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.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark



Friday, July 21st, 2023 • 07/21/23


On Monday the car didn’t start. I texted Greg Spencer Wolf and told him I could not pick him up. He asked if I needed him to come over to jump-start the car, and I agreed. It took him a while to find the right alley because he was looking on the wrong side of the street. The car was locked in park, so we couldn’t move it out of the garage. With the car in the garage, our cables were not long enough. I left Greg and Krista looking through the manual to get my neighbor Don’s electric starter. Greg and Krista discovered a way to unpark the car in the manual, but by then, Don was over with the starter. Don tried to open the battery to check the water but with no luck. I thanked him and Greg. After I told Greg I was going to go to the battery store, he drove on his own down to Fandango. During all of this, I called Stowe to let him know I couldn’t pick him up. The battery store said the battery was still under warranty, but checking it showed it was back to 80%. Krista told me the inside cab light had been left on. I remember going out to search through the glove compartment the day before. I must have left it on, and it drained the battery. I was only an hour late to Freelance Fandango, where Greg, Jennevieve, Stan, and Penny were kind enough not to tease me too much. The KitKat flavor was cookies and cream, which the group found to be too sweet.


Krista and I have enjoyed watching Sumo this week. It’s the July Basho. There’s a changing of the guard happening. Several of the players we’ve cheered on over the years are either retiring or falling into the lower rankings. There’s a lot of young blood coming in, and I do mean young. One of the youngest is a nineteen-year-old whose hair still isn’t long enough to form a topknot. We are watching to see if early injuries will shorten their career. A sport that is basically king-of-the-hill sees a lot of injuries. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a basho where a player didn’t bleed or withdraw from injury. I won’t bore you with statistics. Just know that for 30 minutes in the day, sometimes in the morning, more often in the afternoon or evening, Krista and I are calling out the names of who we think will win and howling in agony or triumph at close calls, just like football or baseball fans. We don’t wear any sports colors, but I did have a Takayasu pillow I wave about.


This week I’ve been taking my daily walks in the morning while it is still cool. I was finishing my walk around Wapato Park and saw children playing in front of the civic center. This is the time of year when it is used as a location for children to come and play with supervision. A group of what must have been eight-year-olds were playing musical chairs on the grass. My best guess is that it was early in the game. There were at least ten chairs to be circled, with only a couple having been set aside. The organizers were pros at this. I could see that they were drawing out the game as long as they could, so the tension would be high for both those watching and participating. The kids were all smiling, laughing, jumping, and waving their arms. It was a charming scene and a perfect way to bring my walk to a close. I’m trying to remember the last time I played that game. Was it in grade school? I have less than a memory, an inkling perhaps, of playing it in college in the dorm commons. Earlier in my walk, I was laughing. I was on a dirt path surrounded by birds singing, bright greens of plants and trees around me, a warm sunny day with a light breeze, and all was right in the world. You really have to enjoy those moments when they happen.


I was happy to find a nickel on the sidewalk during one of my morning walks. I’m lucky if I find a penny. I’ve found quarters and dimes, but finding a nickel was not bad at all. It was just as I was thinking this that I spotted a folded five-dollar bill. I truly couldn’t believe my luck. I thought it must be torn in half. But, no, it was an intact five-dollar bill. As I tucked it into my pocket, I realized that this was going to jump out in the statistics I keep of picked-up money. The total for 2021 was $1.06. 2022 was $1.35. When I got home, I told my wife I found a nickel.

“WooHoo,” she said cheerfully.

“That’s what I thought,” I said. “But a few footsteps later, I found this.” I snapped the five-dollar bill out between my two hands like I was holding up a shirt.

“I five dollar bill!” I announced.

“Ooooooooo!” She admired.


There’s a new lost dog bulletin posted on a utility pole near the post office. A 12-year-old Chihuahua Dautson mix ran away on the 4th of July. I wonder if the fireworks scared him out of his senses. I also wonder if he ever made it home safely and if their owner never bothered to take down the signs. 


The Weird Cabal is a group of artists I organized to create movie posters for the Grand Cinema’s Weird Elephant series. Wade, the fellow in charge of scheduling movies at the Grand, told me he planned on getting “The Wicker Man.” I usually will let the entire group put “dibs” in on a film. But I’ve not done a poster in months and wanted to do it, so I started the artwork for the poster even before Wade officially announced it. The rest of the group forgave me. The Grand announced that one of the movies they will be showing is “The Cabinet of Dr. Calgori.” I would love to do a movie poster for that classic, but I’d already claimed “The Wicker Man.” It wasn’t long before Brill and Stowe both put in dibs. I mentioned I wanted to do it, too but knew I’d have to let someone else take it. Stowe suggested that all the members of the Cabal do a poster. Just as this idea gained traction, Wade stepped in and said that both “The Cabinet of Dr. Calgori” and “Nosferatu” had their own group that toured with the films and sold their posters. They didn’t want to have to split sales. He apologized for not mentioning that sooner. I’m still thinking about doing a poster, which I can always sell at my other shows. 


Alley News

There was a flurry of activity outside my window. It was the young grey cat hot on the heels of a grey squirrel. He must have caught him by surprise because this squirrel was practically under its claws. Had the cat a little more experience, the squirrel would have been a goner instead of finally managing an escape through some bushes. I opened the front door, complimented the cat for his fine efforts, and set up the squirrel trap. I told Krista about the excitement. A couple of hours later, I reported the squirrel was in the trap. “Already?” she asked. I loaded the trap into the trunk and drove it to Sprinker Center. Their large parking lot is under renovation. Most of it was torn up. I had to park near the edge of the road in what spaces were remaining. The squirrel had four options, through the tall temporary chainlink into the dirt and dust of the parking lot construction, across the street to the golf course, across another street to Goodwill and strip mall, or to a large lone pine tree set next to the side of the road. It chose the pine tree. As I put the trap back into the trunk, I noticed a portable surveillance camera. It was part of a trailer unit with a tall telescoping pole with a camera on top. I’m sure it was used to check the perimeter of the parking lot. I wondered if it was on and if anyone was going to be amused by a few seconds of footage. The next day I noticed there was another squirrel in the yard. I’d reset the trap, and the varmint was digging around next to it.


July 15

#IDreamt I called my wife over to the window to see a goldfinch. Then I realized it was a Robin-sized, yellow, orange, and black. What type of bird is that? I asked.


July 17

#IDreamt I lived in one of the outer dimensions. My job was to adjust the filters to make it look better than it was to encourage choosing it as a destination. Most dimensions travel was one way.


July 18

#IDreamt my family was at a fishing lodge in Forks when the river flooded overnight. The water was at the doorstep. My late grandmother arrived complaining she was cold. I bundled her up in a chair next to the fireplace.


July 19

#IDreamt the characters from my recent dreams were creating a competition chart. Some of the criteria for judgment would be non-sequiturs of conversations and erratic movement.


July 20

#IDreamt my friend Goro visited me during a family gathering at my Uncle’s house. But the year was 1986. Neither he nor I could talk about what came after 1986.


July 21

#IDreamt I was a teenager disguised as a clown retrieving a camera as I attempted to escape from the Fairgrounds.


I watched some movies this week:


65. July 14

Deadly Instincts (1997) Rating: 3

I thought I was getting “Breeders” from 1987, not this film, which Netflix’s DVD service has titled “Breeders.” Rubber suit alien: check. Sexploitation: check. Way too much running around in the basement, sewers, whatever the hell space they call it: check. I took one point off when I realized I got the wrong movie. And the last point I took off was when the much-awaited exposition was carried out in less than thirty seconds.


66. July 16

Evil Dead Rise (2023) Rating: 10

Ramini and Campbell know just what the fans of the franchise want. And this time, they went into it with all the horror and little of the humor. The fans wanted a dark seat-squirmer, and they got one. Homage was paid to the original films in many ways. But all without it being larkish. I watched this movie on Max.


67. July 16

Nimona (2023) Rating: 7

I read the webcomic a long time ago. I had no idea a movie option was picked up. The story is a version of the webcomic, so if you enjoyed the movie, I think you would enjoy seeing the difference and choice made when they made the adaptation. The message of the film is very inclusive and more subtle than other animation films featuring inclusion as a theme. Disney made a mistake in dropping this film, and Netflix did more than a good deed in picking it up. Lots of fun.


More next week,