Random Erik

Ramblings on Cartoons, Music, Pop Culture and Whatever

Erik and Monkey (Talk About Life)

Once more into the breach, as the man said. I’ve started a new Webcomic, called Erik and Monkey (Talk About Life). Unlike my previous strip, Hex Libris, the title of this comic tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the strip. There’s Erik. There’s Monkey. We talk about life and that sort of thing. I’ll have one-off strips and series of theme strips and a few very short adventures, but mostly you’ll be able to drop in at any time and not be too confused (unless you’re disturbed by talking monkeys).

Check out Erik and Monkey (Talk About Life) here.

Monkey Punch

I’ve been drawing a heck of a lot of monkeys. In fact, I’m working on a webcomic with the word “monkey” in the title. This is, in fact, the titular monkey. In his boxing career, he likes to be called “Little Brown Beautiful”. I guess that makes sense, with that pretty face of his.

Click the thumbnail for a better view.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Even in the middle of nowhere (half an hour from the nearest tiny strip of tiny stores and a gas station) we could get wifi. We had to go to the ranger station, but in a few years I’m sure we’ll be able to stroll miles into the mountain trails and find still be able to shop on Amazon. It would also help Maggie and I with our main hiking problem: we are incapable of staying on the actual trail. No matter how hard we try, we manage to take what looks like a trail and end up hoping there’s a helicopter rescue service with a sharp-eyed pilot.

Guadalupe Mountain State Park has the highest point in Texas, at 8,749 feet. You can hike to the summit and back in around 8 hours. Which is why we did the McKittrick Canyon trail instead. It takes about 4 hours, has some great views of said summit, and doesn’t require trudging along in the ever-thinning atmosphere. We also walked the Devil’s Hall trail and managed to only get lost for about 5 minutes. We also got back to nature with two nights in a tent, roughing it by eating only the food we brought in the car and making pancakes over a propane grill like the natives did before European settlers first came through. Or so I imagine.

Mystified in Marfa

Marfa. I still can’t get my head around Marfa. Which probably accounts for the mystique around the place. Part art colony, part Fortean destination for the mystery lights, part dusty old western town and, apparently, part performance art piece to befuddle tourists. Buildings, without any signs indicating what might lie inside, could be art galleries, stores, or buildings abandoned by people who forgot to lock the door.

If it sounds like I didn’t like Marfa, you misunderstand me. It’s just that there’s a sense that it’s a town that relies on tourists but doesn’t want them around. Or, as Maggie and I decided, the place is an inside joke we’d stumbled in to.

The note we got from our lodging company was excited to announce a restaurant with a great menu had re-opened but failed to mention that it had closed again, possibly the next day. A “must-experience” Sunday-morning only cafe (held in the owners’ house) presented a “closed” sign well after opening hours. A check of the calendar (yep, Sunday) and the cafe’s website (no mistake about the hours) led to a phone call. “We only do that on the first Sunday of the month now” is the response. Soon, they will open and close at random, playing a game of cat-and-mouse with breakfast-hunting out-of-towners. Read more »

Time Travel Via Web

I’ve always enjoyed old radio shows. I think it’s because I’m a visual guy. That sounds strange on the surface, but I can close my eyes and immerse myself in the stories, picturing the action, setting and characters. I get to choose the camera angles and lighting and that sort of thing. And if the sound effects are good (as they were in shows such as Suspense, Lights Out, and especially Gunsmoke), the story becomes vivid in my mind.

However, I’ve been thinking a lot about the world in those old stories. As some people are fond of saying, “times were simpler then.” I think that this attitude arises from the rose-colored haze of selective memory. Some things were different, but I think people are pretty much the same. All the good and all the bad we find in people now were around then.

Our mass media may show us our culture, but it’s often through a warped mirror. There are the shows that present things as much more clean and squeaky, such as Leave It to Beaver, the Cosby Show and most of those new shows in which a dumpy average Joe is married to a hot woman and deals with a clutch of sassy kids who secretly know Dad knows best. There are shows that present a world in which problems are magnified beyond belief, such as 24s Jack Bauer having not one but nine days in his life where he must save the world from evil from outside our country AND within our government. Sure, there is some truth to what those shows present, but usually exaggerated for effect.

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