Thursday, March 30, 2006

Malaise de kahunah.

I'm tired. I have also kinda decided that my new job is totally not working out... I'm thinking maybe I need to look for something a little more 9-5 ish for a while. I hate desk jobs, but this whole working till 10pm thing bites, and leaves me little if any time left for writing or cartooning.

Problem is that my primary job skill is that i'm good with people. I tend to blow this up on the resume a bit and make a big show of my "customer service skills" but the fact is, sometimes I'd like to tell a customer exactly where they can stick it. Working long hours in jobs I don't like very much does little to help this attitude. The jobs I get all involve various degrees of interaction with the public, and my practiced "game face" is starting to wear on me.

I hate to think I'm having a mid-life crisis... because that means I only live to be seventy or so.

If this post makes little sense... I apologize. I said I was tired.:)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Getting busy with my life...

There comes a time I think, that you have to seize your life by the short ones and pull it kicking and screaming into a better place, consequences be damned. Unfortunately, when you're an aspiring writer, that time tends to always be now.

I haven't posted in the past few days because of this phenomenon.

Those of you that know me know that I am a big believer in the "Hemmingway" school of writing... that you should never pass up life experience, because it's the life you lead that will make the lives you write all the more richer for your experiences. For the past few days, I think Ernest would be proud of me. I'm starting to realize that the older I get, the less I want to lead a conventional life anyway... I know there are those of you out there that want the suburban 2.5 kids, job and life security thing out of life, but that life just ain't me and i doubt it ever will be.

Let's see... right now, I imagine there are equal amounts of head scratching and knowing nods going on on the other side of the monitor... so, maybe I should elaborate. I blew off work for the weekend and went for a little ride. The ride involved shipwrecks, hurricanes, movies, comic books, girls, slave auctions, and Klingons. Amid this chaos, I could glimpse the life I really want strecthed out in front of me... just waiting for me to step up to the plate.

And that is just the very tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

On the bad side, paying the phone bill this month may be tricky. On the good side, I have blog and cartoon material for months.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, Pop.

I would go on for a bit about how much I respect my Dad, but that would just be plain mushy. Instead, I present some of my favorite Pop Cerio quotes:

1)After being asked if he wants to go watch the sun set: "Only if it explodes"

2)"Never sleep with someone you wouldn't want to know for the rest of your life... cause if anything goes wrong, you will."

3)"Just because something is hard to do, doesn't mean it isn't the right thing to do."

4)"They say blood is thicker than water... so beware of your thick realitives."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yes. I had car trouble.

So, I went out with Dizzy the other night, and on our way out to dinner, this little red light on my dash comes on.

I should have turned around. I should have just gone back to pick up Dizzy's car. But did I? of course not. Instead, I think to myself "Well, as long as the car still starts, we should be fine."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I ask for Beef Wellington, and you give me a burger with cream sauce.

Don't get me wrong... I like Tony Danza. My issue with him is that he founded and furthered his carrer on playing the "dumb italian from brooklyn", a stereotype I personally abhor.

He's a great guy, and a fine Italian-american success story otherwise... just not one the young Rob would have ever considered a positive role model.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On being Italian... Well, Italian-American, at any rate.

Growing up on the mildly perturbed streets of New York, (never liked the term "mean streets") I was lucky in that I was immersed in Italian American culture from the beginning. In NYC, the influence of Italian Americans was everywhere, and for the most part, we were the majority on Staten Island.

It wasn't until I came to New Orleans though, that I ever had any appreciation for that fact. Here in the big easy, there isn't really an Italian American community per say... I mean there is to an extent, but it has been absorbed over the years into the cultural gumbo that makes up this very strange and wonderful place. What Italians I met here had no idea of the history of their ancestors, something that had been drilled into me my entire life in NY. I had gotten used to having a pizzeria on every corner, and a family's typical Monday night dinner being spaghetti and meatballs.

One thing that I also noticed was how few Italian American role models had actually made it into the national collective consciousness. Sure, We had a chief justice, but Rudi Gulliani wasn't to be a household name for years, yet. In this vacuum, who was a young Italian American to base his behavior on? Well, for my age group, you had a choice... Mobsters (like the Godfather), Jerks (like Vinnie Babarino in Welcome Back Kotter) or Dumb-ass boxers (like Rocky) Our popular actors and singers did little to make for good role models either... In interviews they tended to be either pompous jerks, or tough guys.

So, what was an Italian to do? Me, I took my cue from history, and looked up to people like DaVinci, Verrazano, and Vasco DeGama. Italians, before moving to the new world were Scientists, Explorers, and to a certain degree conquerors.

Of course, that don't mean I don't appreciate the fantasy of being a Mob boss :)

Ahhhh.... Life.

This post is made as late as it is because of one of those rousing, unforseen events that make life, well... Life.

I would go into details, but I think the whole experience will make for a few excellent Cartoons down the road. Suffice it to say that they call the lights on your dash "idiot lights" for a reason, and the full story involves an alternator, Dizzy, a certain movie release based on my favorite Alan Moore story, and pieces of a Mardi Gras float.

Gonna make for one Hell of a cartoon :)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A little belated....but happy St. Patty's day!

One of my favorite teachers in college was a professor named Ed Tunstull. He was My journalism teacher, and one of the most knowledgable men about the medium of writing I have ever met. He had been the Editor-in-chief of the Times Picyune for many years, and a reporter almost his entire life.

By chance, he was also Irish.

Every St. Patty's day, Ed would come to class in a specially made white tux, dressed like a leprachaun, complete with the pointy shoes. His talent for having fun is something that I hope I share with him, and I will never forget.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

An Editorial.

For most of my life, I have admired the work of Charles Shultz. The man was THE Cartoonist I have always looked up to. For nearly half a century, the man put a daily laugh on the pages of newspapers around the world, never once makeing tasteless or crude jokes, and creating characters so popular that they have entered the american lexicon. As I grew older, Also came to admire Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) and Gary Larson (the Far Side) but neither of them has ever made the mark on our culture that Peanuts has.

I should be so lucky.

At the same time, it offends me that the syndicates that own the bulk of Shultz's work refuse to let his strip pass on with the man. It smacks of graverobbing to me, and gives me yet another reason to rage against the corporate machine, I suppose. Not only is this taking space from other up and coming cartoonists, but it seems to me to serve no purpose other than to line someone's pockets. I suppose in the long run, Shultz got the better end of the deal, because other strips that were developed by his generation (Nancy, Pogo, Blondie) were simply handed over to other artists after their creator's demise. One wonders if these replacement cartoonists think about the creator's vision or original intent for the character.

Sorry if this seems a downer, but these are things that keep me up at night.

Friday, March 17, 2006

On the job hunt....

America's corporate culture of late fascinates me. It seems like every company lately is trying to make themselves seem like a big club rather than a giant corporation bent on marketplace domination. Like having their employees say a cheer in the morning and calling them "associates" will somehow cover the fact that their jobs suck.

Don't think it's working though... Whenever I go into one of these stores owned by such a corporate giant, all I seem to see are the same soulless drones that have always worked there.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

When the going gets tough...

Well, as I settle back into the life of a wageslave, I find myself increasingly disenchanted by it. I get up, go to work, come home, sleep, and the next day start it all over again. I would much rather that my morning commute be to my computer to write in the morning. I would rather have the free time to take off for borneo at a moments notice. I would rather live a much more bohemian lifestyle than I do now.
The problem is that I've gotten used to having a roof over my head and food in my belly.

I love the work of writing, but I hate the work of marketing myself to agents and publishers. I've actually competed the final draft on a screenplay, and have started work on another. (Although certain schools of thought say that there is no such thing as a "Final Draft" I'm content that it's as done as it needs to be to sell) The problem is that I can't seem to find it in me to go about selling the darn thing.

Am I afraid of success? Am I afraid of rejection? Am I just plain lazy? I dunno. Maybe I just like writing for the sake of writing, not for the buisness of writing. that would also explain why my largest body of work to date is this blog. No pressure, no chance of ever getting paid for it... just page after page of prose, thoughts, and humor.

Now if only it could keep the lights turned on :)

Monday, March 13, 2006

A plea to my fellow world dominators...

Q: How many World Dominators does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Two... one to build the death ray, and the other to demand that the U.N. change the bulb or they can kiss Seattle goodbye.

A few days ago, the ever-interesting Dreamwalker posted the following comment:

"Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination."
With so many of us getting this I'm guessing there are going to have to be 'fights to the deaths' :) unless we compromise and share...but that would not be evil or world domination. *sigh* I'm just going to have to kill you all!

While I applaud her evilness, I say that she's got it all wrong... if all us folk who actually want to take over the world worked together toward this goal, not only would it be easier, but it could make for very interesting parties.

I say we take over the world, and divy up the planet when we're done... I'd be quite content to rule the gulf region, including the carribiean and mexico. Dreamwalker is welcome to make herself queen of Austrailia and the pacific, and whoever wants Asia can have the damn thing.

Anyone want dibs on Europe?

Okay, so "meme monday" has a much better ring to it.

Your Blogging Type is Pensive and Philosophical

You blog like no one else is reading...
You tend to use your blog to explore ideas - often in long winded prose.
Easy going and flexible, you tend to befriend other bloggers easily.
But if they disagree with once too much, you'll pull them from your blogroll!

Well, this weekend, Dizzy and I went to go see a movie... "Ultraviolet". Now, I am normally a big fan of the HWCKA genre, (Hot White Chicks Kicking Ass) but this was quite possibly the worst movie I have ever seen. The plot was thin, implausible, and only really let you know what was going on halfway through the movie. I hadn't felt this ripped off since "the Hulk" stole my seven dollars.

Needless to stay, this would not stand. If i'm gonna spend seven bucks on a movie, I'm damn well gonna get my money's worth. So, in the best tradition of the oppressed, we snuck into a second movie.

Illegal? Yes. Morally questionable? Definately. The right thing to do? Absolutely.

The Pink Panther proved to be a very funny movie, and while some would consider the jokes a bit juvinille, I loved it, and left feeling like I had exacted my 16 ounces of flesh from the hollywood machine.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The drawback of our modern times...

We’ve made it very easy, I fear, with all our modern technology to distance ourselves from the ones we love.

Pretty heavy thought for a Friday, I know…

This is something that was recently pointed out to me, and has been twisting around in the wind tunnel that is my mind ever since. It seems that many of my friends text me, or chat with me on the internet, or read my blog once a week, and think that keeps them up to date on what’s going on with me at any given time. There are even those of my friends that when asked about it, simply prefer the half-sentences and poor timing of text messaging and chat to a phone call. There are nuances to interpersonal communication that are transmitted in conversation that don’t translate otherwise. I called two of my close friends this week, and realized that I hadn’t actually spoken to them in any real sense in months.

Our lives are better for living in the computer age, and it’s truly a miraculous time we live in… in many ways, we are more connected to the rest of humanity than we have ever been in history; but I can’t’ help but think that there’s something we’ve lost along the way. We’re all becoming more reclusive, and it saddens me.

This disturbs me a great deal. It disturbs me even more to think that those who keep up with me solely via my blog actually think that they’re getting the pertinent facts about my life, or my uncensored attitudes about what goes on with me. In a way, it also allows me to justify my distancing myself from certain folk I probably shouldn’t be.

I know this is a subject I go on upon a bit, but when I write this blog, I do so in an effort to be entertaining… It’s true that in many ways, what you read here has become my memoirs, but there is a lot y’all never hear about. Things about me that I feel that those that care about me have every right to know, but not things I want the planet to read about.

The real “Rob” is definitely not the one you see here, but is far more the one the “management” sometimes alludes to. The amount of personal change and growth I’ve experienced in the past few years is also not something I normally talk about here… something I like to think is evident from a conversation with me, but the “voice” of this blog is far more the irresponsible, party-loving oaf I was back in college; that many of my friends still see me as, apparently.

Thing is, that’s not me at all. There are parts of that still in me, mind you… I like to think I will always be a bit more free-spirited than most, and my priorities aren’t always those of the typical man my age. Still, I’m not the same guy I was a few years ago. You’d have to talk to me to find that out, though… and I don’t mean the same old small talk, I mean really talk to me.

Then again, maybe I’m just having a rough week. In any event… if you have any questions, call me. My number is in the book.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's a Meme Thursday...

Came across this while surfing... I guess no matter how much you try, you can take the boy outta the north, but you can't take the Yankee out of the boy.

Your Linguistic Profile:

40% General American English

30% Yankee

25% Dixie

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

And then there was this one... let's hear it for world domination!
You Are 48% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.

The only thing I will say about my love life is that right now, this is pretty on the money...
Your Ideal Relationship is Casual Dating

Maybe you're looking for love...
But mostly you're looking for fun.
You could get serious with the right person.
For now, though, you're enjoying playing the field.

And last but not least...
The Movie Of Your Life Is A Cult Classic

Quirky, offbeat, and even a little campy - your life appeals to a select few.
But if someone's obsessed with you, look out! Your fans are downright freaky.

Your best movie matches: Office Space, The Big Lebowski

What works for my daily laugh....

I met Doug Bratton at the Mocca festival in New York, and was immediately impressed that in a room full of cartoonists, his sample cartoons were the only ones that made me laugh out loud. I bought his book, and in chatting with the man found him to be a very nice guy. His cartoons have continued to make me laugh consistantly through his website ever since... and occasionally one like the one on the left truly speaks to me. Check out his site. Buy his book if you like what you see. Write your local newspaper if you REALLY like what you see.

In short, support your cartoonists, Y'all.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Howdy, kids...

Well, I'm back from my happy little corner, a little worse for the wear, but at least not as much as the corner was. Still not up to my full blown funny self, but getting there.

I have been surfing the internet a bit lately for a little inspiration for an animation I'm working on... and realized that I am such a dork. How much of a dork am I? I found this to be the funniest thing I have seen in a very long time. Read it through to the end... it only gets sillier.

I need a hobby. Or a girlfriend. Maybe both.

Oh, for those of you wondering about the end of Dizzy's San Antonio adventure, she got home safely, no thanks to Phred who nearly got them killed by stopping short in front of a very large tractor-trailer. To hear Dizzy tell it, she saw the truck's breaks lock, and could smell the burning rubber and see the smoke waft from the road as the driver tried frantically to stop. All that flashed through her brain was "please stop, please stop, please stop." Phred, for his part was apparently a fast enough thinker to gun the gas and swerve into the next lane and out of the way...

Without checking his blind spot, nearly causing another wreck.

In any event, they were both fairly shaken up, and stopped on the side of the road for a calming make-out session.

Okay... I made that last part up, but I have to live vicariously through somebody these days, I figure why not Phred? And while I'm living vicariously, why not embelish a little so that I also vicariously get some?

Sure beats watching TV.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

"Texas: 32 electoral votes, another of the so-called big enchiladas... or if not a big enchilada, at least a huge taco."- Dan Rather

DOA management Rob update- Out of the corner, looking for his pants and some ranch dressing. We assume he will be back to writing form in a few days.

Dizzy's San Antonio adventure- part 3

When last we left our heroine, she was hungry and still quite agahst at the 2 1/2 hour wait at the local Dave and Busters. Still, with directions in hand, and the ever-popular Phred behind the wheel, the pair made their way to a resturant known as the "Magic Time Machine".

The resturant was unlike anything Dizzy expected. Each of the tables was done up in the decor of a different time period, and the waitstaff were all dressed as different pop culture icons. Their waitress was Velma from scooby doo, with Lilo and Stitch helping with the drinks.

Phred was delighted by this, and said that if Velma used the word "jinkeys" in a sentence, her tip would triple. Among the waiters was a very convincing Jack Sparrow, who at one point got into a bit of a tussle with Velma:

(Jack grabs Velma from behind)
Jack: Come on darling, let's not fight it anymore...
Velma: Jinkeys! a pirate!
Phred: She just earned her tip!
Jack: Now, now... don't be coy. Give us a kiss.
Velma: Don't you know that Velma has no interest in boys?
Jack: (to Dizzy) That's only cause she's never met a pirate like me.
Velma: At least not one that smelled as bad.
Jack: I can afford not to bathe. I work for Disney.

Jack then strutted off with a manly swagger. Velma followed, yelling that Hannah Barbera pays very well indeed.

The meal was excellent, and they made Dizzy the best Margarita that she had ever had. Afterwards, the pair returned to Dave and Busters to spend the evening playing video games and winning tickets for beer steins, coffee mugs, and shot glasses.

The next day, the pair went on a quest for chinese food, and their second hotel. Phred had booked them in a posh boutique hotel downtown for their last night, so that he wouldn't have to drive, and could thusly drink. They found a buffet on the outskirts of the city, and stumbled upon a flea market in the barrio. They wandered the booths for a bit, (Dizzy buying an oversized floppy camo hat), and then went to the new hotel. Their room had a balcony, turndown service, and even complimentary robes.

They then went to the Ripley's believe it or not museum, and the Wax museum, the more interesting of five tourist traps near the Alamo. (now only blocks from the hotel) they passed on the Davy Crockett's tall tales ride, because it looked phenomenonaly cheesy. Little did they know just how cheesy and stupid the Wax museum was. Grumbling about getting ripped off, they went down to the Riverwalk as the sun set, and took a river barge tour by moonlight.

Their guide was a funny guy, and made a few choice suggestions for Romantic-Yet-Reasonable places to eat and drink the night away. They went with the Mexican one for dinner, and then went to Dick's Last Resort, which had a live band and no cover. They also had a lobster tank with a claw (like those stuffed animals at the arcade) and if you caught a lobster, they would cook it for you.

Phred tried valiantly, (much to Dizzy's amusement), but the wily lobsters were too much for him. He gave up and just had another beer. They walked back to the hotel, weary, a little tipsy, and ready for the drive home the next day.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called 'walking'."- George W. Bush

DOA Management's Rob update- Still in the corner, still sobbing, still all but useless when it comes to bringing the funny. We threw him some Mardi Gras beads, but that only set off another wave of sobbing. We instead present the second installment of the story that is gripping millions:

Dizzy's San Antonio Adventure- Part 2

After a meal and a good night's sleep, Dizzy awoke to meet the new day. She pulled aside the curtains of her microtel suite (Phred is many things, but not cheap) to see the warm texas sunshine warming the haunted factory next door. She smiled at the fact that at least there weren't a bunch of teenagers with a great dane parked out front in an old VW van. She kicked Phred a few times, and the pair dragged themselves downstairs for breakfast.

After a fine meal of Waffles, they went to see the most famous of all texas landmarks, the Alamo. Dizzy had already been there once before, so she busied herself in the gift shop, having promised the Webkahunah a new Shot glass for his collection. She picked the two oddest, (pictured below) and noticed that Phred had wandered off.

As Phred walked around the old mission, he heard some comotion outside the thick stone walls. Peeking slowly over the wall, he was stunned to see mexican troops bringing a cannon to bear on him. Phred ducked down, unsure of his sanity. He was sure that he had become swept up in the nostalgia of history. He looked again to still see the cannon, the mexicans, and a very short man that looked remarkably like Santa Ana. Phred considered his options, as Dizzy approached to see that all the blood had drained from his face.

"What's wrong?" she asked.
"Mexicians." Phred replied.
"In general, or one in particular?"
"Outside the walls! They've come to re-take the Alamo!"

Dizzy doubted the logic of Phred's conclusion, and poked her own head over the wall to see the Mexicans, the shortest Davy Crockett she had ever laid eyes on, and the cannon. Santa Ana soon emerged from a nearby porta-potty. What she also saw that Phred had missed while panicing himself was the huge banner that said "reenactment today". Dizzy pointed it out to him, and Phred felt really stupid, which they both agreed was appropriate to the moment. They hung out for a bit to watch the most half-hearted attempt to take over the Alamo either of them had ever seen, with Phred remarking more than once that a single samuri and a few stampeding bulls would have turned the tide of the battle in the Texans favor.

Hungry from all the simulated carnage, the pair made their way to the beautiful San Antonio Riverwalk. It should be noted at this point that the San Antonio River is not so much a river as a glorified drainage ditch, that "them industrious Texans" converted into a primo tourist attraction. They had some wonderful barbeque for lunch and enjoyed a pleasant stroll along the river.

After heading back to the hotel for a quick nap, they headed out again in search of dinner and excitement. Finding out that there was a Dave and Busters in the area, they made up their minds that this could provide a lovely evening of dining, drinking, and entertaiment... until they actually got there and found out there was a two and a half hour wait for dinner. Agahst at this, with tummy rumbling, Dizzy called the hotel to ask that hippest of all concierges, Issac, for some advice. Issac also was agahst at the wait at D&B's, and recommended that they try a place called "Magic Time Machine" instead.

Off they rode into the night in search of nurishment, unsure of how the night would play out, and unaware of the surprises that yet awaited them.