Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Classics

I think that one of the most catchy songs of my childhood was the theme for Reading Rainbow. I loved watching as Geordi La Forge from Star Trek would teach me about the importance of reading. He always ended the show with a segment called Book reviews where he said, "But you don't have to take my word for it," then kids would recommend books for me to read.

I loved searching out books to read. I spent tons of time occupying myself with different literary works. Roald Dahl books, The Giver, The Outsiders, Tuck Everlasting, Catcher in the Rye(that book was probably a little more adult for me at the time, but it became a quick favorite), Bridge to Terabithia, Rumble Fish, etc. Reading days were the best at school. Just being able to lay on the ground and read.

I wanted to illustrate some authors with some of my favorite quotes from them.

This one is about Edgar Allen Poe. His macabre writings entertained me during my teenage years. I thought that I was so cool drawing skulls while reading The Masque of the Red Death, then going to Hot Topic at the mall. The only thing that I've taken from that part of life is this: Skulls are still cool to draw. The quote underneath reads "There is an eloquence in true enthusiasm." Have you ever met a person that was genuinely excited about something? So much so that you too became excited. There is something special about that. I've always aspired to have that sort of passion.
The drawing above is of Samuel Clemens, or Mark Twain. The greatest humorist of the nineteenth century. His life has always interested me. He worked mostly on steamboats for the early part of his life and didn't publish anything until his later twenties. The quote used says "To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence." Think about it.

I would recommend books by these authors as well as the ones mentioned earlier in the post. Some other good books are: Anything by Jonathan Safran Foer, Chuck Klosterman, George Orwell, J.D. Salinger, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Walden by Henry David Thoreau, Fahrenheit 451, etc. That doesn't even include all of the amazing graphic novels out there! If you're interested in those check out Watchmen, Goodbye Chunky Rice, Blankets, V for Vendetta, The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Batman: Year One, etc. Reading isn't for just nerds anymore. If you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them.

P.S. I was thinking about ending the blog post with "But you don't have to take my word for it," but that sounded lame. The more I think about it, the cooler it sounds though. Dang it! I still love that show.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm Not Very Political

I was one of the youngest kids in my school class. I have a summer birthday, so I made the deadline in time. I remember age meaning a lot to me in high school. Everyone was getting older—they were able to do more things, take on more responsibilities—and I felt just out of reach. Everyone was dating, driving, staying out later, before I was. Turning eighteen seemed to feel like a pretty big milestone. I was no longer a minor. There seemed to be so many restrictions taken away. One of my new responsibilities didn't really hit me at first. Registering to vote. It just didn't seem that big of a deal to me. Politics seemed like the world for the grown ups, and I still had a lot of growing up to do. I do remember the day that I registered though.

It was a bright sunny day at my college. I had just met up with a girl in between classes when I noticed that something was going on outside in the courtyard area. They were giving away free hot dogs if we registered to vote. (What could be more American than a hot dog?) I took five minutes and quickly filled out my sheet. I remember coming to the box that asked my political party. I thought about it for a second and checked Republican. My parents, grandparents, are Republicans, so I thought I was too.

I now consider myself to be unaffiliated. Not that I don't respect the beliefs of the Republican party, but I just didn't feel like I wanted to label myself with either party. To me, it seemed that there were just the two parties there to make it easier for voters. I found it weird that they grabbed certain issues and split them right down the middle. I feel like they are there just so people can have something to argue about. I print shirts, so I thought I would make a shirt design that illustrates how I feel about the system.
Conservative Democrat Nation. or Con.Dem.Nation for short. I feel like the war between parties really hinders the progress of this nation. Like Rodney King once said, "Can't we all just get along?"

P.S. I went to Baskin Robbins with my brother before the 2008 elections and they had Republican and Democrat ice cream. We said that we would decide who to vote for depending on which ice cream was better. The Republican/McCain ice cream tasted all old and nutty, but the Democrat/Obama ice cream was chocolaty and smooth with peanut butter pieces. I'm pretty sure Baskin Robbins did that on purpose. The ice cream business is so very biased.

P.P.S. That Rodney King quote is a misquote. He actually said,"People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?"

P.P.P.S Don't assume by my ice cream story that I voted for Obama. Assumptions are wrong. They only get you into trouble.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

This Is What You've Been Waiting For

And in his eleventh blog post Toast gave them a poster of incredible awesomeness, and he saw that it was good.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Music Legends

You might be asking yourself,"Another post about music?" Dang straight! Why not? I love art, and I love music, so why not show my appreciation of music through my art? Right? I knew you would agree with me. Let's get to it!

Jimi Hendrix: Guitar God. Look up videos of him on youtube. He is incredible. He is one of the most influential guitarists of all time. He is one of many musicians who died of a drug overdose. He took several sleeping pills the night of his death, when only half a tablet is recommended. He died choking on his own vomit. It's sad how many great musicians went out this way. It also raises the question: Would these musicians have been as creative or innovative without the influence of drugs and alcohol?
Kurt Cobain: Grunge God. Whenever someone mentions the Generation X movement, I always think of Kurt Cobain for some reason. He seemed to typify what that movement was all about. Having long hair, scraggly clothes, and having the appearance of not caring about anything. It's interesting how some bands become famous and are misinterpreted by the media. I sometimes wonder about how some bands feel about becoming famous. I'm sure a lot of people would love to be famous, but at what price? Cobain overdosed on drugs, but recovered at a hospital. He then went home to Seattle where he shot himself.
Harry Nilsson: Legendary Songwriter. Nilsson is amazing! I remember when my parents starting buying CDs. Nilsson was one of the first ones they got. I use to play the song Coconut over and over again as a kid. He wrote(and performs) the song One which you probably know better from Three Dog Night, as well as the song Without You, which some no name pop star does. You can google whoever that may be. Interesting fact: He owned a place in London where two musicians died: (1) Mama Cass of The Mamas and the Poppas and (2) Keith Moon from The Who. He was also a favorite of The Beatles, and became great friends with John Lennon. He died of heart failure in 1993. I recommend that his music be played anywhere and everywhere!
Elvis Presley: The King of Rock and Roll. I have always enjoyed his music, but never really got into it until later in my life. Whenever I thought of Elvis, I thought of girls swooning over him. There would always be crowds of women crying over him. This type of publicity really didn't go over too well with me as a young kid. Why should I like something girls like? I also had heard that he didn't write his own songs. This is completely true, and kinda bothers me. Presley also was a slave to drugs, abusing them in his later years. He finally succumbed to them in 1977.
Elliot Smith: King of Misery. If you have ever heard his music before, you kinda get goosebumps. There are several artist that have tried to have emotional angst within their music, but I don't think anyone had ever bore themselves quite like he did. I remember listening to the album XO a lot. He had an incredible way of expressing himself. He knew how to word things. Even some interview he gave were poetic. His music is beautiful, yet depressing. I remember when I first saw the movie The Royal Tenenbaums. There is a scene where Luke Wilson's character attempts suicide. Smith's song Needle in the Hay plays throughout the scene. It is my favorite scene of any movie. Don't judge me! Smith attempted suicide a few times before finally killing himself in 2003.
Cat Stevens: Man of Peace. The only artist in this post that isn't dead(sorry guys, I really didn't intend to post a lot about death this time). His music is incredible, and deserves your attention. I share a birthday with him, so when that arrives I usually ask people to give me presents in his stead. He is also the only artist that I have a songbook to. There was a time in my life where I actually stopped listening to a lot of music, and just listened to Cat Stevens. He converted to Islam in 1977 and gave up music for a time to focus on educational and philanthropic causes. His islamic name is Yusuf Islam. Check him out.

I hope that this post wasn't too long, and that you can learn to appreciate these artists. Sweet!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

One of the Greatest Bands Ever

I know that calling The Beatles the best band ever is a pretty bold statement, but could you tell me of another band that has made a bigger impact than them? The Beatles changed the face of rock 'n roll. They gave rock 'n roll a makeover. They took it over and made it theirs. Do you remember the first Beatles song you ever heard? Do you remember how that felt? Let me tell you my experience.

My parents have some interesting taste in music. I told you in my last post how we would listen to Michael Jackson on road trips. I remember listening to Michael or Footloose. My parents didn't have any Beatles though—which is very odd because they both like The Beatles a lot—so I never heard them at our house.

For Easter one year I got a Beach Boys tape, and listened to it for hours. I loved it. They were so fun to listen to. I was growing up though, and my musical tastes were expanding. Around this time my older brother gave me two cds that he didn't want anymore. Tori Amos and Abby Road by The Beatles. I don't recall ever listening to the Tori Amos cd. Mostly because I didn't really care for girl singers(see previous post) and also because it was Tori Amos. So I shelved that and gave Abby Road a listen. It was unlike anything I had ever listened to. Mind you that I was listening to some pretty crappy bands at the time, so The Beatles easily broke through to a whole new level.

A girl I met once explained to me that no one could like both The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and that I had been the only exception to the rule. I thought that that was the most ridiculous idea. If you are a Beach Boys fan, I highly recommend that you check out The Beatles, and vice versa. Both are incredible and talented beyond measure.

Here are some drawings I did of The Beatles:

George is my favorite by far. He is one of the greatest guitarists of all time. The songs that he wrote while in The Beatles are some of my favorites. He was also in the band The Traveling Wilburys in the eighties. I recommend them. Not only is George Harrison in it—as if that wasn't motivation enough—but other members include Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynn. Absolutely amazing!
John Lennon was extremely brilliant and talented musically. He had some pretty strange beliefs though. Two words: Yoko Ono. Really?
Paul McCartney, the pretty boy of The Beatles. I preferred to draw him with a beard. He was the first of The Beatles to grow one because he received on injury on his face from a motorcycle accident. All the other Beatles grew a beard after he did. What a trendsetter.

Where is Ringo? Good question. He sucks. I don't remember him as a musician. He will always be the conductor on Shining Time Station to me.