The Home of the Creative Mind

Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark


Sunday, June 4th 2023 • 06/04/23

Aunt Audra is planning a trip to visit Mom and Dad. She tried to hit me up for directions that would keep her off of I5. This led to a conversation about how bad traffic and accidents were around Portland. And, being a person full of suggestions, I thought I’d tell her about a game Krista and I play to pass the time while we’re driving.

The Counting Game

Each of the following is worth one point. If you are a type A personality, you will want to keep a list of each of them.

1. Police Cars

2. Stalled Cars - without assistance. A stalled car with police could easily be a car pulled over by the police, so it only counts as a Police point.

3. Hawks

4. Christmas Trees on Cars

5. Christmas Tree Trucks. Don’t even try to debate what the difference is between a Christmas tree on a Car vs. A truck hauling a load of Christmas trees.

6. Road Kill. Now this is where things get tricky. If the carcass is intact and the species recognizable, that’s easy. But then you get the critters that have two halves separated by a mile or so, and you consider using the decimal system, and things get tricky. Even trickier are splats, the pulpy pink thing with indistinguishable fur that you try to convince yourself was a possum because nobody likes possums. So, we often skip those. Also, a dead hawk does not count as a hawk, only as Road Kill.

7. Accidents. Defined as one or more cars crumpled or damaged on the side of the road. This is where having someone with you in the car comes in handy. They can rubberneck while you slow traffic with a slow pass-by. The presence of a police car also counts as a point in #1. And in this situation, the rule that applies to #2 is overlooked because a crashed car might be stalled, but a stalled car is not crashed.

8. Christmas Trees on the side of the road. 

9. Fires. These are typically car fires but can also be hillside fires, house fires, or discarded Christmas Trees. Fires larger than that, and you might want to focus on other things other than the counting game.

So, just keep these simple rules in mind, and the Counting Game will help those miles and minor roadside annoyances pass by faster. Or, you can always listen to an audiobook; we do that too.

The counting game came up as a topic during my and Krista’s daily walk. Krista reminded me that this was less Christmas Tree season and more Onion Truck season. And we always counted Onion Trucks. So we elaborated on the theme and realized we count Hay Trucks and Logging Trucks. These trucks should fall into the category of Christmas Tree trucks. We debated the merits of counting livestock trucks but decided against counting those. Including livestock would mean counting horse trailers, and that way leads to madness.

I had a special treat today as I got to have lunch with my old friend Llywelyn Graeme. I first met Llywelyn back in 1982 when I went to my first SCA event. SCA stands for the Society of Creative Anachronists; it’s a group that researches and practices medieval arts and sciences. Part of this is picking a time period, then building a persona that reflects that time period. I picked the time of 1000 AD and the personal name of Trenor. I was always fascinated by the medieval ages. I sewed together my own outfit and did such a good job with it that I won a prize. I told Llwelyn’s wife Athena and his daughter Elizabeth how their father was partly responsible for my nickname. The SCA would organize tournaments deep in parks and on private campsites. Hundreds of people would arrive, set up tents, and suddenly a private medieval village up sprouted up with people cooking food of the time period, singing songs of the time period, and holding mock battles and tournaments. Llywelyn was one of the first people at met. Somehow, shortly after arriving and meeting everyone, I forgot where my campsite was located. I mislaid my food. I was so excited to be meeting so many people who shared the same interest that my lack of direction didn’t seem to be a big deal. As I met more people, my friends started to introduce me with the phrase, “This is Trenor; he is lost.” Or, this is Trenor; he lost his food.” By the end of the weekend, nearly everyone knew me by a nickname that I then took for my SCA name Trenor the Lost.

Forty years is a long time to know each other. Llywelyn and I lost track of each other, then reconnected. This morning he told me about the loss of someone we both knew from back in the day. This led to a rather sad update of our various friends who weren’t with us anymore. But, it also led to us promising to help to renew ties with the folks we both knew back in the day. Llywelyn asked me if I had any photos of some of our friends or even him. I was always taking photographs back then. I will have to dig through my photo albums and the boxes of photos I kept when I realized that keeping them in photo albums was going to take up too much space. You have to keep in mind this was long before digital photography. This was in the dark ages of the ’80s.

I met Krista at an SCA event. We dated for about a year, with a lot of that time being at SCA outings. After Krista and I moved in together, she and I stopped attending SCA events. We lost touch with many of our friends. Most of them we only knew from their personal names. It’s odd how people enter your life, then you don’t see them for years, and then they show back up again. A couple decades go by, and I’m selling my books in Donna Barr’s front yard on Clallam Bay. I’m one of three attendees of a mini-comic con you convinced me to participate in. Krista and I looked at it as a way to go out to the peninsula for a weekend. Clallam Bay is way, way, way out on the edge of Washington, where very few people go. Anyway, Krista and I take a break from selling books and go for a walk on the beach. When we return, I’m surprised to see that there is a line in front of my table. And one of those people was Llewelyn. Donna was a mutual friend, and he’d recently bought some land in the area with a mind to build a house on it. Those plans have since changed. They plan on living in Forks now. Forks is still pretty far on the edge of Washington, but it’s got a lot more health facilities than Clallam Bay. That’s something to consider when you are reaching retirement age. I’m so glad Llewyln and I reconnected on Donna Barr’s front lawn. Our fun trip became one of ‘those’ stories you share with your friends.

The Graemes have traveled the world as diplomats. They spend months or years at a time living in various countries. They do have a house in Forks. A person they know lives there when they are out of the country. And when they retire in a few years, they will live there permanently. They have just returned from Japan. We exchanged gifts. They gave me some citrus seasoning, which I know Krista will love. They also gave me some special flavored KitKat, which I will be sharing at Freelance Fandango in the near future. Thank you, Llewyln and Athena, for these wonderful gifts. I gave Elizabeth some of my stickers and, for her folks, a copy of my book “The Comic Critic Presents Blockbusters.” I drew a character of Llweyln on the flyleaf. The movie he picked was “Akira.” I was a little surprised to see the family driving a U-Haul truck, but it makes sense when you think about it. They are shifting locations, and this way, they can pick up provisions along the way. It also makes sense why we met at a Red Robin Restaurant, which was nearly adjacent to the hotel. I was treated to a Royal Red Robin Burger; Llewlyn’s favorite burger is the TeriYaki, and Athena ordered a salad with some yummy chicken in it. Elizabieth had a pepperoni pizza. It wasn’t after we said our goodbyes and they left in the truck that I realized I’d forgotten to take a photo of all of us together. I’d brought my selfie stick and everything. Well, it’s only a matter of time before I visit them in Forks. I go there nearly every year to go fishing with my brothers. If the town sounds familiar to you, it might be because it was featured as the setting for the Twilight Saga franchise.

I had some dreams this week:

May 29

#IDreamt I was a young Aztec slave helping construct the ornamental facade of a pyramid.

May 30

#IDreamt I was remembering a trip I took with my father and brothers, and sister-in-law. Something peculiar must have occurred as none of us remember the trip.

May 31

#IDreamt, a war between vampires was going to start. According to the accords, all vampires gathered to put their real names in a ledger along with their weapon preference for a duel. I was given the “honor” of being the scribe.

June 2

#IDreamt I was at a repair shop getting the family’s old Honda CT70 starter replaced. The roads were not safe because the local Kaiju, a 100-foot giant round plushy rooster, was roaming the streets. I don’t know which part of the dream was more implausible.

June 3

#IDreamt I was on site for a targeted brainstorming session. I participated in a mock test created to help residents improve their performance. But it was in the ER, and people kept treating me like a real doctor.

June 4

#IDreamt I got a job as a short-order cook during the graveyard shift. What would normally be a slow night became hectic when the restaurant across the street closed to sand and varnish their floors.

Songs I woke up with in my head:

“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

Books I listened to this week:

“Lizzie and Jane” by Katherine Reay, Rating: 6

Two sisters are dealing with past differences caused by the pain of losing each other at the same time as losing their mother to cancer. The author does a nice job of connecting food to person likes, specifically literature. There’s a lot of angry lashing out caused by fear of cancer and death, both metaphorically and literally. This isn’t a woman-wailing book, nor is it a Pollyanna book. It’s a what I think of as a Wading Book, where you have to move with caution because you can’t see under the surface. Yeah, there should be footing down there somewhere, but you’re likely to slip and skid a little while you make your way.

“What Moves the Dead” by T. Kingfisher, Rating: 6

This is a clever retelling of the Fall of the House of Usher. You should read the original Fall of the House of Usher to get the most out of it. That way, you can make enough of this variation when you read how the writer redrafts preconceptions. I’d love to see this made into a horror movie; it’s fully structured to appeal to today’s audience. And our main character is a fun person to understand.

Movies I’ve seen this week:

56. May 24

Seven Were Saved (1943) Rating: 5

I think we get to see every model of air-sea rescue plane the armed services used when this was shot. We also get to see a lot of Actors and Actresses who came this close to mainstream stardom. I was going to give this movie a four, but it’s because I was familiar with so many of the actors, some of who would appear in hundreds of films, that I notched it back up to a five. I try to watch at least one war-themed movie on Memorial Day. I watched a bad public-domain version of this film on YouTube.

57. June 2

They Got Me Covered (1943) Rating: 4

This is the third worst Bob Hope movie I’ve seen. I was going to give it three points. But then I decided to give it an extra point for it being Doris Day’s last film. Not the famous Doris Day, but the other one. Good luck Googleing her without running afoul of the famous Doris Day. Her appearance was less than a minute, but her stunning beauty and carefully arranged sheet made for one of the best, now politically incorrect, wolf whistles. It also has a few minutes with one of my favorite character actors, Donal Meeks. As I search for Bob Hope films I haven’t seen, I’m bound to run over a couple of his less-than-stellar movies.

58. June 2

The Devil Below (2021) Rating: 3

I wanted to watch a creature feature, and this movie looked promising. But, about the most you will get to see of the creature on the movie poster; the rest is blur-o-rama. Even a bigfoot film from the ’70s will allow for a little bit of focus. Minus one point for that disappointment. And while I was expecting there to be plenty of dark scenes, what with it being underground and all, I still found the usage of flashlights to be excessive. So, minus one point for that.

More next week,


Sunday, May 28, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark

Sunday, May 28th 2023 • 05/28/23 – Memorial Day Weekend


I didn’t write a Weekly Dose last Friday because there was too much going on at the time. And, as often happens, so much kept happening that another week went by. I’m going to do my best to get you caught up.


The first change to my schedule occurred on Monday, May 15th. Normally I would host a freelancer gathering at the Red Elm Café. This small gathering is called Freelance Fandango, and it runs from 11am until 1pm. However, I had to miss it because the Tacoma Art Commission scheduled an online video conference for all selected artists to create artwork wraps for crosswalk utility boxes. We were going to be instructed on how to file contracts and the measurements of the artwork. Representatives from the print company and the city were both there. After their presentation, I had several questions. The questions I raised inspired the other artists to ask for clarification on small specifics. I’m very glad I took the time to attend and didn’t rely on the recording of the event. I went onto Freelance Fandango’s Facebook page and saw that there was a fun turnout of people without me. Everyone complained about the lack of Kit Kats. 


Another change to the schedule was Krista having to go into her office in Olympia on Wednesday. She does much better working at home. But, this was a council meeting, and it needed someone on-site to run events. 


Thursday, I was busy prepping my bins for Crypticon. Crypticon is the largest horror-themed convention in Washington State and is held at a hotel in SeaTac, very near Sea-Tac airport. It runs three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. John Draper helped me on Friday. I spent a little extra to be in the vendor hall rather than the artists’ alley. Not only did I have a backdrop, but the vendor to my right put up a plywood wall between us. With their permission took advantage and draped a spare red tablecloth over it and then hung my shirts on it rather than the poster backdrop. The folks on my other side were a tattooist. He had people booked on his table throughout the entire event. I was grateful for John being there. I would have taken him out to dinner as a thank you. But when I sent him out at lunchtime for some sandwiches, he bought himself a sandwich for dinner. That was a good idea as the Crypticon show starts late and ends late. The vendor’s hall didn’t close until 8 pm. I dropped John off at nine and ate a small dinner with Krista when we got home. I would have to ask John if he had a chance to talk with any of the writers who were selling books at the show.


Allen Gladfelter helped me on Saturday. Allen picked me up at eight, and we had breakfast at Little Jerry’s down the street. We didn’t have to rush and enjoyed a nicely paced breakfast. I’m not used to eating a big breakfast and was quite fortified. Allen was kind enough to use his car so that Krista could use our car to pick up plants and the like for her weekend activities. Allen has helped me at several conventions, and I can rely on him to pitch and sell items when I step away from the table. Allen is slowly getting items of his own to sell: books, prints, and stickers. So we added those to the display, and he made some sales.


I allow myself to get one autograph when I’m at Crypticon. There were a lot of celebrities to choose from. This year I chose Dee Wallace. Dee Wallace is an Actress I’ve been following since the ’80s. Most people will remember her as the mom in “E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial.” She was also the lead actress in “The Howling” and” Cujo.” She’s been active for decades in both film and television. Most of the films have been horror films, so it was very easy for me to keep track of her. I left Allen at the table to see if the line for her autographs was short enough for Allen to get a signature for me. But I got lucky, and she was finishing up with a fan as I went to the table and chose a headshot from “The Howling” for her to sign. As she signed it, she asked if I’d be willing to toss in another $20 for a selfie with her. I couldn’t refuse! I could not get over what a small petite woman she was. And as she signed the photo, I complemented how well her most recent headshot looked. She then said, “Oh, let me give that to you for free.” And she signed it as well. So I had to do something for her. I went back to my table and drew a picture of her in the movie “Cujo,” where she is trapped in the car with the dog on the hood, trying to get in. I then went back and gave it to her when her line had quieted down. She laughed when she saw it. She then flipped through the book to where I drew a review of “E.T.” I’d compared the movie to a boy and his dog film. She laughed again and gave me a motherly slap on the shoulder like I had just tried to pull a fast one. “My husband is going to love this.” She told me.


I have lots of friends who have tables at Crypticon. It’s hard for me to get time to visit them all. Elizabeth Guizzetti writes and illustrates books featuring vampires and aliens. Other artists I know who were in Artist Alley are Eli Wolff, Mark Brill, Chad Scheres, and Nick Gucker. I chose to be over in the vendor’s room this time and sat across from Jason Emmott and his wife at Evil Threads. I was worried that my friend Travis Bundy wasn’t going to be able to sit the entire convention because of back pain. But he has Kevin McCoy with him, and that lightened the load enough that he was able to manage all three days. I’d hoped to have my neighbor Pat Smith with me on Sunday, but he had other commitments. Thankfully I was able to manage by myself, and Crypticon is a very easy show to set and tear down as the car was parked very close by. The show was not as profitable as last year, but last year it was absolutely nuts! So, it’s tough to compare the two shows. I think I will still stay in the vendor’s hall because of the extra display options.


My Uncle Bill, an identical twin to my father, moved to Shoreline, WA, on May 25th. I’m going to give him a call in a few days. I think his daughters are moving him into his apartment right now. I know that they were invited to a wedding. I believe it’s Cody Wagner’s wedding, a relative on his late wife’s side of the family.


I was able to host Freelance Fandango this last Monday. There were seven of us in attendance: Britton Sukys, Corey Macourek, Stan Brown, Nori Kimura, Haley Waddington, Mark Brill and myself. Cory and Brill brought in movie poster art to show. Brittan brought comic and graphic novel art that he’s been working on. Brill brought in another art book. I asked everyone to submit suggestions for a new bingo game I’m creating. I made one for horror movie fans that is selling well, so I want to create one for Anime fans. By the end of the meeting, the whiteboard was filled with suggestions. These were erased, and then we all drew versions of the proposals. I brought a new KitKat flavor this week: Banana Caramel. It was voted one of the better flavors. I made sure to bring one home for Krista since she found the bag. I also have been giving a couple to the staff of the Red Elm Café as a thank you. They have been very generous in letting us use their meeting room for nothing more than the snacks and meals we buy.


Once a month, I host another event, a drawing session at the Grand Cinema. We call it The Grand Drawing Room. It runs for two hours from 6-8pm. Attendance for this event has been filling the room. This month we had a cosplayer named Miriam as our model. One of my tasks is to position the model into interesting poses for the artists. We also changed the room’s layout this time, with the tables close to the sofa on which the artist stood and sat. Before, we had things arranged with the tables in rows, and late arrivals were stuck in the back rows. This month many of the artists brought friends who were in the back reading books and watching the group quietly draw. One of the artists approached me after the show and asked if she could be the cosplay model for next month. I've already posted the event announcement with her photo. I set up a Facebook page so everyone had a location where they could show off their artwork. You can see photos and sketches of our sessions at:


Speaking of the Grand Cinemas, both Mark Brill and James Stowe did movie posters this week. Brill did a poster for “The Seven Samurai,” and Stowe did a poster for “Perfect Blue.” I gave the binders holding past posters to Brill before his on Thursday. I then retrieved them and took them to Stowe for his turn in the lobby on Friday. I sat with him and helped to keep track of sales. He sold more posters on Saturday. 


There were several shows happening this weekend. I didn’t make it into the Punk Rock Flea Market. I was accepted off the waiting list for Tacoma’s Night Market, but by then, I’d already committed to doing the Tabletop Expo. But this week was up in the air as Krista and I weren’t sure if we’d be traveling or not. In the end, I did not table at the Table Top Expo, but Allen Gladfelter and Mark Brill did. Instead, Stowe and I carpooled up to Renton to be part of a panel. Polo, the organizer, asked me if I could line up some artists. Stowe and I stopped at The Cedar River Smokehouse for a BBQ lunch before we went to the expo. He had a chopped porked sandwich. I ordered the brisket sandwich. The owner came out and told us about some new sandwiches he was offering. Instead of a long bun, these would be on a round potato or onion bun, with coleslaw and pickles as part of the sandwich. I changed my order to it and was glad I did so; it was delicious. Stowe’s side selection was coleslaw, so he didn’t change his order. My side was macaroni and cheese. The extra carbs were delicious. Our panel was not as well attended as I had hoped. It was Stowe, Allen, and myself at the table with nobody in the audience. The show was very small and thinly attended. However, we turned on the microphones and made them loud enough that they could be heard over some of the expo hall and got into a discussion with each other. The debate lured our lone audience member into the room. He was joined by the organizer, and we had fun. Both Stowe and Allen are teachers and are looking forward to summer break so that they can hang out with the rest of their artist buddies. Stowe made sure to give me the Grand Cinema poster binders for safekeeping.


Alley News


My neighbor Pat Smith and I have gone on walks nearly every day, even on days when I’ve already gone on a walk with Krista. Pat taught me a couple of Pokemon Go this week. He called me up yesterday to see if I wanted to go for a walk. I turned him down as I was busy out in the yard with the weed whacker. The replacement for the battery I ordered still is being processed. I wonder if they discovered that all of their stock is filled with faulty batteries. In the meantime, I’m stuck using the weedwhacker. I tried the push mover, but the grass was too long for it to function easily. It’s been sitting idle for several years, and I’m sure the blades need sharpening. Krista bought plants. She’s also been planting seeds and cuttings that she nurtured over the winter. We should be getting some vegetables soon. Judy Martin is sitting outside on her carport now that the weather is warmer. The Smiths are over at her house a couple of times each day. We were yelling at each other not to give away any spoilers, as today was the last day of the Sumo Tournament. Krista and I have gotten our neighbors addicted to watching sumo.


I had some dreams:

May 14

#IDreamt time-traveling teenagers from the future infiltrated high schools in the past. Rather than murder, they assassinated would-be politicians’ characters with rumor, innuendo, and such.

May 15

#IDreamt I was a runaway youth who was also a material witness. I was bad at faces but good at remembering badge numbers. I ran from the police assigned to my transportation because they had black tape over their badge numbers.

May 16

#IDreamt that I could tell when one dream stopped and another began. My brain then had the option of rewinding the dream for two minutes to change the ending.

May 17

#IDreamt While doing an old friend a favor, I walked into a plot to blow up a wealthy oil magnate while he was getting drunk at a club. I think I was the only sober one there, but high school chemistry was a long time ago.

May 18

#IDreamt Barack Obama wanted to hire me to do a graphic novel. He’d hired another artist who did it, but his advisors didn’t like it. I looked at it and saw it was superior to what I could do and told him so. He still wanted to do it.

May 19

#IDreamt creating a space station with a functioning pool was less of a challenge than you would think. The surprise was in water in the pool becoming sentient a few decades later.

May 22

#IDreamt I was meeting my sister at Steam Engine Station’s Cafe, where she went to get a Latte. I found her flirting with a young Marlon Brando. I wondered if we were in the afterlife, and I was just slow in figuring it out.

May 23

I dreamt I was at a client’s convention, searching through two flash drives for images to insert into a PowerPoint presentation mere minutes before their time slot was scheduled.

May 24

#IDreamt David Hasselhoff was celebrating his birthday by giving away fried chicken at a seaside bar. He was also signing his autograph. He was behaving just like he did in “Piranha 3DD”.

May 25

#IDreamt after its debut at a county fair, the Rat-Bait Guitar was remarked as a dog’s chew toy (minus the rat poison). Sales soared after a TikTok video showed a dog being a music critic.

May 26

I dreamt I took a large cedar tree pole to a lumberyard and haggled with them over its value.

May 28

#IDreamt I was mistaken for a spy and found myself wearing an exosuit that could mimic my physical appearance and completely protect me. The drawback was I couldn’t take it off. And it could mess with my mind by feeding me false info.


I read a couple of books:


“Paperback From Hell: The Twisted Story of ’70s and ’80s Twisted Horror Fiction” by Grady Hendrix, Rating: 10

I was a voracious reader from an early age. As a teenager and college student, I consumed 3-5 books a week, often re-reading my favorites. And I was a horror fan. It never occurred to me that these decades would be the heyday for such books. As I flipped through the pages, I was amazed. I pointed to the covers and said, “I read this one, and this one, and this one, and this one. Oh, and this one too.” I’ve been showing this book to my friends, and they asked if I’ve read any of the ones featured. They chortle when I confess I’ve read most of them. They become intrigued. I don’t know why. A lot of those books were completely trashy! Most of them were! But I couldn’t get enough of their gory, nightmare-fueling contents. Now I’m using it as a reference to hunt down books at the used bookstore. These aren’t titles you will find in the audiobook section of the library. My niece, who bought me this book as a gift, was intrigued and might get herself a copy.

“Sacrament” by Clive Barker, Rating:7

There was less goo and grisel than I was expecting. And since I kept expecting it, I was kept on edge. It wasn’t until I was halfway through the book that I settled on the rhythm the author established for the story. That was a bit of relief. I hadn’t read a horror novel in a while. I first started to read Barker in the ’80s when horror was a bit extreme in themes, description, and insane writing decisions. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to wade up to my hips in gore and goop. That’s not to say that there is a lack of some disturbing images. I enjoyed hearing Mr. Barker’s storytelling voice again.

I’ve watched some movies

53. May 16

No Man of Her Own (1932) Rating: 7

It’s quite possible I watched this film when I was a kid, that is, if they allowed pre-code movies on television. The romance angle must have left me flat if I had watched it before. I was probably more interested in the card shark aspects. As an adult, I enjoyed it for many reasons. I got to think about how much better movies were pre-code when the innuendo allowed for more salaciousness. I enjoyed it as it was the only time the two leads worked together, even though they would marry years later. And I enjoyed it because of the character actors and the wonderful sets. These early films kindle my nostalgia. I watched it on a Netflix DVD.

54. May 18

Ted (2012) Rating: 7

There comes a time when you realize you’ve watched the same clips from a movie so many times that had you spent that same amount of time just watching the film, you would have seen the whole thing by now. So, before I started to get my Ted clips confused with Ted 2 clips, and before the rumored Ted 3 came out, I thought I should see the film. Why haven’t I seen this film? Perhaps it’s because I don’t smoke pot, drink beer, or make jokes about hookers. And having met Sam J. Jones, I can tell you my reaction to the experience was very much like that in the movie - minus the cocaine. I watched it on Amazon Prime.

55. May 24

The Deadly Mantix (1956) Rating: 6

Do you want to see a giant mantis? This is the film for you. It also comes with lots of stock footage of air force planes. There’s also a lot of footage of civilian airforce spotters. Perhaps a thank you for all their hard work in looking for airplanes that never appeared during WWII. The danger of the cold war was made abundantly clear with multiple references to the various lines of defense against “the threat” against “us.” I watched it on a DVD from my personal collection.

Not a movie, but an Anime series on Netflix I finished watching:

Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre (2023) Rating: 6

I lived in Japan for a year back in 1979 before Anime and Manga started to influence American culture. But I got hooked on it while I was there, and I was particularly fascinated by their spooky tales, which differed in their approach to horror. This collection captures the weirdness of their horror.

Songs I woke up with in my head:

“Honky Tong Women” by the Rolling Stones

“Royals” by Pentatonix

 “Here Comes The Sun” by the Beatles

“The Distance” by Cake

“Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac

More next week,


Saturday, May 13, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark


Saturday, May 13th, 2023 • 05/13/23


There were two birthdays in the family his week. Happy Birthday to my nephew David, and Happy Birthday to my Aunt Christine. I trust you both got your birthday cards.


Last weekend Krista and I were busy doing some Spring Cleaning. It was the first time in years that both the garbage can and the recycling can were full. I even made a run to the recycling drop to unload glass and batteries for recycling. One of the reasons the recycling container filled up was because of the cardboard boxes. We had at least a dozen empty boxes of various sizes. Well, they weren’t technically empty; they were filled with other boxes nesting inside of other boxes. We finally came to our senses and realized we had an obvious knack for finding boxes that were “just the right size,” so why hoard them? Other items that made it into the recycling were the owner’s manuals for devices and appliances that we tossed out years ago. Speaking of ancient machines, I made a trip to Goodwill to drop off a bunch of appliances that got replaced or had a faulty fuse. The purge was a success. We are still convinced we have more stuff. But we actually tossed a lot of useless junk, stuff which neither one of us had any love or connection with, like the cardboard boxes.


I thought it might be Stan Brown and me at Freelance Fandango this week. But in through the door walked Mark Brill and Corey Macourek. The four of us create movie posters for the Grand Cinema, so we spent half of the meeting talking about the art being created for this month. We spent the other half of the meeting showing and telling the books we brought in. Mark Brill brought in a book that showed off the first Star Wars comic, in full size, complete with the artist’s notes, whiteout, and other printing notes on the production boards. Four cartoonists geeking out over other cartoonists on a beloved subject matter filled the room with nerd-joy.


Uncle John and Aunt Caroline came to visit from Denver. They had a lot of checkboxes for this trip. Caroline wanted to 1. check out the “Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth” exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. 2. Visit with their Niece and Nephew in Tacoma. 3. Visit their Nephews in Bellingham. Krista and I went with them up to the Seattle Art Museum. Both of us were familiar with Ikat textiles from various shows on NHK. The amount of planning it takes to create a thread, bind it, die it, lay it on traditional looms, and then weave it so that the tie-died threads line up to create patterns is mind-boggling. It was an awe-inspiring show, and we learned a lot. I would have loved to take in the rest of the art museum as well, but we had to pace ourselves. We still had lunch, a walk through the Pike Place Market, shopping at a Chocolate shop, and Uwajimaya to get completed before driving back to Tacoma. The next day was absolutely gorgeous, so we went for a walkout at Rustin Point. There was a section of the walk that only opened in within the last couple of years. So it was a new experience for all of us. We then did a party split. Caroline went thrifting with Krista, and John and I went to the LeMay Car Museum. Yes. I was there last month with my brother Stan. But the LeMay collection is huge! And they are constantly rotating cars in the exhibit. I would guess that only half of the cars there were the ones I saw last month. John said he could have spent another couple of hours in the place. Our timing was good as Krista and Carolyn were wrapping up their tour of the thrift stores. Krista brought me back a painting for me to add art into and a long sleeve yellow shirt produced by Land’s End. I love long sleeve yellow shirts, and this one looked like it was never worn. Krista picked it up for $3. Carolyn showed me some kimono fabric she found while they were thrifting.


When John and I were at the car museum, he pointed out a car that was almost like the first one he owned. The one in the museum was a wagon, and he was a sedan; other than that, it was the same model and year. He told me that he bought it when he was in college for $200. He didn’t pay for it all at once but instead was making weekly payments. He thought he’d have all summer to pay it off. But, being a high school kid, we would often make his weekly payment a day or two late. Not surprisingly, the fellows he bought the car required that he pay the remaining sum. He managed to come up with the remaining $100. He told me it was the type of car where you checked the gas and refilled the oil. Meaning it drank more oil than gas. I asked him what became of the car. He answered, “Tessie.” Tessie was Krista’s mother, and I was more than a little familiar with her rough treatment of automobiles. Krista had several horror stories about her mother driving cars to her demise. Tessie never checked the oil, or did any maintenance, only added gas. When John went to college, he left her the keys saying she could drive their mother to get groceries. He was surprised to get a call from the police saying that they found it abandoned in the middle of a long stretch of empty highway. He could get it towed, or they would confiscate it. Since he was attending college in another state, there was nothing for him to do but give up the car.


John and Carolyn did not get the rental car for which they originally requested. Instead, they were given a Hyundai Genesis. My first impression was of a stylish sedan. While the internal acoustics allowed for all of us to carry on a conversation, it was difficult to get in and out of the car. I don’t think they will rent that model again.


Our final stop on Thursday was Sushi Tama. We placed a reservation earlier in the day as seating was limited. Carolyn, Krista, and I had a variety of sashimi and sushi. John had Salmon and tempera. Since the location was my idea, I wanted to pay the bill, but John beat me to it. He covered our lunch the day before when we were at Tom Douglas’s Seafood Rub Shack and Fish Fry. If I remember correctly, I had the squid, Krista and Caroline had the shrimp, John had Salmon, and there was an appetizer of Salmon spread and chips. Fine, I’ll just have to capture the bill next time when we are in Denver.


Carolyn just returned from a trip to Japan. She said she loved Japanese food and didn’t mind having it again on her return. Her trip to Japan was another pilgrimage to check out textiles. But she wasn’t completely happy with her trip. The lack of a detailed itinerary or group time had her visiting more temples and shrines than the textile crafts shops. Still, visiting Japan is a unique experience. I can hardly wait to travel there with Krista. It’s been over four decades since I was there, and I’m sure a lot has changed, even the temples and shrines. No, I’m serious. I’ve seen recent photos of the shrines I visited. Back in the day, the red paint had aged to an almost brown hue, and the pillars were covered with various inscribed paper seals that were pasted on randomly. Now all the seals are gone, and a fresh red coat of paint has the shrine almost glowing. I’m sure there’s been a lot of other renovations too. She told me a little about her trip to the restaurant. But she shared many more details with Krista when they were thrifting.


My one regret was that I meant for us to get a group photo with my selfie stick before they took off to visit with their nephew in Bellingham. Did I mention that he runs a comic books store there?


Alley News


The replacement for the starting battery of the lawnmower arrived this week. But, it turned out to be defective. It arrived with no charge and without the ability to charge. I took it to the battery store to double-check. The customer service I called was a place in India that apologized for the issue. The rep said we were forwarding the problem along and that I would get an email telling me what to do next. I’m frustrated. I feel I could have written my own email and not spent fifteen minutes on hold. So, I’m not confident that a replacement for this expensive battery is on the way. Meanwhile, the grass is longer than it was when Pat helped me cut it two weeks ago. I got out the weed whacker and mowed the garden and around the raised beds on the side of the house so Krista could get her boxes of plants from the garden store into the ground.


It was 40 degrees last week. Now it’s 80 degrees. I went from layers and long sleeves to a single short sleeve shirt. Krista says she needs to wear a hat. I think she burned the skin in the part of her hair.


We came back with John and Caroline from one of our outings to find a big truck unloading a large crate at my neighbor Dan’s house. I went over to investigate. Dan likes to go on motorcycle road trips with his sons when the weather is good. They suggested to him that he get a trailer for his motorcycle so that “he” would have more space to pack stuff. Dan thinks they want to take advantage of the space as well. The trailer was still tightly sealed in the large wooden crate. But he proudly showed me a picture of the trailer. Its paint matches his motorcycle, and it has wheel covers on it, just like his motorcycle. This weekend, he plans to attach the hitch and give it a test haul. He’s never driven a motorcycle with a trailer before and thinks he should get some practice before going on a trip.


Here are some of my dreams from the last week:


May 6

#IDreamt I was a very amiable police detective named Davis. I was good at my job, most of which was handling vice cases.


May 8

#IDreamt I did a thumbnail comp of a billboard design to help a friend overloaded with work. It was an incomplete concept meant for an early review by the client. I was shocked to see it installed the next day.


May 9

#IDreamt two kids made a presentation to their town in their father’s barn. They explained how cold fusion worked and could be made. It wouldn’t be cheap, but it could save the world.


May 10

#IDreamt of a post-apocalyptic world where the remaining .05% of the population was trying to rebuild, form townships, and stable societies. My assignment this month was to act as a courier between two settlements.


May 11

#IDreamt it was a post-apocalypse world. I met a nun with a guitar working as a troubadour while seeking others of her order.


May 12

#IDreamt I was a young slave in ancient times, getting ready to escape after months of careful planning. The best part of the dream was being young.


Songs I woke up with in my head:

“Wandering Star” by Lee Marvin

“Jamaica Way” by Duke Harris

“The Morning After” by Maureen McGovern


Books I listened to this week:


“Before Your Memory Fades” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

“Tales from the Café” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi


Movies I watched this week:


51. May 8

M3GAN (2022) Rating: 8

There’s a good theme here of apps and devices becoming nannies for kids when what they really need is a human connection. I can see M3gan becoming a franchise. An extra point for having robots as a main theme. An extra point for having a dog with a name. And another point for being deliciously creepy. I watched this on Peacock.


52. May 12

Honest Thief (202) Rating: 6

I like watching Liam Neeson movies. You don’t know if he’s going to go over the top, then quiet, cool, then quiet, or rage, then quiet. In this one, he does a little of all of them. I enjoyed the character he portrayed in this one. I give it an extra point for having a dog with a name


More next week,



Friday, May 5, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark


This is an image I did 20 years ago that I can now show because the NDA has expired.
It shows various mainframe structures.

Friday, May 6th 2023 • 05/06/23


Nori spent the weekend before last stalking birds with the camera. He did not get the shot he was hoping for. I thought Nori would be out again on Monday taking photos, but he said he was too tired and decided to join us at Fandango instead. He then showed me his friend’s photos taken earlier that morning. The shot was of a white egret and a blue heron, both spreading their wings for each other. He admitted he was jealous. He sighed if only he didn’t have children who needed to be taken to school. Stan showed off his new selfie stick that also works as a tripod. This is the same one Nori, and I have. I liked Nori’s so much that I bought one. Stan’s is black with blue highlights, and mine is red with blue highlights. Nori has three, one with blue highlights, one with red highlights, and one black with black highlights. He’s also lost an entire unit to the waters of Puget Sound and mislaid the remote to another. Stan said I should live stream KitKat Roulette at Freelance Fandango, so I did. It will be up for 30 days. One of the servers at the Red Elm Café told us that she made stickers and gave us her latest design. It showed a girl holding a large potted cactus over her crotch. I think Stan and I both blushed. We promised to give her some of our stickers in return. Stan also said he would not put it on his bag, which is seen publicly. I joked about the sticker and asked if he would put it on something “private?” That earned me a look.


I had a routine colonoscopy this week. With the limited fasting and purge before the procedure, I was down to 195 lbs. But consuming nothing but water for two days builds an appetite. This morning I weighed in at 197.4 lbs. The next time Krista tells me I’m full of it, I can give her an exact measurement.


We lost two musical legends this week: Harry Belafonte and Gordon Lightfoot. Both were staples for Krista and me. And while we never got a chance to see either in concert, we listen to their songs every year. It got me thinking, just who was the last Gladiator whose death caused his fans to murmur and grieve? Hearing of the death of an entertainer who’s brought you so much enjoyment over the years is like losing a friend. I guess this was true centuries ago and will remain true centuries from now.


About a month ago, the weather warmed enough that I stopped wearing flannel-lined pants. Last week I stopped wearing my long underwear. As I mentioned before, our house does not have a central heating system. I’m still wearing a housecoat and throwing a blanket over my legs while watching television. I just wanted to write this down so I could look back into my journal and see when we stopped feeling cold.


Alley New


I have not seen my neighbors Don and Jeri since they return from a cruise to Jamacia and the Caribbean. They reported that they had a great time. A couple of days ago, Don saw a couple of men carrying a large doorway trellis to the curb. He pulled over his truck and asked the men, “Are you tossing that away?” They confirmed they were. Don told them, “Just load it in the back.” Don had a doorway trellis that his grandson made ten years ago for his wedding to Jerri. But it was starting to rot. This one he picked up from the men looks brand new like it was made from an expensive kit. So he dismantled the old one and put the new one in its place. The new one is much lighter. Don and Jerri nearly took each other out, moving the old one into the alley for deconstruction.


The starter battery to my lawn mower went bad. The clerk at the battery store told me the way to keep the battery good was to charge it every two weeks or at least once a month when I wasn’t using it in the winter. This would keep the battery from falling so low that it becomes a danger if recharged. Such are the dangers of a lithium battery. It was a detail of which I was unaware. The store did not carry the battery, so I ordered it from the lawnmower manufacturer. It will be at least another week before it arrives.


My neighbor Pat came over to help me with the lawn. He mowed about half of it with his mower, which he wouldn’t take off its lowest setting. So it was slow going for him. It was also slow going for me as I did the other half of the lawn with the weed whacker. My back was a little sore afterward. But thanks to all the exercise stretches I do in the morning, it held up and was fine the next day.


April 25

#IDreamt I was learning the art of metallurgy from a blacksmith. Is silver truly a by-product of smelting gold? Or was that something I dreamed up? Note: It turns out that silver can be a byproduct of smelting gold.


April 26

#IDreamt you were legally obligated to do community service to the religious organization sponsoring the app on your phone that would immediately read the defending incarceration against a demon manifestation.


April 27

#IDreamt I was found an apartment where my share of the rent was $300, but I was sharing with five other people.


April 28

#IDreamt that when our world summoned back Merlin, he arrived as a monosyllabic teenager filled with angst. This was hidden from the world via shrewd marketing and carefully edited videos that were “leaked.”


April 30

#IDreamt my brother and I went into a store to fill in a job application, but it was only a raffle for a free pie. The owner rented my brother a shirt.


May 1

#IDreamt I floated out over the edge of a cliff to over the ocean. After making some loops in the air, I dove into the water. When I surfaced, it was dark. I could see lights on the shoreline. As I swam, I found a false shore of a floating island.


May 2

#IDreamt I was scrubbing beakers in a laboratory. There were these stubborn groves on the inside that ate Mr. Clean erasers. But that was the only thing that got the job done.


May 3

#IDreamt of a strange place that might have been Limbo. It was an endless meadow with rolling hills. There was a herd of cattle, the Brooklyn Bridge, a hundred-foot-tall giant Polar Bear, and an apple tree three times as big as the bridge.


May 5

#IDreamt I was eating a pizza that had SPAM and eggs on it, with Christopher Walken.


I woke up with two songs in my head:

“Echo Valley 2-689” by the Partridge Family

“O Fortuna” by Carl Orff,

“The Tra La La Song” The Banana Splits Theme song.

“Wake Up Little Suzie” by the Everly Brothers


I listened to a couple of books this week:


“Everything’s Eventual” by Stephen King

“Magic Bites” by Liona Andrews

“Nest Egg” by Josi Avari


Movies I watched this week:


44. April 24

Pirahna 3DD (2022) Rating: 4

This film does not take itself at all seriously. Taking a cue from the Piranha remake that decided T&A was low humor with its exposed backbone caving to “fan” pandering, this movie goes full frontal crass. It’s not rocket science to make a movie for adolescent boys, nor is there a reason to set the bar higher when you’re doing it just for shooting fish-in-barrel laughs. Actors from the original film return to have fun and cash a paycheck. Also on the payroll for bloody irreverent fun is the Hoff. I watched this film on HBO Max.


45. April 25

High Sierra (2041) Rating: 7

I could have sworn I’d seen this movie before on television. But I can’t confirm that with licensing dates. But since WB has been creating its own television shows since 1972, I’m going to assume it has been aired at some time. This noir is the film that shot Humphrey Bogart to stardom. I give this film a point for Bogart and another point for the dog that plays a crucial role in the story. I give the dog another point because it was actually Bogart’s dog. However, I’m removing a point for the stereotypical portrayal of a black man. Willie Best was a great comedian and actor, and while the times he lived in didn’t offer roles outside of stereotypes, he was well-known for his talent. Perhaps that’s why, even with those limitations, he had a long career in movies and television. I watched this film on a Netflix DVD.


46. April 29

Jung_E (2023) Rating: 5

Rock ’em, sock ’em, robots, with a mother-daughter relationship as one of the themes. The Ship of Theseus is another theme. An extra point for having robots. I watched this film on Netflix.


47. April 30

Snakes on a Plane (2006) Rating: 7

Why did I wait so long to watch this movie? Several elements to this film carry well over a decade later. There is a lot more empathy for the purell-sanitizer-using celebrity now than there was before. An extra point for having a dog with a name. Loads of stupid fun. I watched this film on Amazon Prime.


48. April 30

Morbius (2022) Rating: 4

While I liked the idea of vampire superhero, I always had a hard time enjoying the comic book because I was constantly wondering about all of the problem mixing the fake science with the fake mythology. It’s not to surprising that my reservations carried over onto the movie. But, historically, vampires in comics have always been all over the map. The cgi face morphing kept me thinking about another creature feature “Sleepwalkers.” My wife and I watched this film on Disney+.


49. May 5th

The Land of the Pharaohs (1955) Rating: 6

Watching this as a kid, I was intrigued by the secret burial plans of the Pharaoh. That’s what I wanted to see, those security measures in action. As an adult, I kept thinking, “Boy, he sure employed a lot of extras. There must be thousands of them.” The actual story functioned but didn’t have the muscle to make it truly memorable. I think most of the actors involved were happy to let their brownface performances be forgotten. I kept thinking, “Joan Collins when your skin is that dark, that shade of lipstick does not suit you.” And when I saw the ending as an adult, the memories of the tomb sealing up didn’t match the ones in my head. I think my kid’s imagination added detail.


50. May 5

Rumor has it… (2005) Rating: 5

Krista and I watched this film on HBO Max. This is a perfectly decent film. Just a hint of scandal, a scoop of emotional conflict, a couple of cute quips, and some emotional buttons get pushed. It is a fine example of an average movie.


More next week,