doin' the madison street shuffle

doin' the madison street shuffle
at least, that's what the line at the unemployment office used to be called before they moved their offices. *sigh* thank you, jo. i don't think i'll ever forget that phrase. i think you taught it to me back in college, during a conversation on local slang terms and phrases.

it's a joyous day, an awkward day.
yesterday i was speaking with my supervisor via phone. i informed her that i was passing on the offer to relocate to conway. so, today is my last day here. not quite what i pictured, but oh well. it's much better than a worse case scenario. my severance pay will be doubled since i stayed until they no longer needed me. that's good news.
i'm glad i was working on my resume these past 2 days. i just need to tweak a few things and i'll have five in the mail before i go to bed tonight. both ken and carter spotted a help wanted ad for a graphic designer, so wish me luck. i have no idea what i'm going to do or where i'll go but at least i'm happy that i won't be with this company any more.
also, i'm glad i cleaned out my office last thursday. saves time today.

tracy recommended that i go by unemployment tomorrow so i can get started on what needs to be done, even though the company won't have any of my paperwork or severance check ready until the 30th. 8^P  i am thankful i'm getting a regular paycheck tomorrow.

right now, i'm backing up all the design files & projects i have accumulated here. i thought the company might want copies of them. all the tobacco store ads, all the office forms, the business cards, etc.

lots of storms going through our area today. sometimes, bits of sunlight peek out of the clouds to the ground below, then heavy rain. appropriate, since my feelings are equally mixed.  yup, i'm feeling partly cloudy with a hint of thunderstorms. yourself? 6^)P

no, i'm not depressive about this. i'm just here, not quite sure what i'm feeling. i'm more anxious about the future than anything else. i hate not knowing what will happen next. perhaps the Big Guy Upstairs is trying to teach me a lesson about trust. i'd love to just draw all day. anyone want to be my patron so i can do this? i know  michelangelo and da vinci both have patrons. i could use someone to bankroll my art so i wouldn't have to worry about it any longer. *sigh* ok, enough daydreaming.


con report- wizard world texas '05
(work in progress here!)

Alice and i got off to a late start. opps! but we were on the road by noon or so. the drive was pretty uneventful except of one driver once we were in texas. a little red car that would not stay in their lane. alice calls the cops on them, but eventually they exited off the interstate. also on my way down i learn that jacksonsport state park recieved my resume and would like me to fill out an application. cool. mail or internet they ask? internet, since i'm on the road. we listen to The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett on the way down.
basically, we got to the hotel and proceeded to crash. alice had made some cute Ferdinand shrinky-dinks and i beaded one as a dangle for my backpack. i'll post an of it image later.

Friday: first day of the con. we get up early to get to the convention center by 8. alice has done this before so i follow her lead. we meet the other volunteers, such as James, Dan, Faythe, Jonathan, etc. and Steve Latour of Wizard, the volunteer wrangler. volunteer of the con goes to bryan, a spunky 10 year old who knows what's going on. very helpful, real polite and smart as a whip. this kid will go places. trust me.
we sign in, get our badges and shirts (icky. blaze orange. very good for deer hunting.) we take the morning shift. friday's crowd was small. the front doors are not all unlocked so alice opens doors for folks while i am among the volunteers steering them to the hall to line up after the con goers have checked in.

after awhile when things slow down, we go walk to con floor. first i walked around solo. i look for Antartic Press's booth, but just like Wizard World Chicago '03, they don't show. the turkeys! i wanted to show them the blue canary pages i've drawn so far. 8^( *pouts*
i walk around some more. what the? i did a double take! blank label has a booth here? and there's Steve Troop. cool! if i had known i would have brought my copy of ultimate melonpool vol. 1. i chat with steve (nice guy, btw! if you ever get a chance, go say hi to him at a con. and let him show you the melonpool puppets!) he only had the mayberry puppet with him today, but is working on new ones. they should be spiffy. i got a sketch from him (another to hang on my "studio" wall.)

i go back to hang out with the volunteers and start to talk with Steve Latour.
"Need any designers?" steve directs me to Mel, an editor with Wizard who graciously looks over my design portfolio. he says if i was willing to relocate to NY state to eamil him and he could set up a portfolio review with the design dept. yay! 8^) i was so excited.

next, alice and i go to the beckett comics booth to see David Mack.
alice had met him before at an art show of his. she had made some quilts featuring his art from the daredevil comic, "Wake Up." he loved it.
i got him to sign my copies of Kabuki: Circle of Blood and Kabuki: Dreams. Alice was borrow vol 3, Masks of the Noh, so it didn't get signed, but i did pick up copies of Vol 4, Skin Deep and Vol. 5 Metamorphasis.
vol. 5 was in hardcover only, but he gave me a good deal! i also picked up 2 of his art prints from Kabuki. one was the cover for Kabuki: The Alchemy #5. he even game alice and i kabuki patches for free and game me a free signed copy of the kabuki gallery. a genuinely nice guy. he even drew me a quick sketch.
about this time, 2 chicks holding big nets and dressed in camo come by with some fake speech about looking for their "lost crocodile." it's all ploy for some energy gum. we all try it and soon regret it! it's nasty. these girls became the bane of the con.

then we went to artist's alley and met the guys from stumblebum studios: 3 artists and an editor. one of the artists, dave, is drawing a webcomic. i'll post links to the strips i saw on the table. another artist at the booth, Kevin Steele is selling marker sketches and they're cute! one is of spiderham! alice has to get it and a few others and commissions a daredevil for $5. not a bad price! i get him to draw Odile and Amelia. i'll post a link to that soon.
next to them is the "Feeping Creatures" booth. i never got the guys name, but he makes little cute "creatures" out of sculpey. very nice work, too. Alice got one that resembled her cats, a red tabby.

Then we go sit in on the last half of the Terry Moore Q&A. the sketch at stumblebum's booth ate up the first half, but oh well. Terry is very funny! Alice had never heard of him or of Strangers in Paradise. i even got the courage to ask about how he developed new characters.
i met Terry back in 2003 with Ken at Wizard World Chicago. here's another guy you need to meet, nice and funny! i love SiP. i even got to see some of the original pages! back in '03 Ken and i both got sketches and Ken bought copies of the Paradise, Too trades. my sketch was a profile of Francine from SiP and Ken's was Lizzie from Paradise, Too. i still need to frame them.
this time, the line for sketches was too long. i got the first SiP pocket trade (since i don't have all the issues. the old comic shop in jonesboro was bad about not ordering every issue in a series,) and Alice picked up a copy, too. i think she will like SiP. she enjoyed the Q&A. Terry graciously interrupted a sketch to sign them.

the rest of the con, we hang out and walk around. Alice passes out lots of business cards for her superheros quilts. then the day is over, we go eat and then head back to the hotel. Alice had been meaning to make David Mack one of her nifty braile shirts for awhile now and this is the perfect time! she also makes one for his girlfriend, Mandy. she also makes a new one for me.
i had wore my braille shirt that read "If you can read this, you're too close," as free advertising for alice. i thought wearing another one wouldn't hurt. the new one is black with black pearl dots. it reads "Stop Staring." for dinner we went to On the Border. alice decides to get a Margarita so i drive back to the hotel. it was my first time driving in a big city. we stop at a wally world to get a wireless modem for alice's laptop. i need to fill out that application for Jacksonport State Park, but it's gone from the website, so i download a pdf of it and decided to take it to kinkos in the morning.

Saturday: Again, up early to be there by 8. we drop by kinkos and i print out the application. i start to fill it out, but i don't have a copy of my resume with me. uh-oh! that means i don't have the addresses of my references or the exact dates on my work history. yikes! i call mom to email the files i need. we head to the con. Lots more folks this time, but alice says the crowd isn't anything compared to last year's. alice is back opening doors. one of the special guests is ron perlman (hellboy,) and he say's hello to her as he walks in. 8^)

i'm at the cash ticket table i guess you could call it. Bryan, kid volunteer extrodinare, is assiting me. some folks wait until the day of to get their tickets and i'm making sure they fill out the survey form, otherwise they won't get a ticket. for the most part people are polite, even if they think the questions are too personal. i tell them that if they don't want us to send email, then don't list their email addy. if you don't like the question or don't know the answer, just mark stuff down. anything to make people happy, even if the wizard marketing team won't be after going over the forms.

again alice and i walk the floor. David is late in arriving, but alice says that he's more of a night owl. Alice missed getting a blue minimate the day before, but she's bound and determined to get one now. they are given away free at noon. we stand in line and get one each. the object is to try to get a rare silver spider-man minimate, but we're happy with the little blue ones. I bug Steve again at the blank label booth and introduce him to alice. they make a deal: he exchanges copies of TUM Vol. 1-3 & 5 (four is out of stock except at lulu,) and she will embroider his chracters on a jacket for him. i go ahead and get copies of TUM 2, 3 & 5. 8^) Steve! makes usre you don't forget to send a jacket to alice!

We visit artist's alley again. and who do i spot? it's Ben Dunn, creator of Ninja High School! someone from Antartic showed up after all! oh, happy me. so, i ask him to look over my blue canary pages. he said i had a good storytelling ability. *jumps for joy on the inside* i also get a sketch ($10 but it's a good one!) another to add to my studio wall. we taking a break at the tables near the gaming area. i get out my art stuff and work on blue canary page 14. it felt great in there, all the presence of creative types. alice goes off to get a couple of Andy Lee sketches. just beautiful! they'll look great on her wall at home.

we walk around some more. i renew my CBLDF membership. it's been expired for over a year, (i've been poor.) we also get word of a artists get-together in town at j.gilligan's. the guys from blank label are going and alice and i decide to go, too.
David & Mandy finally show and alice presents them with their new shirts. They went over well, i must say! David's says "Man Without Fear" in braille, while Mandy's reads "Hands Off!"
after that i thought it time to look for free stuff! the wizards of the coast booth had folks in line to roll a hugh D-20 for prizes. to get bonuses on your roll you had to set through or participate in demos for their games. alice and i tried one, but that type of card game is not for me. give me chez geek anyday. we ended up deciding against rolling but fellow volunteer larry had some extras from that booth that he was willing to part with, a hat that alice claimed and i got a paperback copy of R.A. Salvatore's Servant of the Shard for ken. he likes salavtore's stuff and likes his work in the Forgotten Realms D& D.

Sean Astin was signing that day, but you needed a ticket for that and those were gone quick. he also had a Q&A, but i missed it. Margo Kidder was also there, signing in Artist's Alley. Summer Glau of "Serenity" and Ron Perlman were signing on the main floor.

there were lots more folks in costumes, but not nearly as much as some cons. i saw 2 batmans, a supergirl and i think the gentleman with her was dressed as someone out of Firefly. some stormtroppers showed up as well as someone in an armor suit from Halo. (nicely done, too.) also some kids showed, a little ninja, a mini superman and batman. the cutest of all, IMHO was the pint-sized riddler. alice has photo and i will post a link to that.

back at the hotel i check my email. it's the wrong file, but mom is trying. i get some info off of it but it's not enough to send the application in yet. i ask her to try again for tomorrow. besides, it's saturday and park offices are likely not open, even is the rest of the park is.
the artist get together was awesome. loud music, mostly hip-hop but i could take it in in this atmosphere. we met steve and proceed to have a great time. steve introduces me to a scwiggle game: each person takes turns, one puts down and random scribble and passes it to another who uses the scribble in a drawing. we all had a blast. my best on was turning a scribble into Krazy Kat. steve's IMO was turning one into fred flintstone. meanwhile, the guys at fanboy radio were posting paper and matte board on the wall. Jim Mahfood of "Grrrl Scouts" and Dave Crossland (both with awesome graffiti art drawing styles,) started the show with sketches. what one would start, the othter would finish. Andy Lee shows up and proceeds to add his work with brushes to the mix. Then David Mack arrives! 4 great artists working in front of an audience-it became a performance. Alice is snapping photos with her digital when she gets an idea. i look up from the scribble game to see her getting paint handprints from the artists! Mahfood even tags her with spray paint! LOL go Alice! i snap some photos of it for her. 8^D we had a great time!
i plan on posting the scwiggle game sketches to my sketchblog sometime with weekend.

Sunday: we don't have to be there until 9. we can sleep in an hour. i wake up early though and try to work on the application. no dice. mom sent the wrong files again. i guess it's my fault, i think i steered her to the wrong place on my computer. *shrugs* i'll try wheni get home.
we go to the con and alice is manning the doors again and i'm handing out the ticket surveys, this time with Al. the staff hand us magazines to give out.
one guys says "we have to fill this out to get a ticket?!" his face contorts with rage as he crumples the survey into a ball and throws it at Al. he then proceeds to stomp out, turning around to flip us off. alice hears him mumble, "bitch!" under his breath as he leaves. later we tell the wizard staff, but what can you do. i'm just glad the jerk left.

we do our shift and this time i stick around to help some more. i hang out in the volunteer room and sketch a bit for Dan and James. i also go with alice to get another blue minimate. 8^) Alice commissions another daredevil sketch from Kevin at Stumblebum. i get a little purple feeping creature, too cute! i look around the floor show some more, looking for a deal. i find a copy of Blue Monday vol. 4, Painted Moon! i've been looking for this! cool!
lots of vendors are giving good prices to help sell the stuff and have less to carry home.
we get our goodie bags and there begins a search. alice and i want indy heroclix. no, we don't play, but they are cool little things. we're looking for any character from Kabuki. i discover that some are of Scarab. so we look around and finally find some. 8^) i give her my copy of the exclusive comic, since i don't really read that series. i think she'll ebay it.
we go eat after the con and rest up for the drive home the next day.

Monday: we head out at check-out time, 11a.m.
now, our plan was to head to frisco, tx before we head home. why? Ikea. 8^) we had a good time, lots of cool things in there. we ate at the store, good food btw. alice picked up some nifty chairs and i snagged a dresser that i had been wanting. we had to reorganize the car. it was about 3 when we were finally on the road! we got into jonesboro around 11:30 p.m. i helped unpack alice's car and then i was on my way home.

and that was the con! it was great and i'd like to do it again next year. maybe ken can come with next time. (he was too poor this time around.)

and that's the con folks! there are photos of the volunteers at the volunteer blog! check it out!
jo emailed this to me. i decided to fill it out here. feel free to gank it if you wish.

1. What color are your kitchen plates? blue.
2. What book are you reading now? see my bookblog.
3. What's on your mouse pad? no mousepad-i've gotta optical mouse.
4. What's your favorite board game? clue.
5. What's your favorite magazine? national geographic.
6. Favorite smell? cookies fresh from the oven
7. Least favorite smell? skunk.
8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? "ug. not yet...*mumbles*" then i hit snooze and go back to sleep.
9. What is your favorite color? tricky. hmmm. when i was little it was either sky blue or midnight blue. after getting an art degree, i've discovered other colors, so it's hard to choose just one! my color of the moment is a deep, dark warm red.
10. How many rings before you answer the phone? depends on where i am and where the phone is.
11. Future child's name? if i ever have a girl, she will be named Hollen Elizabeth after my grandfather's sister, who died in the big spanish flu epidemic back around 1918-1919 at age nine.
12. What's most important in life? Happiness is good, but i'm still trying to figure it out.
13. Chocolate or vanilla? both!
14. Do you like to drive fast? depends on what's on the radio. 8^)P
15. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? no.
16. Storms-cool or scary? both! (again.) i've seen too many tornadoes, but lightening is just so cool. example, when i graduated high school, my aunt and uncle game mom, carter and myself a trip to disney world. on the flight back home, we passed above a thunderstorm. my brother and i were entraced. we had never seen lightning at that angle. it was nifty.
17. If you could meet one person alive or dead who would it be? um...alive, please. the dead one's are a little uncooperative... i would like to meet Terry Prachett.
18. Favorite alcoholic drink? woodchucker hard cider, raspberry flavor. yummy.
19. What is your sign and birthday? stop. LOL seriously, it's gemini. June 3.
20. Do you eat the stems of broccoli? eewww! broccoli! yuk.
21. If you could have any job what would it be? i would like to draw comics all day.
22. If you could have any hair color what would it be? what i have now, but maybe a streak of a wild color or something.
23. Is the glass half full or half empty? i don't care, just as long as i have something to drink. 6^)P
24. Favorite movie? toss up between "The Princess Bride," "Monty Python & the Holy Grail" and "
25. How mandy fingers do you type with? nine, if you count my right thumb keying the space bar.
26. What's under you bed? two plastic tote thingies full of art supplies.
27. Favorite sport to watch? no thank you.
30. What's you single biggest fear? i have three that weigh in pretty equally: indecision, uncertainty & making mistakes.
31. Say one thing nice about the person you sent this to you. Jo is like a sister to me, she's great to hang out with.
32. Person mostly likely to respond? didn't send it to anyone.
33. Person you sent this to who is least likely to respond? see previous response.
34. Favorite cd? right now, it's Sigur Ros - Takk...
35. Favorite TV show? it's been so long since i've watched TV on a regular basis. fav channels are Cartoon Network, TLC, Discovery & the History Channel.
36. Ketchup or mustard? depends. on a burger, both. on a hot dog, mustard only.
37. Hamburgers or hot dogs? Burgers! unless ken cooks the hot dogs in the smoker.
38. Favorite soft drink? i don't drink soda anymore. it's H2O for me.
39. The best places you have ever been: Florence, Italy for art, Chicago for pizza. i can't think of any others right now.
40. What screen saver is on your computer now? none. my screen just goes blank.
41. Burger King or McDonald's? burger king.
42. Favorite frozen dessert? ben and jerry's ice cream "cherry garcia" flavor.
43. Favorite season? it used to be spring, but now i've developing a love of autumn.
44. Favorite animal? cats. (but i like dogs, too!)
45. Favorite character? in what? movies? anime? books?
46. Favorite actor? can't think of one right now.
47. Favorite saying? "it's spiffy!"


off to see the wizard...
alice and i are leaving today on our way to wizard world texas. we're so excited! i'll post more about the trip later. now, to finish packing and get cleaned up. 8^)


and now i'm home again
they told me this afternoon that i could go home.
the company is hosting a meeting of non-competeing distributors next week. i need to design name badges, a program flyer, etc. they been needing to get with me on this stuff for 2 months now. and now the day before i go to vaction, i.e. tomorrow, i have to get all this stuff done. steve is supposed to me with me and go over what is needed at jonesboro where there will apparently be less distractions.
at least i am home. my own bed! how i have missed you! *squeezes pillow*

back in conway
i arrived monday. what a day. still, it could've been worse. it just seems bad since i was so stressed. wake up and get ready to leave at 6am. get to conway at 8:30. nothing for me in the office so i'm out in the warehouse putting returned saleable goods back into inventory, scrapping labels off of racks (at least i'm not using a razor blade and lighter fluid this time! they found something that works real well,) and they washing the racks down with soapy rags. ug. those things were nasty!

my energy was just sapped. when i got off work, i went to the local target to bum around even though i was tired. guess what i found? two things...first, ginger altoids. i had heard of them but had not seen them in the area. highly yummy and spicy. i may go back to get another tin. secondly, i saw a sigur ros cd! i had no idea that they had release their work in the states. i had only known about them through jo, who got hooked on it while in germany. so i got it. too bad i didn't bring my cd player but i can at least listen to it in the car.
so far, it's very atmospheric and relaxing. which i needed. why?

ok the target is near a chili's, so i pop in to get some take out. while leaving i back my car into someone else's. there was no damage to mine or to theirs, a sporty black nissan, but i decided to at least tell them. i went back inside and had the "owners of a black nissan" paged. they tried twice, no response. the hostess started to ask customer table by table if they owned the car. she got one half of the place done before she got slammed by a wave of people wanting seats. at her suggestion, i left a note on their winshield:
"i accidently backed into your car! i'm so sorry! i didn't see any damage, but if you need any info on insurance please call." and listed my name and number.
so far, they have not called.
*shrugs* it maybe nothing, but we'll see.

after that i go to the hotel to check-in and veg. well, they forgot to call in the reservation! luckily the company has an account and i was able to get a room with no hassle.
i ate, called dad, then mom, then ken.

carter got a job! yay! no more of this place for him. he starts today and i hope he likes it.

ken's granny is in the hospital. they don't know if it's another stoke or not. we'll see. he wasn't there when i called but later in the evening he caught up with me. i miss him.
ok back to work. i did some filing and stuff up front but now i'm back in the warehouse putting metal holders for rollers on flow racks. what fun. 8^(P yeah, right. 9.9