It’s been a busy, strange week here at Lockardugan Central, so we decided to have some drinks and dip into the Halloween candy reservoir last night to, uh, test it for quality. It’s funny how Dark Chocolate Twix make everything so much better so quickly. Jen just came back home with a pile of decorations for the house, so we’re going to close the studio early to get the house ready for the kids this evening.
Addendum: The photo above was taken hand-held in exceptionally low light, on manual settings. I’ve made a breakthrough with the D70 since I got the new lens, and suddenly everything makes more sense. I’ve been shooting everything manually since the Oyster Festival, and now the F-stop/shutter speed combinations are drilled into my head in a way that I could not learn on film cameras. I’ve also learned to use the ISO settings to my advantage, and I’ll be getting into the intricacies of metering next.
Jen and I needed to get out of the house this afternoon, so we checked out the Elkridge Flea Market on Rt. 1. After navigating a highly chaotic parking lot, we found the pickings to be slim, unless as a shopper you’re interested in cowboy boots, secondhand tools, kung-fu DVD’s, or cellphone holsters. As a slice-of-life destination, it’s hard to beat, however.
Alright, for the four readers of this here weblog, a question: Should I (providing it’s still available) buy this $900 project Vespa? I could spend the winter disassembling it, have the metal sandblasted, and get the chrome refinished while I learn how to rebuild the motor. If your answer is yes, what color should it be?
Come on, internets, give me a sign.
Jen and I belong to a gym in a suburb of Baltimore that’s generally a bit higher on the income scale than other areas. We like the gym because it’s low-key and quiet during the hours we usually get there, it’s not a meat market, and the atmosphere is one of healthy workouts, not Mr. Olympiad pose-off contests. One of the reasons for this is the high percentage of older members—the area is also full of retiree communities—and the other reason is that it’s a dual health and rehabilitation facility. However, this skew to the older, more conservative demographic makes it interesting to overhear certain conversations in the locker room (and it’s not hard to overhear when most of the participants are deaf).
This morning I was listening to a conversation that had me grinding my teeth for a half an hour afterwards. Two men were discussing our current governor’s plan to deal with a 1.7 billion shortfall in the state budget. I’m going to paraphrase here.
Guy #1: O’Malley’s going to tax us right out of the state. Did you hear?
Guy #2: Yeah.
Guy #1: Raise the gasoline tax by $.50. Tax health clubs.
Guy #2: Tax all the services.
Guy #1: And then, just wait until Hilary gets in there. It’s all going to hell then.
Guy #2: We won’t be able to make enough money to survive with all the taxes.
Guy #1: I like those bumper stickers that say, ‘Don’t blame me, I voted for Erlich.’
Guy #2: (laughs)
Guy #1: ….
Guy #2: I don’t know…did you see how much the war is going to cost us? I like Bush, but they’re spending too much money. That’s not the conservative way.
Guy #1: Well, I’m waiting for Iraq to start paying us back. They’ve got a ton of oil.
Guy #2: They don’t have that much oil.
Guy #1: THey have more oil than they know what to do with.
At this point, I found it hard not to stick my liberal pinko ass into the conversation, so I took a shower. but what I wanted to point out was:
They need to pay us back? Let’s break this down for a minute, buddy. Imagine, if you will, that America actually still produced or built something that the rest of the world wanted, like, say, steel. Now let’s say the great country of Spain bombed the shit out of us one day, then shipped in a million troops and set up camps all over the place, and then set their sights on getting us to start producing steel again to pay them back for bombing us?
What part of that scenario is hard to understand? We don’t own that oil, but we act like we do. A certain percentage of our population apparently feels entitled to it. And that same percentage takes umbrage at the idea of higher gas taxes to pay for social services. Unbelievable.
This weekend, Jen’s family threw a surprise birthday/retirement celebration for her father. His children made him wear a crown to his birthday dinner, but he owned it as if it was his birthright, and we taught him all the proper gang signs to throw when he wears his bling in public.
Sunday’s events were centered around the Oyster Festival, which has become something of a family tradition, and an event Jen and I look forward to every year.
Oysters fried and raw were sampled, to varying degrees of approval.
Happy birthtirement, Mr. Lockard!
As if I didn’t have enough work this fall, I’ve also gotten back to my illustration after abandoning pausing it for a couple of months. The kick in the pants I needed was an email I got from the Directory of Illustration, informing me that the book I’ve been paying off since April will be shipping sometime in November, which got me both excited and panicked at the same time. I don’t have a whole lot of new work to show besides the stuff I published in the book (the Alphabet Project is great, but I need to show a lot of editorial work if I want any jobs) so I’m on a crash schedule for the rest of this month to crank out some new work. I’ve got about ten non-AP pieces ready, with two more concepts waiting in the wings, so I think I’m on track to have fifteen ready by November 1.
Part of the new assignment is to do an illustration for each of Naomi Wolf’s 10 Steps to Fascism, a subject I’ve been mulling over for the last couple of months. Finding the article was a gift. The first idea came to me in a burst of inspiration, and the next two appeared pretty quickly (even if I’m having a hard time making one of them work correctly). The goal here is to have at least three solid ideas for each new assignment by the end of the year—it’s a matter of training the brain to think conceptually again, which is a lot like learning how to write with your non-dominant hand.
I also installed a fresh copy of Movable Type 4.0 on my portfolio site, and I’m going to revamp things around there a bit to make that new weblog a more integral part of the site—I’ll use it for showcasing work in progress, illustration subjects and websites, and general art subjects that don’t fit here. That should be enough to keep me busy for a while: writing here, there, as well as developing websites and (hopefully) illustrating professionally again. yikes!
Pretty ambitious, huh? I may not have the whole thing up and running by 1 November, but I intend to have something new to share that Thursday. Keep your eyes open and your fingers crossed for me.