Saturday, May 28, 2011


I drew up a list of positive and negative influences in my life. Thankfully for me and years of working at it, my list of negative influences is very very short. My list of positive influences is inexhaustibly long. So for the most part it doesn't represent a dramatic reorganising of my life.

Just before Christmas last year I had the unpleasant task of telling my mother she was borderline negative influence on my life. She had returned home with the impact of an atom bomb, I can only speak for myself but I had survivors guilt (I moved out of home for the summer) and decided the only right thing to do was address it directly. So I told her she was a borderline negative influence.

She took it well, she approached me shortly afterwards to tell me it was the single most hurtful thing she'd ever heard in her life. I gave her a hug. I didn't get upset though to see her distress, the fact was that she had well and truly picked up the 'vibe' of it anyway.

Anyway that's in the past and now is now, after 4 months back overseas my folks have returned yet again, this time for 10 days. It's pushed me to the brink of sanity. I was going through a down period anyway and am in the middle (quite literally) of completing assignments. Because they are here only a brief time I am stuck in a dilemma.

Ideally I would just be able to suck it up and wait it out. Except Janice is in my hair, I can't live like this. I can't hack it I can't take it, it's killing me. Within 6 hours of her arrival I was ready to get all Meatloaf to her Gary Bussie.

I need all my self control to study, not stop myself from telling Janice where to go. She senses the cold shoulder though (which is as good as I can manage. Emotions are hard to hide) and has an almost pathological need to confirm it is there. By asking me inane questions which in turn is more infuriating and distracting and...


I have tried being direct but nice and informing her I have assignments to do and if she would kindly leave me be, get out of my hair I would appreciate it. That didn't work.

I've fallen back on passive aggressive tactics, like describing how much I appreciate unsolicited advice. That was met with unsolicited advice.

I don't know what to do, but I'm afraid I'll do something, and it won't be pretty.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ted Talks

So where's my life at right now? Let me tell you with the words of Theodore Roosevelt (See what I did there, with the title Shonesy knows what I'm talking about)

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Death is always and under all circumstances a tragedy, for if it is not, then it means that life itself has become one.

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

I have already lived and enjoyed as much life as any nine other men I have known.

In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

It may be true that he travels farthest who travels alone; but the goal thus reached is not worth reaching. And as for a life deliberately devoted to pleasure as an end — why, the greatest happiness is the happiness that comes as a by-product of striving to do what must be done, even though sorrow is met in the doing.



Today I went to Slutwalk, and I was thinking as I walked along 'I really should do more research into who organises these protests and what they are actually about' I specifically had in mind the 'International Draw Mohammed Day' campaign, which though I fully believe in artist freedom, freedom of speech and that no body has the right to enforce their beliefs on others with violence, it was also a platform for hate that the organisers tore down (from facebook).

So I felt a bit worried I might be turning up to a protest that was endorsing the wrong brand of feminism - the sexuality is our power - type of feminism that isn't really feminism at all but an apology for the porn industry, run largely to benefit men (Hugh Heffner comes to mind).

But it was one of the best protests I've been to. There were good speakers and no terrible ones. What was said effected me. That I think is why I go, to learn and be affected, many of the causes I supposedly support I am actually woefully ignorant on.

I also just think nobody on earth should have to endure a substandard of life, not by design anyway.

There were a lot of women there. And there's something about standing in a crowd full of women that makes it different when you hear '1 in 5 women report having been victim of some form of sexual assualt by the time the are 16.' or something like that, I'm not sure about the age but I am certain of the ratio. Anyway, it made me realise that I was in the presence and probably always am, of women who have been sexually assualted in some way.

I can think of only one time in my life I called a girl a slut, and I didn't use the words just implied it to her. I loved her, she wasn't a slut, she was a cheater that was all and unlike most victims of sexual assualt I had brought that upon myself. So I really regret even implying that, that time, and that was the only time. It hurts me to think about it, but even then I don't think I ever actually believed that such a thing actually exists.

That is to say that somehow a woman's worth is diminished by how 'promiscuous' she is, that she loses something with every partner she takes on. It doesn't make sense to me, we gain something from every partner we have in some form or another.

I think a search of this blog may also turn up a post entitled 'something something insecure sluts' but even then, that word doesn't exist, that was a description of a self destructive emotional trap. Man or woman could easily stumble into such a trap, the trap I described was an abortive pursuit of love.

Slut's not a thing, it's a fairy tale. I apologise, for what it is worth, to everybody.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I'm fucked. I'm completely fucking fucked. I'm totally fucked. I am, absolutely, fucked.

I've always claimed to never get stressed, yet I find myself now having to calm myself. But what are the symptoms if I am stressed?

I get hit with an intense wave of fatigue, I just want to give up and accept the negative consequences of my inaction feeling certain they cannot possibly be as bad as doing the work.

I look for distraction, 'productive procrastination' something to watch or read or anything that will allow me to avoid sitting down and doing the work I need to do.

Eventually I will sit up, take stock, maybe take some of the fallout on the chin, the consequences will not be so bad, I will gain a sense of purpose, of forward momentum and then just stop.

When I took my dog for a walk this morning the song my ipod was on was 'Falling to Pieces' by the time I rode home from work last night I evidently had lost all consciousness of what I was listening to.

Yet the song is entirely appropriate, my life is falling to pieces, I want it to fall to pieces, I want to get this last chunk of assignment done and out of the way.

But it is a crushing, brutal obstacle. For a subject of dubious value and a task that reflects a career path I have no desire to pursue (researching financial models) I have to reference and write and justify my point of view. These are just some of my most hated things.

And it's onerous, and complicated, and I just don't care. That's the worst part, my only motivation is to pass this subject. Every other subject I learned something from, found interesting, pleasant. This one was vague, demoralising and confusing.

It is eating my soul.

This is the melodrama I am sitting in right now, like a shallow bath that has turned cold.

Experience tells me I will sit up, pull myself together, remind myself I'm smarter than the average bear, put pen to paper get my momentum up and at the exact moment my confidence is restored I will take a break until I am stressed again.

But fuck it. I don't care. It has helped me realise what I actually care about in life, and studying the behaviour of other investors in order to try and make a profit off them is something I just don't give a flying fuck about.

Friday, May 20, 2011

There goes my hero...

The calibre of people that believe in me sort of obliges me to become something. Anything less would be to injure them, and they are amazing people that unprompted seemed to come forward all at once and tell me that they believed in me.

Having said that I went to check if Takehiko had given up on Vagabond which hasn't gotten past it's 300th issue. So I went to his website to see if he had announced any definitive break on the project and found his journal of working on a commission to draw a large folding screen portrait of a famous monk for a famous temple.

have to finish by tomorrow morning.
But it's already later then expected.

There was no more time to wait. Upon viewing my painting and realizing my
own shortcomings, I was extremely angry.

That's ego. My ego is not confident and is lashing out. I can do
something better. I have no time. I don't have enough experience. Leave
me alone when I'm drawing. I really can draw better. (I don't think)
that's the right image. It's somebody's fault. It's something's fault.


My lack of confidence is running wild. The design is messed up. I can
see all sorts of things wrong with it. My pride is telling me that my
skill will be questioned. Won't they laugh at me? Won't it embarass me?

That's ok. This wasn't to be called skilled. People can say what they
want. I don't know the rules. I drew with my own rules. Revealing the
person behind it is all that was done. Is that the type of person he is?
But that's ok. But if I do have my own true essence, deep inside, it
will be connected to other people.

There's only a little bit left. I'm excited. There's nothing like it.
Only I can complete this painting. I can make it even better. Only I can
do it.

I call for help from my pride. There's not much time. My ego is where I
get the power to make it through times like these.

I don't need a beuatiful painting. But one that will reach people's

I'm going to work on the painting. The answer has appeared from within
the drawing. It doesn't matter even if it doesn't look too skilled. It's
a start.

If I worked twice as hard as Takehiko Inoue and wound up half as good I would not consider my life wasted. It's such a relief to know that an artist like him goes through the exact same emotions as I do when drawing a piece.

Thus like he, and the amazing people that believe in me, I have to start believing in myself.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

How to succeed?

All advice is autobiographical.

My degree is coming to an end, and I have quite literally 0 motivation to even look for a job in the profession. I just look forward to having time up my sleeve after graduating that I may draw, draw and draw some more.

The best advice, the advice that works for me actually has mostly come from Jerry Seinfeld. I'm not a particular fan of observational comedy, I was a big fan of the show, but mostly for George Costanza. Nevertheless Seinfeld has twice given the best advice I've heard in how to succeed.

A large part of what advice is right for you depends I guess on your definition of success. My definition of success is wanting to get out of bed in the morning and do your work and dreading the approach of retirement. If I could have that mindset on waking regularly I would call myself a success.

Money, fame etc don't really matter so much to me. The way I figure it, we are going to spend most of our waking hours in life at work, if you can enjoy most of your time in life (by enjoying what you do) then you don't really need much else.

Seinfeld first articulated this for me in his documentary 'Comedian' where he came into contact with Andy Orr the young aspiring comedian the documentary also followed. Andy was telling Jerry he was starting to question his career choice when he saw all his friends getting married and buying houses and stuff. Jerry couldn't believe it and told the story of some 'Big Band' group that were flying to a gig somewhere in winter and their plane was forced to land out of town in a snow covered field. The band dressed up in tuxedos had to tramp through the snow to the road and try and hitch a lift to their gig in the freezing cold. On the way soaking wet and freezing they passed this farmstead and looked in the window, there they saw a man with a beautiful wife in this Rockwellian scene cooking up a big family meal for their kids in their nice warm home and one of the band members commented 'man, how do people live like this?'

That's an anecdote I'll probably take to the grave. For me when I realised I want to draw, I also realised that to pursue any other path is moot. I cannot be happy, I could have a pleasant, comfortable life, but I can't be happy. Spreadsheets will never excite me the way drawing does. A nice home will not be enough consolation for having to leave it and go to a job I hate or worse find boring. Even if I love my children, I will never consider myself a proper role model if I hadn't pursued my dreams. They say 'don't have a plan B' this is generally good advice, I would only contend that you can't have a plan B.

I have described my failure in life as being a future where I have a high paying job in the finance industry. This isn't a plan b. This is failure for me. I'm not making a joke, I believe I can be well paid and a failure.

But can I be poorly compensated and a success? Here was Jerry's pearl of wisdom number two, on the HBO special 'Talking Funny' hosted by Ricky Gervais, Jerry was talking about his motivation for becoming a comedian. Specifically how after dying on stage the first time, how he got the motivation to go back. He said that he 'just wanted to be one of those guys.' He wanted to be a comedian, he wanted to associate with the group. He didn't care if he was a good or a bad one, he just wanted to identify himself as a comedian and that meant he had to perform stand up comedy.

When I look at Cheeks Galloway, Humberto Ramos, Francesco Herrara, Scottie Young, Takehiko Inoue, Eichiro Oda, Tim Sale, Bill Pressing, Matteo Scalera, Jake Parker, Alberto Ruiz, Alessandro Barbucci ... etc I just want to be one of those guys. I don't really care how good or bad I am, I just want to call myself a comic book artist. Or pin up artist, or even visual artist, illustrator.

You can make money being a 'bad' comic book artist. That is drawing one of Marvel or DC's lesser known titles and not blowing anyones mind with your artwork or style. That lifestyle would be success enough for me. Just to know I'm going to get up and draw a comic tomorrow, even if it is a contrived and poorly written 'Green Arrow' spin off series. Okay, maybe I misrepresent myself, what I mean is, so long as I'm drawing artwork to a standard I am proud of, and can live off that, that is success. I don't care if I'm not the greatest in the world, or most popular etc.

I just want to be one of those guys*.

*women can be comic artists too, they can even be phenomenal comic book artists, they just coincidently don't happen to populate the style of illustration I aspire to. I would like to be associated with women as well.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

And What To Make of It

Looking at the crowds gathered outside the white house triggers memories of newscoverage of Palistinians celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers back in 2001, if I were president I'd find it hard to take pride in an office bestowed upon me by a people who rejoice in death whoever they are.
Another pointless war where two sides expend considerable human costs to trade symbolic victories and go nowhere.
I hope it means the relative non-threat of terrorism can begin to be forgotten today.

Obama's speech was neither stirring, inspiring or moving. It was clinical, which is probably appropriate.