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.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark


Wednesday, June 14, 2023 • 06/14/23

Freelance Fandango – June 5th

It was a small crown at Freelance Fandango with Stan Brown, Haley Waddington, and myself in attendance. Several of our regulars had picked up projects with looming deadlines. We spent several minutes laughing over Google’s translation of the Japanese kanji on the Peach-flavored Kit Kats I brought. Stan laughed so hard that it was well over a minute before he could stutter, “Smells like tight thighs.” I remember Stan showing me some of the caricatures he finished, but the rest of the conversation was dissolved in my memory by the communal laughing fit we had over the faulty translation. Nori, who was not there this week, texted me, “Noooo-!” and promised an accurate translation next week. As we exited, the delicious aroma of sugar cones lured us into an ice cream store. Stan took home a pint, Haley had a float, and I was strong and didn’t order anything. I’m trying to keep myself to one dessert daily, and I wanted to have one with Krista at dinner. Also, Krista and I binged on Strawberry Shortcake that she made with some two pounds of delicious strawberries we picked up.

Freelance Fandango – June 11th

John Draper dropped by just long enough to pick up the scale Krista bought at Costco; more about John later in this post. It was just Stan Brown for the first fifty minutes, and then Anique Zimmer, Nori Kimura, and Corey Macourek arrived. Anique brought in “My Neighbor Totoro” print for the Weird Cabal archive and binders. Corey showed us a concept sketch for “Spirited Away.” We spoke a little about travel. Corey just returned from doing a private installation at a residence; his pictures were pretty impressive. My mind boggled at the wealth that went into such a production. Nori will be traveling back to Japan to attend a memorial for his father, who passed last month. Stan empathized with him as he, too, recently traveled home to attend his father’s memorial. I confirmed that I saw a post from Jennevieve Schimmer that she has indeed moved back to Washington State. She and Trevor are now living in Olympia. She is looking forward to attending Freelance Fandango in the near future.

Now I’m going to talk about my friend. John has been walking between 1.7 and 2.3 miles nearly every day since the weather turned nice. He did the same last year but dropped the habit when the weather turned cold and wet. So his doctor prescribed a miracle weight loss medication. Unfortunately, the side effects hit him very hard. He’d be good for five days and then be incapacitated for five days. He’s resolved to give diet and exercise another go. I personally found weighing myself once a day to be a great motivator. This is why he asked me to pick him up a scale at Costco. The price was $13. He also picked up some Metamusil. I found that it curbs my appetite as well as adding additional fiber to my diet.

Lilac City Comic Con

Last Friday, I drove to Spokane to participate in the Lilac City Comicon. I’ve been doing this convention for years. It really took off once they changed their venue from the community college on the edge of town to the convention center in the middle of town. This year I decided to do an artist alley table. After doing so many larger footprinted shows, I found this smaller space slightly challenging. I went on Friday so that I would not have to rush about setting up on Saturday. I’m very glad I did. I’ve retired the retractable banner, and I’m now using a photographer’s backdrop from which I hang my prints. It went up ten feet and was one of the tallest presentations at the show. I also have a very good location that was on an internal corner, which meant that I could display items off the side. Once I finished setting up, I went out to dinner with my friends Jay and Karen. I’ve known Jay for some forty years. We met in the ’80s through the SCA, the Society of Creative Anachronists. Jay writes a lot of fantasy books, and he was set up in a booth in the vendor’s section. We met up at the Onion for dinner. Jay recently reconnected with Llwelleyn, a friend we have in common through the SCA and who I had lunch with last weekend. He would have loved to have known to join us. After a fun dinner at The Onion, I had a Salmon BLT with a pea salad, they shared a lobster fettucini, and I drove up to Michael McMurphey’s house on Spokane Mountain.



Michael and Trish invited me to stay at their house last year when I came for the convention. They said the invite was standing, and I asked if I could impose it upon them again. The top floor of the house is complete, but the bottom floor, which besides housing a second guest room, will be a combination of bar, game area, library, and house Michaels studios space. They’ve made tremendous progress since last year. They are going for an Old English Pub feel, and even though it’s still in progress, the first thought I had when I stepped into the space was how much it felt like the old-world charm of Pythian Temple here in Tacoma. It was nearly ten when I arrived, we all went to bed quickly as we were attending the convention the next day, and Michael still had to set up his table.

Saturday, we ate a massive breakfast at Frank’s Diner, which was on the way. I ordered two eggs, two chicken sausages, hashbrowns, and gravy with sourdough toast. I didn’t expect the sausage to be the size of hotdogs. I couldn’t eat it all and ended up taking a link and a piece of toast with me. I ate it later for lunch like a hot dog. It was spicy, delicious, and easy enough to nibble on when the traffic slowed at the table. Not that it slowed very much; Saturday was a hectic day. There were a lot of cosplayers there for the costume contest. Some of the outfits were extraordinary, others hilarious. I took pictures when I could, but most of the time, I was busy making sales. Michael and Trish had plans, an online campaign they’ve been conducting for over a decade. So I went with Eli Wolfe to Sushi dot com for dinner. My wife and several others at the convention recommended it. Eli and I ate at the bar, and we ordered a variety of nigiri. We had Mackrel, Saltwater eel, Tamago, Medium-Fatty Tuna, and Sweet Shrimp. It was all delicious. We had a lot of fun talking about all of the shows we’ve done so far this year. Eli has been very busy trying out a lot of little shows. He thinks he’s found the ones that will bring in a solid profit and have made a list of ones that don’t yield results. I wished him good night and headed up the mountain to Mcmurphy’s. They showed up about thirty minutes after I got there. Their house currently doesn’t have internet access or much in the way of cell phone reception, so I was working on a drawing when they arrived home. Their campaign ended surprisingly early, so we chatted briefly before heading off to bed.

Trish made breakfast Sunday morning; we’re talking pancakes, eggs, and bacon. I was fortified for another day at the convention. While this day wasn’t as busy as Saturday, the pace was still pretty good, with sales consistent throughout the day. Roger Crownover, a friend I met online, showed up the day before and returned on Sunday. I was grateful to have him sit with me at my table. After a quick tutorial on how to run credit cards, I was able to have a brief look around the convention floor. I barely have a chance to see anything at these events. When I returned to the table, I learned he’d sold one of the shirts in a credit card transaction. The man is a quick study. The day was brisk enough that I didn’t have lunch but ate snacks I’d packed. Roger left before I had a chance to offer him anything. I took my time packing up; usually, I raced to break things down. This time I didn’t want to get myself in a lather. Turns out there was a long line for the elevator anyway. By the time I was loaded up, most of the convention was already gone. I got gas and hit the road. The McMurphey’s supplied me with a couple of slices of pizza from their dinner the night before to have for lunch. I ate those on the drive home, stopping a couple of times at rest stops to stretch my legs. I made an excellent time, and Krista was surprised to see me home by ten o’clock.

I did well at the show, netting just over $800. While that might not be a lot per hour profit, it’s very gratifying to have people buy the stuff you made and take it home where it will bring them pleasure. Plus, I get a chance to spend time with my friend. Thank you, Michael and Trish, for hosting me. Thank you, Jay, Karen, and Eli, for dining with me. Thank you, Roger, for the table assist, and thanks to all of my other friends who were at the show. It was a lot of fun. I hope to attend again next year. I got some ideas on how to improve my table presentation. I also ordered more print because I ran out of some during the event.

Alley News

About a month ago, my neighbor Don McLoed fell off a ladder in his garage. Thankfully he didn’t break anything. He did crack his head hard on the cement and said that it was a bigger crack to the head than all the times he crashed racing. Well, he was wearing a helmet during those crashes. The bump on his head was literally the size of a goose egg. He also landed on a trailer when he fell, and his ribs took a hell of a blow. They didn’t break, but he had a hard time drawing breath for a few days. I trip to the hospital took made sure that there weren’t any breaks or brain injuries. A week after this, his wife Terri when in thinking she was passing a stone. But it turns out one of her vertebrae is collapsing, and that’s what was causing her symptoms. So, she was recovering from that examination, and the two of them were hobbling around the house when she got a call from her son. He said he felt bad enough that he was going to the hospital. This meant that his father, Terri’s ex-husband, who is ninety years old, was going to be on his own. Her son has been living in her ex-husband’s house as a live-in caregiver. So, Don and Terri drove over to the Exe’s house, picked him up, and took him home with them. That’s when the fun really began. The old fella has a bit of dementia. Don would find him in the middle of the night, getting ready to head out the front door in his underwear. Another time they found him on the floor. It took them quite a while to get him upright. In short, between the incontinence, spells, and their own aches and pains, it was a hell of a week. Don complained that he used a tank of gas that week just driving everyone around to appointments and houses. The exes house is a good forty-minute drive away. After reinstalling the exe back in his house, Terri put out the word to her children that she and Don are no longer capable of being care providers. If another emergency arrives, the adult children will have to step up.

I messed up in the garden. I raked up some grass trimmings and added them to the composter. The issue is that I forgot that there were some Bishop’s Weed trimmings in with the grass trimmings, and even the heat of the compost does not seem to be enough to kill it off. Bishops’ weed spreads like wildfire, and it’s been incredibly hard to keep out of our raised beds. So I will need to dumb this batch out of the composter, perhaps in the yard where the Bishop’s Weed has already spread. It’s not a huge batch, so I’m all for just tossing the lot into the city compost. Their compost piles are huge and produce way more heat than ours. They manage to cook blackberry vines, and those things are near indestructible. Before Krista starts a new batch, I will have to do a thorough job of cleaning out the composter. We have a composter composed of two rolling barrels. So, it’s not that we lack compost. But still, I’m in the dog house on this one.

I had some dreams:

June 5

#IDreamt I got a job with the CIA. But, as the job went on, I found I was doing less graphic facilitation and more spy craft.

June 6

#IDreamt I went to a city-sized skyscraper that was on its own island in the Caribbean to attend a friend’s party. But when I got there, I was told he’d died, and it would now be a memorial.

June 7

#IDreamt about the outdated devices in the Pythian Temple. They would stamp members’ addresses onto plates. The plates would then go into a hopper of a hand-cranked envelope printer.

June 8

#IDreamt, it was dark, and I made a misstep. Instead of a sidewalk, I was on a freeway on-ramp. I was backtracking when two motorcycle cops stopped and threw on their lights.

June 9

#IDreamt I was at a summer resort, sometime in the not-so-distant future, watching actors and robots perform a skit based on a popular animation. One of the actors was botching his performance.

June 11

#IDreamt I was hand painting the Cinnibun logo for a sign.

June 12

I want to thank my hosts and meal partners for a wonderful time a Lilac City Comicon. Thank you, Michael McMurphyPatricia McMurphyJay PalmerEli Wolff, and Nathan OBrien; you’re the best!

June 13

#IDreamt thru a comedy of errors, Nicholas Cage replaced a Nicholas Cage impersonator on the set of an independent film where he was criticized for not being enough like Nicholas Cage.

June 14

#IDreamt Hugh Laurie and I were in a department store. He commented that hide-a-beds were designed to tell your guests to leave after a few days. And if you really didn’t want guests, you should invest in a futon.

I’ve not seen a lot of movies this week as I am catching up on the series “Rick & Morty.” I started to watch “The Rogues Tavern” (1937) but then realized I’d viewed it just a few months ago.

June 12

Ghost in the Shell (2017) Rating: 6

I suggest you watch the original anime version first. Then get a nice side-by-side comparison of the live-action version. On its own, I give it a point for robots, another point for dogs with names, and then minus a point because I would have liked to have seen more of a Japanese cast. There were some odd compromises made. And if you are not at all aware of the franchise, it can be visually stunning.

More next week,