardware store (and other places guys go to share in the experience of being guys). I pulled forward, thinking Asshole The Three-Legged Dog would move:

He did not. 

In fact, he let us know exactly how he felt about the prospect of moving:

In fact, he sat there for the better part of two minutes, yawning and scoffing at us for daring to ruin his nap:

Finally, he got up and began hobbling over to the driveway of the house we assume he lived at, which is when we noticed he only had three legs:

As we pulled forward, my dad said "Oh, thats the three-legged dog I've heard about." 

"He must be famous," I said. 

"Oh, everyone in the neighborhood knows him," my father replied. 

As we passed, Asshole the Three-Legged Dog shot me a look that read almost explicitly like "You made me get up out of a perfectly warm street just so you could pass by? Why didn't you go around? You know what? Fuck you, buddy.":

He then turned and ignored me:

"Wow," I said, "What an asshole!"

He then flipped me off with his one back paw:

We went on to have lunch and buy power tools.

That's it. I hope you enjoyed the story of Asshole, the Three-Legged Dog.

Director's Commentary: 

The series of photos you just saw were from the SECOND time I saw Asshole The Three-Legged Dog laying in the street today. The first time, we were returning from grabbing lunch for my mother and the girls, and the sequence of events happened exactly as I narrated them above. It's hilarious to me that he did the exact same thing, the exact same way, twice in one day. I was hoping he'd do it a third time so I could get video.

Deleted Scenes:

1) The Head Raise Scene:

We kept this scene of Asshole lifting his head:

Because int he one below, the angle of his face didn't "read" for the camera very well. You will notice he is looking right at the camera, which is a big no-no in scene acting:

2) The Three-Legged Reveal

While this scene of Asshole with only three legs does fit the overall direction and theme of the story:

We opted for this one: 

...because you can clearly see in the scene above that Asshole was looking at the damn camera again. He's so unprofessional. But he's famous and no one else could play his role, so we put up with it. 

3) The Conversation: 

We struck this scene from the original story because the dialog wasn't quite working how we wanted it to, and in post-production, we really felt that the antagonist for our lead in the scene needed to be much more nefarious, scary and alien. We re-inserted it when we remastered the story. I think when you watch the comparison video below, you'll agree we made the right decision:

(Can't see the video? Click here)


Politicians: "I'm Rich, You're Stupid", Picking Teams, And Being A Better Geek

Today, I've read the following stories:
  • MPAA and RIAA puppet and SOPA bill author and sponsor Lamar Smith, who would see sites and businesses that merely link to content that violates copyright having their DNS yanked (effectively shutting them down), violating copyright himself (and so I'm not accused of picking a team myself, I'll point out that PIPA -- the equally devastating bill in the senate -- was authored by Democrat Patrick Lehay)

And that's just today. In fact, it's just the past 3 hours. Every single day now, it seems there's a story about a congressperson, presidential candidate, mayor or governor who behaves in a manner that just outright shows voters they no longer give a shit about what we think or want.

It's like they're looking right into cameras across the nation and saying "I'm rich and you have no other choices. You'll vote for me and I'll do what I want. Fuck you."

With the information that's starting to come out about SuperPACs and their unlimited funding for "issues marketing" that essentially highlight a presidential candidate, it's pretty much a foregone conclusion that if you don't have the money to saturate the media with your platform, you don't stand a chance of actually being voted into office. (Seriously, regardless of your feelings about Stephen Colbert, PLEASE watch the video -- it's seriously panic-inducing):

This destroys any sense of fairness or level-headedness when coming to decisions on bills that affect the people that funded the SuperPAC in the first place. Our leaders are compromised. They lead us because they can afford to get in front of us, and they can afford to get in front of us because they're bought and paid for by corporations who seek legislation in their best interests.

So what do we do about this?

Do we sit back and take it?

Do we fill our bottles with petroleum and hurl Molotov cocktails at riot police as we storm the capital?

Is there even a middle ground at this point?

I think that these are questions that are going to come more and more to the forefront of our national dialog, and soon. In this, the YouTube generation, the outright stupidity and hubris of our elected officials is going to come to light -- it can't help but to. Everyone's got a camera on their phone. Internet access is everywhere. There's no longer a barrier to broadcast.  The same goes with writing as a platform for discourse, with blogs such as CNN iReport and Huffington Post casting national attention to the thoughts of regular, ordinary people who have opinions worth discussing and footage worth viewing.

Pretty soon, we're going to have no choice but to answer this question. And I'm afraid that the answer is going to be A, because B is too much work.
"A single leaf working alone provides no shade."  -- Chuck Page
With the number of youth these days who eschew access to the sum of human knowledge, available right from their phone, to broadcast how stupid they can be (for example, thinking that Obama shut down Wikipedia on the day of national blackout which protested SOPA / PIPA -- when they could have just read the goddamn link that was right on the front page of Wikipedia to see what the story was), I'm beginning to lose hope in the idea that they'll even understand what liberty -- honestly liberty, as in the freedom to choose who leads us; not the freedom to choose Venti or Grande at Starbucks -- even is.
That's why I wrote the opinion piece on CNN GeekOut the other day on being a better geek. I think it's up to us -- the real geeks, who actually read and research information because we have a passion for learning -- to educate these people. We have to take charge. We have to lead by going out in front of this whole mess and changing things.

Communities like Reddit have the right idea; they organized the SOPA/PIPA protest in the first place. But too often, honest discourse about issues devolves into talking-point laden political debate where people fight to be "correct" instead of being "right". It's sad that you see people taking party lines of any sort in debate. They may agree with things like improving school lunches to stem the obesity epidemic in this country, but they can't state that publicly, because it'd conflict with the Conservative talking point of choice and personal responsibility.

"If you're not with us, you're against us" -- that mentality is rampant in our nation. We've divided into teams. It's sad.

This isn't ice hockey or baseball. This is our country, our lives and our liberty at stake.

Quit letting your friends and loved ones fall prey to the concept that they have to pick one team or the other, whose platforms and opinions are paid for by the corporations that fund the mouthpieces spouting rhetoric. You may not want to run for office and take a leadership role yourself -- but you CAN exact change in this nation by being a better geek.

You can educate people, no matter how hard they fight. You don't have to sit there and take shit from them. I'm not advocating you be beaten down for trying to help, and you should know that that's going to happen if you decide to do this.

But you should at least try.

Do good. Don't allow injustice to stand. Don't let hypocrisy go unchecked. Don't let evil win. These are my mantras. They make me who I am. Call bullshit when you see bullshit; bolster and help those who deserve it.

But don't pick a team. And don't let your friends get away with doing so.


Butt Problems (Or, "Things You Knew Were Coming With Age But Never Thought Would Happen To You")

Let me tell you, there are few times more sobering than the moment your inner 16 year old starts laughing his ass off at your old self than the day you have to buy your first tube of hemorrhoidal relief cream.

There I stood, in the pharmacy section of the local Publix grocery store. I've been down that aisle literally hundreds of times before, buying deodorant and shampoo and toothpaste. And as the years have flown by, I'd pass various items in the aisles geared toward old people and just snicker to myself.

...Except in that moment, when I was holding a box of Preparation H it in my hand, reading the back to determine which particular variation was right for my particular butt problem. Did I need Maximum Strength, or would regular strength do me just fine? Why did they even make a regular strength? Don't they know I want the maximum available relief for my butt problem? What about the kind with aloe?

It dawned on me just then: I'm old.

When you're a teenager, you cannot conceive of the fact that you're going to be old one day. It's just not going to happen to you. Sure, you're going to age. You'll be an adult, and that's gonna ROCK, cause then you can do all the things you want to do without anyone's permission! Except you won't want to. And even if you did, you won't be able to. Not in the ways you could then.

There's plenty of things we accept are going to happen to us when we get older, but put off worrying about: aches and pains. Grey hair. Medications. Stuff like that. But then, there's these moments where you're screaming in your head, "NO! NOT ME! IT'S NOT TRUE! IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!" and you want to fall from a scaffolding into a mile-long ventilation duct under a city in the clouds. And then, you realize, there's an entire generation of kids who won't get that reference because they've never even heard of The Empire Strikes Back. And it's these moments that truly hit you across the face and make you realize you're old.

These are some of the things I always heard about and knew happened with age, and never once believed they'd happen to me.

Butt Problems

Preparation H...  The name alone is just plain funny, isn't it? You can't read the name and think in terms of the word "preparation" and the letter H, conceptualizing how they made preparations A-G. No. When you read, hear or see "Preparation H" the first thing you think is "Huh huh... Butt." As an adolescent -- hell, as a full-grown adult -- I couldn't think about it without laughing. I mean, it goes in your butt! It relieves hemorrhoid flare-up. It even has a butt applicator tip! There is NOTHING not funny about Preparation H!

Except when you have to use it. And believe me, it's not something I embraced easily. I put off even considering the idea of using it for weeks, until the flare-up started feeling like what you see in the commercials where the guy's butt is literally smoking.

I couldn't find the commercial with the guy's butt smoking, so here's a still shot from the show Whitney, which is about as funny as a hemorrhoid.

And if there's one thing less pleasant than actually having to use it, it's having to buy it. There you stand in the check-out, your Preparation H stashed alongside a tube of toothpaste and behind a case of Coke Zero. You hope that the clerk will just mindlessly whip the box across the laser scanner, just like he did with everything else... Nope. He saw. Now he knows that you've got butt problems. And then the bagger kid, he examines it as he puts it into the bag, and then your secret is out: you're old in public.

And then, there's actually using the stuff. It's not something you're really going to be prepared for the first time. You have two methods: the "applicator tip" or your finger. Neither is pleasant. One is foreign and cold and plastic and creates the immediate feeling of "this does not belong here," and the other is your finger.

The moment of acceptance: When you finally force yourself to apply the cream, and the feeling of relief is enough to make you go "yeah, fuck that shit, I'm old and this stuff works and I'm over it." From that point forward, you have no issues with jamming whatever apparatus you've chosen up your exit, because to not do so is to live in a fiery hell of discomfort.

The Ring Of Fire

"Oh man," you say, "I can't wait for Sunday and the big game! Beer and hot wings, here I come!"


Then Monday arrives, and your stomach is turning and your butt is burning. And not even Preparation H can help.  And you don't want to accept it, so you don't -- not for weeks. But inevitably, you hear yourself utter the words "Man, my stomach just can't handle that anymore" and a bell inside you dings. You've just ticked off another item on the list of issues that show up with age.

Other dietary issues begin to show up, like lactose intolerance and gluten resistance, and suddenly, you're making a conscious decision at every social gathering and friendly lunch. Do you play it safe and just go for the salad, or do you suffer tomorrow's hell for today's delicious stack of Extra Blazin' hot wings followed up with a bowl of ice cream?


The moment of acceptance: when you realize exactly what those kinds of food are doing to the rest of your body as well, and you make that mid-life diet shift to become more fit and healthy. And then you realize, you're not craving that stuff anymore, because in all the ways that count, it just doesn't do you any good. Plus, reading your Kindle on the toilet is so much more enjoyable if there isn't a fire kindling in your colon.

I'd LOVE to play Skyrim all night, but...

I was a hardcore gamer. I say "was" with a pang of sadness, as this year, I had to accept I'm not hardcore anymore. First of all, I've started playing games at "normal" difficulty or below because it's so much more fun. I used to love the challenge of Insane difficulty settings. But now, the ability to afford a replacement television has caused me to abandon the need to suppress my urge to hurl the controller at the screen out of rage. The challenge is no longer a challenge, it's a frustration.

And while that's hard to stomach, it's nothing compared to the first time you put off gaming out of "responsibility." You promised to get up early and take the garbage to the dump, or you agreed to help your Mother-In-Law install shelving. This means no all-night Skyrim romps.

There used to be a time when I could slay these assholes for hours on end. Now, I'm lucky to kill one a night if that.

Sure, you'll try it. A few times, even. But as you age, your ability to work without sleep starts to fade, and there comes this moment when you begin realizing you're miserable the next day. That's not the "I'm getting old moment." No.

The "I'm getting old moment" is when you find yourself thinking how nice it'd be to slay dragons for the next few hours, and then start calculating the amount of sleep you will miss and how horrible the next day will be without it.

Responsibility... Eeeech.

She's Half Your Age

You're out at lunch with a friend, or you're shopping, and you both pause for a moment as you spy a beautiful young lady (or young male, if you're female. Or if you're not. Either way). You share a knowing glance with your friend. Then, somehow a conversation starts -- maybe she's your server at the restaurant, or asks your assistance at the store.

In conversation -- benign as it is, without any motive -- something comes up. A song might play on the speaker system, or a reference to a movie is made, and it comes out: she just graduated high school and is starting college. She's 18 years old.

Literally half your age.

Did you know that the minimum age to work at Hooters is 17 years old? There's something deeply wrong with that, considering the clientele of Hooters is made up almost exclusively of sad lonely men desperate for the attention of a sad desperate girl. Also, I don't care how much you swear to me you eat there for the wings, you're a liar. 

And it only gets worse as you get older, I imagine. I'm 35 tomorrow, and this just happened the other day. I felt dirty, even though I wasn't hitting on the girl in any way whatsoever. It was the mere fact that I thought she was pretty that made me feel like Chris Hanson was going to pop out from behind the Customer Service counter and ask me to have a seat.

These Kids Today...

And on that topic, it's even worse when they aren't attractive because they look like this:

Seriously? Do they own mirrors? What the hell am I saying, of course they do. That's not the problem. It's not that they look retarded and tacky, it's that they THINK THEY LOOK GOOD.

I swear to God, these fucking kids today...

...until you realize that, in the 90's, we looked like this:

And while this was actually a "90's Throwback Party" costume from last year (at age 34), it is literally stuff from my closet from my teenage years:

I liked rap. I'm not sorry. And I still do -- but nothing after 1996. But don't get me started on that -- The Music Cliche is its' own blog post by itself, because it's never been a surprise to anyone that THEIR music is fantastic, while the current generation's music SUCKS. 

But getting older isn't all bad. 

There is a fantastic thing that happens when you get older: you stop giving a shit. You become free in all the ways you weren't when you were young and spry. You begin worrying less and less about the opinions of your peers and focus more and more on what makes you happy. And if you're doing alright financially, you also have the means to do some stuff you never had the permission or ability to pull off when you were younger, as this strip from XKCD so eloquently puts it:

...Just try not to get any butt paste on the balls, ok? They're difficult to clean.


"A VERY Satisfying Chew."

A while back, my buddy Cully mentioned on Twitter that he was jonesin' for some watermelon:

So I suggested he try an alternative means of satisfying his craving:

At which point he publicly expressed a deep, dark fantasy of his:

So I obliged:

...Yeah, I know. In other news, with this and the video of me dancing in my socks in my kitchen for my wife, and making a weapon on an airplane and ripping open cereal bags with power tools... I've been toying with the idea of doing a video blog thing. Thoughts?


Hey, I'm on CNN GeekOut Today

I spent my bloggin' time today writing an op/ed piece for CNN GeekOut about the proliferation of stupidity on the internet and how we, the real geeks, can help solve it.

So, like... Yeah. Go read that.



The next time:
  • You're sitting in your car in traffic, debating going to the gym or just going home...
  • Or when you're trying to start the next chapter in the book you've been working on for a year (or two or three or five) and just can't make your fingers go and want to play Xbox instead....
  • Or the next time you're sick of eating green stuff on the new health plan you're on and want a double Whopper with extra bacon because God, it sounds good...
  • Or the next time you want to lay your pencil down and never draw again...
  • Or the next time that great idea had in the shower three days ago seems too stupid to present in the meeting and you're scared of what everyone else has to say...

Realize this:

There are way too many people who see you as competition and want you out of the way for you to take yourself out of the race.

Do what they want and sit out, or achieve what you want and run that motherfucker.


Stand Up Or Sit Down

Today's huge anti-SOPA/PIPA blackout is brought to you by Reddit.com. They were the originators of the idea. They took a stand.

Then, we at Fark agreed to jump in, as did Wikipedia, Google, BoingBoing. We jumped in because it made sense to do so, because SOPA/PIPA would catastrophically affect us. Of course, we took it our own unique way and Fark sarcastically "Whited Out" instead of blacked out. It's cause we're just that way (of course, it helps that I'm the asshole in charge of things like that).

Then the rest of the whole internet joined the chorus, because it made sense to do so. Joining the chorus is easy, because your voice can blend in and still sound harmonious.

Solos put all the focus on you.

Taking a stand is only taking a stand when you have to brace yourself to be knocked over. Joining a group when the group is already there is just going with the trend -- and when something's right, that's a fine thing to do. But there's no getting around the fact that saying "Oh yeah, me too!" is taking a partial stand at best. When the crowd shifts and heads a different direction, you'll go that way too, because you're not out front seeing where you're heading.

If you take the metaphor literally: taking a partial stand leaves you bent over. More than that, it leaves you off balance and makes you easier to push over. Be the first one in the crowd to stand up and clap your hands when you see something worth clapping for. Don't wait to clap because everyone else is clapping.

Movements don't happen because a group of people willed it, they happen because a leader stood up and took a stand, and people followed.


Dancing In My Socks In My Kitchen While My Wife Is Out Of Town

If you don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter or Google+, you're missing out on my lamentations about my wife being out of town on a puppy rescue. There have been discussions about my diet (Cocoa Pebbles, or hunks of beef?), my daily activities (Waking up at noon, Xbox, Football, Hockey) and the fact that I sometimes wear socks on our hardwood kitchen floor and dance to rap songs.

My friend Colette Bennett demanded that I provide video of the last thing. SO I DID:

You're welcome.

An Open Letter To Artists: On Vampires (The Non-Sparkly Kind)

Dear Artists (and creators, and entrepreneurs, and anyone with a dream -- but mostly Artists),

Success is hard.

It's difficult to attain, as we all well know. Part of the reason is that it requires hard work, and hard work is... Well, hard. And because success is difficult due to requiring hard work, there's a rather large number of people who can't attain it. And they're the other part of the reason success is so hard. These people are the main reason I spend so much time writing about succeeding on your own terms and drawing your strength from within.

Because these people are a danger to you. They are vampires. They live off draining you.

When you succeed at anything, two things you never thought would happen, will happen:

First, people you thought loved you and cared about you will begin pulling you down and holding you back. 

You won't understand it. In fact, you may not recognize it at first. The reason they do this is because people you've grown up with or have known for a long time won't be able to process the fact that you're moving forward. They will be jealous because they cannot. They will be hurt because they feel left behind. They will be angry that you don't listen to them. They will accuse you of being self important and selfish, and will tell you how you've changed.

This is because you've become selfish, self important and have changed. Because you're working toward your own happiness.

These things are not bad things. You need to know this. Caring about yourself and putting yourself first is not evil. It's not even wrong. It's what every single person on this Earth does all the time. We get jobs to afford nice things. We feed ourselves every day. We work out ways to take time off work to do things we want to do. We put ourselves first all the time.

But when you do it to elevate yourself, you will hear those terms lobbed at you as an insult. Because the people saying those things are weak and jealous and hurt that you would dare leave their little misery club. Selfishness is okay, so long as it doesn't make anyone else feel bad for not having it. When it does, you're going to hear an earful.

These are energy vampires. They will sap you of the thing that drives you. They have to keep you like them, at any cost, because bettering yourself reminds them of why they can't (or simply won't) better themselves.

How you know your real friends: they'll give you the space you need to shine. The praise they give you will be genuine and not laden with backhanded compliments or reminders of how you don't care about them or that you've become too good for them. They know that you need to fly. They won't shoot you down.

Second, people you thought didn't like you and complete strangers will come out of the woodwork to graft themselves onto you. 

Note I didn't say leech off you. No. Its worse than simply sucking your blood. They want to find treasure without all the trouble of following the map. They will attempt to integrate themselves into your life and be part of your process. Leeches you can identify and pick off. Grafts become part of your skin and can only be removed with cutting and lots of bleeding during the process.

They will ask from you products or services you create and provide with promises of future payment or success or opportunity. They will never pay this back. They cannot succeed without your work or your involvement. If you analyze the structure they've built, determine if the whole thing falls down if you walk away. If it does, you're likely being used. 

They will constantly praise you for qualities you wish you had. Not who you are, but who you wish you would be. The things they say appeal to the ego and not the spirit or heart. Always remember: those who praise you for what you are not wish to take from you what you have. 

They will be angry when you don't give it to them. Like, seriously angry. They will accuse you of using them, despite the fact they asked you first. They will insult you by accusing you of being everything they actually are, and make you feel terrible and guilty -- for if they can't get what they want through praise, they'll work on your guilt and sense of friendship to get it. 

These are physical vampires. They want to live off the thing that you make. They want to use you to survive. And they will do whatever it takes to make you their thrall.
How you know the people you can trust: they want to know you, not use you. They want to collaborate, not assign tasks. You can hang around and the topic of your work or success never has to come up. If they do want you to do something for them, they will pay you. FAIRLY. Either with money or in kind. But no one who cares about you for who you are will ask from you what you do without compensation.

Now, it's very important to note that not everyone falls into these two categories. I'm not saying everyone's out to get you. I'm simply warning you that these two types of people are either in your life right now, or will seek to enter your life as you succeed -- and the more you succeed, the more that show up (or walk away due to the jealousy and anger). And there is definitely a fine line between people accusing you of behaving badly to hurt you, and you actually behaving badly and them calling you on it. And you know the difference. Deep in your heart, you know when you're being a diva or namedropping or bragging. 

But for the sweet ones, the kind people who are talented and amazing and who see their star begin to rise, only to have it hurdle back to Earth in a fiery blaze because someone shot it down, either out of jealousy or to wound them when they can't live off them like a lamprey... This is stuff you need to know and be ready for. 

I liken it to getting your first tattoo: no matter how much you prepare and get ready and stare at the inevitable, the pain is still going to come. And you have no idea what it's going to feel like until it happens. And when you get through it (and trust me, you WILL get through it), the scar that's left will be beautiful and remind you always of the beautiful pain of realizing a hard truth. It will be with you always, and as the tenderness subsides, you'll be thankful. 


Joe Peacock


They Need Your Permission To Make You Miserable

Here's a little present for you. It's a trick I discovered somewhat by accident around Christmas, when someone who used to be close to me showed back up in my life and proceeded to try to make me feel bad for being who I am, and then again very recently when some uncomfortable silences became uncomfortable conversations.

It's a simple question you ask yourself when someone (or someones) have gotten you to the point of frustration, sadness or even depression:

"How long should I let this person control how I feel?"

Once you ask that question, your feelings stop being a burden and become a choice. And you get to decide if you want to be miserable because an asshole has decided you should be, or if you want to go ahead and let that bullshit go and be happy (or, at the very least, stop feeling miserable).

This doesn't mean you have to quit caring about the person if they're someone you love. It just means you're not going to let them convert your love for them into misery for you. They need your permission make you feel bad. Choose not to let them.

And that's really the simple truth of it all: everything in life is a choice. Everything.

If you feel helpless in a situation, whether it be how you feel, or who you're with, or what you're doing with your life, begin breaking things down into choices and decisions. The truth is, as hard as it is to swallow, you are responsible for your own life. If you are honest with yourself, you'll see it. And even if you can't choose to leave a situation, you absolutely can decide how you're going to feel about it.

That's how you take control and own your life -- you decide to.

(P.S. If you want to make your own silly error message that's relevant to your own silly blog posts, go here. That's what I did)


The Rarest Frank Miller Thing Ever

Back in 2009, I received a gift from my friend Howard Penner. Howard knows that I'm a HUGE Frank Miller fan. I collect anything I can of his; the more original the better. I have several original pages from his Daredevil run, his Elektra mini series, Sin City and others. And of course, I have everything that's ever been published that was written or drawn by him (up to a point -- when Dark Knight 2 came out, I gave up on Frank and stopped collecting pieces, mostly because when he decided to suck and phone things in, I decided I didn't need that crap).

So when I opened the package and discovered this print, I was a bit floored:

I'd never seen it before. In fact, I had no idea it even existed. I was blown away -- here was a Frank Miller piece I not only didn't have, but had no clue was even a thing. I thanked Howard profusely and immediately framed it and hung it in my office.

Then, my friend Ed Piskor put me in touch with the colorist, Kim Deitch. Kim was happy to see that someone had a copy. He explained to me that it was quite rare, but so was everything that young artists were doing back in the days when printing things was the only way to put them out in the world. I asked him to tell me the story behind it, and he gave me a short version explaining that it was a short run promo print to help out a store in Berkeley, CA.

But that was about it. That's all I learned. And it was enough to feel satisfied that it was a neat piece of rare history that I owned.

Then this morning, I awoke to an email from Howard which linked to the long story on the history of this piece. And it was sufficiently wowing enough to cause me to post this. It is posted by Robert Beerbohm, the publisher of the piece and the host of Frank Miller's very first ever autograph party, for the death of Elektra in Daredevil 181 in Berkeley, CA.

From the link:

Frank Miller poster project used for selling the day I hosted Frank Miller at his very first ever autograph event for the death of Elektra in Daredevil #181 which hit the stands 17 Dec 1981 - the event was four days later Saturday 21 Dec

I published this collaboration between Frank Miller and Kim Deitch who hand cut color seps on short notice. An admirable job with lots of detail. The only time in the world these two creator's comic art work crossed paths.

Lily Marlaine poster comic art story was printed up in Berkeley as an edition of 1000 color and 100 black & white posters.

Frank signed just shy of 400 of them that week end, was going to get back to finishing up the project. Then Best of Two Worlds suffered a catastrophic warehouse flooding Feb 1986 Valentine's Day week end

Same week end as Eclipse Comics HQ just a scant 43 miles north was washed down the Russian River.

Probably 70% of the print run was destroyed. Now this is a very rare published example of Frank Miller's beautiful art work. He used to be good when he was younger all inspired by Will Eisner's The Spirit.

Copies at all are rare, signed ones almost impossible now more than 30 years ipso post facto.

Hope you enjoy. We had a lot of fun that week end at Best of Two Worlds now in that galaxy a long time ago far far away.

So I thought I'd share that with you guys. It's not bragging; sometimes, magic just happens to you and you don't realize how magical it was until much later. And when it finally dawns on you, you want to share that moment and information with people.

...Okay, so maybe it's a little bragging. But only a little.


The Odds Are Against You...

Fuck the fucking odds. The odds are a statistic created by the chaff who couldn't handle what you're going to do.

People (and not just any people; people who were supposed to support and love and understand me) always told me that the odds of my succeeding any number of things I've come up with are "a million to one."

And for a while, I listened.

And then, for some reason one day, I just stopped caring. I couldn't see why I'd let one million people who did it wrong stop me from at least trying.

I loved making web pages during the infancy of the web. Everyone said there was no future in it. It wasn't even as solid a hobby as drawing comics (which also got me called things like "loser" and "fag", which is why I stopped drawing -- a terrible mistake I'm working to correct).

But then one day, I thought "well, if there's no future in it, there's nothing to lose from just doing it." I answered an ad from a huge corporation needing someone be a "webmaster". The next day, I quit college and had a career. What are the odds? They're precisely dick. There are no odds. There's just what you do cause you know it's right.

I always loved to write. I've kept a journal since I was 12 years old. "You just think you're Henry Rollins," some people said (more than one, which is sad; I let more than one of the wrong person be that close to me). And you know what? Why couldn't I be? A smart self-starter who self-published his own work that hundreds of thousands of people read? Why not be that guy?  So in 2002, I stopped listening to all the reasons why I shouldn't do it and I did it. I wrote a book on the internet (you know, that thing there was no future in back when I was 18?) and not only did people read it, tens of thousands bought the self-published version. Then, I got a book deal with Penguin. You know the odds of that happening? I don't. Cause fuck the odds.

In 2009, I was so overcome by the beauty of an original background from my collection of original Akira production art that I decided the whole world needed to see all this amazing art.  I had no idea whatsoever how to do that. I called dozens of museums and art galleries; no one saw the point. Then I stumbled upon Toonseum in Pittsburgh through my friend Ed Piskor. They helped me organize the first showing, because they saw the magic. To date, roughly 30,000 people have now seen the original artifacts from a film they love, and millions have seen the scans and photos online. And we're just getting started.

"The odds are a million to one that you'll succeed!" All that means is that a million people got it wrong.

Fuck a million wrong people. More than a million people voted for every single congress person who has cheated on his or her spouse, stolen money, or otherwise gone down in flames. More than a million people bought a Zune. More than a million people saw Gigli in the theater.

Nickelback has sold more than a million copies of their albums.

A million people fuck up all the time. And you know what? Fuck anyone who decides to compare you to them. They're wrong.

And the truth is, those one million failures? They probably aren't actually failures per se; they're failures against a measurement set by someone else. "The odds are a million to one you'll get published by Penguin." But the odds aren't a million to one you can get published. In fact, the odds are 1:1 -- Go to lulu.com and upload your book and boom, you're published. Good job.

The odds of you selling a million copies of that book? That's a million to one. But if that's your measurement of success, you're just as stupid as the people who try to make themselves feel better by holding you down and reminding you of the odds all the goddamn time.

Do what you are meant to do, because you were meant to do it -- and let other peoples' definition of success be the last thing on your mind when you do it.


Walter and his Cat, circa 1995

Note: I originally wrote this on Christmas Eve in 2008. I was reminded of it today on the plane, when I witnessed a man break down and tell the woman next to him just how thankful he was for her to be in his life. The indication I got was that they are friends and have been for many years, and that she has been a huge supporter of his. He was overcome with emotion and didn't care that he was on a plane -- he HAD to let this woman know how he felt, and he was joyful. 

I've been particularly tuned in to other peoples' joy lately. I watched a woman savor a warm cup of hot cocoa at Starbucks a few weeks ago, pausing and closing her eyes as she was struck with just how satisfying it was. I saw a man playing with his dog in the park near our studio, rolling around in the grass as the dog wrestled with and pinned him. 

Joy is one of the most beautiful things we experience as people, and what makes it so special is that when we experience it, we also allow everyone around us to experience the joy of seeing someone experience joy. 

So find some joy. 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

This picture from flickr of Walter and his cat is one of the sweetest things I've ever seen:

Now, some people may want to laugh at Walter. He did, after all, load his cat up in a vehicle to bring it to a photography studio to be photographed with him. And sure, Walter's look might invoke a few jabs and snarky comments... But I find him endearing. And I think that whoever would laugh at Walter is secretly sad that they won't ever know the happiness this man has with his cat. I think that we should all strive for this level of satisfaction with our own lives... We should quit being concerned with the outside-in nature of society's lens on our actions and our attitudes and our clothing and our loves and just live our lives how we want to live them and love the things we love with abandon.

And that's the spirit in which I share this picture of Walter. And his cat, who doesn't look as happy as Walter, and is probably just doing this to make Walter happy. And she succeeded, because Walter IS happy.

It reminds me of a moment in 1994, when I was a Junior in High School working at the mall. I worked for a "market research firm," which is basically a company that pays people to lie about which movies they've seen in the past year and spend 5 minutes talking about their preferences in menthol cigarettes. It was the spring, and the pet store near our station in the mall was selling kittens. Being a 17 year old male who was too cool to care about much of anything, I never gave a crap about people who frequented the pet store - in fact, the majority of my shifts were spent making fun of them.

But one day, I looked over at the pet store to see a couple exiting. The man wore a bad comb-over and thick glasses, and he was pushing the woman in a wheelchair. She was severely overweight, and was wearing a mu-mu and her feet were very swollen. They were dressed shabbily and, on any other day of my life after seeing these two, I would have started into a stream of insults and jokes that would have had my co-workers dying of laughter. But no more than a second after spying them, I saw that the woman was holding near her chest a small kitten.

The kitten was resting in her elbow and nestled in her neck, and she was lightly stroking it on the back of its head. The kitten seemed happy. And the look on this woman's face is one that I will never - NEVER - forget.

She looked like she had just solved every problem she'd ever had in her life and had found a friend that would never judge her and would always love her. She was, at that moment, the happiest person I had ever seen in my entire life. It was a moment of joy that this woman was experiencing - not just happiness, the way we talk about being happy the Falcons won or that we are leaving for vacation in Jamaica in a few days or even that we got what we wanted for Christmas... This was JOY. Pure. Unadulterated. Uncontainable.

The real thing.

I began crying. Right there in the middle of the mall, in front his coworkers and all the cute girls and all the hip boys wandering around, this seventeen year old, callous, smart-alec jerk of a kid began crying. I couldn't contain myself. I just began sobbing at how tender and sweet that moment was. It struck a chord deep within me, and the image of that moment burned itself into my mind and has been with me since. It took me years to figure out what it was about that moment that struck me so hard, and when I finally realized the answer, my life changed. Not fundamentally... Maybe even only slightly. But it changed.

I realized that, at that moment, that woman was happier than I'd ever been or might ever be in my life. She'd found something that gave her the sort of all-encompassing joy that brings you out of the house when you're incapable of walking just to receive it, and when you do, you couldn't give a shit less about the people around you and what they think of it. She was an honest sort of happy, the kind which forces any amount of despair, no matter how little, from you so that you can just concentrate on what really matters. I got made fun of for the rest of the time I was at that job, and while I was embarrassed that I'd done it, I wasn't sorry and I wouldn't have traded that moment for anything (and still won't). It still brings tears to my eyes... Right now, in fact.

I hope YOU are happy.

I hope that among the horrible crap that 2008 (and other years) has brought you that you can find at least one thing in your life that you can just grab and hold and smile about every time you think of it. I hope that you find joy in moments, if not in life as a whole. And if you aren't there - if everything's miserable and you can't find small victories each day, please do try to find one. Maybe your cat. Maybe pick up a pencil and doodle something that will make you giggle. Maybe write a blog entry on the net about the silliest thing you've ever seen.

Maybe this picture of Walter and his cat.

Who knows. I just hope you find joy where you can. And when you find it, I hope you hold on to it. Cherish it in your heart and keep it deep within you, like a coal which warms you from deep within. Never let that ember burn out. Always stoke it and give it plenty of air to breathe. Hold on to your joy. Never let it go, because there are plenty of forces in this world which would be glad to take it from you.


Finishing The Book, Answering Letters, And Other Good Intentions

For the past month or so, I've been doing a GIS (Google Image Search) for a word or topic that best describes each blog post. This post is all about restarting. So, when performing a GIS on the word "restart", I discovered that there is a spanish language band called Restart, and they look like what you see on the left (or, if you're on a mobile device, above). And they're just retarded enough to force me to pick them as the lead image for this piece.


There is a not-so-old adage that I've recently discovered:

The only thing harder than getting started on a brand new project is re-starting an old one.

I've got a few outstanding projects going on right now, and all of them took an unexpected break around the middle of December last year:

  • Just today, I checked my PO Box and found a stack of letters, Christmas / holiday cards and presents. I owe a lot of you letters and thank you's. They will be going out this week and next, and hopefully by the end of the month, I'll be caught up. That said, if I'm not, please know that I've gotten them and I appreciate them! 
  • I am staring at Adobe InDesign, trying to figure out where I left off on laying out the new book. I think at this point, I'm going to have to eschew my whole "Did it all myself!" ethic and hire out the layout bit, just to get the damn thing done. I am going to stick to my January 31, 2012 ship date come hell or high water.
  • I'm going to have to wait on finishing my first comic story until the book is done and the letters are answered. Because no one's seen it and I never really announced a date, this one's not as big a deal. But re-starting on it is still just as annoying and frustrating and confusing and "I'll just do it later" inducing as the others. 

All of that said, the good news is that so far I've stuck to my self-imposed, unannounced schedule on keeping up with this blog. That's some good news, right?