WATCH AND LEARN

Don't make the same mistakes I made, people. I'm trying to save you a lifetime of heartache here. It's the least I can do. Several years ago, we shot a commercial in LA whose central prop was a barrel full of bugs. Our bug wrangler (yep, that was his title) showed us with great zeal how he would build the bug pit in layers. The bottom layer was always mealy worms, because they writhed and therefore made the whole mess writhe. On top you wanted a nice mix of shiny ones and translucent ones and ones with long protuberances that the camera could pick up. And you had to be very careful not to take too long with the shot, because some of the more restless ones would begin to eat the others, and leave lots of them half-eaten because there were so many there to taste. Sometimes I look inside myself and that's what I see. So pay close attention to my advice.

MORE TIPS FOR ARTISTS

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Ever wake up and discover that every single thing about your life is devoid of color or flavor? Like you've been put on a no-sodium lo-cal diet, except there's no payoff at the end? You tell yourself that everything's exactly the way it was yesterday--the sky's just as blue, the grits taste just like grits, but somehow the emotional content is just not there. Or like you're an actor in a B movie, an Adam Sandler vehicle maybe, and it's not horrible but it's not in the least funny. And what's worse is you can't think of a thing to attach this to, an event that explains things. It just seems random, as if a giant ball of mucus fell from the sky, and today you're the one it fell on.

I'm not saying I feel this way, I was just posing a hypothetical question. Tell you the truth, I'm like a male Reese Witherspoon, all chirpy and shit. If I ever felt that way, I would take a couple of Effexors, an Airborne, count my blessings, whistle a happy tune, maybe "Sometimes When We Touch", by Dan Hill, and then I'd be just fine. Because today is the first day of the rest of my life.

COMMON DRAWING MISTAKES

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I don't want to turn this into the Church Message Sign Blog, but they keep popping up in front of me, taunting me with their dumbitude. Possibly intentionally, I'm not ready to rule that out. This church across the street from the "one week" church has a message now that says "ABOUND IN THE WORKS OF THE LORD". I've got nothing against the word "abound"; coincidentally, I used the very word this morning when I stated to a friend that coincidences abound. Never mind that they took issue with my contention, claiming that coincidences don't abound nearly as much as I perceive that they do, so I'm not even going to dwell on the fact that it's pretty coincidental that the word "abound" should appear in front of me on the very same day that I used it in conversation. Be that as it may, and, oh, it may, I'm pretty sure that "abound" is not being used correctly on this church message board. Can a person abound? Of course, a Christian would say that anything is possible with The Lord, who's omnipotent and can use the word "abound" any damn way he pleases. Plus he works in mysterious ways. It kind of feels, though, like whoever conjured up that phrase was thinking something like "Bound About in the Works of The Lord", as in joyful bounding about. Although I have to say that if you're going to abound joyfully, then you have to be pretty selective about which Works of The Lord you're abounding in. You can go about abounding over the lilies of the field or the New Orleans Saints beating the Cowboys and whatnot, but you'd probably want to pass over the latest suicide bombing in Iraq, or children starving in Africa, or any of the other countless non-bounding events that overtake us on a daily basis. Just thinking about it makes one week.

COMMON DRAWING MISTAKES, No. 51.3

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Know what annoys me? "Talking points". That's not the only thing, of course. There are many other things that annoy me, possibly numbering in the thousands. Not that I go around all day with an annoyed look on my face like most people. In fact, that's another one of the things that annoy me, people who go around looking annoyed, as if their annoyed state takes priority over anyone else's. Why can't a person's default expression be pleasant? Is that so difficult? I suppose it's a power thing, like most things, which annoys me. Why do people have to be so damn concerned with their power relationship with others? Sometimes it's like the world is a big game of Risk. Which it is, with a small "r". Which annoys me.

COMMON DRAWING MISTAKES, No. 37

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You're drawing up a storm, in a crosshatching groove, and suddenly the whole thing comes down on you. It happens to experienced sketchers as well as novices. Someone can knock your arm, or a passing truck can hit a pothole, or maybe a turnip falls from the sky and bops you on the melon. Hey, don't think it can't happen. One day last September--but I digress. Proper attention to drawing construction is what will prevent this tragedy from occurring. Add too much hatching to a flimsy structure, and you're just begging for trouble. Also, here's a tip unrelated to art: don't wear black pants in a house populated by cats. Within an hour or so, you'll look like a Afghan yak herder. Well, your pants will. I don't mean your face will get all brown and leathery. That would be silly.

But it would be fun to live in a yurt, I think. Or just to say you lived in a yurt.