Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Big Al

I’ve been inspired by many performers and entertainers in my life... Walt Disney, Jim Henson, Dr. Seuss, Chuck Jones, Bill Peet, Tim Conway, Dick Van Dyke, Jerry Seinfeld, Brian Regan, Jim Gaffigan, Kirk Wall, John Denver, George Lucas, the Sherman Brothers, maybe some woman I’m forgetting, and so on.  But as much as those people have inspired me, none of them has altered my life’s course more than a performing bear did in April of 1978.  That’s when I took my first trip to Disneyland, where I was introduced to the Country Bear Jamboree and its least enthusiastic performer, a dim-witted oaf of a bear named Big Al.

Consider the direction my life has taken since that day...  First I drew several thousand bears, then I drew a bunch of animals playing musical instruments, filled my iPod with guitar music, and eventually got a job working for Disney.  So as much as I may have been entertained by the works of many people in my life, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it weren’t for this guitar-playing bear.  He's so inspiring.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Zombie Santa

I drew this a few months ago in the midst of that empty, holiday-free abyss that resides between Halloween and Christmas.  I considered posting it on my blog at the time, but a key issue kept that from happening... namely, what holiday season does it belong to?  It's too "Christmas" for Halloween and too "Halloween" for Christmas.  In fact, there's really only one holiday that it accurately represents, and that's why I saved it for today... Valentine's Day.  This drawing just screams "love," and then it stabs you with it a little.  Here we see the love that Santa Claus has for the children of the world... a love so powerful that not even his own death can keep him from delivering warm brains to their homes on that very special night.  We also see the love and acceptance of a child who would never ridicule or laugh at a dead man who's standing in his living room, covered in fresh, human blood, despite the fact that such a thing is in direct opposition to prevailing social "norms."

The actual reason I didn't post this until today is that it's a terrible, awful thing.  As much as I've always enjoyed being the cause of a child's tears and nightmares, I'm not overly proud of what this lighthearted sketch eventually became.  I wish I had used that time to draw something cute or exciting, like a puppy falling out of an airplane, but such isn't the case, and we're left with "Zombie Santa." The only reason I'm even posting it now is so I can prove that I'm still around and that I still draw stuff occasionally.  And now that you know that, I'm going to hurry and draw something else so I can begin bumping this horrid thing down the page.

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Giant Panda

Officially speaking, there's no such thing as a panda.  The animal that you were certainly picturing when I blew your mind just then is actually known as the "giant panda."  Giant?  Really?  I mean, granted... they're pretty big.  It would take a few minutes and some clever packing to squeeze one into your carry-on, but "giant" may be a bit of an over-sell for a bear that tops out at between 200 and 250 pounds.  That weight range may qualify something to be a giant chipmunk, a giant toad, or a giant bacon cheeseburger, but we're talking about a bear here.  For the sake of comparison, the Kodiak bear can weigh up to 1,500 pounds, and that's just the basic, non-giant Kodiak.  I feel like we're potentially disappointing zoo-goers and cheapening the word "giant" with this misleading terminology.  It's troubling.

I did a little research into the matter and learned that the term "giant panda" is meant to distinguish this bear from the completely non-related red panda.  Non-related?  Why did we use the word "panda" for two non-related animals?  Was every other possible word already taken?  Because I just Googled "shormshoo" and nothing came up.  It's not being used for anything.  And there are hundreds of other words just like it that, though stupid, could easily be attached to something like a reddish, raccoon-sized thing or a not-so-giant bear.  Non-related animals should have non-related names.

I don't mean to suggest that we should start randomly changing the established names of existing animals.  That would get confusing.  Obviously the better solution is to force the world's entire populations of giant pandas and red pandas into a coliseum-style battle to the death... the winning species becoming the sole heir of the coveted title of "panda."  If you're the gambling type, you would be wise to bet against the little red raccoons, because these bears are freaking giants!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Evolution's Next Step

You may have noticed that my blog has been fairly dormant for quite some time.  Perhaps you assumed that I had given up on blogging or that some grudge-holding killer whale had murdered me in my sleep, but no… I’m still here.  I’ve actually been working on something that ended up taking a lot more time than you’d think it would:  evolution.

It all began with a simple question:  What would happen if a bear was bred with a shark?  Great white bear?  Grizzly shark?  In a perfect world, one of those would certainly be the result, but trying to get a bear and a shark to breed posed a set of problems I wasn’t prepared to deal with and led to the deaths of at least seven unpaid, entry-level interns.

I recently came to the life-altering realization that breeding two animals together causes you to effectively forfeit half of each animal.  How do you know which elements of which animal your final product will exhibit?  I could end up with a grizzly shark that only has a single row of flesh-tearing teeth or a great white bear without its signature, flesh-tearing claws?  Why lose elements of each animal when you could just tape the two of them together and keep all parts of both?  It's simple, common sense!  And as long as we’re taping animals together, why stop at just a bear and a shark?

This new, advanced creature I’m developing is not completely free of problems.  For instance, how does it get around?  Does it swim?  Does it fly?  If it’s going to fly, I’m going to need to tape a penguin to it… and also tape the penguin to some kind of flying bird.  This creature is going to happen, though, and when it does, you’ll remember that you heard about it here first!  And YOU can be a part of it!  I’m currently hiring interns… no experience or expectations of payment necessary.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Egg Hunt

What's this?  A blog update?!  Already?  Well, it's clearly not Shark Week, so that means it must be Easter!  If it weren't for these two popular holidays, my blog would be completely dead.  It's hanging in there for now, though... like an egg on a string.  That's going to be the phrase of the future.  Use it.

This drawing raises an inescapable question, and even though you're hoping otherwise, the answer to that question is indeed "children."  Happy Easter, everybody.  I hope you catch lots of kids.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shark Anatomy

Shark experts commonly insist that sharks don't target humans or even want to eat us.  I guess that's kind of comforting... until you're watching Shark Week and a great white repeatedly attacks a camera, some steel beams, and a Styrofoam seal. Did he want to eat that stuff?  I can't imagine any of those items were seal-flavored, yet that shark kept returning to bite them again and again.

The truth is that sharks will eat anything they find in the ocean, so if you're a thing in the ocean, a shark will eat you.  As it turns out, they're not all that discriminatory when it comes to what they will or won't eat, so don't try to comfort me by pointing out that I'm not a shark's preferred meal or that I'm not the delicious sea creature he's mistaken me for.  Hearing that a shark doesn't want to eat me is as comforting as hearing that a tornado doesn't want to destroy my house.

I want to be a shark expert... and looking at this diagram, I guess it's pretty obvious that I kind of already am.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Chocolate Bunny

Chocolate fondue bunnies?! Cute, right? I originally considered drawing a cheerful predator of some kind dipping a chick in a vat of melted marshmallow to make Peeps, but that one seemed like a stretch, mostly because I can't get by the fact that Peeps look more like elephant seals than they look like chicks, and an Easter drawing of an elephant seal getting dipped in marshmallow seemed especially confusing. That's more of a "Labor Day" thing.

Happy Easter once again, everybody!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Greatest Hits

You know how sometimes a band will disappear for a couple of years, and then they suddenly return with a "Greatest Hits" album and a reunion tour so they can get some more of your money without producing anything new? Well, as you may have noticed, it's been five months since I updated my blog... so I made this. Please send me your money.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Bunnies Love Bears

I know it's only October, but I finished this already, so I might as well post it. Happy Easter, everybody!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Motivationally Couraged

The only thing a motivational poster has ever motivated me to do is "stop reading motivational posters." It is my hope that these two posters will inspire you to do the same. I doubt you'll learn much about "courage" from these things. The one thing I do expect you to learn is that there are scary things on the right side of yellow grass fields, so if you find yourself in such a place, then for goodness sake... run left!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Chumming for Humans

In August of 2008, our bathroom scale accused me of weighing in at a hefty 255 pounds. As of this morning of 2011, I was down to 175 pounds, meaning I've lost 80 pounds in just three years. Fairly impressive, I guess, especially when you consider that I did it the old-fashioned, unpleasant way: eating sensibly and exercising.

While watching a series of Discovery Channel documentaries recently as part of the annual celebration of my favorite religious holiday, Shark Week, I realized there's a much easier way to lose a lot of weight in a fraction of the time with only minimal effort... shark attack! I could kick myself! How did I not see this before?! Think of all the exercise I could have avoided and the cookie dough I might have enjoyed if I had only considered the permanent kind of weight-loss you can only get from being the victim of a shark attack.

What does a leg weigh? Twenty? Thirty pounds? Why, you could lose that in just a few minutes of surfing in murky water while the sun sets. Under this new weight-loss program I'm developing, you could eat whatever you want to and still lose weight! In fact, the more bacon cheeseburgers and double fudge brownies you consume, the more likely you are to be mistaken for an elephant seal, and therefore, the more likely you are to be selected as a candidate for sudden, oceanic weight loss. (That's what I'm calling it, as "shark attack" turns a lot of people away before they've even given it a chance).

As long as you're still agile enough to wiggle your way down the beach and roll your giant body into the surf, I think "sudden, oceanic weight loss" may be for you! After all, it's less painful than diet and exercise.

Although it's been said many times, many ways... "Happy Shark Week to you!"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pigs are Pigs

Pigs are omnivorous, which means they'll eat anything... fruits, vegetables, hamburgers, soup, grass, VHS tapes, goats... anything you can think of. A pig would eat an airplane if he had the time for it. A pig would eat 62 hot dogs in ten minutes if it would get him on TV. A pig would even eat you if I needed to eliminate incriminating evidence after hitting you with my car (but I'm a better driver than that, so relax). Because pigs will eat anything they can get their snouts on, they have even occasionally been known to eat each other... which is gross. Then again, if any animal can be excused for exhibiting cannibalistic tendencies, it's a pig. Certainly they too must know what the inclusion of bacon does to a cheeseburger. So whatever it is pigs are eating, whether it be moldy bread, gum wrappers, Cajun shrimp, or each other, I hope they keep it up, because those things they're eating are the recipe for bacon. If "other pigs" is a necessary ingredient, then by all means, cannibalize away, you disgusting pigs! These arteries aren't going to clog themselves!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cars 2: The Video Game

Here are some storyboards I did for the Cars 2 video game. They're out of order and out of context, so don't expect to get much from them. Don't expect to see the movies they helped create in all of their fully-animated grandeur either. Unfortunately, every scene I boarded for the game got cut. Take that, me! The game's a lot of fun, though, so go buy it. And if you don't play video games in your home, please send the money you would have spent on the game directly to me. I'll know what to do with it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flying Giraffe

As I sat down to draw this, I thought, "A flying giraffe... there's something new." It wasn't until after I'd drawn it, colored it, and given the sketch away to one of my Facebook fans that I started wondering just how original the concept of a flying giraffe was. I Googled it and found 1,260,000 other flying giraffes... so, not quite as original as I had hoped. At that point, I couldn't help but wonder how many non-flying giraffe images Google would find, so I did a second search for the simpler, more conventional "giraffe." That one yielded 2,430,000 images. So it turns out that only about one-in-three of the internet's giraffe population is capable of flight... which I'm pretty sure is the actual percentage you would find if you just went outside and looked around.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Hooray for Moms!

I've been a dad for a few years now, and I've learned a lot of things about raising kids, the most profound of which is that, on my best day, I'm passably decent at it. I guess I do all right compared to some delinquent fathers, but I'm not even close to being the best parent in our house. This is probably true in most homes, because let's face it, moms are better than dads at about everything. Like when my daughter was coming around the corner and bumped her hand on the wall... my wife immediately gave her a hug and asked her if she was all right. What?! Where does she get this stuff? All I could think of to do in that situation was say, "I'm just glad you're still alive enough to cry about it." I've found that dads aren't generally very compassionate... at least not in our house.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there... especially my favorite moms, which includes my wife, my mom, my mother-in-law, my sisters, my sisters-in-law, my step mom, my grandmas, my grandma-in-law, my aunts, my cousins, my cousins' wives, all the moms who read my blog or are my Facebook fans, all the moms who are currently reading this or having it read to them because they like pictures but can't read, and any of you who aren't moms but someday will be or would be if you could be. Hooray for you! You're making our lives seem bearable on days when we know they really aren't. Thanks for all you do... and Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Dinner

I've never tasted rabbit before, but thanks to years of cartoon-watching, and based on the opinions of Wile E. Coyote, Brer Fox, and whoever ended up eating Roger Rabbit, I have plenty of reason to believe that, of all the animals that talk, walk around on their hind legs, and occasionally wear clothes, rabbits are probably the most delicious.

If you find this picture upsetting, allow me to share a few facts that may offer you some much-needed peace of mind. First of all, this is a drawing, so no one's really going to be eaten... unless I draw someone being eaten... which I probably will. Second, the Easter Bunny probably has some kind of magic wand that allows him to leave eggs and candy all over everyone's houses in a single night, and he could easily use that wand to light a fox on fire if he felt his life was threatened. And third, the Easter Bunny is already dead.

If you're still feeling uneasy, consider one other thing. The peace you were experiencing before seeing this picture was only a pretended peace... the result of your own misguided ignorance. Foxes eat rabbits every day. I'm sure it's happening somewhere right now. The circle of life is spinning out of control just beyond your door at this very moment whether you like it or not, so just be glad that I didn't draw baby chicks in that frying pan like I had originally planned to.

Happy Easter, everybody!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jumping the Shark

This drawing was inspired by an episode of Happy Days, a little known television series that served as a springboard for the mega-hit, Joanie Loves Chachi. In September of 1977, Happy Days' Cunninghams took an infamous trip to the beach. While they were there, among other riveting plot lines, Arthur (a.k.a. "Fonzie") was challenged by a bunch of beach-toughs to water-ski off of a jump that led directly over some stock footage of a variety of deadly sharks. Having roughed up a jukebox prior to their vacation, the Fonz was feeling pretty brave, so he succumbed to the prodding of the beach boys (probably not the ones you're thinking of), suited up in his leather jacket and his finest denim cut-offs, and did the dumbest thing anyone on that beach or in their living rooms had ever seen... he jumped the shark.

This episode of Happy Days undoubtedly won several Emmy Awards, but that's not its only accomplishment. It also established a phrase that has come to signify that a show is out of good storylines and has most likely run its course: "jumping the shark." For example, Scooby Doo jumped the shark when Scrappy Doo showed up, The Brady Bunch jumped the shark when the lady met this fellow, and Flipper jumped the shark when he and Bud inadvertently swam into shark-infested waters... though that last one was more of a literal shark-jumping and was actually kind of heroic.

Anything can jump the shark... a TV series, a relationship, a greaser in a leather jacket and never-nude cut-offs, or even a blog. This blog jumped the shark when I became obsessed with animal jug bands, and this blog post jumped the shark when I mentioned Joanie Loves Chachi. She does, though.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Banjo-Strummin' Pig

For the last couple of years I've had the pleasure of being obsessed with animals playing banjos, corn jugs, washboards, and washtubs. If you've browsed this blog at all, you already know that. The good news is I'm not alone! At least not about the "banjo" part. Did you know there's a whole blog dedicated to banjo-playing pigs? It's true! Wonderfully true! We're all very fortunate that the internet didn't fill up before this happened.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Jug Band O' Birds

Humans hate birds. When we’re not shooting them, eating them, or chasing them into the sky to dice them with our airplane engines, we’re making up phrases that highlight how lame we think they are. For instance, something that is foolish or ridiculous can be classified as “for the birds,” someone who’s not very bright may be called “bird brained,” “killing two birds with one stone” is a bird-hating substitute for the term "multi-tasking," and if you mention to someone with a gentle honk that their texting is putting your life in danger, they will almost always thank you for your courteous warning by “flipping the bird.”

As if threatening and insulting the entire bird population with phrases like these isn’t enough, consider the negative connotations that are associated with individual types of birds... like chickens, turkeys, loons, cuckoos, dodos, stool pigeons, silly geese, and lame ducks. No one wants to be called bird names. That's mean... and it's not 1955.

Are birds doomed to be loathed by mankind forever? As long as we're using phrases like "a bird in the hand is worth squeezing to death," it appears so. Which reminds me... please start using that phrase.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chuckle-to-Yourself Cats

It's not often that I create fan art... especially fan art that openly mocks the thing I'm a fan of... but I decided to try it this once. These cats are based on my good friend Adam Koford's Laugh-Out-Loud Cats. Adam and I shared an office here at Avalanche for a few years before he was moved to another office last week to focus on another project. He's a funny man and an easy guy to share an office with, and I'm happy to say that his pleasant demeanor is as inoffensive as his scent.

I've shared offices with a bunch of guys in recent years, and while all of them have been subject to my interesting assortment of music, only most of them complained about it. I probably should honor all of them with fan art, but instead of that, I'll just post links to their blogs, a few of which have been updated in the last year. This is a good group of guys... some of my best friends. Many thanks to all of them for making "work" seem like "a little better than work."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Free Gift

There's so much that I love about Christmas... the music, the lights, the food, the tree in our living room, the TV specials and movies, the day off of work, the Carpenters. But I think what I love most about Christmas is that it's yet another day of the year that we don't have a cat.

Merry Christmas, y'all, and y'all a good night!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Hap-Happiest Season of All

In 1963, Andy Williams released a song that has become a holiday classic: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Since then it has also been recorded by Johnny Mathis, Harry Connick Jr., Amy Grant, the Muppets, and a bunch of other people who we forget exist the other eleven months of the year. What I find most surprising about this song is that, as many times as it's been re-recorded, no one has ever tried to improve the lyrics. They all just sing what’s been sung before without considering how dumb the words are. I think it's time someone examined these lyrics more closely than Donny Osmond or Gonzo ever did.

According to the song, one of the reasons the holiday season is so wonderful is that “everyone’s telling you, ‘Be of good cheer.’” Have you ever been cheered up by someone telling you to cheer up? Of course not. If you want to make someone smile, you do something nice for them or trip down some icy stairs in front of them. Telling someone to “be of good cheer” raises that person’s happiness level about the same amount as telling them you're going to drown a pillowcase full of puppies if they don't smile. In either case, they're only smiling to get you to leave them alone and go away... and possibly to save some puppies, but not because you cheered them up.

Next on the list of bad lyrical choices... jingle-belling? Mistle-toeing? Is “wassailing” responsible for this slippery slope? Just because someone turned a Christmas noun into a verb for their song once doesn’t mean you have to do it multiple times in yours. The guy who wrote this song needs a solid candy-caning.

As for "marshmallows for toasting" and "scary ghost stories"... I guess every family’s entitled to their own Christmas traditions, but are you sure you’re thinking of the holiday season here? Because what you're describing is camping… or possibly Halloween. You may be thinking, "But A Christmas Carol is kind of a 'scary ghost story.'" All right, but the song refers to "scary ghost stories," so name the rest.

And speaking of "the rest," "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" was co-written by George Wyle, the guy who co-wrote the Gilligan’s Island theme song with Sherwood Schwartz. Originally that song ended with the words, "...and the rest, here on Gilligan's Isle." And the rest? They only needed to mention two other people. That's like saying the seven dwarfs are Doc, Grumpy, Dopey, Sneezy, Sleepy, and the rest. They later replaced that phrase in their song with, "The Professor and Mary Ann." It just made more sense. So if you can change the poorly co-written lyrics in the Gilligan's Island theme song, then why not offer the same courtesy to a song that has somehow managed to become a Christmas classic?

I'd rewrite the lyrics myself, but I just wasted all of my time making fun of the old ones. Maybe next year.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Toy Story 3: The Video Game

Way back in June, Toy Story 3: The Video Game was finally released. I had been working on it for a couple of years, but even after all that time and work, I forgot to mention its release on my blog... until now. Here are six of the 1,800 storyboards I did during the game's production... and that's not just an exaggerated number either. I still have all of them. Clearly these boards aren't in sequence, and some of them were never used for anything, but I wanted to share them anyway... because these are a few that I actually toned. Ah, wonderful grayscale!
I'm very pleased with the way this game turned out... especially after watching my nieces and nephews become addicted to it. The "Toy Box" area is especially fun. That's where you just run around an old Western town as Woody, Buzz, or Jessie, doing whatever you feel like doing. If you want to shoot Bullseye with a rocket blaster for ten minutes straight, no one's stopping you... unless you're my nephew. After ten minutes I stopped him, because enough's enough! I also wrote a lot of the dialogue for the game, so if Hamm sometimes sounds like he's reading my blog to you, that's why.
I did these three drawings for a commercial that we made for Sony. They wanted a video that would highlight Zurg as a playable character in the Play Station 3 version of the game, and they left the rest of it up to us. I thought it would be funny to show Zurg having the time of his life, laughing it up like a crazy person, while Woody and Buzz watched in uncomfortable silence. In the final version, Zurg walks over and hugs the two of them. It works a lot better that way than it did in the boards, so three cheers to whoever added that part.So, Christmas shoppers, if your kids like Toy Story, I expect them to like this game. And if your kids don't like Toy Story, you should probably ask yourself where you've gone wrong as a parent.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Babysitting the Cubs

Thanks to a combination of cartoons, children's books, a really vivid dream I once had, and a nature documentary that featured a segment about them, I pretty much know all there is to know about lions. I expect I'd know even more if the TV hadn't been muted during the documentary, but they're just big cats. How complicated can they be? I now want to share some of what I've learned with you, the easily-angered, blog-post-policing public. This should go well.

To begin with, female lions (or "lionesses" to those who enjoy stumbling through words that end in too many S's) do the majority of the hunting, most likely due to the fact that they yearn to be in charge and feel important. Because female lions spend so much of their time hunting as a result of their pride (or "for their pride" as it's generally stated), the responsibility to babysit falls on the unfortunate males.

Now, babysitting is never easy, but imagine doing it full time while you're also trying to get twenty hours of sleep a day. That's how much an adult, male lion sleeps. You may not know this, but you can't really get much done when you're only awake for four hours a day. I did it for about six years in college, and even if someone had been doing all my hunting for me, by the time I'd eaten dinner and watched Monday Night Football, there's no way I would have been up for babysitting. Male lions are getting robbed! And on top of that, sometimes they're raised by sheep.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dogs Get Old Quickly

It used to bother me when neighborhood dogs would bark and howl in the middle of the night, but then I realized something. Based on the calculation that a human year is equal to seven dog years, if a dog barks at 2AM on a Monday morning, to him he's actually barking at 5PM in 2084. He's probably just trying to protect you from burglars and alien invaders who will be snooping around your backyard in seventy-four years. Consider that for a moment. It's a fascinating thought, riddled with countless logistical holes.

How did someone figure out that a human year is equal to seven dog years? Were a lot of two-year-old dogs reading at an 8th grade level? Because that doesn't say as much about how time works for dogs as it says about 8th grade illiteracy. However this "human to dog" time relationship was determined, the discrepancy between the two explains why your dog celebrates excessively every time you return home. What seemed like a normal day at work to you lasted almost three days for your dog. Your week-long vacation? Nearly two dog months. If the people who provided my food left me home alone for unpredictably lengthy periods of time, I'd start chewing up the couch cushions too.

This coming Thursday afternoon, my wife and I will celebrate our 50th Dog Year Anniversary... which is equal to seven years and 52.14 days in dumb, slow-moving, human time. These fifty years of marriage have been the best years of my 244 year life.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shark Week!

It's Shark Week again! Time to fill our heads and our nightmares with a whole new set of facts, images, and terrifying tales about the ugliest, most tooth-filled demons of the sea. I've decided that the less you know about sharks, the more danger you're in, and the more you know about sharks, the more danger you think you're in. But no matter how much or how little you know about them, the one thing you can be sure of is that sharks are currently plotting your death. There's no way around that.

This drawing was inspired by my childhood fear of bubble baths and hot tubs. I was all right in a bath without bubbles because I could see everything in the tub around me. No shark's going to sneak up on a kid in a bubbleless bath. But as soon as bubbles were involved... well, any idiot can tell you that murky water is the ideal condition for shark attacks... and any idiot just did.

Happy Shark Week, everybody!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Filthy Animals

As I watched volunteers cleaning the unfortunate animal victims of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I thought, "What a great thing to do... but why stop there? Aren't all animals stinky and gross?" A walk in the rain or a river crossing is the closest most of them ever get to taking a bath, and those activities so rarely involve soap that I'm not even sure they count.

Monkeys get clean by picking bugs out of each other's back hair... and then they eat the bugs they find. That's a little bit like taking a bath except, where a bath makes you clean, this just makes you disgusting. Other animals, such as lions, clean their young by licking them. In that way, a lion's tongue is like a wash cloth... a wash cloth that was just used to clean out a zebra's carcass.

So don't think you have to go all the way to the Gulf of Mexico to clean animals. Grab a brush and some shampoo and start tidying up the animals where you live. The ones that don't kill you will be slightly less gross because of the service you provide.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bursting with American Pride

It has been widely publicized in recent years that Americans are fat, but is this an accurate assessment or an unfair generalization? I looked up the statistics, and I was proud to find that nearly one in three Americans is barely fat at all, meaning that we, as a nation, score an unimpressive 67% when it comes to being overweight. Sixty-seven percent? That would earn you a D+ in most high school classrooms... hardly enough to cause your fellow students to refer to you as "the smart kid." Sure we're a little on the chunky side, but until we reach a respectable 90% obesity rate, shouldn't we be known for our cowboy hats, our poorly-made cars, and our arrogant self-importance? After all, our success rate in those fields is well above 67%.

As fat as we may seem, America isn't even the fattest country. Like most Olympic events, our chubby nation comes in third in that race. Did you know that the U.S. has more bronze medals than China, Canada, Spain, Russia, and Germany combined? We're the third-placingest country on the planet! If we ever hope to become the fattest country, we must first find a way to out-eat and under-exercise American Samoa and Kiribati. What? There's a country called Kiribati? When did this happen? Maybe we assume we're the fattest country in the world because we haven't heard of the other countries yet, and it's this disregard for the world beyond our borders that seems far more "American" to me than the two-in-three guys who have to turn sideways to get off of a bus... which raises the question... how did they get on there in the first place?

Happy 4th of July, my fellow fatties! It's time for some grillin' and explodin'! Yee-haw! (We shall now throw our cowboy hats in the air and shoot at them with our many handguns).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Everybody Loves Soccer

With roughly four billion fans, soccer is unquestionably the world's most popular sport, which is great if you're soccer but really disappointing if you're the world. I don't like soccer... probably because I like not being bored out of my mind. I decided to give soccer another try last week, and I seriously made it 31 seconds into the game before I had to start skipping ahead. After a couple of hours that I could have spent napping, the game ended in a tie... a stupid, unsatisfying tie! No sport, field event, race, or board game should ever end in a tie. (Are you hearing this, NFL?!) So with its upward-counting clock and low-scoring lameness, soccer will just have to go on without me... unless they find a way to score 20 to 30 goals a game... then I'm back on board.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Who's the New Guy?

Twelve days ago, we reached a high temperature of only 52 degrees. Today we got up to 81. I don't mean to alarm you, but that's an increase of nearly 2.5 degrees a day. If these warming trends continue... and buckle up for this... it's going to be an unseasonably warm 572 degrees by Christmas. And if it's that hot here, you can bet that our polar bear friends to the north are going to find themselves in the same miserable situation that has been facing European beverages for years: no ice. At that point, it's fair to assume that the world's remaining polar bear population will have no other choice but to migrate south. And on that day, people will finally stop telling me that "polar bears and penguins live on opposite sides of the planet, so this drawing doesn't make sense." Finally... a reason to support global warming.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ducks in a Row

I recently spent several months working long hours while we were finishing the Toy Story 3 video game. I'll say more about that and hopefully post a few storyboards after the game's been released. For now I just want to announce that it's done, and I'm officially back to blogging! I've got my ducks in a row, and that's where they'll stay. And to prove I'm serious, I'm going to shoot the first duck who steps out of line. Or better yet, I'm just going to shoot them either way. Then I can line them up however I want. Or maybe I'll stack them. Then I can start using the phrase, "I've got all my ducks in a stack."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bayou Jug Band

I have a fun game, but we're not going to play it. Instead we're going to play this dumb one... which of these animals would you guess has the most teeth? Here's a hint: it's not the alligator. Don't feel bad if you were wrong... unless you guessed "the guitar-playing dragon," because then you should feel kind of bad. It is actually the opossum that has the most teeth... more than any other land animal. Hopefully this information will help you win Jeopardy someday (if that's even a show still), because that's the only chance that it's ever going to come in handy. See what I mean? I told you this was a dumb game. Unfortunately I was lying about the "fun" game. There never was one.

Speaking of opossums, can you think of a single, non-spelling-based difference between opossums and possums? From what I've gathered, which is very little, it seems that possums are native to the Eastern hemisphere whereas opossums are native to the Western hemisphere. So why do so many people in the Western hemisphere call our opossums "possums?" It's the same reason we have calculators and Dancing with the Stars... because we're lazy and stupid.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Mythological Jug Band

According to Wikipedia, the internet's leading source of mythological information, gryphons (which some people spell "griffins" and dumb people spell "grifunz") mate for life. What? I can think of one major ingredient that's missing from the theory that gryphons mate for life: "life." Don't you have to exist before you can enter into a lifelong relationship? Why are we assigning behavioral ettiquette to animals we've pretended into existence? I don't have an answer to this, but here's what I do know: if a gryphon finds your gym bag, he'll return it to you at his own expense, unicorns sneeze cake frosting, and flying pigs are offended by the mere thought of under-salted french fries. And when a gryphon gets together with a unicorn and a flying pig, you can count on three things: jug band music, rainbows, and a dessert buffet. (You may want to steer clear of the cake).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winter Olympics

As a fan of watching cold people fall down, I've really enjoyed this year's Winter Olympics. I came to a shocking realization last night, though... I've never participated in or even attempted a single winter sport in my life. I've lived in Utah for most of my life, a state that uses my car's license plate to advertise itself as the home of "the greatest snow on earth," yet I've never been skiing or snowboarding even once, and the closest I've come to ice skating was when I slipped on an icy patch coming out of Arby's several years ago. The fact that unexpectedly slipping on ice and nearly cracking my tailbone reminds me of a winter sport is a clear indication that winter sports are far too dangerous. In fact, until the Winter Olympics expand their list of sporting events to include driveway shoveling, snowman building, downhill sledding, figure slipping, freestyle parking-lot-donut-making, or using an old broom to brush snow off of a satellite dish (which is kind of like curling)... well, I don't want to completely count it out, but it's possible that I will never become a Winter Olympian.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Too Much Love

Have you noticed how much we've cheapened the meaning of the word "love" by overusing it? I use that word to describe everything from my affection for my wife to how much I enjoy taking naps, not mowing the lawn, and involving myself in other inactivity-based activities. Considering the lengthy list of things I claim to love, it is clear that I am doing my part to additionally minimize the word's already tattered meaning.

Because "love" hardly means anything on its own at this point, people frequently include additional phrasing to emphasize the difference between the things they truly adore and the things they merely enjoy, such as, "I love it to death," or, "I love it more than words can say." Well, I propose we all start trampling the meaning of these phrases too... mostly because I want to find out how people will say that they really love something when even these expressions have become meaningless. I offer the following suggestions... please use these phrases and others like them as frequently as possible:

"I love my new TV with all of my heart."
"I love sleeping in to death."
"I love barbecue chicken pizza like it's my brother."

Where will they go from here? I can't wait to find out. I love where this is going like my life depends on it! Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ocean Jug Band

For someone who grew up on a planet whose surface is two-thirds water, it's surprising how much I hate the ocean. Don't get me wrong. I love marine animals, and I enjoy the sunshine and the cool breezes at the beach as much as I enjoy frolicking in the ocean's gentle tide. I guess what I don't like about the ocean is that my favorite things about it seem to want me dead. Most of the animals in the ocean could easily kill me without even trying or meaning to, the pleasant ocean breeze only masks the inevitable heat stroke and skin cancer that the sun is constantly dishing out, and the "gentle" tide tends to treat me like a washing machine treats a kitten that hasn't figured out the difference between its bed and the laundry basket. I could possibly forgive all of this if the ocean was as delicious as the sea food that resides there, but the miserable ocean even tastes gross. For such a beautiful, incredible thing, the ocean certainly is a scary, nasty place.

The ocean even scares me when I'm not in it... like when I'm in airplanes. For me, the worst thing about a plane crash at sea would be the off chance that I might survive it. I would choose death over drifting alive in the open sea. Perhaps I could talk the stewardess into beating me to death with the fire extinguisher at the first sign of turbulence. But I guess she'll probably be busy helping everyone prepare for the imminent water landing, so I better just ask her to do it as I board the plane... even if it's not an overseas flight... just to be safe.

We are within a few days of my blog's fourth anniversary. Thank you all for coming here, and an even bigger, specialer thanks to those of you who have come back over and over again. I never thought anyone would like this kind of stuff, but I guess I hadn't counted on there being you. Happy 4th Anniversary, Blog! After four years, 325,000 visitors, and eight animal jug bands... we've only just begun!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Polar Bears

According to Wikipedia, "the U.S. Geological Survey predicts two-thirds of the world's polar bears will disappear by 2050." Are you kidding me? Buy yourselves some heat-sensing goggles, everybody! Those things will be our only hope of surviving in a world where invisible polar bears roam free.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Drawing a Lion

I finally got around to making another drawing video... a lion, this time, doing nothing on a stage, but looking pretty proud of himself for it. The video had music once, but now it doesn't, which is frustrating because that means I hired a full orchestra for nothing. I thought maybe they could just play the music live every time someone watches this video, but do you have any idea how much that would cost? The estimate was shocking... especially considering how few people will actually watch it. So enjoy it in silence for now, and I'll try to get a new one uploaded sometime. It's going to be a couple of weeks before I get around to that, though, because, man... I'm lazy.

Update: Hey, the sound's back! Unfortunately, the lion's still not doing anything but sitting on a stage. Sorry about that, but it's still an improvement.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jug Band of the Apes

Do you know what the difference is between monkeys and apes? There are actually several differences, the most noticeable of which is that monkeys have tails and apes don't... unless the ape has ripped a tail off of another animal (but let's hope apes don't have tails under those circumstances, because we have to draw the line somewhere). Another difference is that monkeys walk on all fours while most apes can walk on some twos. Also, apes have rotary shoulder joints that enable them to hang and swing from branches. Monkeys have useless, non-rotary shoulder joints which confine them to simply running across tree branches like crazy acrobatic stunt dogs. Do they have crazy acrobatic stunt dogs? Is that a thing yet? Come on, evolution! You're slacking lately... and you missed a lot of apes that were certainly hoping to be humanized years ago.

If the apes have a whole planet of themselves, I figure they must at least have a few jug bands there, right?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Some Dogs

You may have noticed that my blog's been pretty slow for a while. I blame that on the fact that I don't like to post anything unless I have a finished drawing to go with it. But, hey - how about this?! A few of you suggested that I should start a fan page on Facebook. I didn't know what you were talking about, but I looked into it, and now such a thing exists. I'm going to post unfinished sketches there, and maybe I'll have a contest and give something away sometime (such as an authentic spatula that I personally used and broke... or some sketches, I guess). But most of all it's going to be a place where I can waste your time with my thoughtless ramblings without feeling like I need to draw stuff to go along with it. I currently have 32 fans, but with your help, I believe we can double that number by 2023. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pirates of Niagara

I never cared much for history classes in school with their outdated information and their heavy text books full of boring names and boringer dates. But then a week ago I learned about something that happened in 1827 at Niagara Falls, and since then I’ve been obsessed with history... or at least with one very specific event that took place during the course of it.

The publicity stunt to which I refer was orchestrated by the owner of the Pavilion Hotel in Ontario, Canada… a gentleman by the name of William Forsyth. Together with a couple of his hotel-owning friends, Forsyth staged a wonderfully awful tourist attraction in the hope of increasing tourism at Niagara Falls. After buying a condemned lake schooner called the “Michigan,” Forsyth printed a bunch of advertisements and had them posted throughout New York and eastern Canada. They read as follows:

"The pirate Michigan with a cargo of ferocious wild animals will pass the great rapids and falls of Niagara - 8th September 1827 at 6 o'clock. The Michigan has long braved the bellows of Erie, with success as a merchant vessel but having been condemned by her owners unfit to sail long proudly "above"; her present proprietors, together with several public spirited friends, have appointed her to carry a cargo of Living Animals of the Forest, which surround the upper lakes, through the white tossing and deep rolling rapids of Niagara and down its great precipice, into the basin "below". The greatest exertions are being made to procure animals of the most ferocious kind, such as Panthers, Wild Cats and Wolves; but in lieu of these , which it may be impossible to obtain , a few vicious or worthless dogs, such as may possess strength and activity, and perhaps a few of the toughest of the lesser animals will be added to, and compose the cargo...

"Should the vessel take her course through the deepest of the rapids, it is confidently believed that she will reach the Horse Shoe unbroken; if so she will perform her voyage to the water of the Gulf beneath which is of great depth and buoyancy, entire, but what her fate will be the trial will decide. Should the animals be young and hardy and possessed of great muscular power and joining their fate with that of the vessel, remain on board until she reaches the water below, there is a great possibility that many of them will have performed the terrible jaunt, unhurt!"

As they had feared, the panthers and wolves proved difficult to procure, so a buffalo, two raccoons, two small bears, a domestic dog, and a goose were used in their lieu. I guess even a goose can seem “ferocious” when you’re tying it to the deck of a hell-bound schooner. Did you notice that the advertisement referred to the schooner as “the pirate Michigan?” That’s because, for some reason that escapes logic at least as much as the entire event itself does, the schooner had been decorated to look like a pirate ship. And to make the worst idea ever just a little bit worse, human shaped dummies were tied to the deck alongside the bewildered wildlife.

Noah’s miniature pirate ark set sail, as advertised, at 6:00 that evening before a crowd of roughly 10,000 soulless spectators. When it reached the rapids, its hull was torn open, and the schooner began taking on water. The two bears escaped and swam to safety on Goat Island, but because the other animals were all tied down or in cages, they stayed with the boat for its tumble over Horseshoe Falls. The goose somehow managed to survive and was found floating at the base of the falls, but the less buoyant buffalo, raccoons, and dog didn’t fare so well. Apparently they weren’t as “young and hardy” as they needed to be.

It’s hard to believe that this whole event took place, and that a group of people planned it, advertised it, and actually went through with it. You’d think just one person during the course of the planning would have said something like, “You’re going to do what with my dog?” Such was not the case, though, and history became slightly more interesting.

In closing, I offer this one request: please visit Niagara Falls. There’s no telling what those people will do the next time tourism lags.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Country Music

Country music is an acquired taste. I've never met anyone who said they loved it the first time they tried it, but after they get caught up in it, it takes control of their lives to the point where they can't survive without it. Like addictive drugs, country music has a dulling effect on the human mind, and after a while, people confuse their state of disorientation and dizziness for an actual fondness toward the thing that originally caused them to gag.

I've been offered country music on many occasions by people who I thought were my friends. Even family members have tried to lure me into the inescapable, brain-cell-killing trap of country music. They've said things like, "Here, let me just play this one song for you... I think you'll like it." One song? Is that all you want me to try? Yeah, I bet... and the next thing I know, you're changing the radio presets in my car and buying me country CD's for my birthday. Then a year from now I've given up the will to fight, and my life sounds like a never ending hoedown. I've seen so many lives ruined by this kind of dependency on country music... so, no - I won't listen to "just one song." I don't need country music to be happy.

If my feelings on country music have outraged you so much that you don't even want to visit my blog anymore... please, before you leave, take a moment to consider what's causing this passionate response. Haven't I said terrible things about puppies, bears, sharks, killer whales, and everything else? And the most you've ever done is thought, "I feel sorry for his wife." Your intense devotion to country music over everything else should be an indication to you that you do, in fact, have a problem. If country music was taken from you, how much would you pay to get it back? You would steal country music from your family, wouldn't you? Look what you've become!

That being said, there are actually a few country songs that I've accidentally heard and kind of liked, but that doesn't mean I have a problem, so stop worrying about me... I can quit anytime.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Animal Cruelty!

It seems to me that the better you get at doing one thing, the worse you get at doing everything else. All the time you spend practicing and refining one skill robs you of the time you could have spent pursuing other interests. Consider the example of Bette Midler. She sings, she dances, she acts… but there is a 100-percent chance that Bette Midler is not your favorite actress and dancer AND recording artist, because to excel at one thing, she has had to accept an unavoidable level of mediocrity at everything else. With that in mind, don’t you wonder what Bette Midler excels at? It’s certainly not anything I’ve seen her do... unless wrecking a figurative train is a notable skill.

I mention this talent based give-and-take because it’s so clearly evident in the comparison of these two drawings that I did 25 years apart. As you can see, my ability to draw consistently-sized tires has improved dramatically, but while mastering that skill, my attention to hubcap detail has suffered. I’ve also found that the effort I’ve put into improving my drawing skill over the years has had an adverse effect on some of my other talents, such as my ability to read, to resist sugary snacks, or to care about what other people are saying. I don’t miss those things, though. Life goes on without them.

My first thought when I found this old drawing was, “What’s in the box?” The unfortunate answer: Dalmatian puppies. This is precisely why you’ll never hear of anyone giving an entire box of free puppies to a rabbit. Happy 25th Anniversary to my unique understanding of "animal cruelty."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Rogue Shark

As you probably already know, we recently celebrated another Shark Week, and in so doing, renewed my intense fear of being mangled at sea by a me-eating fish. This year's nightmare-inducing week of sharky programming was kicked off with a show called "Blood in the Water," a misleadingly cute title for a show that ended up being surprisingly horrific. It was about a rogue shark who went on a killing spree in 1916, attacking five people in the space of twelve days and inspiring the Jaws films that are responsible for many of my least favorite recurring dreams. Before that summer, people didn't even believe that a shark would attack a human. That one shark proved the opposite, over and over again. The series of attacks incited a massive retaliatory response from the frightened folks in New Jersey who took to the seas with rifles, harpoons, and dynamite to find and kill the man-eating shark. They killed hundreds of sharks (and probably vaporized some other unsuspecting sea creatures in the process) before a fishing boat stumbled across the right shark and a fisherman beat it to death over the head with a broken oar.

Consider, for a moment, all of the damage that this one, messed up shark did to its entire species. A few stupid acts of violence over a twelve-day period kicked off a feud with humans that is still in effect nearly a hundred years later. I imagine most sharks were embarrassed and ashamed by the actions of that one rogue shark when they learned what he had done. Not much they could do about it, though. The damage to the good name of "shark" was already done.

Adolf Hitler was kind of like a rogue shark. He pretty much ruined the name "Hitler" for everyone else. Walt Disney, on the other hand, made his name awesome. If there were two kids in your second grade class named Jeff Hitler and Jeff Disney, which one would you be more likely to befriend? See what I mean? What you don't know is that Jeff Hitler has a swimming pool and is actually a really nice kid. One bad Hitler does spoil the whole bunch, girl.

There are rogue sharks on the roads too... like when I'm driving in some other state, and I see an idiot with Utah plates going ten miles an hour under the speed limit, blocking traffic in the passing lane. I think, "Now these people are going to think we're all dumb!" Stay right except to pass, you idiots, or you're no better than the shark who terrorized the New Jersey coast in 1916... or Hitler.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just a Sketch

It's been so long since I posted anything on here that I decided to post this, even though it's rough and unfinished. Mostly I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still around. More stuff will be on the way soon, I hope. Thanks for coming to my blog... sorry it's a little dead lately.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Patriotter

I wanted to draw something patriotic to celebrate the 4th of July, and somehow I ended up with this American-hat-wearing river otter... or as I will stupidly refer to it, the Patriotter. If it weren't for the founders of this nation I call home, I probably would have just been taxed by our British overlords for calling this animal something as stupid as that. I'm going to celebrate this freedom to be lame by discharging small scale explosives late into the evening at high risk of injury or death to myself and others. You like that, Brits? I thought so.

I find it puzzling that an animal that lives in rivers, lakes, marshes, swamps, and estuaries (whatever those are) would be known as just a "river" otter. They couldn't have given it a more all-encompassing name? What about "water otter?" That seems a better fit, even though it's a bit of a tongue twister. And speaking of tongue twisters, do you know what they call it when you murder a bunch of otters? A water otter slaughter. And when the murders are based on the relative attractiveness of the otters? That's a hotter water otter slaughter. The unsavory fellow who plans these murders is known as the hotter water otter slaughter plotter, and the guy who later identifies him in a police lineup is the hotter water otter slaughter plotter spotter. Man, this is dumb.

Happy 4th of July, my fellow Americans, from me and the many-water Patriotter! And to those of you who aren't Americans and won't be celebrating anything today... I'm sorry you wasted part of your day reading this. Actually, that probably goes for the Americans too. Apologies all around.