Saturday, December 25, 2010


          Being a crafty sort, I enjoy the challenge of trying to use only things we already HAVE for wrapping and stuff.  Plus we're poor, so the more money we save, the better.  We printed out our own Christmas cards using a drawing I did of Krampus & Santa, and it ended up being an odd size. 
My drawing of the Krampus battling Santa

          I made templates and cut envelopes from scrap paper, even fancy lining from scraps of Christmas wrap. Double-sided tape is my friend.

          Here are some more hand-made bows, but I changed things up a little by using scraps cut from discarded library books, and even some packing paper.
Awesome, right? Destroying library books is fun!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


          What would Christmas be without my collection of special holiday edition My Little Ponys?  Here we see them gathered around a magical color-changing Christmas tree candle.
There's an angel pony, a reindeer pony, and several over-dressed fashion victim ponies
          When the lights go out it's all crazy 'n' shit.  They'll all have hangovers in the morning.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


          Check me out, I figured out how to make one of these bows by HAND.  Using strips of paper and double-sided tape.  The method came to me in a heavenly cloud and a flash of angelic light.  And a voice said, "Let it be so..."
          Here's a close-up:
          Anthony thinks I'm insane for doing this, especially since we have several boxes full of pre-fab bows ready to just peel and stick.  But shouldn't I win an award for this?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

FAN ART : "Wonderland" by J.

Our Library Book Club president drew this for me.  :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Is it... Tom Hulce in "Amadeus?" -or... a Cirque du Soleil "clown?" -or... an escapee from the gayest Mardi Gras ever?
          Nope.  It's supposed to be Godfather Drosselmeier from Nutcracker, based on the book by E.T.A. Hoffmann.  And sure, that's a pretty strange story all on its own, but THIS is just plain alarming.  Unsettling, even.  The image above is from a flyer I saw tacked to a restaurant bulletin board in the Inland Empire, advertising a local production of Nutcracker.  This version of Drosselmeier looks like he just took a buttload of Ecstasy, is probably wearing sequined high heels, and probably still has shards of a shattered disco ball still scattered throughout his fright wig.  I'd say we're lucky if he's even wearing pants.
          I will not be attending this production, but then again I don't even like musical theater in the first place, whether they're dancing or singing, or some foul combination of both.
          I do, however, enjoy this horrific image, because I'm a horror fan.  I love horror novels, horror movies, and the better horror genre magazines.  To me, this image would be at home next to a poster of Hellraiser's "Pinhead," or perhaps Freddy Krueger, or even the Wayans brothers in "White Chicks."
"One... two... Wayans comin' for you..."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

IN THE DREAMHOUSE: Tidal Wave Canyon

          Last night I had a long, arduous dream about being part of some survival trek over a mountain range.  There was a whole troop of us scaling this rocky, uneven terrain, and I was exhausted, my legs aching from trying to find purchase in the crumbling slope.  I was really anxious about my speed, wanting to make sure I wasn't in last place, so I kept looking behind me.  Most of the time I was in the very middle of the line of people, but I wished I could have been studly enough to be at the front.  I was self-conscious about my puffing and straining, worrying that my legs (or heart) would just give out before I made it to whatever our goal was.
          When we finally got through that part of the journey, we ended up in a vast red canyon, with no sign of civilization anywhere.  Only in a dream could you climb a mountain range and find a canyon at the top.  There was also a bunch of towering palm trees, which quickly became very important.
          A huge tidal wave was headed our way, the wall of rushing water stretching up farther than we could see.  The only way we knew to possibly escape being killed by it was to scale the palm trees and hang on for dear life.  We climbed as fast and as high as we could.  My tree was very skinny, and bowed low with my weight (too many Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas Trees?), which worried me since I needed to be higher than the water after it settled.
          The wave hit and we all blacked out from the force of it, each of us clinging to our individual palm trees.  When I awoke, the water had mostly drained from the canyon, but I was perplexed about how I survived drowning in the initial deluge.  Even in the dream it didn't make sense to me.
          Susan, an old friend from school, had the tree next to mine, and she had also survived.  After that, though, we all went our separate ways.
          Then came a period of rebuilding after our ordeal.  I wandered through the canyon, finding small groups of people from the original survival team that had splintered off into sub-groups.  Each little enclave seemed to be building houses right into the canyon walls, kind of like the cliff-dwelling Anasazi.  Most of the new communities told me they had first asked permission from the local native tribes, before building their houses.  But the last group I came to, and for some reason decided to stay with, had NOT asked permission.  Instead, they had built their housing using very raw materials, trying to mimic the color and texture of the canyon walls, and carved native animals into their furniture and household items like clocks and kitchen ware.  They were hoping that if they simply showed enough respect and reverence for nature, it would be enough to keep the native tribes appeased.
          I was nervous about that.  It just seemed stubborn to me, and I was considering seeking out these mysterious natives, none of whom I'd seen any trace of on my travels, on my own. 
          But then I woke up. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010


          There they sit, unaware of how much Anthony and I love roasted pumpkin seeds.
Der Punkin'Schnitzel (on floor) and Natalie (seated)
          A few weeks ago my mom & stepdad had a Halloween party, and we all gathered to decorate pumpkins.  We got all crafty with it because it was a little too early to actually carve them, hence the felt, google eyes, etc.  Anthony created Der Punkin'Schnitzel, and I birthed Natalie.  Painfully.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


          While perusing my old notebook, I came across 3 pages full of notes that really baffled me at first.
The Skelebunnies and their Woobies
          I’d made notes about a “Skelebunnies” storyline involving some sort of contest in which the adorable little Devil Woobies are all competing, and being judged by Satan, the Skelebunnies, Buttwing, and the demon Terry Piggy-Tinkle. (That’s not the weird part)

           I’d also noted that Henry Ford was an anti-Semite, and jotted something about babies being thrown to their deaths out of hospital windows. WTF?!

Henry Ford, anti-Semite
          This was immediately followed by something about a giggling, screechy, hyperventilating teenage girl flirting with some teenage boy, and naked Jews being marched into a gas chamber, and something mostly illegible about “starvation & insanity.”

          I gasped, horrified. I did NOT remember planning to make grim Holocaust jokes in that Skelebunnies story! The Holocaust is not funny, and I have never thought it was, I swear! What had I been thinking?! I tried really hard to figure out how I might have thought all these elements would fit into a funny little Skelebunnies story. Sometimes (okay, most of the time) my Skelebunnies material is of questionable taste, but there are LIMITS, aren’t there?

          More notes followed about Woobie-judging, and lining the Woobies up by distinguishing marks and ph balance. Bits of dialogue I scribbled in quotes read, “I like to keep things fresh!” and, “Insert the strips!”

          Reading over the notes, I wondered if maybe I’d taken Nyquil before writing all that. The penmanship is uncharacteristically messy and lurching, kind of spiky. Was I having seizures? How could I have forgotten such an incident?

          Then finally I spied a note I’d jotted at the beginning of the three perplexing pages, which says, “Museum Of Tolerance, 4/14/’08”
Hitler, party-pooper
          I heaved a sigh of relief, finally remembering that I’d been a chaperone on a field trip to the Holocaust Museum, and took my notebook along to give me something to do while on the bus ride (which explains the crazily spiky writing), and of course being a nerd I felt the need to take notes about stuff we learned at the museum.

          I never finished that Skelebunnies story, perhaps because it got all jumbled up with Holocaust crap in my head and seemed not so fun anymore.

          Hitler always ruins everything.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


          I needed a notebook to use at an appointment today, and ended up grabbing one that I started in 2007, and had taken to various different conferences and outings.  While flipping through it, I discovered this entry made during a writer's conference:
          I remember I was thrilled to find such fiendish vandalism in a place that's clearly supposed to be elegant.
          I think "IT'S YOUR TURN" is a threatening sort of challenge that I'm just not devilish enough to live up to.  But I appreciate the encouragement.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


          We recently started receiving "Writer's Digest" magazine in the 7th - 12th-grade school library where I work.
          I eagerly started flipping through it, finding all sorts of interesting things.  An article on "Flash Fiction" (just a hip new term for short-short fiction), information about various literary markets, and some profiles of new first-time authors.
          I noticed that they used the same questions for each of the 3 or 4 new authors, asking who they are, what they've written, and what their "Platform" is.  I was puzzled by "Platform," and stopped to read each of those answers.
          Apparently "Platform" refers to your public following, or how you attain your public following.  It's all about built-in fans/readers, which is something publishers totally look for.  So these newly-published writers were all talking about their blogs mostly, and shit like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, I guess.  However they regularly connect with readers, and drum up NEW readers.
          So "Platform" in the publishing industry doesn't seem to refer to what you're trying to say and/or do, your viewpoint/convictions (as it does in politics), but rather just HOW and WHERE you say it.  As long as you're saying it a lot.
          For example: Kim Kardashian's "Platform" would be her reality show(s), Twitter, and probably Facebook, MySpace and every other form of media.  A publisher would probably look at Kim Kardashian and say, "She has a GREAT platform, a huge built-in audience, YES, let's DEFINITELY publish her book."
          (Does she already have a book?  I know that retarded bitch from the Hills does, and several other brainless celebutantes who have other people write shit for them.) 
          Sigh.  What was I saying?  Oh, yeah-- "Platforms." 
          So I guess I better work at blogging more, and trying to pay attention to what OTHER people are blogging or posting on Facebook or whatever.  Talk about a necessary evil.  We just saw a report on TV last night that something like 7 out of 10 Tweets go un...  What do you call that?  Un-Tweetbacked?  Un-responded-to?  Anyway, the point was that nobody cares about anybody ELSE'S Tweets or blog posts or Facebook posts, we tend to just care about what WE'RE saying.  And if we ARE responding to other people's chattering, it's only in the hopes that they'll respond to OURS.
          This is no surprise to anyone, but I guess we have to keep on doing it, especially us creative types who need to appease the literary and art publishers. 


          I had totally forgotten to mention this to anyone, but last weekend at APE (Alternative Press Expo) in San Francisco, one my fans said a very cool thing to me. 
          I was a Special Guest, courtesy of SLG, and the other Special Guests were Lynda Barry, Dan Clowes, Tony Millionaire, and some other notable creators.  I felt honored to be amongst such good company.
          A girl came up to me while I was sitting at the SLG table signing my books, and said she was so excited to see my name in the list of Special Guests.  She had been looking through the other names and didn't recognize ANY of them, until she got to mine, and said, "Oh!  Tommy Kovac!  I know who HE is!"
          This is flattering because some of those "other names" are WAY bigger art stars than I am.  But I guess it depends on your point of view, and what you're into.  Anyway, that was very cool, and I thanked her, and told her she should check out Tony Millionaire's work, because if she likes my stuff she might like his, too.

IN THE DREAMHOUSE: Deathrock Buffalo

          Anthony and I went to see "Paranormal Activity 2" last night, and it was fun and thrilling like a rickety carnival "Scary Ride."  I had really weird dreams, but I don't know if they had anything to do with the movie.  Not obviously, at least.
          I dreamed I was in an art class and we were assigned to make wearable T-shirt designs.  Part of the direction was that it had to be something we ourselves would actually wear.  People were making all these awesome designs, but they turned into more than just drawings, they were like collages and sculptures with all sorts of mixed media.  One student was making a highly-detailed Alice In Wonderland design based on John Tenniel's illustrations.  It was a fun arty classroom, the students all chatting happily, but the desks were so close together you had to actually crawl over them to get to yours.
          I drew a highly-detailed deathrock buffalo with two sets of really wicked horns.  It made perfect sense in the dream.
          Anthony and Matt were there, and during a break we went over to this place next door that was selling refreshments.  I got a weird ticket for coffee, but somebody else grabbed my coffee.  I was really pissed, and showed the vendor my ticket.  She said she needed to see the debit card that was used for the purchase in order to give me my coffee, but Anthony had paid for it, and he was back in class.  (Which, by the way, had turned into a movie theater.)  I was ENRAGED, and demanded my coffee and caused a big scene.  There were other students in line watching, people I'd gone to high school with.  I overheard one of them say to Matt, "Boy, I don't remember him being like that back in high school..."
          Eventually I had to crawl under a chain link fence (still part of the same environment), and was in this rad field that was an obstacle course of giant furry muppet-like creatures.  All different colors and shapes, with giant google eyes and raggy yarn hair.  They were all bobbing around, and gravity seemed to be mostly absent in the field, so I ended up bouncing off of one giant creature to the next, on my way through the course.
          On the other side of the giant Muppet obstacle course was a rocky lagoon, cloaked in mist.  I was swimming for an outcropping, and dragging myself up the ledge to get out of the water when a half-man/half-seamonster rose out of the water to attack me.  He was NOT sexy or anything.  He was green and slimy, with claws and spines and scales.  Somehow in the dream I knew that if he bit me, I'd turn into a monster like him.  I groped and kicked my way up the rocky ledge, with him right at my heels, sharp teeth snapping.  I just barely made it onto a small platform of rock, like a shallow bowl of water that I could slide safely into.  As threatening as the monster was, the color of the water itself was this amazingly beautiful sparkling green-blue.
          Toward the end of my dreams I was in a slightly-off version of our condo, with another element of obstacles.  I don't remember what they were, but I had to be very careful to step OVER them.  Anthony and Esther were curled up cozily on a small divan.  When I went over to sit next to them, Anthony teased me that he and the dog had just gotten comfortable and there wasn't ROOM for me.  But he was just teasing, and scooted Esther over slightly, to make room for me.  I think my dreams ended there. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


          I am sick and tired of seeing ladies wearing track suits "speed-walking" purposefully down the street.  I hate their track suits, I hate their visors or perky pink baseball caps, I hate the way they swing their arms high, like they're just DARING someone to get in their way.  The smug look on their faces says, "I lead a healthy lifestyle!  I am an active and energetic American!  I have a positive attitude!  I'm doing something proactive!"
          This morning on the way to work I kept glancing at myself in the rearview mirror and wondering why I look like shit, and just exactly what the fuck my hair is doing.  I'm wearing tan pants that make me feel super fat, but I have no choice because that's all that's clean right now.  I was running late, feeling haggard, and then I spotted two ladies speed-walking jauntily down the street.
          Did I mention I also hate it when they come in pairs?  Because I do.  Something about the way they chat enthusiastically, marching and twitching in stride. 
          I noticed that one of the women I saw this morning was carrying a long stick, occasionally jabbing it at something on the ground, without breaking stride.  It was one of those trash pokers, and she was collecting street debris as she bustled along, cleaning up her neighborhood.  I thought, "Well, isn't that NICE."
          I really wanted to swerve and demolish her AND her friend, which would have been MY way of cleaning up the neighborhood.