Mutual Benefit

mutual benefit 72

I was originally going to call this “Mutual Admiration Society” but when I was drawing it I wrote “Mutual Benefit” instead. I don’t ask for these ideas; they just come to me.

Funny and true story: I was drawing this and Annie walked into the room and looked over my shoulder at the drawing. She said, “Ugh!” Then she asked, “Is that for (name of client redacted)?”

Me: “No.” (Laugh) “I can’t imagine (name of client redacted) paying me to draw this.”

Annie: “I can’t imagine anyone paying you to draw that.”

I could almost hear the ‘bu-dump-bump-tish.’

Training Session

What have we learned?

Today we were supposed to have a software training session at my workplace. I was unlucky enough to have to attend this event. The software is for inventory, finance and purchase order management. The basic package is about 10+ years old… maybe older (although the company I work for has added a lot of modifications). The guy running the training has been with the company that supports this application for years. It’s one of those ‘green screen’ applications (like so many companies and banks use as their business intelligence backbone) where you have to press a series of numbers in order to go from ‘module’ to ‘module’ within the system. Most of the people who work with it really have to do only 1 or 2 things within the system… most of them don’t have the access to do more than their jobs (and the admins probably want it that way). The presenter started his presentation with a detailed description of EVERYTHING this system can do. I would estimate that 90% of what he was proposing needed to be explained would actually never come up for the people in the room.  Eyeballs were already starting to glaze over and hands were groping for smartphones. Two of the managers saw the direction this presentation was going. They interupted and suggested that perhaps he was preparing to give us a more detailed presentation than was required. The second managerasked him to just cover the material that the people in the room will need to enter and process a purchase order.

“I can’t explain the system unless I explain the functions,” he responded, petulantly. He stuck out his lip, like a five year old trying to look tough.

“Well,” she offers, “Just stick to the functions that these assistant buyers will be using.” She names a small number of functions — entering purchase orders, adding vendors to the system, etc.

“I can’t teach people who don’t have a fundamental grasp of programming,” he says. The guy’s face is turning red. He’s getting mad. What the hell? I guess he really takes purchase orders seriously.

Even though the room is dark, I can see the manager who is doing the talking is rolling her eyes. “We don’t need them to do any programming,” she says, her voice flat. “We are just trying to get them started out with purchase orders. Can you do that? Show us how to make a purchase order?”

The motherfucker sighs, as if to indicate this request is quite outrageous. “I will try,” he says, sulking, “… but this really isn’t the right way to go about it…”

“Thank you,” she responds, cutting off any chance he has to add further comment.

Fortunately for me, there was suddenly some actual work that required my attention and I escaped the training session.

internet + etsy

Updates, set dressing for Maniacs and shut up youSomeone named Jack emailed me recently to ask why I wasn’t a part of the usual haunts and discussions out there on the web. He asked, “Was it something someone said?”
The short answer is, “No.”
The slightly longer answer is: I’m just not spending a lot of time online these days. I don’t know when and if that will change. I didn’t make any conscious choice at any single point and say, “That is the last fucking straw!” or whatever. I just dropped out of the google+ thing and stopped visiting all the forums and what-not because I just didn’t find the rewards equal to the time investment they required. I have not changed; I’m just less interested in having broader conversations with strangers on topics that don’t reflect what I am doing these days.
Some have suggested I create a ‘facebook artist page’ and I still haven’t decided if I need a ‘facebook artist page’ that is distinct from my ‘facebook page’ or not. I think I just use my facebook page for looking at pictures of kittens in sombreros and posting the occasional snarky comment and seeing pictures of other people’s kids or hearing about the marathons they are running or the meals they are eating; the point of a broader ‘strategic multimedia outreach’ has yet to become a reality for me.
I’m doing things (some of which don’t involve the internet) and working on some private commissions as well as some projects that are probably 2 or 3 years late and getting older.
If you have clicked on the etsy shop link on the right, you will find that there is nothing in the store (and there hasn’t been for some time). Etsy has been pretty good to me in the past but isn’t fitting into my current schemes very well — again, because of the time involved. If anyone has suggestions for a good way for an artist like me to sell original artwork that has been previously published in things like Goodman Games DCC adventures, please post or email.
If anyone wants to say hello, the best way is probably to just email me (at sbpoag(at)gmail(dot)com). After the 18th of August 2013 I will be out of the country for 2+ weeks. I will probably not have access to email in that time.

600 posts — and ‘stupidity’ is YOUR favorite category!

This is post #600 for this blog.  Woohoo!  And I just checked my stats — of all the different posts clicked on in the past 24 hours, posts with the category of ‘stupidity’ were the most popular.

popular categories

Have a happy 4th. If you light any fireworks off, try not to hurt yourself.

Lizardman mind control

By now you have probably heard that Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, suppliers of man-whore wear to the masses, said some nasty things seven years ago and now people are really mad because he said nasty things about fat people and ‘aspirational branding’ and other bullshittery. People got very angry and protested in the streets.  The squawks of outrage created by this ‘terrible event’ where a rich cocksucker said he didn’t want to sell clothing to fat or ‘uncool’ people has eclipsed the story of a Bangladesh factory collapse that killed more than 1,000 people who were making clothing for the US market (and may have even been making clothes for Abercrombie & Fitch). Factories collapse and workers die? The consumer shrugs and heads to the mall. A CEO says he doesn’t want to sell clothes to unpopular kids? We get mad, grab our placards and hit the streets. Are our priorities just a bit fucked or what?

Look at this picture where I compare Jeffries, Cocksucker in Chief of A&F, and a lizard man:

lizard-man and jeffries

No way that creature on the left is a human!

Is that motherfucker terrifying or what? His face just looks like a mask pulled over his lizardy skull – the weirdly fake prominent cheek bones and the flaccid lizard lips…  under that obvious wig is probably a zipper that starts at the top of his skull and goes down his spine, allowing the lizard-king to show his true form… those fake teeth probably pop out like dentures, allowing him to chew his human babies with razor-sharp fangs. The lizard-humanoid hybrids are exactly what David Icke has been trying to warn us about!  Jeffries is clearly one of the hybrids in disguise… Wanting to ‘create an aspirational brand’ by saying he will not sell clothes to the unpopular kids at your high school is the least of his crimes… child sacrifice, cannibalism, plotting the overthrow of humanity – that’s the shit we are talking about. This dude is more evil than Ming the Merciless

Top 10 Search Terms

Here are the top 10 search terms people have used to find this blog since I started it:

top 10 search terms

The only one that has me confused is ‘rat monkey.’

Google Glass

These idiots are going to cause a lot of traffic accidents.

You have heard about ‘Google glass,’ right?  If you haven’t, it’s a tiny computer with a heads up display, camera and earpiece that you wear like a pair of glasses. It reads texts to you through the earpiece, can follow voice commands and can show you images via the heads up display. People are already at work on facial recognition aps and other functions that make this the smartphone that you wear rather than carry. It will photograph whatever you are looking at if you say, “OK, Google, take a picture.” Google is trying to make the computer as natural an extension of your body without putting it IN your body as current technology allows.

I’m surprised they didn’t call it ‘Google goggles’ or ‘Googgles’ or something like that.

Maybe I’m just a cranky old man, but I hate it already and think it’s fucking creepy to have a computer/smartphone/texting device that is always on my head and shows the world absolutely everything I see and is constantly whispering in my ear or showing me pictures so I never need to be alone ever again. I predict that the world will soon be divided between the ‘googlers’ who are constantly sharing absolutely everything they do and see and hear and the rest of us who don’t give a shit. Plus the googlers will wear their stupid devices while they drive or walk and probably swerve all over the place and run into the rest of us who aren’t simultaneously travelling AND surfing the fucking web or texting on our eyeballs at the same time.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin dialed the creep factor up to 11 when he said, “It’s really a device that wants to be outdoors, wants to be outside, wants to be with family and friends…”  Really? This device “wants” things? I want things like chicken… and when I get chicken, my dogs make it clear that they want chicken, too, and that seems perfectly natural to me… but I’m just not ready for a computer or smart phone or tablet or wearable computer goggles that wants things, too. There is entirely too much ‘wanting of things’ going on… and now that the purveyors of technology are claiming that things are starting to want things too, I’m about ready to say, “Enough, already” and go live in a cabin like Ted Kaczynski.

EDIT: Google Glass is also a device that does not want to be sold or shared. Not only has Google restricted early sales of the device to people who have made a compelling public pitch as to why they should be deemed worthy of owning the device, but, if you should be so lucky as to be ‘allowed’ to buy a pair of the cyber goggles, you are forbidden to sell, loan or give them to anyone else. Welcome to the brave new world where corporations are people and objects can tell their ‘owners’ the terms of ownership.

Maggie, I wish I’d never seen your face…

It has been a week or so, but all of the world is still chattering about Maggie Thatcher’s death. It feels a bit surreal, like Reagan’s death a few years ago — especially since people in the public sphere are falling over themselves to memorialize a woman many of them hated while she was alive. And, perhaps because she seemed to thrive on controversy and appeared to relish a good fight, ‘hating’ Maggie might be a better tribute to her than getting all misty eyed and sentimental.

About the best thing I saw about ‘Maggs’ wasthis Steve Bell cartoon in The Guardian. I think Bell is an underappreciated artist; a modern day Hogarth with the whimsy of Herriman.

I don’t live in the UK, so much of the debate on Thatcher’s reign doesn’t resonate with me because I doubt I understand all of the issues. But the breast beating and the discussion of ‘legacies’ and the eulogizing make me sick, much like the sight of all of the ‘war hero’ pomp and eulogizing of President Reagan in 2004 seemed fairly ridiculous since Ronald Reagan had spent his WW2 military service in Hollywood making training films. And now I hear that Maggie is getting the Hero’s funeral with carriages and guards and gold braid and the whole nine yards — giving ‘military honors’  to people who stuck pins in a map and signed the orders that sent others to die without ever bleeding themselves just does not sit right with me. John McCain IS both a politician and a war hero — I’m glad every morning that he isn’t my president, but I won’t deny that he earned his medals. Give him the military honors when he passes and I’ll have no complaints.

Maggie never bled, but she certainly liked to fight.  She was the scrapper to Ronald Reagan’s more avuncular and telegenic cold warrior (In addition to being fellow ideologues,  Maggie and Ronnie both shared an affection for extremely sculptural hair care). Maggie’s “any enemy of my enemy must be my friend” mentality found her cozying up to stone cold killers like General Pinochet simply because he was anti-Castro. Never mind that Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected president of Chile and herded his political opponents into a stadium to be tortured and executed.

Any who dare to ‘speak ill of the dead’ can count on being treated as a pariah by a certain demographic. But Maggie didn’t pull any punches in life, disenfranchising those who didn’t vote for her and even relishing the media ‘he said she said’ dustups. I don’t know if she truly believed all her Ayn-Rand, social-Darwinist free market capitalism claptrap or not –  but she acted (and ruled) as if she did. Maggie didn’t pull any punches or ever concede that her opponents might have had a good point while she was alive; she described ‘compromise’ as ‘failure.’ Given how intractable and vicious she was in life, I see no reason to suddenly treat her with velvet gloves in death. The ‘Iron Lady’ is dead. I won’t miss her.

A portrait of the artist as a sullen looking man

I was asked to provide a recent picture of me AND a recent picture of my studio, or, if possible, a recent picture of me in my studio… and this is the trifecta — me, in my studio and I am drawing. It isn’t flattering or interesting, but is is at least recent:

This is pretty much what I look like when I am drawing — dirty hoodie, dour expression, bad posture and bags under the eyes. The studio isn’t that interesting to look at — books and stuff on shelves, the drawing table at a modest angle so that the bottle of ink does not end up in my lap and ugly wood panelling on my basement wall. The drawing I am working on is actually FOR the article that this photo will be published in. The other drawing is from a recent comission. I ought to put it away before I spill something on it.

Digging shit out of backpacks

I’ve always wanted to do an experiment on game night where we fill a backpack with coils of rope, blankets, different bottles of beer, soda and whiskey, thousands of coins and various tools and miscellaneous items.  One player gets the backpack.  The rest of us get broomsticks, hockey sticks, yard sticks, flyswatters, etc.  If he is playing a fighter, the player with the backpack has to wear oven mitts or thick gloves (to duplicate the effect of the diminished manual dexterity from wearing gauntlets). Then, while the players with sticks try to hit him, the player with the backpack has to try to retrieve specific items from the backpack. So the DM might shout out “Ball Peen Hammer!” or “Mini bottle of Crown Royal!” or “Can of Pork & Beans!” and the player has to retrieve that specific item while the rest of us whack at him with our sticks.  We count the number of times we manage to tag him and then multiply that by 1d6 damage which is immediately applied to his character sheet.  Every item he drops means that one randomly determined item from his backpack is lost. And you have to do this in a darkened basement with only the light of a tiki-torch to see unless you are playing an elf or a dwarf… if you are playing an elf or a dwarf you get to do it with the lights on (infravision) but all of the items are painted grey… so if the DM shouts “blue plastic cup” and there are multiple plastic cups of different colors in your backpack but you can’t tell them apart because they are all painted grey, you better grab and hope because everyone knows that infravision doesn’t let you see colors.

If the player is playing a dwarf, he has to kneel on his shoes like Tim Conway in Dorf on Golf.  If the player is playing an elf, the guys hitting him with sticks are permitted to hit him twice as hard because elves get only a d6 of hit points per level so the elf is obviously going to feel more pain. Plus the elf guy has to wear rubber Spock ears. If the player is playing a magic-user, he also will have all sorts of tiny items like erasers, paper clips, lucky pennies, packets of Sweet-and-Low, etc., stuffed in the pockets of the bathrobe he has to wear with his pointy hat.  The magic user has to retrieve these small items from his pockets at random intervals in addition to having to grab stuff from the backpack (obviously, this duplicates the effect of having to grab the right spell components from a pocket or pouch at a moments notice).

If we perform this experiment a couple of times, it should definitively prove that you can’t just casually say, “While dodging the gelatinous cube, jumping over the bear trap and avoiding the gaze of the basilisk, I’m going to dig the oil flask out of my knapsack, light a torch, make a Molotov cocktail and set fire to the troll...” without being met with guffaws of laughter.