July 2008 Archives

Something was standing at the foot of the bed, just staring at him. He knew this despite the fact that he had not opened his eyes. He had heard it creep in while he was lying there, trying to go to sleep. Something had been troubling him and it was preventing him from dropping off, but that was nothing compared to what was troubling him now. A monster in the bedroom almost invariably meant trouble of some kind.

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Having grown tired of canned fruit, the King decided to sup upon something fresher (Illustration Friday, topic: canned).

For those who are keeping score, this is the 500th Unloosen post. Thanks for sticking around.

Acrylic on canvas.

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"This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun." - CLARK GRISWOLD


Doc, you gotta help me!

It's this TV show, Doc, this Fear Itself. Yeah, that's right, Doc, the NBC horror anthology airing Thursday nights at ten, nine central right after Last Comic Standing. Boy, you sure know your TV shows, Doc. I didn't think anybody but me was watching... and judging from the ratings they ain't. So you been watching it too?

Oh, just heard about it somewhere, huh? Still, I'm impressed.

Anyway, Doc, here's my problem. I've been watching this turkey since day one. Day one, Doc, and I ain't missed an episode yet. Loyal as Greyfriars Bobby, you might say. And what do I get in return, Doc? Zilch, that's what. Zero. Nada. Nothing. El blank-oh.

What do I want from it? How about a genuine scare every once in a while! The title is Fear Itself but I haven't experienced any actual fear itself. Boredom itself, yes. Disappointment itself, definitely. Confusion itself, frustration itself, curiosity about what's on the other channels itself, you name it. Everything but fear itself. I want the fear, Doc. I crave it like the junkie craves his needle. You grok, Doc?

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John pushed the plate away, having reached the point where further food consumption was undesirable. He had eaten everything on the plate except for three hushpuppies, which he didn’t have room for and didn’t feel like making room for. He didn’t want to waste them, but didn’t seem to have much choice in the matter. The first couple had gone down okay, but that was because he had had fish to eat with them. Now the fish were gone and the hushpuppies remained. The bland, virtually tasteless hushpuppies.

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One fish monster is never enough. (Illustration Friday, topic: enough)

Prints: chrisleavens.imagekind.com

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I hate being lied to. Maybe I'm simply too trusting in general, but when I see something in a film or a television show I like to think that it happened the way it was depicted (unless, of course, the event takes place in an obvious dream or fantasy sequence, in which case I'm more than willing to give the filmmakers [or telefilmmakers, as the case may be] the benefit of the doubt). The one thing I can't stand is when I'm led to believe one thing for 55 minutes (or 85 minutes or 235 minutes) only to have the rug pulled out from under me in the last five. (That being said, if somebody did make a four-hour film that relied on a twist ending, I would have to grudgingly admire him or her for having the balls [or ovaries, as the case may be] to try it even if I still ended up hating the film itself.)

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In PA, Adriana and I visited DHL, who decided to dress conservatively for the occassion:

Adriana partook in the good Doctor's Drank (thanks, Ed) sipping ritual, effectively "slowing his roll:"

We watched and laughed as dr. SATAN, who lives a few houses down from DHL, mowed his lawn. Lunchbox of Blood showed us their instruments of terror, talked about playing them, and then fed us hamburgers. It was good.

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For my 25th birthday, I received a female mannequin torso. It was a group effort and the culprits included Wargo, Kendall, and Jack. This was back in the glory days when both Wargo and Kendall were still existing in LA. Seven years have past and I finally feel like I've done the mannequin some justice. Here she is (click on the little photos for the big ones):

Admittedly, my painting skills are a little rusty and it shows in my technique. There's more painting stuff planned for the near future, so a remedy called practice may cure my ills.

Acrylics on mannequin.

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What are you going to do, just sit there and stare at me? Didn’t you notice when you sat down in the driver’s seat that your vehicle had a passenger? What do you expect me to do? Fly away or something? I’m hanging on for dear life here! I’m sure this trip would have been no picnic even if I had stayed under the hood, but I was tired of being cooped up under there. I had to go exploring.

Good God, man, watch the road! Are you trying to get us both killed or something? If you want to see what I am, wait until we reach a stoplight or something. In the meantime, do you think you could slow down a little? I know the posted speed limit is 30 mph, but it’s taking all my strength just to stay curled up in this little ball. You think it’s easy being an insect? You try it sometime.

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What the hell was that thing? He hadn’t noticed it when he sat down in the driver’s seat, but it must have been there. Insects generally didn’t land on vehicles that were in motion – not live ones, anyway. Then again, this one didn’t appear to have any wings. Perhaps it had been hiding under the hood and had chosen an inopportune moment to explore the windshield.

And was it even an insect? Whenever he was able to steal a glance at it he tried to count its legs to see whether it was a spider or not, but that was hard to do with the poor little creature flattened against the glass. He wasn’t even driving that fast, but 30 mph appeared to be enough to keep it immobile.

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Dutiful Steve, Dutiful Steve,

Dodge that Plymouth with a beautiful weave,

Rocket your chrome past the lush of Spring green,

All squat upon leather like a plump little bean.

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"We're off on the road to Morocco / Well look out / Well clear the way / 'Cause here we come" - BING CROSBY & BOB HOPE (1942)

You can buy just about anything in Marrakesh, anything you can name. By day, the tourists -- their thick necks glistening in the relentless Moroccan sun, the backs of their knees moist with afternoon sweat -- haggle with the shopkeeps over jewelry, drugs, and gray-market electronics in the large, open-air souk. But by night, when the day-trippers and sightseers are safely tucked away in their overpriced hotels, Marrakesh becomes something different altogether. Call it Hell's own strip mall. That's when the bargains really start flying. You say want a man killed? Fifty dirhams, please. His head brought back to you on a platter? That'll be five extra. (Ten if you're a traditionalist and insist on a silver platter.) A government overthrown? Right away, sir. I think 200 dirhams should cover it. Cash up front, of course. Your Discover card's no good here.

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Vacation has ended, bringing me back to LA, back to usable Internet, and back to another group art show:

Flying sunglasses will apparently be in attendance as will my artwork, but unfortunately I will not be present. Adriana and I will be enjoying our nation's independence along the central coast of California. Hopefully we won't be engulfed in flames or anything.

But wait, there's more:

My artwork is also currently on display at the Flintridge Bookstore, an independent bookstore in affluent La Canada-Flintridge, CA. The bookstore's been nice enough to house my work for the past three weeks or so and may continue to do so for another month or so. If you're in the area and want to see the majesty that is the work of "Christo" in person, you have two options. Bookstore address: 964 Foothill Blvd. La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011.

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