Friday, September 26, 2008

Take a break. You deserve it.

And now a break from our regularly scheduled shameless self-promotion. Here are two very different, but equally enjoyable, musical selections for your listening/viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Book. She Lives. BCSDDB. In Print.

I'm happy to finally announce that you can now order your real live, perfect bound, paperback, print version of Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy online at comiXpress. It's $17.99 plus shipping.

If you live in the Cambridge/Boston area, you can pick up a copy at Million Year Picnic in Harvard Square, Pandemonium Books in Central Square, or *update* in Hub Comics in Union Square (it's soon to be in New England Comics and Brookline Booksmith too). It's a few dollars more, but I would consider it a "solid" if you helped me get a foothold in the stores and I will buy you a reasonably priced "liquid" sometime. (Also, all 3 of those stores are owned by righteous dudes, so giving them money is righteous. QED.)

It was a medium-large sized hit at the Boston Zinefair this weekend. People are talking. I don't want to call it a "buzz" yet, but it's definitely a murmur. Well, a warble. It's at least a warble.

[UNINTENTIONAL COMEDY UPDATE - I was just checking out the wowio link for the free online preview of BCSDDB, and it turns out that Talbots is the sponsored link for the page. Talk about your business casual!]

[UPDATE TWO - And thanks to the unsolicited and favorable props and promotion on their sites from two people I met at the zinefair: yunchtime and alternating current. For the record, I did eventually finish that peanut butter sandwich.]

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lebowskifest 2008 - San Francisco

Your Venerable Typing Krafwerker is safely back on the East Coast after two great weeks in Northern California. I went to work on some art projects and hang out with friends MCSmackdown and AKBoognish, and let me tell you: it's good work if you can get it! What the fuck do I care about the market crashing? I live below the federal poverty level and I'm jetsetting (jetbluesetting (love that direct tv for 6 hours)) all over the country. The majority of the time was spent up in Napa working on the art projects, hanging with MCSmackdown and his heart-melting 4 year old daughter, and eating like a king from his garden, his 15 chickens' fresh eggs, his tasty wine, and his phenomenal cooking. (Also, the weather in Napa? It's like completely cloudy and 60 every morning (got up around 8), then completely "not-a-cloud-in-the-sky" blue sky and 85 by 10:30. Then clear starry nights and 55 by 10 PM. Every day was like that. Great climate this time of year.) Sandwiching my great and productive time up in Napa were a few nights in San Francisco with Mr. and Mrs. AKBoognish and friends, their hospitality and good times. I've been debating whether to blog about the art and shenanigans of the predominant Napa time or what I think you'll find most entertaining, what happened to be going down the weekend I flew out there: The San Francisco Lebowskifest.

I think it's a fairly safe assumption that most of the readership of this blog will have seen The Big Lebowski, the now cult classic Coen Brother's movie. Most of you can probably quote it like an old Monty Python movie at this stage. The Cult of the Dude is alive and well ten years in. In fact, it was alive and well four years after the movie came out, when the first Lebowskifest occurred in Louisville KY, and the Star-Trek-Conventiony, Rocky-Horror-Picture-Showy, White-Russian-soaked event has exploded over the last 5 years and is now staging fests all around the country. There is usually a movie viewing, bands, a bowling event, trivia, and costume contests. There are special celebrity guests from time to time (including one appearance from Jeff Bridges which he later called his "Beatles Moment"). A common "celebrity" is the original Dude, the inspiration for the character, Jeff "The Dude" Dowd. Just imagine the rock-star status he enjoys at these fests. Here he is, flanked by two of the Dudes we were hanging out with:

I got into San Francisco too late for the first night's concert/movie viewing, so we settled for the costume bowling party on the second night. We fashioned "Jesus" inspired bowling outfits out of some jumpsuits that AKBoognish had, met up with his friend (above left) who had a good "Dude" look going (complete with rug to tie the room together), mixed up 2 thermoses of white russian mix, and headed off to the alley. As we waited in line, we met some guys who were dressed up as Jackie Trehorn's party guests (complete with a blanket that they used to hoist up their full inflated and sexy blow up doll), some nihilists, and a top notch "dude" who said his name was "Dog" (above right). We ended up bowling with Dog and a couple other TBL enthusiasts (one who had an official "Achiever" t-shirt and one who had an official Tampa Bay Devil Rays jersey that had "The Dude" stitched on the back (this was no costume - he actually purchased this. I was impressed)). It was a great crew and both Dog and the Devil Rays Dude have their photosites/blogs linked to from the official Lebowskifest recap of the SF event.

The evening was general madness. There were two bars devoted strictly to serving white russians. The human body is not designed to have double digits of the caucasian cocktails. It's just not. (it's definitely not designed to have a few glasses of wine on top of that) But it was a blast. I don't have any of the AKBoognish photos or videos on my laptop, but here are some I culled from the websites linked from the main site. Be sure to check out the Devil Rays Dude's blog entry, which includes a video that has AKBoognish and I doing our Hotel California Bowling Ball shining impersonation.

yeah. And a few more I found online of us in our costumes:

and some other costumes that you might recognize:

and finally:

"You see? You see little Larry? This is what happens when you ..."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The First (and hopefully last) Comment on Sarah Palin

I hadn't wanted to risk fueling the absurd palinmania by adding another palin google link to the world wide web, but it does warrant some mention considering that there's a reasonable chance that she'll be sitting in the White House some day (*shudder*). So, for my first and hopefully last comment on the 5 college, book banning, creationist, zealot, I'm going to regurgitate today's editorial from the paper of record, which says it all:

As we watched Sarah Palin on TV the last couple of days, we kept wondering what on earth John McCain was thinking.

If he seriously thought this first-term governor — with less than two years in office — was qualified to be president, if necessary, at such a dangerous time, it raises profound questions about his judgment. If the choice was, as we suspect, a tactical move, then it was shockingly irresponsible.

It was bad enough that Ms. Palin’s performance in the first televised interviews she has done since she joined the Republican ticket was so visibly scripted and lacking in awareness.

What made it so much worse is the strategy for which the Republicans have made Ms. Palin the frontwoman: win the White House not on ideas, but by denigrating experience, judgment and qualifications.

The idea that Americans want leaders who have none of those things — who are so blindly certain of what Ms. Palin calls “the mission” that they won’t even pause for reflection — shows a contempt for voters and raises frightening questions about how Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin plan to run this country.

One of the many bizarre moments in the questioning by ABC News’s Charles Gibson was when Ms. Palin, the governor of Alaska, excused her lack of international experience by sneering that Americans don’t want “somebody’s big fat résumé maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment where, yes, they’ve had opportunities to meet heads of state.”

We know we were all supposed to think of Joe Biden. But it sure sounded like a good description of Mr. McCain. Those decades of experience earned the Arizona senator the admiration of people in both parties. They are why he was our preferred candidate in the Republican primaries.

The interviews made clear why Americans should worry about Ms. Palin’s thin résumé and lack of experience. Consider her befuddlement when Mr. Gibson referred to President Bush’s “doctrine” and her remark about having insight into Russia because she can see it from her state.

But that is not what troubled us most about her remarks — and, remember, if they were scripted, that just means that they reflect Mr. McCain’s views all the more closely. Rather, it was the sense that thoughtfulness, knowledge and experience are handicaps for a president in a world populated by Al Qaeda terrorists, a rising China, epidemics of AIDS, poverty and fratricidal war in the developing world and deep economic distress at home.

Ms. Palin talked repeatedly about never blinking. When Mr. McCain asked her to run for vice president? “You have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission,” she said, that “you can’t blink.”

Fighting terrorism? “We must do whatever it takes, and we must not blink, Charlie, in making those tough decisions of where we go and even who we target.”

Her answers about why she had told her church that President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq was “God’s plan” did nothing to dispel our concerns about her confusion between faith and policy. Her claim that she was quoting a completely unrelated comment by Lincoln was absurd.

This nation has suffered through eight years of an ill-prepared and unblinkingly obstinate president. One who didn’t pause to think before he started a disastrous war of choice in Iraq. One who blithely looked the other way as the Taliban and Al Qaeda regrouped in Afghanistan. One who obstinately cut taxes and undercut all efforts at regulation, unleashing today’s profound economic crisis.

In a dangerous world, Americans need a president who knows that real strength requires serious thought and preparation.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Well, it was a good run, Pittsfield. Toodle Pip, 1791.

Fifty two months. For fifty two glorious months we were on top of the American sports world. On May 11 of 2004, it was reported that Pittsfield MA was the true home of baseball (go shit in your hat, Cooperstown), by virtue of a document uncovered in the Berkshire Athenaeum library referencing baseball in 1791, a full 48 years before Abner Doubleday, that despicable fraud, supposedly invented the sport. I, of course, took great pride in the fact that America's pastime came from hometown, my "scruffy little burgh", as Henry Fool would put it. I even bought a hat that proudly displayed "1791". And I've been using my newfound pedigree in lieu of actual knowledge for the last 52 months. Well, no more. ESPN is reporting today that there is a new reference to baseball, one that predates the Pittsfield document by an additional 36 years. It would now seem that America's pastime actually came from England, not Pittsfield, and was being played in some form as early as 1755. So, alongside Cooperstown, I guess I can now go shit in my hat.

Not a great baseball year for VTK.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Big Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy Update

The world of Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy is flooded with new developments these days. There's a new website, there's an online merchandise store, there are online presences on youtube, facebook, flickr, wowio, comicspace, and soon comiXpress. There are personalized BCSDDB portraits going on. What else. Oh, and there's the real live, printed, non-digital, hard-copy graphic novel.

The Hard Copy

I got the proof copy of the final book in the mail yesterday and was relieved and ecstatic to see that it looks great. It really takes on another character when it's laid out on paper, perfect bound in a 6.5 x 10 inch book. The coloring, alignment, and quality of printing were spot on. The first printing of the books will arrive here on September 19th, at which point I'll start sales and distribution. If you live in the Boston/Cambridge, Rochester NH, Chicago, Detroit, or Dallas areas you'll be able to pick up a copy at your local indy-friendly comic book store. If not, you can order the book online via print-on-demand through comiXpress or you can just contact me.

The Website

I registered the domain names and and, for fairly obvious reasons, I decided to house the main website on the bcsddb page, pictured above. It's a thoroughly unmemorable url, but so is the title, so I already have that strike against me. I like the title Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy enough to roll with it. The blogspot page is still up and linked to through the website, but I thought it would be more professional to have a "real" site. I'll probably publish news and updates on the blog, but use the website as the main online presence.

The Store

Oh shit. Here he goes. First his big pitch to sell the book, and now he's pushing the merch on us? I know. Tacky. But first let it be said that I'm taking a loss on every book sold. I'm not making my first million on BCSDDB. The store's just for fun. I don't actually expect you to buy a Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy Skateboard. Anyways, I'll be putting up some more images for the shirts, mugs, ties, aprons, etc soon.

The Personalized Portrait

Since, I've already crossed the threshold into shameless self-promotion, let me ask you this: Have you ever wanted to try your own luck peering into the sunglasses of Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy? Longtime VTK reader lc did and, with her permission granted, here's what Business Casual Stag Devil Death Boy reflected back to her. In addition to personalized oil painting cartoon portraits, paintings of individual pages or panels will be on sale on the website.

Alright, I just hit the promotion wall. It's new territory for me. I've always been comfortable with the creative side, but I had no idea how big the other side would be. For that matter, I had no idea I'd stumble into an industry less lucrative than portrait painting. I have to admit that I do relish the underground angle of it all. I'm sure I'd enjoy it less making a few bucks more, but cowtowing to a publisher's demands (and power to take my product out of print). Self-publish, kids. Fuck it. You made it this far and then you're going to give it all (all being practically nothing in profit) over to someone else? Fuck that. And maybe I'm just dedicated to my own poverty, but why would you make it this far, then resist giving it all over to a publisher, and then give it over to a distributor. Any way you slice it, that's an industry taking care of its own, paying the middle man and ostracizing the direct market creator. Write it, draw it, print it, sell it. And eat a lot of rice and beans.