24 October, 2009

5K Madness! Can you spot our heroines? That's the Texas capitol in the background (or is it that we are in the capitol, but the building is the capital?). Good morning Austin!

And what a beautiful morning it was. Dana and Blair braved the brisk and breezy race conditions with nothing more than a quick stretch. But see how expert they look!

I drew up a couple of race dedication cards for Blair. I esp'lly like the Paul. I swear they were straight when I pinned them on.

The ladies did a fantastic time--right around 30 minutes. And they talked the whole way. Said it was the most fun they'd had in a race. I stayed at the start/finish and cheered. The LIVESTRONG folks always reserve a special finishing lane over the last 100 meters for the cancer survivors who run the race. As they come through everyone cheers with extra enthusiasm. The whole experience is very moving, but also exhilarating.
Thank you again to all our great donors! You guys should all try to come to one of these one day--it is fantastic. And this is just the appetizer for the main course, which is tomorrow's ride.

I am carb loading as I type, (as I have been for the last two weeks--deep-fried coconut shrimp flautas are healthy, right?).

Happy girls!
We're here! We've made it to Austin. The trip has been great (so far), with time spent visiting friends (including attending one wedding) in Dallas; Columbus, GA; Atlanta; Birmingham, AL; Mobile; New Orleans; and now, Austin. The girls are just about to head out for their 5K. Internet access has been scarce on this trip, and time to seek it out has been even scarcer; for that I apologize. But now we've got free hotel WiFi.

More soon!

17 October, 2009

Rock n' roll parking lots have become a major problem in Southern California. Who the hell had the idea to blast Bad Company from outdoor speakers into an empty suburban parking lot at 9 AM?

But now I've found a parking lot music I can support: BeBop Parking Lot. It's true--our little Woodbury Center Centre pumps out some of the greatest jazz ever recorded. Fer instance, they played the original Charlie Parker version of "KC Blues," with the teen-agey Miles Davis on trumpet (including his proto-Miles solo).


I sat outside to sip my latte and when this came on I couldn't help but start tapping my toes, then swaying back and forth and finally, with eyes closed, swing my head from side to side.

It was a scene not unlike this famous one from the Flintstones ("The Golden Smog").


Then I remembered the lady sitting at the next table--I opened my eyes to see her feeding a bottle to her infant and trying to ignore me. I wanted to shout, "Isn't this song great?! I LOVE the BeBop Parking Lot!"

But I didn't.

16 October, 2009

Here's my pal Paul. I've been meaning to write a little about him. He is the reason I am doing this ride, after all, and the reason I am hustling so hard to raise money for LIVESTRONG (and you've all been fabulous with your support--thank you!).

Paul and I met in high school--it was in Mr. Ugalde's class, U.S. Gov't, junior year. Seems like such a late date writing it here, but the school year had just begun, and I was still a serious outsider at Don Lugo High School, having just moved to Chino the previous year. Paul and I sat far apart in the classroom, and for the first couple weeks hadn't spoken. I'd noticed that he moved around campus as part of a large group of friends who dressed with a surprising degree of similarity (does "clique" sound too uncharitable? or maybe jealous?). They wore an interesting amalgam of early Beatles-syle pegged pants with new wave-y, shallow pompadours--and always the ubiquitous 60's era thrift-store, short-sleeved, mock-turtle neck sweater. They were a clean-looking pack of hipsters--Inland Empire hipsters.

None of these other friends were in A.P. U.S. Gov't with us, though.

Our teacher, Mr. Ugalde, thought he saw some similarity in the two of us--NOT fashion or hipster-wise, but we were both sort of anti-orthodox, free-thinking types (by Chino standards). Maybe he wanted to nurture that (god bless him). So his bright idea was to pair us up on an early school project, to help us become "friends." Mr. U. told the class we'd be working in pairs, "So choose a partner--and Robert(me) and Paul, why don't you two work together?"

That was awkward. I'm sure you can imagine how two strong-willed teens would react to being forced into an arranged friendship (and humiliatingly singled out in front of the class) by an authority figure (aka "The MAN"), even if it was a good idea.

Our assignment was to imagine ourselves setting sail for some deserted (but not desert) island with the intention to start a "new society." "Draw up a list," Mr. Ugalde instructed us, "of five things you will bring to this island that you think will be essential for creating a new utopia."

We were told to go ahead and get with our "partner" right then and write up this short list. Paul and I found a spot where we could sit down, but we weren't happy. And while I handled our being forced to work together with sullen resentment, he treated the whole thing with distracted impatience. The dialog went something like this:

ME: (shuffling over, slouching into seat) Hey man. We gotta do this list thing I guess....

PAUL: (not looking at me, feigning fascination in watching the rest of the class huddle with their partners of choice) Huh? Oh yeah, yeah. (brief glance my way, impatient) Look, the first thing to put on this list is a Honda generator. That's number one.

ME: (annoyance giving way to mystification) Huh?

PAUL: A generator, man. (seeing me more mystified, getting more impatient and more impassioned) We are going to need power and we have got to have that generator. How are you gonna make anything without power?

ME: --uh--

PAUL: So we'll need gas, too--(dictating to me now, pointing at my blank page and pen at-the-ready) we need like some 55 gallon drums of gas. (me not writing, him looking at me for emphasis, starting to gesture at the page) For the generator!

ME: Yeah, OK...(I start moving the pen, writing, but just our names and the assignment--I'm not gonna put down his stupid generator idea) But don't you think we need something more like books with ideas about how to form a society--like Locke and the Federalist Papers or--

PAUL: WHAT?! We need power so we can build things. We need a generator. (His expression tells me that I should realize this to be self-evident, or--what am I, a moron?) You can put whatever else you want. But we have to have a generator--and gas. (This is all he has to say--it finishes his role in our collaboration, and he's already going back to doing whatever empty activities we teenagers occupied ourselves with before the invention of texting)

I start to make a case for a more philosophical approach, but he's uninterested. I'm uninterested. I don't even try to explain the mirage of a solution a generator offers. I went back to my desk and while the rest of the students spent the next thirty-forty minutes of class writing up their papers, happily gabbing together (predictably, almost everyone else insisted that, #1, we must bring the Bible), we just sat separately and frittered away the time. I wrote up something and since each team only had to turn in one paper, I was the author of "ours."

"A generator," I thought to myself. "What a moron."

That's how we met.

13 October, 2009

We're just about to hit the road--two weeks (at least) of tarmac travelin' ahead. We'll be in Dallas, Fort Bening, Atlanta, Birmingham, Mobile, New Orleans, and Austin, TX. Our car is loaded with everything from a road bike to a bridesmaid's dress--and even my tux.

And still I'm plagued by the worry, "What did I forget...?"

I'll posting as much as possible on the road. It should be exciting!

Here's our new team image: Team Sunscreen, Junior! Blair's Best Friend Dana is joining us in Austin to run the 5K, so it IS a real team effort!

More later....

12 October, 2009

Pamela Smith, I salute you! For your support of my LIVESTRONG Challenge ride, I grant thee...a caricature.

You are my favorite strong woman!

OK, the likeness is not spot-on--but I was mainly seeking to glorify your irrepressible nature.

And your unbridled enthusiasm.


11 October, 2009

Donors to thank:

Mike D. and Ed Schofield! Thanks fellas!

This is a recreation of an actual pair of caricatures on Mikey's car. My materials were a slightly dirty rear window and my finger. And it was still on the car a month later when I stopped by the old Papaya office fer lunch! I was honored.

Mike, is it still there? If it is, draw a little "LIVESTRONG DONORS" logo on there, wouldja?

Thnks mch-0, brothers!
Donors to thank:
Jeff and Mary Claire of Clan Ranjo!

10 October, 2009

I have a hard time balancing my life.

But my donors STOMP!

Here's one for the famous Carlo "CARLS" Sansonetti and his lovely wife, Cheryl. I love you guys! Thanks for the support! And thank gawd I had this drawing started from way back (it's supposed to be for your house-warming!).

Met a freelance deadline and recommitted to daily blog updates.

Donate HERE! Two weeks to go and we're still $2,000 shy of our goal. But like I said, we are STOMPING forward!

06 October, 2009

DONOR: G.I. Joe, Kit Davis (my brother).

Thanks, Joe!

The LIVESTRONG Challenge is just a little more than 2 weeks away--and I'm gonna be on the road for much of that, so it's time for our last big fund-raising push!

So hey, DONATE NOW and I will draw a free caricature of you!!

p.s. I can't promise you'll like it...just that it will be funny.

05 October, 2009

Time to thank some donors...

Thank you Barb and Steve!

(Steve, my sometime mountain bike riding partner!)

03 October, 2009

Boy am I bummed I haven't been posting more. The blog is always the first to suffer when the freelance gets intense. Good to have the work, but like every project with NDA's (non-disclosure agreements, 'natch), I am not allowed to share any of my work publicly. Which stinks. So I've been drawing a lot, and none of it can go up here. A drag, 'cuz I'd love to share it with you.

Today I had my first good crash on the bike. I was on the mountain bike and lost it on a steep rock slope. Fell off backwards and went sliding down the side of the mountain. Tried it again and crashed a second time! I was just a little scuffed, nothing serious. In fact, a good crash always puts me in a good mood. I laughed all the way back to the car (happened on my very last obstacle of the day). Good times!

This guy (spotted at local Starbucks), looked a dead-ringer for Uncle Walt--but with ink. A troubling combo...