Monday, January 30, 2012


          Someone left these in the bathroom at work, and they've been sitting there for MONTHS, now. Why does the owner refuse to remove them? They are totally gross, and for some reason one of my first thoughts upon seeing them was, "What if you had really bad OCD, and felt compelled to LICK these nasty sandals?"
          I will not lick them, but now that the thought has occurred to me, I sort of feel like SOMEBODY should lick them. That is DISGUSTING. It would be the perfect punishment.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

OZ : new movies to be nervous about

          Well, it would certainly be nice if these new Oz-related movies helped drum up some new and broader interest in The Royal Historian of Oz, a graphic novel I recently completed with artist Andy Hirsch, published by SLG, Inc.
          Aside from that possibility, I'm scared. I'm always scared when somebody treads on literary sacred ground. Will it be a sacrilege? Will I want to gouge out my own eyes? That's what's so nerve-wracking about CREATING something based on a much-loved children's classic. I was nervous when I started writing Royal Historian, but I'm a fan of the original books by L. Frank Baum, and tried to show as much respect and reverence for the original material as possible.
          Here are the new Oz movies in the works:

          Oz: the Great and Powerful. A prequel starring James Franco as a younger Wizard of Oz, scheduled for a March 2013 release. Here is Disney's official synopsis:
Walt Disney Pictures' fantastical adventure "Oz The Great and Powerful," directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum's beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's hit the jackpot--fame and fortune are his for the taking--that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity--and even a bit of wizardry--Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.
          Here's what I don't like about this so far: I don't find the Wizard to be one of the most interesting characters, especially if they're going by the movie version of the Wizard. Also- I saw James Franco most recently in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and the CG ape turned in a far more nuanced and believable performance.
          I don't like that bit at the end, about the Wizard transforming himself into a better man. Are we going to get hit over the head with a moral? Besides, since this is a prequel, I think it's too early for the Wizard to become a better man, since he is still a charlatan and a fake when Dorothy meets him. It's only later in the original series of books that the Wizard develops real magic powers.
          But who knows? Maybe I'll end up liking it. I LOVED Disney's 1985 live-action Return To Oz, with Fairuza Balk as Dorothy.

          Dorothy of Oz. This one is a CG animated movie (Summertime Entertainment/Alpine Pictures), scheduled for a May 2012 release. Voices by Lea Michele (Dorothy), Martin Short (a new villain called the Jester), Dan Aykroyd (the Scarecrow), Kelsey Grammer (the Tin Man), and Jim Belushi (the Cowardly Lion). Oh- and Patrick Stewart as a tugboat. WTF, right?
          It's based on a book by Roger S. Baum, one of L. Frank Baum's great-grandsons. The story takes place as soon as Dorothy returns home after her very first trip to Oz. Kansas is all f***ed up from the twister, but then she's whisked back to Oz, where she and her pals are confronted by "The Jester," a character NOT in the original books, and since he's being voiced by Martin Short I can only imagine how annoying it will be. I'm already annoyed by Lea Michele voicing Dorothy, since I find her strident and obnoxious on "Glee." I have a bad attitude about this, and maybe I need to turn my frown upside-down. But that's just how I roll.

          You know, I'm not ALWAYS a sourpuss about this sort of thing. I was really looking forward to Disney & Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland. It's a shame that movie basically shat all over Lewis Carroll's beautiful creation. If you want to see what a dick I am about it, go HERE.

Friday, January 27, 2012

IN THE DREAMHOUSE : arterial spray

          Usually I can watch horror movies right before bed without any problem, but last night I watched the last 20 minutes of the Amityville remake. It's not even a good remake, but there's a scene where Ryan Reynolds is seeing visions of the previous occupant's suicide by throat-slitting, and you see Ryan's face covered in showers of arterial blood spray. As I watched it I was like, "Eh... Whatever. Time for bed."
          But I had this nightmare that I was in a multi-level hotel, going up and down elevators trying to escape a serial killer. I ended up in a lounge just as the killer entered the room. Just by chance, I was behind some other people at the bar, mostly obscured from the killer's view. He had a switchblade, and cut down a few people around me, so I dropped to the ground with them and played possum.
          He slit the throat of a man right next to me, and as I lay there on the ground praying I wouldn't be discovered I could feel the man's blood spattering across me.
          Luckily the nightmare either ended there, or shifted scenes, so I wasn't discovered. But it was bad enough, man!
          I woke up, and my mind quickly shifted from serial killers and blood spray to diarrhea. The word itself. It's a nuanced word, with the double-R and the silent H. The double-R gives it an appropriate growl/grunt, and the silent H reflects a miserable silent breath of discomfort. I started getting ideas for poop-related pop art, and that's when I realized it was time to just accept that I wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep.
          I got out of bed, fed the dog, got a cup of coffee, and here I am...

Thursday, January 26, 2012


          This week is agonizingly slow, dragging by legless and nearly dehydrated. It's finals week for the students, so the library has been either frenziedly busy (before, between, and after classes) or eerily silent.
          At my psychiatrist's office yesterday, I confided that I could feel my brain trying to get anxious and fixated negatively on some things lately, but so far I've been self-aware enough to nip that in the bud. Thanks to the drugs. I made a point to insist that I felt the drugs were still working, because I'm not ready to have my dosages increased, or to be put on something more heavy-duty. But I felt it was important to lay a little groundwork of honesty, in case I grow increasingly spazzy, and need to have my prescriptions tweaked.
          The fact that I don't have a publisher yet for my illustrated children's middle-grade fantasy novel makes me feel un-anchored and nervous. I've only written 5 or 6 chapters of it, and only submitted it to (and been rejected by) one publisher. I know I should relax and just enjoy working on it. I've been wanting to shift gears from comics & graphic novels to something more... "novelly" for years now. But my brain doesn't do well without clear deadlines and agreements.
          Maybe I should go straight home and work really hard on it. Maybe I should put my energy into exercising, eating less, and trying to lose some weight. I am 40 now, after all. Maybe I should put my energy into some potentially "fine art" type of creativity. There's (potentially) more money in that, from what I've seen. Why be constrained by the format of a book at all? Sometimes it's hard to tell if I feel like writing, or drawing. And when I definitely feel like writing, part of me wants to work on the children's novel, and another part of me wants to write something for adults, like a full-on horror novel, or something more complex and harder to fit into a simplified category.
          Maybe I just need a nap.
          But then I remember that I got a notice from the IRS about a minor tax discrepancy from my 2010 taxes. I need to figure that out, in case I need to file a correction. The notice I received didn't give a deadline, though, so it's easy to procrastinate, especially something confusing like taxes.
          My mom was kind enough to give me an awesome industrial-type pin-back button (badge) maker for Christmas. It's a small press with metal pieces and a lever. I should make a bunch of buttons and try to sell them on Etsy, or at conventions and stuff. Maybe THAT'S what I should do this evening. I've made some buttons already, of course, but not enough to start selling.
          Maybe I DO need more drugs. Why can't I let myself just relax, take a nap, read, watch some TV? Is that really so terrible?
          But I also have this painting project I started, then abandoned temporarily for button-making. The painting project involves a big metal Medieval shield that hangs on the wall. I've already spray-painted it black and painted a weird blue animal face over what used to be a coat-of-arms. I've been planning to add some Martha Stewart glitter paint to it. The bottles are lined up eagerly on my drafting table: blue, amethyst, and green.
          HOLY CRAP the choir next door to the library is singing "Send In the Clowns." What have I done to deserve that?
          Anyway, maybe I just need to drink more often. Oh- and then lately it's been really grim because the Librarian I work with found out that her husband has terminal lung cancer. It's awful beyond words, and I feel terrible for both of them. Of course she didn't want everyone to know right away because she didn't want to have to talk about it all the time. But people have started finding out and coming in to commiserate. And asking ME about it. Even on Facebook. So I'm trying to keep my mind off mortality, but it's been difficult.
          I thought of a great band name: "Diarrhea Envy." Get it? Like "penis envy," only with diarrhea...? No?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


          On Tuesday, January 17th, two dog walkers on a trail in the Hollywood Hills discovered a human head in a bag. One of their dogs started playing with it. Here's the story:
          Of course I drew a few quick cartoons inspired by it:

Friday, January 13, 2012

FRIDAY the 13th

          I'm not at all superstitious about Friday the 13th, or anything else for that matter. (Except for black cats crossing my path, but that's another story)
          Here's why today sucks:
          First off I finally received a response to my middle grade fantasy novel, which I had submitted to an editor with a big well-known publisher. It was a rejection, which is always a bummer, but I have to say the REASONS why my story wasn't right for him made me laugh out loud, considering the obscene and irreverent nature of a lot of my previous work. Here's what the editor said:

"Thank you for letting me read this, but I don't think it will work on my list as the story seems too old-fashioned and twee for my taste. Good luck finding the right publisher for this."

          I don't love having my work rejected, but I understand his reasons and kind of enjoy being called old-fashioned and twee. Especially since just last night I listed two "My Little Penis" coffee mugs on Etsy.
          The other reason today sucks is that I had to sit here at my desk and listen to a discussion/debate between a student and a substitute teacher about whether or not gay people deserve equal rights. It was a Social Studies class, and they're researching the different presidential candidates and their stances on the major issues.
          The student is Mormon, and VERY insistently anti gay marriage. The substitute did an AWESOME job of questioning the kid's faulty reasoning and trying to make him see the other side of the issue. But I have heard this kid go on about it before, and he's unfortunately full of brazen confidence and good-natured smiles and Mormon brain-washing. Blond, blue eyes, clean cut, just as you would expect. He's always been extremely polite and respectful to my face, and he KNOWS I'm gay, and married to a dude. It's amazing how people like that can sit right there in front of you and argue why you shouldn't have the same civil rights they do, and expect you to just accept it.
          It's like they expect you to react the way you would if the disagreement were over which is better, chocolate or vanilla ice cream. No big deal, right?
          So I listened to them go back and forth for a while, respecting each other's opinions, smiling and laughing, yet making their points. Finally I got up and said, "You know what? I wasn't going to say anything, but I have to. You all know I'm gay, and that I have a husband. Well, it's really weird for me to sit here and listen to you guys debate whether or not I should have the same rights everyone else does. I just think you should consider that, and try to imagine what it's like for me. It's like if you were arguing in favor of racism right in front of a black person."
          The kid tried to say that it's not discrimination, and he had all sorts of weird incorrect ideas obviously from his church. He was saying that if they make gay marriage legal, then if a church won't marry gay people, they'll have their tax-exempt status removed, and go bankrupt, and it's not right for the poor churches to go bankrupt over that. I finally interrupted and said, "It IS discrimination. What you want is the right to discriminate, and you should just be HONEST about that."
          I also said that during the 6 months or so that it was legal in California, my husband and I had a civil marriage ceremony, we certainly didn't FORCE ourselves into anyone's church, and I didn't hear about any OTHER gay couples doing that. I told him I wasn't even sure if he was correct that a church could be forced to hold gay marriages. I said, "I wouldn't want any part of a church that didn't respect and honor my marriage, anyway. Why would we want that?"
          Another issue the substitute had raised was the right for a gay person's partner to be involved in medical/health decisions, and hospital visiting rights. The kid actually, honestly, said, "Oh, but that's such a minor thing!" He even argued with the substitute about HOW minor that issue is. And he was not kidding. And he's a SENIOR. And we're a college prep academy.
          I told him it may seem like a very minor thing to him, at his age, but my husband is diabetic and it has and could in the future be a very real issue for us. It is VERY important.
          I tried my best to be firm yet not seem angry, and to give the impression that I respect the Mormon kid's viewpoints, even though I most certainly do not.
          I know some gay people might have thought it wiser to say nothing, but I REFUSE to make it easy for anybody to debate my equal rights in front of my face. Especially when the person arguing my rights away KNOWS I'm gay. That is seriously fucked up. It's like that type of person banks on me (the minority) being too intimidated to say anything.
          Needless to say, my nerves were totally shaken by the time that period ended, but I was determined not to show it.