Taking things positively

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I’ve been trying to take everything positively. I’m not worrying, I’m making the best of things and I love how so many others are, too.

One thing I love is how at 7 pm in many cities people are hanging out their windows and balconies and applauding the service workers. That is the best. I live next to a hospital, on the bay, so the sound travels on the water and I’m sure the life savers at the hospital hear it all.

The hospital has a large campus and I try to walk over every day, just to get out of the house and walk along the bay. I don’t usually see anyone and if I do, we don’t interact, it’s just a quick 45 minutes for me to get out of the house. I saw these signs (see above?) at the hospital entrance. Aren’t they great? There are about 20 of them scattered about – a nice way for the doctors, nurses and hospital workers to start the day. And end it.

I noticed a few little winding streets in the area which I never walked or drove on before and I sometimes walk along them. There is a lot of shade and peacocks and lots of old mansions. It’s a little vacation for half an hour or so.

I also noticed kids are taking this quite seriously. Friends are posting pictures of their kids being home schooled either by teachers or parents and the kids are really into it. They don’t seem to be fooling around, they are really into the school work. One day, years from now, they’ll have some interesting stories to tell their own kids and grand kids. Maybe tell them about how we used to have this funny custom of shaking hands when we met each other, which we may never ever do again.

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And reporter Cynthia McFadden wins the Zoom/Skype tv game. Remember I posted about all the house scenes from people skyping in to tv news shows? Well this was the scene this morning on the Today Show – a nice lit fireplace, nice background, pretty green wall, the light in the background is on and not a bookshelf (or award or diploma) in sight!

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Just one of the many “Thank You” signs at Mercy Hospital in Miami.

Travels with Farley

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The famous Gerald Ford WIN buttons, when turned upside down meant NO IMPROVEMENT NOW! according to many.

One of my favorite older comic strips is Travels with Farley. I remember seeing it in The San San Francisco Chronicle when I would visit, but I see from an article by Bill Van Nieekerken, that it was a nationally published strip for many years, starting in 1975, and in 1985, Phil Frank, the Farley cartoonist, moved to San Francisco and the strip was then only posted locally mostly about local issues, those are the ones I remember.

The strips are popping up along with other older strips on a Facebook page called The Batavia Funny (and Not So Funny) Pages and I love seeing them. Even though they are dated, for some reason they speak to me. They always remind me of San Francisco, but they are funny.

A lot of the reruns I’m reading covered the 1976 elections and Jimmy Carter/Gerald Ford and so many of the strips reflect life in the ’70s from elections to inflation. In the ’70s, Farley travele around the country and met people from all walks of life and they discussed the issues of the day. Reading them now makes me want to go back.

Recently there was a parade in town and a guy in the parade looked like Farley! I took his picture and said, “You look like the old Farley comic strip character!” he just smiled and I don’t think he knew what I was talking about, but he was the spitting image of the comic character.

The strips here are a few random ones from 1976 and 1977.

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Selling my services; taking commissions

fiverr13I’ve never been one to take commission work, but in these hard times where I don’t have money coming in, I am taking commissions. In the past I did a lot of work for newspapers and magazines – and books – single panel and editorial cartoons – and drawings for advertisements. I remember when I was in high school I used to do spot drawings for a local magazine. I still have all that published work somewhere, probably at my parents house in storage.

I’m also selling comics that I’ve sold before. What I mean is, take this Flintstones comic. Over the years I have sold this to numerous realtors.

I didn’t set out to sell it, I didn’t realize it was online anywhere. I may have posted it online a few years back and perhaps people shared it and it got around that way. My copyright info is at the bottom of the comic and thankfully the people who shared the comic left it there, as that is the proper thing to do when sharing other peoples’ work. But anyway, people reached out to me, they literally searched for my email address and asked to purchase the rights the comic. This has happened many times for this exact comic panel. Out of the blue I got emails, I blogged about it here.

I made a deal to sell them the rights, they purchased the comic and used it for their marketing – usually on postcards or business cards according to the buyer. And all of the buyers were realtors so far I think, except for a magazine publisher.

Anyway, I’m selling the rights for this and I’m doing commission work, starting off with low prices, until I get volume orders. I know my work is worth more, but I need to start somewhere and test the waters. It seems that every time you start a project, there are so many other people out there doing the same thing, especially on the internet. But the good part about cartooning, illustrating and art is that everyone has their own style and that’s what sells, rather than everyone competing to sell the same thing like a regular product or service.

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Before and after colorization.

I am also recoloring old black and white photos. I learned how to do that with Photoshop so I thought I might as well make use of my “talent” and make a few bucks.

It’s amazing how this downtime is changing lives, people are doing things differently and thinking differently. Friends have told me they have taken up cooking and they are working out more and so many of us are doing Spring cleaning and so on. I have a friend who is doing workout classes online and it’s really such a renaissance for so many people.

Anyway, please reach out to me if you need art for anything – personal or commercial: tom@tomversation.com. Thanks!

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Nature’s Revenge; the reverse of climate change?

 

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I’ve seen in the news that the world seems to be resetting itself. It’s being caused by all of us, or most of us, staying inside, and businesses being closed; they say that climate change is reversing. Caronva virus is stopping climate change in its tracks!

The canals in Venice are clear; China is seeing lots less smog, a Stanford University study says between 50,000 and 75,000 lives are being saved due to the breathing of clean air.

Is nature, God, saying, “Enough!” Stop and reset! I think so. We are being forced to stop and slow down, to think, to meditate, to let nature breathe.

From an article in Counter Punch: “UN climate experts say humanity has about a decade to prevent ‘irreversible damage’ to the world from the monster of anthropogenic climate. Ten years is the time we need to, at least, limit the chaos of climate change.”

Is this pandemic Mother Nature giving us the extra time we need to fix the climate change problem? Pesticides are not being used these days due to the complete stop of everything; factories are not spewing poisonous smoke, people are not driving much so there is not much fossil fuel being used; all due to the caronavirus.

Researchers say that more diseases like the caronavirus are on the way due to encroachment on wild habitats and over population, so unless changes are made, this will be an ongoing nightmare.

The Counter Punch article ends with this: “Meanwhile, the coronavirus has eclipsed climate change and everything else in America and the world. Yes, people are dying and the shutting down of the country has merits. But unless we connect the virus with the horrors of climate change and the anthropogenic impoverishment of the planet, we imperil ourselves and this beautiful Mother Earth, Mother to All.

Is this proof enough to stubborn politicians who don’t believe climate change is man made?

Every day is a winding road

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So in my last post I was talking about the Boho van, which I would love to own and use, but in reality, I don’t like to drive – not even a mile away, so I don’t see myself on long road trips any time soon, plus, where would I park the Boho while in different states? Do you just pull up to a parking meter and that’s that? It seems so glamorous and easy on old tv shows like “Movin’ On” and Route 66.

For many years I would drive down to Key West, maybe five or six times a year. I didn’t mind the three hour drive because I guess I was driving through so many small villages and there was something to see. I had friends who lived on the west coast of Florida for many years and when I would drive up to see them in Sarasota, Port Charlotte or Venice, that was torture. It was just nothingness for hours on I-75. Naples is just about an hour and a half and I often think of going just for the day, but that’s a long boring drive even thought it’s not a very long drive.

But this pandemic has me thinking, there is lots of time to think.

My realistic plan, and Universe, I hope you are reading this – is to sell my condo, I have a lot of equity in this place. I’ve lived here many years and I can make enough money to retire on if I choose. The good part about that, too, is that I have about three neighbors who have relatives or want the place themselves. So I don’t have to look for buyers or pay a realtor commission.

The only reason I didn’t sell it to neighbors in the past is that none of them is willing to give me an offer that they are willing to pay, and I never gave them a figure that I wish to sell for. So we’ll have to pin that down now.

I would love to move to a lower cost place, in the area, not far away, and then travel and cartoon. I have always dreamed of spending the summer in Italy or even North Carolina or Connecticut or New Mexico, and just live there for the season, cartooning while I am there. So my main goal is to cartoon and travel.

I have a business I would sell, for whatever I could get. It’s either that or just shutting it down, but if I can get a few dollars, why not? I think the website URL and the mailing list is what competitors would want; they probably wouldn’t want the actual business, they would just fold it into theirs.

I could live on the equity I get from the condo I sell and I could make money in the future by re-investing the money and also from the comics/cartoons. If I get enough followers on social media, I could get paid for product placement. It’s done all the time with people that have thousands, if not millions of followers. And I have a plan to start doing commission work now.

So there is my manifest. The goal now is to clean out the apartment, you don’t realize all the crap you collect over the years. A friend told me a few years back that the worst part of his move was all the books, and he is right about that. But little by little, I am going to empty this place out – books, old clothing, old electronics, old plates and kitchen stuff – everything. I am making way for new owners – you know, telling the Universe that I am out of here!

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Moving on down the road

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I’ve been wanting to move for the longest time, but I’m too lazy to move. This whole lock down/Caronavirus thing is sort of resetting our lives; it’s resetting the whole Universe. I have been thinking differently about my future and how I want to live.

I want a change of pace and I would also love to take the money out of my current place and re-invest it and live. I need to start enjoying it. I started cleaning closets and other things out so that there wouldn’t be so much to move when and if the time comes. With all this free time now I guess I should start the “spring cleaning” again. I think if there is less stuff here it might be more motivating in getting me to move.

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I saw this thing on Shark Tank last week, it’s a van turned into a sort of trailer. So basically you live in the van, there is a kitchen, bed, shower, everything, but it’s easy to drive and maneuver since it’s not a huge RV. Trouble with that is I hate long driving trips, but I still do love the concept. The vans are called Boho campers. But I’m sure there are similar vans available, too.

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Oddly enough, on the same episode, this girl had portable solar panels, which you hang on a window, it charges up, and you use it to charge things. That would work perfect in the small camper. That can be seen here.

Now all I need is the balls to go ahead with it and see the country, but first, I need to sell this condo I’m in, and clean it out first. I’m putting it all into the Universe along with the end to the Caronavirus so all this can start happening. Oh, and I would draw comics and post them from my Surface Pro along the way!

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But I do have a more realistic plan that will work better for me. And I can retire in the process if I want. Stay tuned, I’ll explain that in the next blog post.

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Things seem to always work out

Shelter-in-PlaceI don’t mind the self quarantine or shuttering in place. I’m not sure why, perhaps because I work from home normally and I’m used to it. Some days do seem drawn out and I’m tempted to invite friends over, but I know that’s not the thing to do.

Last night, the City of Miami was put under a “Shelter in Place” order. Which sounds quite a scary proposition, but I’ve been doing that anyway, I guess it just didn’t have a name and order attached to it before. We are still permitted to go outside, take walks, do things that need to be done – go to get groceries, go to the pharmacy, pick up food, etc.

I think my only concern now money; my business is at a standstill and that’s a concern, but things have always worked out so I’m not panicking. So many times over the years I would tell the Universe I needed this amount of money or that amount of money to make it through the summer and the money appeared in my checking account.

Now I’m not saying it happened by magic. Most likely I forgot to make a notation of a deposit or two earlier in the year, but more than once this has happened and it saved the day, or the summer. I am seeing that happen now, when needed.

I am cartooning, that is going great and I’ve started Spring cleaning, first time in my life I think, but I’m doing it. I just dumped a lot of canned food with expiration dates on them from 2008! A few years ago I got a new refrigerator and when I emptied the old one out, there was frozen food in there from 2007; and this was in 2015 or 2016!

Anyway, I know this is frivolous talk, but I”m just trying to fill this space every day.

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