Saturday, February 24, 2007

0010 Matinee Soup 'Woof'

0010 Matinee Soup 'Woof', originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

The Illustration Friday topic this week is 'Communication'.

So what better than miscommunication to illustrate it?

And what better for me than killing two birds with one stone? An illo for Illo Friday AND a Matinee Soup specimen, all wrapped into one.

Wednesday was my second seminar session at Wits. Groovy once again.

Last Saturday was my birthday. Big three nine. And J made it a pretty damn special day. She arrived at my place at 8:30am sharp. I leapt out of the shower, shook myself dry like a cute li'l dog, and we set off for a mystery destination.

And arrived at Woodlands. For a massage and a reflexology session. Followed by some naked steaming together. Followed by a naked jacuzzi session. Followed by a cool lunch. Followed by a drive back to my place. Followed by. If you know what I mean.

A wonderful time was enjoyed by all.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 with the processor running at 74 degrees celsius, and the harddrive at 57 degrees celsius, with J looking over my shoulder seeing how I work, and massaging my shoulders every now and again, and bringing me tea. Stuff like that.

Friday, February 16, 2007

0009 Matinee Soup 'Why tails?'

It's been a pretty cool week. Valentine's day was intentionally quiet for me. No dates. Made up for that with J last night. Hehehehe.

The film role fell through. My agent called me to say, 'The production company phoned to say they have to lower the agreed fee from R8000 per call to R3000 per call. I told them I'd discuss it with you, but that it's unlikely. I mean, it's partial nudity, and a violent role. What do you feel?'

'Walk away from it,' I told Shane. 'If it were a more substantial role, and not just a bit part, I MIGHT have considered it. But the fact that they're changing things at the last minute indicates that they might be in some kinda trouble.'

I think the production company needs a tail. Or maybe they already know their asses from their elbows?

Last Saturday I screened THE SECRET for a bunch of my buddies. And on Sunday I'm screening it again for the people in my AACA group. (AACA stands for 'Al Anon Adult Children of Alcoholics, and I attend the regular Monday meeting.)

It's a pretty potent film. Well worth seeing.

And AACA's pretty potent too. Have you seen my list of 'Characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics'?

People who've seen WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW!? probably know the premise of THE SECRET:

Under 'The Law of Attraction', what we ask for, the universe provides. It's just that we often don't realise that we're asking for things we DON'T want. So, people focussing on 'getting out of debt' or 'losing weight' are actually giving energy and focus to the debt and the weight, and so, they 'get what they ask for'... more debt, more weight.

They should, instead, ask for what they WANT... abundance, not debt, healthy slimness, not weight loss.

I don't rate WHAT THE BLEEP at all. It's a crap film, with highly faulty quasi-science. And a pretty syrrupy storyline to deliver the message. However, THE SECRET seems to have pared out all the pseudo-science, and delivers a coherent framework with which to change your life for the better. I'm pretty certain that it's not saying stuff you haven't heard before. But it certainly packages it in a compelling and life-changing way.

For a while now, I've been affirming that I'll finally 'have my degree'. And that's manifesting pretty beautifully. On Wednesday I attended the first seminar of my
Masters in Digital Arts
. The course was created by Prof Christo Doherty. And it cooks.

Part of our Wednesday morning was devoted to watching the avant-garde groundbreaking piece of cinema... THE MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA, made by Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov in 1929. It's pretty much the best film I've ever seen. Bar none. It's literally as good as a film can possibly be, plus some. Wow.

Because I haven't completed my two undergrad degrees -- I have half an Electrical Engineering degree through Wits, and 8 out of 10 credits of my Literary Theory degree through Unisa -- I'm being allowed to register for this Masters in stages. Right now, I'm an 'occasional student'. If I do well in this course, I'll be able to go for the full masters, utilising 'recognition of prior learning'.

I'm feeling pretty damned stoked about it. Very stimulating indeed. Wow.

On the babe front, J is doing surprise things for my birthday tomorrow. (J is the gal who went with me to the American Consulate General's home for the poetry reading at which I called for the American public to impeach his holiness, George 'I caused World War III' Bush. That was our first date. And I think it can be counted a success. hehehehe.)

Also on the babe-front, J is open to my being polyamorous. Which is cool. Cos I'm really wanting to explore it more. I've been attending the monthly South African polyamory film evenings. And I've been following the adventures of a poly family in America. Their blog -- THE HERON CLAN -- is a candid account of what polyamory can be in what's known as a 'V' triad. That's where one person has two committed love partners. The two partners are committed to that person, who forms the point of the 'V'. This is the formation I've been in, and it really worked for me.

On the button shop front, my buttons are causing a few ripples on I'll know at the end of this month how many I've sold. I know that the shopfront has been getting hundreds of hits from my links. Which means it MIGHT be getting lots of hits from other sources that I can't measure.

I don't REALLY care too much whether or not the buttons sell. I care that the politics they espouse creates ripple effects.

Right. Time for me to swallow my last mouthful of JB Rivers bran muffin and head off home for an early night. J told me to have a swimming costume with me when she picks me up at 7:45am tomorrow. (It's mid summer in South Africa, if you're wondering. And my car's roof is most definitely down. And my hair is in a bun, held by one of those gigantic hair clamps that looks like a radioactive crab. Cos the back of my neck is getting overheated these days.)

Oh. One last thing. I've done test prints of some of my pics at Silvertone. They're on 100% cotton rag, 100% acid free, using 100-year archive quality inks. And they look unbelievably awesome (to me, at any rate; but I'm biased, being their 'father'). Look out for 'for sale' buttons next to my prints. I'm currently setting up the e-commerce backend to be able to send them around the world. Yay!!!

This strip was made on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, using ArtRage 2.2, in JB Rivers, Hyde Park. See all of the cartoons in the series on my Flickr set: Matinee Soup -- a weekly cartoon strip. I do not receive ANY form of compensation for any of the software, hardware, or eateries I mention in these entries. The babe count in Hyde Park more than makes up for any money I spend here. Tonight it's a full five stars out of five. Oh yeah.

Friday, February 09, 2007

0008 Matinee Soup 'French Kiss a Bulldog'

It's Valentine's Day coming up.

And I thought Bambi would like to acknowledge romance in some oblique way. Without being mushy about things.

Seems like she wanted to go the mushy route. I couldn't stop her.

Have a happy V-Day!

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc. I'm sitting in Nino's in Rosebank. Nesbert, my waiter, has been to my table four times in six hours. He gave me a teacup that was FILTHY. I wiped brown stuff off the rim with a serviette. He's NOT getting a tip. But the place has been buzzing with babes.

One or two of my lapel badges are pretty romantic. Sorta. In a perverted kinda way. Go get some.

Monday, February 05, 2007

2007-02-03 Illustration Friday -- Spur Rot: Sprout Proust

It's Illustration Friday time again. Even though I'm posting this at 1:30 am, basically the small hours of Monday morning. And I should be sleeping. Cos I'm acting in a feature movie tomorrow. Yeeehaaa!

Anyway. The topic is 'Sprout'. Which is once again an irresistable anagram. Spur rot: sprout Proust.

So... the portrait is of Marcel Proust. The quote comes from REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST, Cities of the Plain by Marcel Proust.

I made this painting on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, using ArtRage 2.2. There is a fan blowing heat away from a blistering summer night.

Uh... have you bought any of my buttons yet?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

0007 Matinee Soup 'Light Breakfast'

Yup. Sometimes, Bambi can't resist a pun. It's true.

When I first wrote this one, I had the lines reversed. But that breaks a comedy rule... you need to end with the punchline, not start with it.

It's not that the joke DOESN'T work the other way round. It simply changes the nature of the 'laugh'. (I put 'laugh' in inverted commas cos I don't expect EVERYone to find EVERY Matinee Soup joke funny, simply cos I find them funny.)

The way I've presented the joke here, we have the setup: 'I had a light breakfast'. Followed by the speech bubble break into a new panel. With the punchline delivered after a very slight speaking pause: 'I ate the bedside lamp.' Followed by a change of 'camera angle', and the tail-end of Bambi's exit.

There were two things I toyed with. One was making the first two panels into one bigger panel. I resisted that, cos it destroys the amount of time occupied by the pause.

The other thing I tried was having Bambi's 'owner' shouting, 'Bambi! Did you chew the bedside lamp??' with Bambi telling the viewer, 'I had a light breakfast.' This is probably funnier than the current version. But it's not quite in Bambi's character.

The way I've opted to go is to keep Bambi completely aware of her actions, and the consequences. She's in total control of her life.

This painting was made on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc using ArtRage 2.2. A bunch of my friends were sitting in my living room watching THE SECRET on my big screen video projector while I worked, with me occasionally looking up.

PS: Hey... have you seen my buttons yet?

Friday, February 02, 2007

A conspiracy-theory night out with the South African leftwing poets and the American consulate staff

So now what exactly IS a conspiracy theory? When a whole bunch of seemingly random events all tie together with an underlying 'obvious' pattern, is that conspiracy?

I'm in the middle of one.

Here's how it looks...
1. Roy makes a few inflammatory 'anti George Bush-USA' lapel badge designs.

2. States in his Flickr gallery that he hopes some of his buttons put him on the CIA hit list.

3. He starts a satirical group on Flickr titled, 'BIN LADEN... IS THIS HIM?' He asks people to help the CIA find Bin Laden. They must do this by posting pics to the group of ANYONE who could POSSIBLY be Bin Laden. They must include the exact time and place of photo, so that the CIA can collate the information. 16 people join the group immediately. Another one joins some time after.

4. Roy posts a pic of some Arabian-styled fellow and his girlfriend. The pic is a lucky shot at the gym. The couple were joining up, and Roy happened to be going to the changeroom at the time. Yes!!!
And then the interesting coincidences start...
5. Roy gets an email out of nowhere from a dude called Ismail Mohamed, who is the 'Senior Cultural Specialist' attached to the 'American Culture and Information Center, U.S. Consulate General'. The email invites him to attend a do at the home of Steven Coffman, the American Consul General. The do is a poetry event, featuring Toni Blackman.

6. Roy thinks, 'What the...?' He thinks, 'Who the heck is Ismail Mohamed?' He thinks, 'Sheesh. The Americans are INFINITELY politically correct. If this IS legit, then they've DEFINITELY hired a guy with the right name.'

7. Roy phones 1023, and verifies that the number given on the email is indeed attached to said Info Center of said Consulate. The email is legitimate.

8. Before Roy phones Ismail Mohamed to find out more about the event, he checks his dating profile. Cos an email has just arrived stating, 'CoffeeShopSchmuck... you have a new fan!!!!!!!!' On said dating profile, Roy finds an attractive gal has faved him. Her country of origin? America. Living in South Africa. Studying.
So Roy thinks, 'Okay. Guantanamo Bay. Bring your own lube, dude.'

He also thinks, 'Oh, don't be paranoid, dude. It's ACTUALLY a set of coincidences. For instance, the dating site gal is just a gal. The poetry thing? It's JUST a poetry thing. Except that I haven't really been all that active in the performance poetry circle for a long time, apart from occasional forays. And the dating site thang? Well... my profile has been viewed maybe three or four times a week for the last month or two, and the last time I got faved by someone was two weeks before the American babe.

Nothing concrete. Nothing 'real'. Except for the coincidences.

9. Roy phones Ismail. Says, 'Yeah. Would LOVE to come. Can I bring a partner?' Ismail says, 'Absolutely.' Roy contacts another babe from the site. One he's been flirting with via email for a while. Says to her, 'Would you like to accompany me to the US Consul General's house for some poetry as our first date?' She says, 'Yeah!'
At this point, I'm wondering what the hell to do at the poetry event. Ismail has said that there'd be an open mic.

And I'm torn.

For me, it would go against my ethics to simply accept the invitation and say NOTHING. For me, saying nothing against the current American government is tantamount to collusion with the Bush regime. At the same time, I don't want to use an open mic as some kind of soapbox to froth about politics. And anyway, I'm a minnow in the world of politics. At best, I'm some kind of semi-informed leftie-libertarian. At worst, I'm a victim of several streams of propaganda. So anything I say can't actually be anything more than my opinion. A dilemma.
10. Roy meets his date. She turns out to have platinum blonde hair, and THE most piercing blue eyes he's seen. And she's STACKED. Awesome breasts. Really. Sheesh. Nicely dressed. Alluring. A sharp, angular face. Kinda Nordic. Kinda fierce. But soft. Very pretty. They go to the consul's house in Roy's little red sports car. Which desperately needs a session at the valet. But hey.

11. They park. Roy has intentionally left his Swiss Army Knife at home, thinking he'd be cavity searched by special agents before being allowed into the hallowed presence of the esteemed consul. Instead, the guards wave him and his babe-date in. Roy's thinking about shagging her somewhere in the consul's house. And he's working out what he's gonna say.

12. They get inside. Ismail Mohamed is familiar to him. It's the same Ismail Mohamed who ran the Windybrow Theatre in Hillbrow many years ago! He's a leftie! He's all right! He bumped into Roy a few months ago in a restaurant, and took Roy's card. (The cards here are the two sides of Roy's new card, which is currently at the printer.)

13. The consul general is a cool dude. He's wearing a delightful Mandela shirt. He's shortish, greyish, and very jocular. Roy imagines he's quite a bright fellow. There's a picture of what must be his daughter in the living room they walked through to get to the garden. And she's scrumptious. Holy moley. Roy wants to shag his date AND the daughter!

14. Poets arrive. It's basically a pretty damned high-powered collection. The cream of South African performance poetry. (Although, Lesego Rampolokeng and Kgafela oa Magogodi aren't there.) So Roy's thinking, 'Uh... I'm NOT in this league, am I? I MUST be a token invite, so they can get their eyes on me.'

15. Roy and his date (who remains nameless, cos she doesn't want anyone except the CIA to know her name) are scoping the joint, trying to spot which of the consulate staff are secret service agents. Roy and his date have discussed things in the car before the entered the premises. They speculated that the sexy woman who tries to seduce Roy would be one of the agents. And whoever else is wearing shiny shoes and hippy clothes would be the other one.

16. Paulina, the 58-year-old busty honey-blonde with huge breasts and massive hair, immediately starts hitting on Roy, stepping into his personal space, so that every time she breathes, her breasts glance across Roy's wrist, which is defensively holding a glass of water in front of his chest.

17. The second agent isn't all that obvious. But there's only ONE person wearing shiny shoes, aside from the guy in the suit. The guy with the shiny shoes is fairly old. And he's in hippy clothing. It's our man.

18. The poetry starts. Two guest poets kick off with short works. Quite good fun. Then Toni Blackman kicks into gear. Does two or three terrific poems. She's employed by the US government as some sort of cultural commissar. Brilliant. She finishes her short gig, and opens the mic by calling for an improv session with three poets from the audience. Asks the audience what the improv poem should be about. Roy pipes up, 'It should be about two minutes.' She calls his bluff, and the poets improvise a poem entitled 'Two Minutes'.

19. Toni calls for another improv session. Roy gets up. Joins two other performance poets. Roy is wearing a t-shirt with Rosie the Rivetter on the front, and the slogan, 'Just Do It'. Someone says, 'Just do it!' So that's the title and topic of their poem. Roy slips in a wry dig at Nike in Vietnam, which gets a big laugh.

20. Applause. Other poets do some solo material. One or two poems max. Roy figures out what he's going to do.

21. Allan Kolski Horwitz takes the mic. Does an incredibly funny and harrowing poem about putting despots into power. The twist at the end is that the despot he's referring to is George Bush. And his father! Heheheeheheh!

22. Roy takes the mic. Starts off pretending that he wrote a Linton Kwesi Johnson poem. Outrage while he recites the opening phrase... 'It was in April 1981, down inna di ghetto of Brixton...' Tells the crowd to relax. Then says, 'I'm going to do two poems tonight. The first one is incredibly short, and it's one of my two political poems. It's called, 'AFTER'.

The lovers lie like statues
shattered by the tanks.
23. Roy then says, 'Mr Coffman, I need to make a personal appeal to the American people. Please tell them that Roy Blumenthal is asking them to impeach George Bush. Because of him, I do NOT feel safe.'

24. As Roy says this, the man adjusting the microphones spins around and takes a photograph of Roy's date. Hmmmmm. Not wearing shiny shoes at all.

25. 'Right...' says Roy, 'politics over for me... here's my next poem.' And he performs, 'IT'S LUNCHTIME IN THE CITY' which features 'the heads of leaders turning tails, touched by crimes... the slime!'

26. Which effectively closes the open mic. Coffman steps up to the mic during the light smattering of applause, and says, 'Thanks for being here,' etcetera. And Jim Callahan steps up and makes a speech, cos he's retiring to Cape Cod. And the evening's almost over.

27. But Ismail Mohamed comes up to Roy and says, 'Are you available to be on the radio at 8:30 tomorrow?' Roy thinks about this for a few whirring moments. What's going through his mind is this: 'I would dearly love to shag this incredible specimen of babehood tonight. 8:30. Traffic. Ugh. That means waking early. Which means I can't have a VERY late night.' He says to Ismail, 'Sure.'

28. Roy and his date leave. On the way out, they notice a HUGE photo of George Bush senior, framed, on a side table. It's one of those candid-style shots. The kind buddies take of each other. Mr Coffman is probably someone who has pictures of the Bush clan in his house, not, as some might have it, out of patriotic duty, but rather cos he DIGS them.

29. So Roy and the date head off to the rapidly closing Rosebank Mall. Europa shuts around them. They go and walk around. Sit at the closed Sophia's which has chairs outside. They kiss a bit. 'Wanna go home with me and have sex?' Roy asks. The date smiles. 'Why not?'
Intermission. Private stuff takes place. One phrase only: 'GREAT breasts.' The rest is on a need-to-know basis. (I'm sure the CIA already know everything they need to know about the sexual proclivities of Roy and his date.)
30. The morning after, Roy gets to the Radio Today studio on the dot at 8:30am. There's the guy with the shiny shoes! He IS an agent! Cool! Roy's suspicions are confirmed. The other poets arrive... Toni Blackman, Mac Manaka. The clincher? It's the 'secret agent's' radio show that they're being interviewed on!
So. That pretty much brings the conspiracy up to date. Let's hope I sell some buttons as a result of it. What kind of agent WOULDN'T wear a badge that says, 'Sayonara, you incompetent fuck,' against the backdrop of an American flag?