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May 30, 2007


Well, I haven't posted to Illustration Friday in so long - but I keep checking in, hoping to have time and inspiration to do a doodle, and this week I got lucky. Lucky in that cheap, get-out-of-jail-free sort of way. What I mean is, this week's topic is "Cars" and, for those of you who don't know this already, we just finished Understanding Traffic, which is all about cars. And cars and cars and cars. I've never drawn so many goddamn cars. So - I get to post something, without actually having to do any drawing.

That's so pathetic.

Though it isn't the most exciting drawing I've ever done, I liked how it meshed with the copy (while still retaining that diagrammatic feel that we settled upon for the style of the book) -

Once freed from the city center, traffic orbits in thick endless bands around the urban hub, protecting our citizenry by making invasion impossible.

And how the illustration thus introduces that whole nuclear thing. Nuclear in the abstract, central, core sense (nuclear family), and then nuclear in that hazardous, volatile, exploding sense (nuclear fission). And, you know, how traffic does and is that. Central to our everyday, regular lives, and then a slippery slope into global warming and all that.

Uh, yeah. Clearly this illustration means a lot more to me than it does to anyone else. Colored by a guilty conscience, I suppose.

Posted by ribbu at 05:27 PM | Comments (3)

May 26, 2007

So Nasty, You Will Vomit

For those of you who are the least bit squeamish, stop now. NOW. I am NOT KIDDING. Remember that joke, "what's gross?" (The answer is something about dead babies or tampons or something) and then you say "What's grosser than gross?" (The answer is something equally disgusting in the same vein, or, actually, slightly more disgusting, if you're doing it right).

Well, to prepare you for the ultimate grossness, I'm going to start you with lighter, not quite as gross things. So that if you hit your limit on one of the lessers, you can stop and say you've had enough.

So -
What's gross?

Matthew removing 20 splinters and finding the time to do a little sewing on the side.

What's grosser than that?

Roji picking so many fish two summers ago that all of his fingernails eventually fell off, to be reborn as ugly little nubs.

Okay, here's the final punch line:
What's even grosser than that?


Some of the blisters and leathery pus-oozing sores covering my left leg due to a run-in with poison ivy or poison oak or poison leaf-that-will-turn-you-into-a-burn-victim plant. It is DISGUSTING. That one blister is really the worst, but my leg is all swollen and oozes all day long. It's really fantastic. Matthew is quite certain that there was nothing about loving me through this written into the wedding vows.

Now, I know it's totally lame to broadcast personal injuries as if I deserve your pity - there are people suffering much worse out there - but, frankly, have you SEEN anything like this? I've never had poison ivy before, so it's pretty exciting, in a tortured, self-immolating sort of way. I say self-immolating, because you should see the real reason why I got this poison ivy. It was in the name of art. ART, I tell you!

It was for me and our friend Davey to re-enact the Scarecrow scene in the Wizard of Oz when we were taking a walk out in Kennedyville and came to an inspiring crossroads.

Like this.
Or kind of like this.

Theater is art too, you know.

Well, I tell you, there's a REASON I don't do theater. Actually, there are two: 1. I suck at it.
and 2: Poison ivy.

So, it's been pretty miserable around here, especially given the fact that this weekend is Tea Party weekend in C-town, it's the first weekend it's been really hot and humid, and I've been standing on a ladder the past two days painting a mural while pus oozed through my bandages and soaked into my gross hot pus-soaked pants.

So there you go.
I hope you're grossed out.
Because it's hopefully going to get better, now that I've got some sort of prescription antidote, because everyone was getting pretty sick of me going, "Is this what it's supposed to look like? Are you sure? Look closer! TOUCH it! Isn't that GROSS?!"

Posted by ribbu at 11:42 PM | Comments (2)

May 18, 2007

Aptly Named, By Consensus

Yesterday, an Idiots'Books envelope was returned to us. This happens very rarely - usually only when someone has moved and forgot to tell us, or lives with someone else and the USPS only recognizes the someone else as the addressee, or lives in a foreign country and we negelected to write the name of the foreign country on the envelope. Well, this one was returned, and as far as we can remember, these folks have received the first six volumes at this address with no problem.

But it was returned with "NO SUCH NUMBER/STREET" X'ed off on it (as you can see), and "NSS/NSN" written above the address. (I've blurred out the actual address to keep the stalkers from finding Heidi and John quite so easily, but in real life, it is crisp and clear and legible as a bell).

Well, the best part about this, is that if you look closely at the label:


some postal worker saw fit to introduce a funny editorial note to us! Isn't that hilarious? I'm so glad we weren't named something like "Going to Hell Books". I just wish I knew the whole scenario - was it the delivery person who was so clever? Or the lady behind the counter in Clayton? Or maybe someone in OUR post office (they really hate us here, and roll their eyes and sigh heavily whenever we walk in the door) who added it on before delivering it to us? I know it wasn't our own delivery person, because she nice, and gives Iggy treats all the time. Not that writing 'how true' on the envelope is mean.

Anyway. It was funny to get some actual sass back from the USPS, instead of their standard cro-magnon dragging around and rolling their eyes and being irritated that we like to use the post office to, like, mail things.

Posted by ribbu at 10:17 AM | Comments (1)

May 17, 2007

Recent Projects

So, many many moons ago (about 72) I lived in Massachusetts and had an ugly dead tooth (thanks dad, for dropping that buoy on my face when I was 12). One of matthew's co-workers noticed my ugly dead tooth (front right) and insisted that it needed to be fixed. (Probably many more of his co-workers noticed my ugly dead tooth, but weren't as rabid about me fixing it). It just so happened that this co-worker's husband is a dentist. And a mighty fine one, at that. She (the co-worker) is the quintessential mother hen - loved taking care of matthew and then by extension me. She's great. So, though I demurred again and again (at the time matthew was working for peanuts and I was picking up severely underpaid freelance work here and there) she kept insisting and finally just said "You have an appointment, you can pay us back in design stuff when you can." So, I got it fixed. I did a small wedding invitation project for her and have been anxiously awaiting the day that I could fulfill the rest of my obligation (fixing teeth is damn expensive!). So - she recently called me up for a second set of invitations (second son getting married, thank goodness for people falling in love!) and some t-shirts. So, that's a big weight off of my shoulders. She wanted something fun that she couldn't get elsewhere, so I'm putting together this funny little flip card - it's really hard to explain, so see the following:





Just sketches so far, and it will be larger scale for the final. It's going to be a pain to put together, but luckily there are only going to be 100 or so of them. It's actually just for the rehearsal dinner, hollywood-style, at the roosevelt hotel.

So that's been a fun little side project.

In other news, we got the proofs for The Town That Somehow Fooled The British back from China. They really look great. The color got much more saturated from our printouts, which in theory I don't like, but when I saw it I really loved it. The most exciting change, though, was how the cover looks on the finished stock. It looks like a real frickin book! So exciting!! I folded it down so it would look like the real thing (sans insides) and then took tons of glamour shots. The problem is that the thing that is best about it (matt lamination) you can't really SEE. It's totally a touch thing and oooh, it's yummy.

But, since you can't all touch, here are some of the glamour shots:

I have some boudoir shots as well, but thought it might be too risquee to post them here (don't want to satisfy those folks doing searches for "[St.] Michael's boudoir shots").

You know who you are.


Posted by ribbu at 10:03 AM

May 15, 2007

Wild Times

First off, I'd like everyone to take note of my wild and crazy parents (this includes everyone but the fella on the far left):

My mom recently revealed that it has been her greatest dream to go whitewater rafting. This was news to pretty much everyone, since a number of outdoor adventures have climaxed in woebegone misery on her part ("No one will ever find us here!" "But there aren't any people for miles around!" "If you see a bear, RUN!" "Do beavers actually live in beaver dams? And do they bite?" etc). So, the rest of us pretty much ignored it, but dad took it to heart, and on their way to a pottery sale in south carolina surprised mom with a whitewater rafting trip in Tennessee (don't ask how Tennessee became "on the way" to South Carolina - things like simple geography don't deter dad). Anyway. They clearly had a blast, and didn't get bitten by any beavers.

In other news, my dog is a nutjob. We went to friend Westbrook's so he could edit Volume VII, and while he was marking away with his little red pen, we romped with the dog in their lovely backyard. She ran in circles like a wild little thing.

Eventually, Matthew had to sit on her to contain her. Otherwise, she might have turned into butter, just like in Little Black Sambo. (Weirdly enough, I think that's the second time in this blog I've linked to that. Maybe it was in the context of turning to butter as well...). Matthew was doing a pretty good job acting like a nut, too. But, that's not a real stretch, either. And, I guess Matthew's nutty trumped Iggy's nutty, because she was pretty resigned to being sat upon.

Mom's peonies came out in full bloom while they were gone galavanting in Tennessee, so I took some pictures. I thought I'd try to get some nice ones with Iggy in them, because, um, the lamest thing in the world is to take lots of pictures of your stupid dog and show them to people who then have to pretend to be interested in said dog - even when said dog is most ungratifying to everyone else by totally ignoring them and pretending she's better than everyone (even though (says the defensive parent) it's really just a self-confidence problem).

I got a pretty good one

but not without a lot of work. If you'll notice, I did some tempting with treats in order to get her to even go up to the flowers (which, according to Iggy, were new, big, scary and probably going to bite her like beavers).

That's a little piece of biscotti in there she's trying to get. Because, you see, our dog is a real priss-pot.

It seems that the lesson to be learned here is that peonies:
1. are not scary
2. will not bite like beavers
3. are delicious!

Posted by ribbu at 11:26 PM

May 07, 2007

Dinner with GW

Hello Everybody! FANTASTIC NEWS!
Idiots'Books has been invited to dinner with President George W. Bush!

Yes, we got a phone call this morning from Congressman Cole of the Business Advisory Council. Actually, the call was from Betsy Carghill, our contact person for Congressman Cole (wow! we were even assigned our own contact person!!). Anyway, we had been asleep at 9 in the morning when they called - yes, one of the many great benefits of being a "small business owner". So, I called back at 10, when I rolled out of bed, and didn't get Betsy Carghill, but rather a cheery young man who put me through to a pre-recorded message from Congressman Cole. Apparently Congressman Cole and President Bush are dying for our input and support as small business owners, and would like to invite us to dinner on June 19 to discuss Nancy Pelosi "and her liberal colleagues" (who, incidentally, "just see [us] as greedy business people" - us? greedy?! SHAME on you Nancy Pelosi! Shame!) and their "anti-business agenda". We are, you know, the "last line of defense" against the liberal agenda of ruination. They were calling on us, or, "people like [us]", rather, "who have business sense." (us? Business sense? Aw, shucks, Congressman Cole, sign me up!!!). So, then I was returned not to my cheery young man, but to a kind of toneless young woman, who informed me that if we sign up for the Business Advisory Council at a premium of $500, we will:
1. be invited to dinner with the POTUS on June 19
2. be listed in a full page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal promoting GW's pro-business agenda
3. receive a copy of said advertisement to display in our offices
4. receive an official congressional gavel (!!!!!) to display in our offices


But then, since I didn't know what the president's pro-business agenda was, I asked. I said, "Wait, so what is the president's pro-business agenda?" and the girl said, "uh..." and then there was silence for about 30 seconds, while papers shuffled, and then she said, "It's all laid out at our website, www.businessadvisorycouncil.org." Then she started reading from a script again about how she understood that $500 was a lot of money to pay all at once, and how they could break it down into smaller payments to support this very important cause, etc etc etc, but I wanted to ask what Nancy Pelosi's anti-business agenda was, so I interrupted and asked if she had to stick to the script or if I could ask about Nancy Pelosi's anti-business agenda, and she was like, "It's on the website too," and then started reading from the script that this phone call was paid for by the Business Advisory Council and wasn't in any way affiliated with any congresspeople or whatever, so I was like, "Wait, I thought you said this call was from Congressman Cole -" and she was like, "No, he's just the head of the committee ok BYE" and that was it. So - we didn't get to sign up.

I'm really pissed, too, because I really wanted that gavel.

Posted by ribbu at 10:18 AM