Free Lunch Studios

Tom Gordon

Tom Gordon's Blother

June 25, 2006

Pontificating Upon A Sketchbook Entry #2
Well, I finally fished, got off the pot, cut bait, what have you -- and jumped back into the Berol Prismacolor fold at last. Yet another ludicrously overexposed PopCult icon this time around -- as I'd lost the previous Ten Ton competitive exercise in obsolescent Luddism natural media by a depressingly wide margin (and with it, that whimsy-filled privilege to force everybody else to scratch hubbalicious Lady Jaye or Teela. (Or perhaps even Druuna; hell, I'm not proud)). Unlike its 20th Century predecessors though, the original crosshatched line art also has an advantage of being electronically preserved BEFORE getting thoroughly mucked up forever with layers of waxy polymers! With that in mind, it's a 'two-fer' (as overly-caffeinated radio deejays used to say, before spinning Whitney Houston's latest warbling for the thirty-thousandth time):

Oh, and in case you're wondering about the Nicholsonian axe, t'was a tip-of-the-hat to the only other Joker drawing I've done, during the height of the (in retrospect, ludicrously undeserved) hype surrounding Tim Burton's 1989 film. While a comparison of the two pieces o'crap may reveal that yours truly's actually devolved in his mad imagesmithin' skillz during the seventeen-year interregnum: believe me when I say that even pushing out a 'greyscale' colored-pencil illustration would've easily consumed a week (or more) back then. The contemporary version, OTOH, took about four hours, total -- and it's in color, Bob-dammit!

'Course, since I was working out directly from the same smallish sketchbook I'd purchased at the start of this blog (which incidentally contains almost every art posted here, along with billowing fleshy oodles of far less accessible/embarrassingly pornographic entries), the impulse to begin filing down every pencil to the thickness of a flea's nostrils and render the whole thing utilizing an electron microscope was almost irresistible. But methinks I did a fair job of avoiding that particular Road to Blindness/Frustration/Insanity -- except in areas like the psychotic clown's face, which needed that bit of 'oomph.' Presumably, if I ever feel the obsessive need to piss away hours getting tiny eye highlights to look just right, I'll simply work on a bigger scale and employ the same medium (in its damnably hard-to-find stick form):

(Man. These suckers saved my life, back in college.)

Unfortunately, the all-too-familiar process was not without its innumerable anti-nostalgic harkenings to the Bad Old Days. Grind up several Prismas in a blender, wave the component wood/pigment clumps under my nose, and I'll immediately find myself right back in late adolescence again; building lavish, tearstained pseudoreligious shrines to beloved Hippie Chicks, in another desperate attempt to magically Make Everything Right, Part XVIII:

Y'know, I'm still not sure if that cartoon was meant to be self-denigrating or not. Since 9/11, I've heard that effin' Santayana quote -- "A fanatic is one who redoubles his efforts as he loses sight of his goal" -- more times than I can count (and of course, always directed in a snotty mode towards 'imperial' American efforts to liberalize the Middle East, but never those savages who wear Semtex belts and fly planes into skyscrapers so they can boink houris in the afterlife). And insofar as hopeless romantic yearning's concerned, perhaps I should just accept the label gracefully, and let other people handle the 'deprogramming' side of things when I'm finally arrested for illegally erecting a heroically-proportioned Play-Doh sculpture of My Aphrodite™ in some fashionable city square.

(HI, JEN!)

June 19, 2006

Enter Sandman
Just for the record (or podcast? durned anachronisms), yours truly's never been a big fan of the 'horror' genre. Stephen King, to name its most 'commercially accessible' example, is one whose tripewriting I just can NOT digest at all (and that was even before the dorky SOB turned my very name into a tedious running joke for assorted smart-alecky friends' benefit). The same holds true for the Ginsu Enthusiast school of splattery filmmaking -- as typified by Herschell Gordon Lewis and his lurid footstep-followers. Such celluloid carnage does not exactly inspire a sense of "teeth-chattering fear", so much as "a desire to see Hollywood suitcase-nuked, for the sake of greater Western civilization".

Tangent time: and what is the freakin' deal with the demographic group Machete Brandishing Psychopath #274 always practices his whittling skills upon? Is it -- as paranoid liberal (a redundancy, I know) pundits claim -- the filmmakers' intention to forge a Clockwork Orange-y association between 'nubile young women' and 'sickening death' in the minds of the audience? (Haw haw! Certainly didn't work in my case! Well, um... unless you count all those times I threw up in abject terror when confronted by pretty girls, back in High School. Oh, okay -- in college. ALL RIGHT DAMMIT, I STILL PUKE TODAY!)

Anyhow, in general I find the best spooky-art to be Lovecraft or Matheson's stuff; well-crafted near-literature that's more appropriately categorized as 'dark fantasy' (or even science fiction!) to taste. And having completed this long-winded kvetchfest on aberrant PopCult trends, I now contradict every stinkin' word of it, by offering up a lame doodle of Bruce Campbell's involuntarily chainsaw-wielding character from the "Evil Dead" flicks. Go, hypocrisy, go! (Warning: Sam Raimi-ish cartoonish graphic violence ahead... DEAD ahead! Nyuk.)

I'm also going on the rec-- uh, Blu-Ray DVD, as stating that I just abhor having good dreams. Sure, after yesterday's Beginning of Summer-esque party of sorts (sadly celebrated in lieu of Father's Day), where recreational beverages/iffy consumables were overindulged while slow-baking in the Big Room With The Blue Ceiling (or, as other people call it, 'the outdoors'), any number of nightly subconscious detritus-spawned adventures could be expected.

But to date, they've always tended towards two possibilities. I'm either screaming my lungs out at a newly-arrived convention of ravening skeletal undead Shriners, before dying horribly in a catastrophic event culled from recent current events/grim speculative fiction/both. Or else it's a REM-replay of the same stupidly mundane activities that would've occured in a wakened state, anyway. (Oh, maybe a perfunctory surrealistic touch is added 'to spec' here or there, like a computer made of cheese, or yodeling dogs. Big shmeal!)

Not upon this occasion, though. Oh no -- THIS time around, after the usual Vaseline-on-camera-lens transition, I arrive in the Land of Nod, rummage through my pocket and -- lo and behold! -- discover the GNP of a Third World nation lying amidst lint and discarded bubble gum wrappers! How'd it get there? More importantly, wouldn't several metric tons of precious metal have ripped the trouser's fabric -- or at the very least, hindered some freedom of movement? Apparently my dream-self doesn't sweat inconsequential details like that.

IAE, having just improbably stumbled his way into the elite club of multibillionaires, Sleeping Tom then resolves to go to a store and purchase something truly ambitious with his newfound riches -- say a spool of CD-R discs. Or perhaps even some beef jerky, if the spirit is willing. He climbs into his monster truck (don't ask), and noisily careens unmolested down a familiar suburban boulevard, earning multiple tip-of-the-hats from all those law enforcement officers who've managed to FINALLY clear that particular stretch of its geriatric, Prius-driving Baby Boomers, praise Jeebus!

Whereupon, in the parking lot, he just happens to bump into... That Girl. The Muse. The One That Sort Of Got Away, Except You Never Really Possessed Her In The First Place, et cetera, caveat, asterisk. In a normal universe, of course, I could easily estimate Her™ reaction to such a chance reunion: it'd span the gamut between a forced, uncomfortably reluctant acknowledgement... and just plain fleeing in terror. But she would certainly NOT be bubbily smiling, with eyes lit up in full-blown manga style. Nor would she then proceed to enthusiastically cover every square inch of my body with her own, in a scene that'd make the business from "From Here To Eternity" look like an exercise in Victorian standoffishness. But then came a noise from that lesser realm --

Deep sigh. I suppose I should be grateful to Fang. As per his dour, rationalist Russian (Blue) heritage, his incessant feline demands roused me out of a wistful fantasy-world right at the crucial 'foreplay' stage -- leaving much less romantic material to pine over while rubbing out eye boogers and brushing teeth.

Nevertheless, if the Guinness World Records had an entry for 'live cat hurling', it would've definitely been broken this past morning. Grey buzz-killing twit.

June 14, 2006

No Leaf Clover
Please note: if you removed the lovely (un)fairer sex and implausible floatcraft from my limited visual vocabulary -- presumably utilizing power tools and a largish soup spoon -- within a week, yours truly would suddenly become the new darling of the Fine Art world, filling galleries with pretentiously-named, sprawling canvases of the splattery incoherence he'd found to replace those forever-lost subjects. (Or perhaps he'd just be cleaning toilets. Same difference.)

On the plus side, with a big chunk of logical cerebellum scooped out, one could also probably learn to enjoy mind-throttlingly boring socialist pastimes soccer! (Ah yes, how the scalpel-edged satire flows here at FLS.)

Speaking of throttling, I'd truly like to wring the neck of my younger self. Oh, not for his quaintly incessant hand-wringing over matters of zero consequence, like oh terrorist groups and American Balkanization. Nor even for a social cluelessness that'd make Butters look like Tyler Durden. (Though I venture a day in 2K6 footwear would probably shake up his navel-embedded perspective there, what with its marked absence of beloved fathers, proper digestion and general political amiability. (But then, if it meant unloading clips of intellectual ammunition at undead hordes of cartoonish leftists, the fool would probably stick around for that last bit, anyway. And iPods.))

Nope, the offense worthy of near-strangulation was far more prosaic than that... namely, not documenting the arcane process whereby I can add new categories (such as, say, 'BLOG') to the Free Lunch Studios site, without disrupting the consistency of its pseudo-handwritten, horribly dated user interface. So for several hours, I fudged along in Bloatoshop, swapping color palettes, pixel-level drawing and all the rest of that image-processing rot. And does it look right? Hear that hollow echo!

Anyhoo, once THAT tiresome business was completed, it later occured to me (after the fact, of course) that I could've simultaneously created graphical links to OTHER sub-headings too, like the Retrovertigo mini-site, or even that curious 'miscellaneous whatevers' page, with all its custom video game mods and emulator-readable Commodore 64 disk images. But that would've assumed some capacity to stop and calmly assess things while in the obsessive throes of single-minded tunnel vision. And that just ain't happenin'.

Eh? What's that you say? Redesign the site? BWHAHAHAAoohmigod, I have to wipe my eyes, that's a good one. No. Rest assured, when I finally offer up a complete RNA holo-encoding of my brain for download, it'll still be through a front-end that wouldn't have impressed anybody, even back in 1994. Because, y'know, there's always some die-hard old-schooler out there, running NCSA Mosaic on a 286 -- and dammit, we just CAN'T abandon him!

Anyway, I'll probably have more nonsensical ravings as the day grinds on. In the meantime, here's a list of my present piddling collection of music files. Yes, yes, I know that band sucks. But the kiddie-demographicked Raffi stuff is for my baby niece whenever she visits. Really. I'm serious.

Gaaah. And at age 1.75, no fargin' less. It'll be a most sad spectacle indeed when she's teaching me how to use Apple iPhotoshop 23's AI-assisted form rendering features. ", no, Uncle Tommy, you gotta insert the neurolink feed into the comm slot behind your ear, NOT in the ear itself! Hold on, I'll get something to stop the bleeding..."

June 9, 2006

Lazy Micro Blog #3
This is the last one. Honest to... uh, Transgressive Secularity.

And nnnnow back to the usual overload of overwrought, pain-wracked verbiage! Sprinkled with a light layer of laughably lame doodles, and that occasional helping of patented snark sauce, of course!
Lazy Micro Blog #2
Well, it hasn't made me not want to see it. But don't Decepticons sport RED eyes?
Lazy Micro Blog #1
Good riddance. I'll sure miss his funny Iowahawk columns, though...
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