January 2009 Archives

zoom.jpgI can't tell the difference between one car over another.

Everyone is driving around in a repulsively overweight SUV (present company included) or some sort of gray smallish car. How the hell am I supposed to know who you are? Get a God damn "I Heart Nixon" bumper sticker that'll allow me to recognize which idiot you are.

There is one car that I'll never forget. My Mother's orange Volkswagen Squareback. At the time, that orange automobile = Mom. As far as I was concerned, it was quintessential Mom, one of a kind. When I saw it parked around town, I knew she wasn't far away.

Recently I came across a VW Squareback, an orange one. It was parked on a side street in Brooklyn.

Who lives here and what the hell are they doing with my Mother's car?

I was tempted to knock on the front door to the house, but I thought it was better to enjoy it from afar. A flood of memories came back to me.

One day, Mom asked me to paint her car. PAINT-HER-CAR. Holy cow! That sounded...important. At the time, I don't think my age hit the double digits yet. I felt privileged about the thought, and exhausted at the same time.

Little did I know that it was magic paint. Mom put food coloring and water in a big bucket, and handed it to me with a brush. So off I went to re-paint the car, in good spirits the whole time. Of course, what ever color I painted it, it always stayed the same carroty colored vehicle.

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Climbing out of my hiatus (Illustration Friday, topic: climbing):


As many of you are aware, things have been pretty busy for me lately. Now that we're finally semi-settled into our new home, I'll be creating new artwork again. For you locals, looks like my work will be featured in two -- yes two -- art shows in February. More details to come.

Vector art, Adobe Illustrator CS4

Prints: chrisleavens.imagekind.com

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newman I was a kernel of an employee on The Today Show at the time. He came on the show to promote a new film called MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE. I remember just gawking at him, as he casually spoke with the segment producer and sauntered around eating fistfuls of grapes and sipping coffee in the green room. I wondered why I thought this old guy was so freakin' cool. When the Executive Producer walked in to welcome him back, Newman placed his paper coffee cup between his teeth, firmly shook little Jeffrey Zucker's hand and winked. What just happened? Who can pull that off at seven in the morning?

After his segment was over, I walked him out to his car. I had the urge to say something else to him, anything. I needed to tell my siblings and my parents that I actually spoke with Paul Newman. He put on his sunglasses and headed toward the revolving exit door to the NBC building out to his black sedan, and I said, "Nice glasses." He looked at me with a slight wrinkle in his brow and said, "Kid, I've had these things for forty years." And with that, he was gone.

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Steve, the artist and blogger behind the website "Go Flying Turtle," was kind enough to interview me and showcase some of my work on his blog. Go check it out! While you're there, check out Steve's artwork. He's really talented and he's a super-good guy. The interview covers different ground than other past interviews have, so it's definitely worth your time if you have the time. If you don't have the time, then sit back and relax because you're really busy and I can sympathize (I'm really busy, too).

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Things have been super busy recently, mostly due to our recent move from apartment to house. Even amidst my inactivity, though, things continue to stew. Case in point: I was interviewed for the web-based publication VIZIOmag, based out of South America (I believe).


The feature on me appears in issue #3, which is available as a download for both Mac and Windows. The other artwork and artists represented in this issue are really great, so check it out.

More to come for sure, no doubt. Happy New Year, everybody.

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When the crazy Athenian and his young friend from the bakery said they were planning to open a truck stop and RV park in the middle of the desert, I didn't know what to say. Sure, it was a needed service for that hell-blasted region, but were there subtleties of exquisite historical context I was overlooking? I wished them both good luck and headed, not to my home, but to the library, to bone up on my Classical studies. I would not be caught so flat-footed again. Not in the damn desert, anyway.

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This is the story of Paul Sylvania. Paul lives alone in a tiny studio apartment in Manhattan, located a few blocks north of Columbia University on the Upper West Side. He spends his days nearby behind a counter at "Justin's Deli & More" making omelets, toasting bagels and pouring coffee for the typical ungrateful throng of New Yorkers that grab-and-go as they dash off to their own versions of a repetitive day.

His mornings never fail to start off the same way. He wakes up at 5:45am, takes a shower, gets dressed in a pair of dark slacks and a white button down shirt, then eats a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, all while the morning news is heard in the background being spit out by the local talking heads. After he brushes his teeth, he heads out the door to the establishment he has worked at for the last seven years.

On this Monday morning, he enters the deli and does one last thing for himself as part of his morning ritual; he opens his wallet to take one dollar bill out and places it on the counter near the New York Lottery machine. Justin Koehler, the owner, looks up at Paul and says, "feeling lucky today, Sylvania?" Paul responds with a sigh, "a dollar and a dream, right?" Paul enviously looks up at all the faded lottery tickets exclaiming the previous winners' earnings dangling above the lotto machine. While their intention is to encourage and excite future customers, Paul can only see it as a fat middle finger to him.

After getting his ticket, Paul carefully folds it into fours and places it in his wallet sandwiched between two twenty dollar bills. He then heads off to the grill to put on his apron.

Now, you might expect Mr. Sylvania to proceed through his day full of regret and boredom about his life. I would agree with that assumption, but that's where we would be wrong. Why wouldn't he be, right? He is exhausted by the end of every day and heads home with a consistent frown on his face and the smell of bacon on his shirt. For some reason, as soon as Paul puts that ticket in his wallet, between the two twenties, he comes alive. It's as if someone injected a large amount of caffeine in his system. Paul becomes an entertainer, occasionally bringing smiles to the regulars as he excitedly echoes their breakfast orders through a musical yell, "one scrambled egg white omelet with a side of turkey bacon coming right up" The people that are lined up to order their breakfast of choice begin to wonder how he will announce their order.

How did this happen? What are we missing in this story? Does he think he has a winning lottery ticket in his back pocket? We need to keep watching this man to find out more...

Here we are in his apartment on Tuesday morning, and we see a cereal bowl with a couple of remaining mushy cheerios making it's way around the milky shallow remains of Paul's breakfast. As we look up, we get a glimpse of him apathetically heading toward the door. As we follow Paul, he seems to be the same as he was yesterday morning. He enters the deli, and again takes out a dollar. We see a similar conversation with his boss, and again the folding of the ticket and the procession over to the grill to get his apron on and get to work. As he begins to head over to his work station, we see him skip. Yes, skip! Does he think he won the lottery again? Is this man a bit slow?


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It was halfway through his colonoscopy when Mercer St. Stephens came to a realization that was to affect the entire course of his credit rating. Having been administered only a mild, local anesthetic, Mercer was miserably awake -- if not exactly alert -- for the procedure and distractedly watched the monitor as a fiber-optic camera plumbed the cavernous depths of his bowels. At that moment, Dr. Mark Crenshaw was studying the monitor and talking softly into a headset mic as he worked the remote control.

"Uh, excuse me, Doc," said Mercer. "What are you doing? Who are you talking to on that thing?"

"What, this? I'm recording the DVD commentary," replied Dr. Crenshaw, as if the answer were obvious.

"DVD commentary?"

"Sure. I got the idea from that Monty Python movie, The Meaning of Life. You seen it?"

"Uh, once maybe, a long time ago," Mercer half-fibbed. He didn't think he'd seen it, but he didn't want to come off as culturally illiterate.

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If he ever got out of this alive, Peter swore he'd never mistake a mausoleum for a pet shop again. He also swore he'd never huff paint behind the hardware store where he worked and then take a shortcut through the cemetery on his way home again. Finally he swore, bitterly and with much vehemence, at himself for getting into this situation in the first place. Clearly he was just in a swearing mood.

As he crouched behind a tombstone, he heard the moans and cries of his pursuers as they combed the graveyard looking for him.

"Fools! Idiots!" cried one in a thick Romanian accent. "How hard is it to find one frightened boy?"

Frightened? Boy? The words alone made Peter's blood boil. Okay, maybe he was a little scared, but he was no boy. Would a mere boy blunder his way into a night of terror involving the ranks of the undead, who were even now intent on making him one of them? Actually, yes, he would. But it would take a man to get him out of it.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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