Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New territory.

Hello everyone!

It felt great to finally release a new Grickle cartoon last week! The thrill of uploading something new never gets old! It tickles that exact perfect spot on your ego or whatever. It's the whole reason to do art I suppose. At least for me. Make something and get a reaction. Simple.

But I will admit it is a brief sensation. And in this day and age even more incredibly brief than its ever been on the internet.

Back in the old days, like 2007 to 2009 or so, when I uploaded a new cartoon the aftermath of reaction would flow for a good long while. Like throwing a rock in a calm lake and watching the ripples go outward. Nowadays launching a cartoon feels more akin to tossing a pebble into a stormy sea. If you look really carefully you might see the pebble hit the ocean surface. Then it's gone. It's still super satisfying to chuck that rock but it just doesn't last long.

I'm guessing that everyone, myself included, has such an overwhelming input of tweets, posts, updates, etc., in their various feeds that every new blurb gets pushed downstream so fast that if you blink you miss it.

C'est la vie.

Or maybe I should say vive la nouveau?

As I edge closer to being a legitimate 'old man', I find it increasingly tricky to keep up out there. When I look over all the newer avenues of social media my heart begins to race oddly, my palms get sweaty, my breath becomes short, and I get this overwhelming feeling of not doing enough and being hopelessly behind the times.

Truly an old man staring down at the rabbit hole of the internet. Or chasing the dragon of cyberspace. Or something like that.

But like all those people who watch Youtube videos of folks unwrapping presents, I can't deny that desire to see something new! Capitalism and consumerism at its worst. The excitement of trying a new app out and successfully posting in unknown territory belies the fear and anxiety. Not to mention the pathetic 'old guy' bragging rights of saying to peers "Really? You don't have an account on there? Oh yeah, I've been using that app for years now!"

And so I've begun to chase that rabbit or dragon. An attempt to branch out from my usual twitter, blog, Flickr, and Facebook audiences.

Some new arenas (to me) I've stumbled around in recently are Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, and Vine.

For the Instagram and Tumblr accounts I've been posting a morning doodle every day. It's been a healthy drawing exercise if nothing else. The audience is slowly growing so we'll see what the future holds. I'm going to try and keep it up for as long as I can.

I also took a stab at updating and using my Google+ page. It's been fun to tinker on it but I really get the feeling not a ton of people use Google+ on a daily basis? Maybe I'm wrong. I'm going to continue tinkering on it regardless. If you're interested in following any of these new venues, here are my accounts:

Grickle14 on Instagram

Tumblin' Grickle 


The Vine account is a slightly different beast. I've had one for quite some time but frankly could never get my head around it.

Until last week, that is!

I had an inspiring conversation with an animator friend, Kevin Parry (you should really follow his amazing stuff on Vine!) and now I'm so excited about it I'm trying to keep myself from spending all my free time there! The concept of doing little 6 second shorts is so compelling and not dissimilar from the early days of the monkey scream shorts on the Grickle Channel. It's definitely stoked the creative fires!

I've got more ideas than I can handle for it but I'm going to try and exhibit some restraint. If you want to keep an eye on those proceedings look no further than here:

Grickle on Vine

That's as far as I've managed to chase the rabbit/dragon currently.

I would love to hear from folks if they thought there was an app or place I was sorely overlooking for Grickle stuff! I just want to make sure that when I create a new piece of art, be it a sketch or animated short, that I'm really posting it in the most appropriate places to be seen and appreciated/hated these days.

Make something, get a reaction.


Monday, July 13, 2015

"After hours" has arrived!

As of this morning there is a brand NEW Grickle cartoon uploaded exclusively on the Grickle Channel!

It has been a looooooong road to get back to this point. And I'm very thankful that so many of you held onto your Grickle Channel subscriptions on Youtube. As I uploaded this latest cartoon I realized it's the 50th animated short I've put on Youtube. 50 shorts! That's a decent amount of animation! Put all those together and that's pretty much a feature length film done by one person! A strange, disjointed, sparsely-animated, feature but a feature nonetheless!

Toot! Toot!

That's the sound of me tooting my own horn. Just briefly. I feel like some sort of sound has to commemorate getting half way to 100!

Please enjoy this latest installment and comfort yourself with the knowledge that I plan to be uploading plenty more new cartoons in the coming year. The Grickle Channel is back on track for the foreseeable future!

And, as this is the internet, and I am one solitary fool making these things in my spare time, I feel obligated to again make mention of the new Fan Funding feature on my Youtube page.  If you've been a fan for a long time or just discovered my work and want to contribute in making the foreseeable Grickle future even more of a reality at a quicker more dependable pace then please contribute to my Fan Funding button on the Grickle Channel page! Any amount helps in allowing me to schedule more time working on the cartoons, purchasing sound efx and software. It's the blue button on the main Grickle Channel page!

Okay! That's all I'm going to say about that today! Looking very forward to hearing comments on "After hours"!

Alright, I'll shut up now and get back to making more!

Friday, July 10, 2015

"After hours" on Monday the 13th! -Sneak peek!

The above image is a sneak peek of the upcoming "After hours" cartoon I'll be debuting exclusively on the Grickle Channel this coming Monday the 13th!

I am so excited.

This is hopefully just the tip of the iceberg. I've been dying to get back to revitalizing the Grickle Channel and I can't wait share the bizarre ideas I've been concocting over that last couple of years.

If you've checked out the Grickle Channel page in recent times you'll notice that there is a "Fan Funding" button on there now. It's on the main page and looks like this:

Now, don't panic!

I'm not about to start charging everyone for the cartoons BUT I do want to say that I  will welcome any financial help I can get in paying for sound efx, work time, and software purchases that I make for the Grickle Channel. I'm pretty darn sure I'm going to continue making these cartoons for as long as I exist. I can't help myself.  I absolutely love doing it and it feels like one of the few venues I've got where I completely and utterly am able to express myself without any filter of any kind. So funding or not I'll continue to make these animated babies whenever and however I can. BUT financial assistance, as in all things, helps justify and create more opportunities to devote more time to the channel. More financial support = more cartoons, more often. So if you feel like helping out the Grickle Channel and contributing to it's current existence, glorious past and hopefully bright and weird future than by all means I welcome your support!

Either way I'll be making more. It's just I may be able to make them quicker and more often with assistance from all you awesome people.

Okay! Try and enjoy your weekend and remember to be watching the Grickle Channel on Monday the 13th!!!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Portland is hot and the Grickle Channel LIVES AGAIN!!!!

I knew this day would come. And that it would come quickly. In the pursuit of creating blog posts on a regular basis I'd have to confront the dilemma of having no obvious thing to write about. I'd be yet another person adding to the infernal white noise of the internet by writing about the fact that I have nothing to write about today.

But I also knew that I was going to adopt a more cavalier attitude towards this blog and just not sweat it if I found myself in a topic-less kind of mood.

Well today is that day, but that's okay. I'm going to forge ahead and write something anyway. And maybe add a doodle or two to spruce up the piece. Something like this:
What's that drawing about? I dunno. His head is made of ice cubes. Or something. Speaking of ice cubes. Portland has been insanely hot.

Unbelievably hot.

And it's lasted way longer than usual. To the point where whatever reserve of energy I normally have to do extra things has been greatly depleted. Some guy on the radio this morning said that there is a gigantic 'blob' in the ocean of slightly warmer water that is the cause of all this. Scientists can't explain how it got there but the 'blob' stretches thousands of miles from Alaska to Mexico and is heating up the West Coast. Great.

Hot weather makes me feel like I'm running on empty.

One of those extra things that I've lost some energy in working on is Grickle cartoons. I'm sure many of you noticed the almost total lack of new cartoons on my Youtube channel for the last 2 years. It made me sad but I didn't really have a choice on the matter. Between being the father of two great little boys and trying to do the best I could in directing an animated feature film I lost all ability to find time to create more Grickle cartoons. Until now. Things have changed. Time has moved on. The Boxtrolls is completely and utterly done. My boys have gotten a little older. And so I've been quietly working away on a number of new animated shorts that I can't wait to begin posting!

Although this weather has painfully slowed me down for the last week or two, don't fret! I made decent progress back when the days were cooler and I've got one brand spanking new cartoon ready to be uploaded next Monday morning (July 13th). Keep your eyes peeled for it and tell your friends! Spread the word! The Grickle Channel lives yet again!

Oh! And speaking of, if anyone is still wanting a Grickle Channel shirt you should order one soon! The Teespring campaign is going to end in 3 days! And I'm currently 14 orders shy of hitting the goal to get them printed! Check it out here: The Grickle Channel shirt

Well, there. I guess I did have some stuff to write about after all.

Until next time! Stay cool out there, everyone.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The smell of death

Hi, everyone! Been continuing to listen to new podcasts and things thanks to all your suggestions! My life feels somehow fuller now. More satisfying. In between breaks of long bouts of electronica I skim through the list of new podcasts and, if I'm in a daring enough mood, I go for it. Being in a brave soul sort of a mood I gave "Welcome to Night Vale" a try yesterday. I wasn't even sure what to think of it initially but I find myself mulling it over nearly a day later and that's a good sign in my book. It's like beat poetry in a Twilight Zone format.

I've arbitrarily decided to step up my game if I'm going to continue to write blog posts. Inspired by all the incredible podcasts and free form writing out there I need to make better use of this space! So be prepared to read a bunch of bumbling true life, off the top of my head, rambly posts beyond the usual "Hey I've got a new shirt or cartoon out!" entries I've done in the past. 

 I'll be honest though, I'm much more comfortable doodling than I am trusting words to get across my point. If I even have a point. So the ride may get a little bumpy.  Hang on.

Okay, so here's a random entry to kick things off with.

Sometimes I work out. And lately, since my schedule has returned to a normal pace, I've been going to the gym for my lunch hour. It's a way to somewhat keep in shape so that I may continue my illustrious career as an old-man-beer-league-ice-hockey player. I don't have a ton of ambition in my life other than to try and create the most animation and comics I can and play the most hockey I can play before I'm done and out. And as I get older I suspect that if I didn't do these little workouts every week my body would just calcify into an unmoving mass, never to skate again. So I do my best to keep up steady visits to the gym. It is what it is. A predictable and mostly mundane necessity.

Mostly mundane.

Until the other week.

I was in the process of doing stretches and getting ready to pedal a brisk 5 minutes on the exercise bike when I suddenly heard a loud thud and a moan of "ooooooohhhh". I immediately scanned the first floor. The gym has two levels, the second floor has all the cardio machines and is an open space that looks down onto the first floor. Every now and again there are some rather loud muscle head types who squat huge weights on the first floor. Whether it's voluntary or just necessary, they almost always are grunting or yelling audibly throughout the gym as they lift and then loudly drop weights with a thud onto the floor. I assumed that's what had occurred as I glanced down to confirm it. But I didn't see anyone that looked like a candidate to emit the noise I'd heard. Mildly confused, I shrugged it off and got on my bike when I suddenly heard a second lower groan. I looked behind me towards the line of treadmills and saw:

As I approached, a very Brian DePalma-like pool of blood beginning to spread from his head onto the carpet. By this point other folks had also noticed that something had gone horribly wrong at the treadmills. A co-worker was already in action mode, calling 9-1-1 on her phone and telling me and everyone else to "alert the front desk!"A bunch of us hustled downstairs to spread the word.

Luckily for the poor guy on the floor there was an experienced ER (emergency room) person who happened to be doing a lunchtime workout. He immediately took control of the situation, much to everyone else's relief! He flipped the guy over and got folks to fetch wet paper towels that were used to stem the bleeding. The guy had a nasty cut on his forehead and had been knocked loopy. As far as we could tell he must have half fainted while jogging on the treadmill and smacked his head as he stumbled and fell off. As we waited for the fire department to arrive the guy began to become coherent again. The ER fellow calmly talked him through what had happened and after a few minutes got him to his feet.

Soon he had the guy sitting in a comfy chair in the men's locker room and acting pretty normal. The fire department brought in a big first aid kit and tended to the gash on his head. The gym had a wave of 'situation normal' sweep over it and everyone went back to doing their lunchtime workouts. I returned to my previously planned routine but decided to cut my bike ride a bit short as my heart rate was already going pretty good.

Later, as I finished working out I noticed the fire department packing up their stuff and the treadmill guy was getting his gym bag together. I saw that the ER fellow was still there and talking a lot to the guy. I overheard him encouraging him to get a physical as soon as possible and to maybe drastically think about changing his diet. The guy nodded politely and proceeded to walk out.

Back at work, I chatted with a co-worker who had also witnessed the whole thing. He had made a point of thanking the ER guy for all his expertise. And as they got into conversation the ER guy had said that he could tell by the smell of the man that something terribly wrong was going on inside him. He could smell the whiff of death on him, a smell he'd become attuned to after many years of ER experience. He said there was an odor of major organ failure on the guy. Major organ failure. Jeez! I'd never really thought about the fact that death had a smell like that but it made sense. What an incredibly creepy skill to possess. Sort of like a Grim Reaper super hero or something.

When I told my wife about it that evening she reminded me of a news story a while ago about the 'death' cat at an old folks home.

Oscar the cat always knew who was going next and would stay with that person before they went.  Even before the medical staff was able to determine anything wrong Oscar would just know. I think he'd done like over 50 times and been right every time. A comforting but horrible cat to have around I suspect.

The smell of death.

 I really hope that guy went to his doctor and they're able to clear up that odor for him. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer time means shirt time!

Okay, so a decent number of people have been asking about past Grickle shirts and how to get them. This got me poking around on teespring and I realized that you could now make a whole storefront on the site! So all my past designs are currently consolidated HERE:


And I specifically relaunched a campaign for the The Grickle Channel shirt. I need 20 orders by July 9th to make it happen. So if you missed out last time, head over there! The yellow version of the shirt is on a slightly more golden stock this time around (they no longer carry the shirt stock it was originally printed on). I think I might even like the new golden version better to be honest.

I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who sent podcast recommendations last week! It's been great to have a whole new pool of of stuff to sift through. I listened to a few of the Lore Project ones and man so good! It was making me feel a bit disturbed and sick inside but I couldn't stop listening.

I gave Dan Carlin's Hardcore History a try as well. I listened to the "Prophets of Doom" episode. Epic! It was about 4 hours long! 4 hours! And I ended up listening to every single minute of it. The story was fascinating and Dan's enthusiasm in telling it is infectious! He's like the best history teacher you never had. Really impressed. And I almost feel smarter for having listened to it.

I also re-discovered a past indulgence of mine on Youtube. "X minus One" was an amazing sci-fi radio show back in the late fifties. People like Issace Asimov and Phillip K Dick had stories on it. I would LOVE to hear if anyone has recommendations on anything else out there that is even remotely close to the quality and tone of these shows.

Okay, that's all I've got for today! Hope folks are having a decent enough day out there.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It's that time again!

Hello, everyone!

Yes, it's that time again. That time of the year when I write a brand new blog post to say "Wow! It's sure been a long time since I last posted here!" And then I usually follow that up with something like "I am FINALLY going to get back on track and try and post more regularly!"

Well, guess what? I'm NEVER going to be back on track as far as I can tell. And so I'm not going to make any promises that I'll continue to update this blog regularly. Who even blogs regularly anymore anyway, right? There certainly doesn't seem to be much peer pressure out there to keep this thing up.

So, no promises. But all that said, I honestly may come back and try and update again. Or I may not.

Here's a doodle.
Dog and a hat. With a cane.

Not my best work but it's all I got right now.

It's been over half a year since the Boxtrolls came out and I feel like my brain is just beginning to normalize. Been listening to a lot of podcasts again and loving it.  Mostly catching up on various Mark Maron and discovered the world of Harmontown. Which has me curious to maybe watch Community? I know, I'm about 5 years behind the curve. But I've always been.

What else? Witnessed the BlackHawks win their 3rd Stanley Cup in 6 years. I'd have much preferred to watch the Habs skating around with the Cup but it was still satisfying to watch Chicago get it again. Such a stellar team. It's almost unfair.

In Grickle news, which I suppose is the main purpose of this blog, I'm working on a lot of behind the curtain stuff that hopefully I'll be able to talk about in the upcoming year. Pretty excited about it. That will definitely constitute more blog posts if I have legitimate news to toot my horn about! Bare minimum I'll be tweeting stuff for sure.

Hey, I have no idea if anybody still checks this blog. But if you do I'd love to hear any recommendations folks have on other good podcasts to listen to! My brain is starving for new material!

And with that I bid you adieu! For now. :)