I’m back home

So I’m home, back in Miami after two and a half weeks up north. I didn’t want to leave New York this time, 100 degree temps and all. Usually I’m ready to come home by the end of a trip but this time I did not want to leave.  But now that I’m home, I’m glad to be home. I’ll be back in NYC in October for ComicCon week and November for Thanksgiving week.

I’m thinking the reason I didn’t want to leave NY is that I barely watched any news when I was traveling. At home I seem to have the news on in the background all day. Maybe I should stop watching the news at home and it will improve my quality of life.

We had a condo board election last night, I tied for the fifth place on the five member board and I let the person who I tied with have the spot, I really didn’t want it. While I put myself on the ballot, I didn’t vote for myself, if I had, I would be in the position now. But to be honest, I had second thoughts after signing up and I really didn’t want it, but still I was hurt that I didn’t get more votes. I guess we build ourselves up in our heads and think we’re so great, but when others don’t it hurts. But if I didn’t vote for myself, how could I expect others to?

I was president of the condo board for six years, that was about 10 years ago, I hated every moment of it, I tried to get out of it for so many years, but it’s a small condo, so it wasn’t easy to find a replacement, so I’m not sure why I wanted back on the board this time, but I dodged a bullet, simply by not voting for myself. But still, who are those people who did not vote for me and why didn’t they vote for me?

Sort of like being nominated for an award and not winning.

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Seeing double; a good sign

IMG_1252I’m feeling very good about things these days. This Manhattanhenge proves it. Isn’t it good luck? I captured this shot the other day.

I also see the two people who bought my comics out of the blue as good luck, the fact that they were back to back unrelated buyers. For years this was the case with me.

I always had good luck. I willed things. I was always in the right place at the right time and I think maybe 10 years ago or less, things started changing. I was always a minute or two late for something, not in the right place at the right place anymore.

I sell promotional items. Almost once a week, I would get signs – I would get double orders withing minutes, if not seconds of each other. If Pepsi ordered frisbees, Coke ordered frisbees, within a minute of each other. If a high school ordered flags, within a minute another high school ordered flags. If a guy name Oscar ordered something another guy named Oscar ordered something. This became the norm.

It has been a long time since that happened, but the two ladies buying comics within minutes of each other was a good sign.

The next day I got another double order – for post it notes. But they were not regular square post it notes. They were thought bubble shaped – you know, like from comic strips. Comic strips! There is the tie-in. But get this – a guy buys them and then within a minute another guy buys them.

They aren’t a regular item, in fact, the last time I sold that shape post it note was to the first guy who was reordering the pads from a previous order from the year before. He was in New York state, the other guy is in Springfield, IL. Another weird happy coincidence and they are comic strip related.

I’m seeing good things ahead. I could go on and on about the signs I have received over the years but all this doubling stuff means a lot, especially to a Gemini like myself.

Revisiting a ‘haunted castle’ 30 years later

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When I hear “Domino Park,” I think of the small park on SW 8th Street in Miami, where the old Cuban men play dominoes, but there’s a new Domino Park in Brooklyn. It’s the site of the old Domino Sugar refinery.  They created a new park and ultra modern condos are going up along the park, you can see it in the rendering above.

What I love about Domino Park is the old, haunted? Domino plant itself. You can see it in the photo below and you can see it sort of renovated above. Apparently they are going to leave most of it alone. It was built in 1856. Domino Park will redefine the neighborhood just as Gantry Plaza Park redefined the Long Island City waterfront a hop skip and a canoe ride up the river. I visited Domino Park this week with my cousin Roni we checked out the neighborhood and had lunch. This is near where I was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a quite different place than the Brooklyn of years ago.

I love this old building in all its decreptness and always have since the day I came upon it in the mid 1980s. I was lost in Brooklyn and ended up right in front of the plant. It was blacker then, full of soot and scarier and bigger. I turned the block and there it was, all Harry Potter-like. I didn’t know what it was but I was intrigued. I couldn’t get in, but the front gates were open and I stared at it for awhile. I’ve thought of it so many times over the years and each time we passed it when on the Circle Line boat ride or on a Ferry, I would stare at it, imagining the inside.

Now thirty years later, I’ll be able to go into the old building, in what looks like an glass-enclosed bar/restaurant on the roof. That part is not complete yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I feel the old plant is haunted. It sits right next to the Williamsburg Bridge and is so easy to get to, it’s right on the waterfront, a few blocks from the center of Williamsburg hipsterhood.

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He says my style is rushed

I had sent my work to one of the heads of one of the major newspaper syndicates. He gave me a lot of good advice, which I appreciate.  He did say something quite puzzling, he said my work looked rushed – that I drew too fast. These three drawings are samples of my style.

First off, he is right, I do draw fast, I’m not sure how he knew but I guess its his job to know. But is it a bad thing that I draw fast? That’s just my personality, I do things fast. I don’t think it diminishes the drawings. I see so many comic strips that look as if they were drawn fast, I mean people can’t even draw hands for gods sake, but that is the cartoonists’ styles, in fact many of them draw other things that I’ve seen that are totally different than their comic strip style.

Just this morning I was looking at a blog of a cartoonist who draws his comic strip very simply but he had other drawings on his blog, greeting cards, or something like that, which I really enjoyed, they were quite detailed and sort of a fine-line drawing style which is nothing like his comic strip style. And there is a woman cartoonist who does the same thing, when she draws things other than her comic strip, the drawings are quite different, more refined and detailed.

I don’t like to pick on other artist’s styles because art is art. Who am I to judge, which did make me wonder about this comic head who judged my art. I mean, I can understand him judging the comic as a whole, but since when is a cartoonist’s drawing style judged by an editor? There are so many comic strip and comic panel artists in the newspapers and magazines like The New Yorker, who have a very simple, fast style, but the finished work is perfect.

What did your teacher think of you?

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I was reading a Q & A column in Hogan’s Alley magazine (the printed issue) where cartoonists were asked, “What did your high school art teacher think of your cartooning proclivities?”

I found that to be interesting. I remember all through school, even high school, I was usually the best artist in art class as I am sure most young cartoonists are. I would cringe over this. I was proud and good enough to do my best and not dumb my work down, but it was quite embarrassing for me year after year being known as the best artist.

I remember one year my teacher told me that she told my mother at a parent-teacher night that I was a great artist and I asked my teacher, “What did my mother respond?” And she said, with a sort of wry look, “She said she knew!” She was almost mocking my mother as not being humble. But what was my mother to do, feign ignorance? That always has bothered me to this day. I’m sure my mother was proud but a bit embarrassed as I was when I was pointed out for my art.

I do regret one thing about my art class days. I remember drawing a whole, full color Sunday comic strip of “All in the Family,” the tv show. What I regret is that I gave it away. A classmate liked it and I just gave it to him.

It was excellent as I remember it. I remember the characters, Archie and Edith and the rest and also the layout of the living room as I drew it and it was quite a large size and full color, colored with water color paint. I would love to see that piece of art today.

Awkward lunch

There’s this new restaurant in the neighborhood, it’s a casual place. You walk up to the counter and order and they bring it to your table. It’s a sort of Asian bowl place, but you can get many things there, they have a large menu.

Well, it’s always empty. I’m usually the only one there when I stop in for lunch. There are maybe four or five employees behind the counter and some preparing the food in the kitchen and my $12 lunch probably doesn’t cover one of their salaries for the day.

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They have a few locations in Miami and I don’t know if they are a large chain around the county or just have the few locations here. The food is great at a great price, but no one is going. I’ve told so many people about it, too.

It used to be a Quizno’s and that place was always full, so it’s not about the location.

It reminds me of that Babu, cafe episode of Seinfeld.

As you enter, before you are even in the door, they are greeting you from the front counter, I guess they are so happy to see a person arrive. Then when your food is being prepared, you don’t know where to look, they all just stand and stare at you and when you look at them, they smile. Very weird.

I do hope they make it. I like the food very much and it’s a great place for lunch.

Black t-shirt insecurities

tom-falcoI normally dress in a t-shirt and jeans, unless I’m going to a meeting or wedding or something a bit fancier than just every day stuff.

And that is how I want to dress daily – black t-shirt and jeans. Didn’t Steve Jobs dress like that? I think he did it because it was easy to just wear the same thing and not think about what you wear, although when you wear jeans and a t-shirt every day like I do, there really isn’t much to think about – green, red, black?

I like the black.

The only reason I don’t do it is because I don’t want people thinking I’m wearing the same shirt every day, even though I have so many black t-shirts and they are fresh when I put them on. I’m not sure why I care, all they have to do is sniff me to see the shirt is clean.

I literally have my finger on an Amazon order now, ready to hit “send” for a package of black t-shirts, but the thought of being seen as dirty is stopping me. The ironic part is that I wash my hands 20 times a day. I’m not neurotic, it isn’t that. I just do it when I enter the house or when I throw out the trash or before I eat, you know, things like that.

I do love my Batman/Starry Night shirt, so I’ll wear that once in awhile and I have plenty of other t-shirts that I like. When I go out to dinner or meetings, etc., I wear a dress shirt. But I like the black t-shirt and jeans look as my every day uniform. What do you think?

It’s funny, after I wrote this post I came upon this story on the CBS website called, “Should you wear a work uniform?” referring to wearing the same thing every day. It’s a growing trend where people voluntarily wear the same thing every day! The lady in the CBS piece says she was exhausted every day trying to figure out what to wear, I don’t feel like that I just feel like wearing the same thing because I like the look. No other reason.