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Category Archives: Shoegazing

Sketches: Tourists at Disneyland

Last October when we took a vacation in the L.A. area, I brought along the digital camera. It went unused much of the time, but the few pictures that were taken will appear online sometime soon. “Take a trip, make the website several months later” has, after all, become something of a tradition here in chez scrubbles and I don’t intend to break it.

Anyway, we took a couple of days to visit Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim, and during the entire time I must have taken a total of six photos — half of them blurry shots of the Tiki Room interior. Whenever we’re busy doing something, taking a photo is an afterthought. Especially somewhere as hot and crowded as that place. Instead, I thought I’d share some sketches I made last night of the tourists at Disneyland/DCA. Going from left to right, the first figures are a couple of kids that were playing on the railings in the waiting area of the River Belle Terrace restaurant. The kids’ moms basically ignored them and looked flustered trying to figure out what to order. The second figure is a sloppy woman who left her empty drink cup on the fireplace mantel in the Disney Gallery (guess she couldn’t wait to use the 1,000 trash receptacles throughout the park). The third is a guy with a huge backpack who preceded us in line at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Don’t know why, but seemingly everybody there was carrying half of their possessions in huge bags and backpacks. Next is the Minnie Mouse character played by an extremely tiny woman. I spied her at the Plaza Inn, and she couldn’t have been more than five feet tall. The kids seemed to love her. Last is a little girl in a princess outfit, a common sight. No little boys dressed in prince costumes, however. The only tourist I missed was someone with a huge baby stroller (I can’t draw strollers), but this drawing completes my memories of those two days.

The Great Depression

Print magazine’s regional design annual is out this month — without my Subversive Cross Stitch buttons. I thought they might have a decent chance of getting in there, but no. I’ve always had a problem with these annuals, anyhow. It claims to be an even-handed survey of U.S. design as divided by geographical region, yet Phoenix (6th largest city in America) always gets lumped in with the entire states of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico in the “Rest of the Southwest” section. This year’s selections from that area wound up being a total of two pages in a phone book sized magazine! We can’t be that terrible, can we?

Print magazine sucks.

Back from the Dead is back. I’m so happy to have a functioning weblog again, and with a sweet new design too. Long story short: my database got corrupted during an upgrade, so I had to start from scratch and redo everything again. The archives are gone, vanished, kaput. Oh sure, they can still be accessed through search engines, but I can no longer update them. That’s what I’ve been spending the last month trying, and failing, to resolve. But that’s OK.

What’s important is that I’m here, and the few remaining readers of this weblog don’t have to worry about me disappearing again.

100 Things About Me


1. My mom says that before I could talk, I’d watch TV and sing the theme song from the next program coming on.
2. #1 probably says it all about me, but if you need more go ahead and read on.
3. I could happily eat breakfast cereal for every meal of the day.
4. I’m a firm believer in the “do unto others” credo.
5. I was born in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’ve also lived in Tempe, Chandler and Phoenix.
6. I don’t have any particular affinity for Arizona or the desert.
7. My parents have been married for over 40 years.
8. I’m the middle child of three brothers.
9. Maybe that’s why I can so readily identify with Jan from The Brady Bunch.
10. When I was five years old, Fisher-Price toys and Sesame Street rocked my world.
11. My parents knew when to indulge me and when to teach me to appreciate the things I have.
12. I was a quiet and polite child.
13. Actually, I’m still a quiet and polite person.
14. The months of August and September always make me edgy, since they remind me of how nervous I’d get before the school season begun.
15. I like to savor things, thus I’m kinda lazy and a slow eater.
16. In the third grade, I won a contest to keep a hula hoop spinning the longest.
17. Aside from ear surgery when I was about six years old, I’ve never been admitted to a hospital.
18. My earliest memory is driving a Big Wheel on the driveway of my childhood home on a hot sunny day with my Dad watching me.
19. I know just about every single inane commercial jingle from ’round the years 1978-85.
20. This fact really annoys my s.o.

21. When I was 10 years old, my main ambition was to become an animator at the Walt Disney studios.
22. I once owned two pet rats named Laverne and Shirley.
23. As far back as I remember, I loved to draw and was always the “artist” of my grade school classes.
24. I’ve never been an outdoorsy person.
25. Having an outdoorsy father and two outdoorsy brothers, my family often went on camping or fishing trips.
26. These trips helped me appreciate nature much more as an adult.
27. My idea of a perfect night has always been sitting at home, watching something fun on TV and eating a nice hot meal.
28. That painting of dogs playing poker frightens me.
29. I’ve always felt like I was different. At first I hated it, then I got used to it and now I revel in it.
30. Swedish Fish are the most wonderful candies ever made.
31. Even as a kid, old things fascinated me. I used to obsessively watch old Warner Bros. cartoons and laugh at the period-specific jokes, even when I didn’t understand them.
32. I also loved Charles M. Schulz and Peanuts. A stuffed Snoopy doll was one of my most treasured possessions.
33. I hated school athletics and didn’t even make a pretense of enjoying them.
34. Because of this, I never truly appreciated the benefits of physical fitness until well into my 20s.
35. As a kid I had all the cool toys: Spirograph, Lite Brite, Colorforms, Star Wars figures, Atari.
36. Despite all that, my favorite toy was a pen or pencil and paper.
37. My mom was a homemaker, then a teacher, then a high school administrator (at another school than my own, thank God).
38. My dad’s always been a salesman. At one point, he worked for Nestle so we had lots of chocolate in the house
38. I love what I love, but people who are fanatical about anything creep me out.
40. Floating in a swimming pool at night while a monsoon approaches is the most wonderul, peaceful feeling.

41. The two years of Junior High were probably the lowest point in my life.
42. When I was fifteen years old, MTV and bicycle trips to Tower Records rocked my world.
43. I developed an early interest in computers via the family Commodore 64.
44. I was too cool for the geeks and too geeky for the cool kids.
45. Back in high school, I was an unexceptional student who blended in with the crowd and never made waves.
46. My personality is so laid back that people often think I’m on drugs.
47. Morrissey’s lyric “Shyness is nice, and/Shyness can stop you/From doing all the things in life you’d like to” was the story of my life.
48. I’m a huge snob.
49. If I could possess one talent that I’m sorely lacking, I’d love to have a beautiful singing voice.
50. I love mid-century design, architecture and fashion. I would give anything to travel back in time to the 1939 New York Worlds Fair.
51. After graduating high school, I so dearly wanted to study art out of state, but instead I settled on the local university.
52. I caused a car accident only once. It happened on Friday the 13th with a full moon in the sky.
53. The car involved was my first, a funky beige ’74 Toyota Celica. Loved that car.
54. I love the artifice of Disneyland and collect vintage souvenirs from the park.
55. My first job was at a hot dog restaurant. Duties included making onion rings and wearing a hot dog costume (for one day).
56. When I was 20 years old, my main ambition was to become an edgy cartoonist/illustrator a la Gary Panter or Charles Burns.
57. I’ve never made a big deal out of being gay, and don’t expect anyone else to.
58. I’m a voracious reader, but a slow one. Big books take me forever to get through.
59. I was rejected for my college graphic design program. Despite this setback, I managed to carve out a flourishing career in that field.
60. For #59 all I can say is thank goodness for the Apple Macintosh.

61. I got my first real job in 1992 designing advertising for The Arizona Republic newspaper. I stayed there for eleven years.
62. When I was 25 years old, The Simpsons and nocturnal, solitary trips to the grocery store rocked my world.
63. I crave every kind of ’60s music with female vocals. Diana Ross & The Supremes are my idols.
64. I can’t understand people who don’t “get” black and white or foreign films.
65. I can’t truly function until about 10:30 a.m.
66. On the night of November 22, 1994, my life changed. I met my partner, Christopher. Since then, there hasn’t been a single day that we haven’t spoken to each other.
67. Strangers often think that me and Christopher are brothers.
68. Mannequins and ventriliquist dummies freak me out.
69. So do super-religious people.
70. People who smoke and toss their cigarettes out the window of their vehicles disgust me.
71. I have an aversion to foods with a wet and gritty texture (like watermelon or water chestnuts).
72. Entertainment Weekly magazine published a letter of mine in 1995.
73. I bought my first home, a gorgeous Craftsman Bungalow from the ’20s, when I was 27. Christopher and I still live here.
74. Common sense guides most everything I do.
75. I don’t have patience with others who don’t adhere to #74, from acquaintances to presidents.
76. Although I always enjoyed writing for fun, it wasn’t until the last decade that I seriously explored criticism and journalism.
77. In 1998-2000, I did double duty as a music critic at The Arizona Republic.
78. Various frustrations with the above inspired me to start my weblog,, in July 2000.
79. Selections from appeared in Never Threaten To Eat Your Coworkers: Best of Blogs, the first printed anthology of weblog writings.
80. Other notables: Boing Boing Best Blogs (2001-2003); House of Fun Summer 2001 favorite; Fimoculous Best Blogs 2002; linked at

81. Dancing around the house to cranked-up music can be very therapeutic.
82. I swore off wearing socks several years ago.
83. In our relationship, Christopher is Felix and I am Oscar.
84. When I was 30 years old, my main ambition was to find my own voice as a designer/illustrator (it happened five years later).
85. Crappy music and TV shows from the past will be my downfall.
86. I don’t believe in the concept of a “guilty pleasure”. You either like something or you don’t, coolness be damned.
87. Although I enjoy kid stuff, I have no desire to have any offspring.
88. I have a love/hate relationship with eBay.
89. I have a love/love relationship with chocolate.
90. I’ve made more friends in the past five years than in the previous thirty.
91. I’m easily distracted.
92. Christopher and I published a collaborative children’s book, Mama Cat, in 2003.
93. I’m also the creator of the only site dedicated to 1930s character actress Joyce Compton.
94. I wish my life was half as swanky and sophisticated as a Burt Bacharach/Hal David song.
95. When I was 35 years old, weblogs and Diet Coke rocked my world.
96. In 2004, I struck out on my own as a freelancer (check out my portfolio, huh?).
97. Caffeine and spending too much money on music are my only two vices.
98. I love to sleep.
99. Turner Classic Movies is the only thing I truly cannot live without.
100. Except maybe the TiVo.