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, July 30, 2023

Weekly Dose of Mark


Sunday, July 30th 2023 • 07/30/23

Allen Gladfelter drove both Greg Spence Wolf and me to Freelance Fandango. We arrived at the Red Elm CafĂ© to find a notice on the door that they were closed today due to staff shortage. I checked my phone, and sure enough, there was a voicemail from the owner telling me this. Somehow I missed it. So Greg left a sign on the door that Freelance Fandango will be held at our backup Corina’s Bakery. As Allen drove us over, I sent texts to Jennevieve, Stowe, Corry, and Anique. I asked if I had forgotten anyone. Don’t forget Nori! I sent Nori a text. Only later, when Stan strolled in and gave me a stern look, I forgot to text him. He teased me about it. Who do you forget to text? The one guy who is always at this thing. Allen asked me as the meeting ended what I would include in my write-up on the meeting. Will it be Nori’s gift to me of Japanese stamps and the stories of his visit with his mother there? Would it be Stan’s graphic novel that he received as a Kickstarter reward? Or would it be Stowe telling us about his daughter’s wonderful time at the Taylor Swift concert? How the wristbands were electronic and lit up creating patterns in the crowd to go with the music. I looked over at him, and he saw it in my eye. You’re going to write up the venue change, aren’t you? Yes, Allen. Yes, I am.

Wednesday night, I was enjoying dinner with Krista. I’d rescheduled The Grand Drawing Room live drawing event to begin at 6:30 rather than 6:00 just to have a non-rushed dinner. But, at 5:50, I got an email from Payton DeSanta, our model for the evening. She was letting me know that she’d arrived and that others were also showing up. So I sent her a text saying I was on my way. I quickly finished the few bites left on my plate and rushed out the door. I thanked everyone who showed up early for having the drawing session as a regular habit and encouraged them to attend at the new time. I’ll have to make a point of stressing the new time during the next wave of announcements. We had fifteen artists show up. In my correspondence with Payton, I’d encouraged her to go with a lighter, thinner costume because of the heat. She was very proud of her armor and wanted to show it off. She got a little woozy and had to take a break at one point. As she got back into position, I cheerfully mumbled in a mom’s tone. “Why don’t you wear the green costume? I asked. It might be better in case that space gets hot. But, no. You wanted to show off the armor.” Peyoton turned her head coyly at me and, with a surgery grin lacking any sweetness, said, “When you’re right. You’re right.” I zipped my lip, then. No need to say anything more about it. At least not without her whacking me over the head with some of that foam armor.

Saturday was very full. First up was Vince and Kim Kurter’s party at Farm 12 in Puyallup. The catered room was very large and not part of the main restaurant. There were easily fifty people there. The idea was to have this as their wedding reception, 60th birthday party, and all the other stuff they would have done with friends during the pandemic. I met Vince through the Pythians. But we had lots of mutual connections from his time working at newspapers. Breakfast was delicious. There was a fun little art project happening on the side involving rulers, scrabble pieces, glue, and stickers. I met people who were involved in the Tacoma writing scene, specifically Creative Coloquoly.

I’ve recently done illustrations for their anthologies. When the party began to wind down there, I said goodbye to Vince and Kim and went home. I did stop briefly at the fruit stand I parked close to and picked up a half flat of raspberries and blueberries. The next party I went to was a gathering at Greg Wolfe’s house. This was a smaller affair of about ten people. I took over some blackberries I picked in the yard. I had some salt and pepper potato chips and two of the three fruit salads people brought. We were hanging out in Greg and Paulet’s yard in event chairs under an apple tree. I got a call from Krista asking me where the funnel was hiding. She was busy taking the berries I brought home and turning them into berry syrup. The recipe called for a lot more sugar than she was willing to put into the syrup. But I wasn’t going to tell her to add more. Her instincts for cooking are far better than mine. So I went home, a mere four-block walk, and located the funnel for her so she could keep on task. Our plan was to go to the Bon Festival at the Buddist Temple together. But apparently, all the work in the kitchen had tired her out. She had been planning on going right up to the moment when she wasn’t. I went down to the temple to give the Buddist Temple some support by buying their Strawberry Mochi, which Krista loves. The food line stretched down the block. I got in line and enjoyed running into Nori and his daughters. Sweat Pea was there selling books on Buddhism. But I didn’t see any other familiar faces. By the time I got inside the building, I’d decided I was going to pick up some roasted eel. I wanted to see if it was better than the roasted eel I found in the freezer at Paldo and H Mart. I texted Krista and asked if she wanted some and picked up both of our dinners for the evening. I stuck around long enough to watch some of the drumming. Then it was home to eat eel.

Alley News

I went on a walk with Pat this week. The afternoon was cooler, and I’ve been trying to walk twice each day. There is a new feature on Pokemon Go called Routes. There should be a way to use them and to create them. However, it’s a new feature, and we complained about not being able to locate it on the app. I did some research online and found that it flat out wasn’t working for a lot of people. In the meantime, Pat sends me texts showing the photos of all the new Pokemon he’s catching. I have most, but he’s been catching a couple not in my collections.

A squirrel mocks me as it sits next to and on top of the squirrel trap. Krista reports that she saw the orange cat with white feet run across our backyard with a mouse in its mouth. Kill honing those skills, killer. Greg, who lives a couple of blocks down and across the street, has been catching feral cats and kittens. One of the kittens is orange with white feet. I meant to ask Greg about his feral cat catching at his party but forgot.

My neighbor, Button, called out to me as I was walking home earlier this week. The extension of her house comes right up to my property line. She asked if I would remove the tree next to her house because she was worried about it rubbing against the paint. The “tree” was a large native fern I’ve been encouraging for decades. These ferns don’t transplant well. I told Buttons I would build a trellis to keep it away from her house. But Krista said that wouldn’t work and I should remove it. I managed to transplant a fern once before successfully. It was over at my parent’s house. I’d also successfully transplanted a trillium. So I’ve dug up the fern. I should have prepared a hole for it before I pulled it out to the ground. But the day was getting warm, and I was overheating. I think I know just the spot that will be perfect for it. It will have the same amount of shade as before. And if it takes, it will look good. I think Buttons will be a lot happier now once she sees that the plant is gone.

Zucchini, beans, and cucumbers are being harvested daily from our garden. Krista has been busy making Lemon zucchini bread. She just tried an experiment with blueberry lemon bread. She said it had a bit of a blowout when she took it out to the pan. The blowout tasted delicious. Her next batch will be chocolate Zucchini bread. It was only earlier this month that we finished eating all of the frozen Zucchini bread from last year. Maybe our friends, family and neighbors will end up with some again.

Here are some of my dreams:

July 24

#IDreamt Michael McMurphy and I were investigating strange goings on at a campsite. I went in undercover and got a job as a busboy at a diner adjacent to the campsite.

July 25

#IDreamt I was a wizard sent back to 1950 to observe. But I got drunk and created a poorly CAD-rendered starship Enterprise, about seven feet long, to randomly fly around town. I was going to be in trouble when it hit the timeline.

July 26

#IDreamt new internet portals emerged. Yale University was rivaling Netflix. Their slogan: “When you need to post, post-Yale.”

July 27

I must have died again. #IDreamt I was in a waiting room with Sinead O’Connor designing an album cover. The title was “Derick is Dead.” Our conversation: “The revolver should be near the corner.” “Obviously.”

July 28

#IDreamt While waiting for Mick Jagger to arrive, I was examining an odd hibachi grill designed by John Denver. A maid told me the sushi arrived. I wonder why, if there was a maid, I’d been assigned to change the sheets?

It’s been well over a month since I mentioned the audiobooks I’ve enjoyed. I’m way behind on writing reviews for them on GoodReads. Most of the last couple of months have been escapist fantasies or memoirs. If you are curious about my reading history, you can check out my GoodReads account:

“Winter in Paradise” by Elin Hilderbrand, June 18, Rating: 7

“The Daughters of Isdihar” By Hadeer Eisbai, Jun 22, Rating: 6

“Throne of Glass” Sara J. Maas, Jun 29, Rating: 5

“Ninth House” by Leigh Bardugo, June 29, Rating: 7

“Nettle and Bone” by T. Kingfisher, July, Rating: 7

“The Warded Man” by Peter V Brett, July 3, Rating: 5

“The Hollow Places” by T. Kingfisher, July 8, Rating: 6

“The Memory Thief” by Lauren Mansy, July 14, Rating: 4

“Carnival of Snackery” by David Sedaris July 19, Rating: 8

“Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner July 24, Rating: 5

“Calypso” by David Sedaris July 29, Rating: 8

“The Children on the Hill” by Jennifer McMahon, July 29, Rating 6

This book reminds me of some of the horror books I would read back in the ’80s. It’s set up horror, where little hints are presented, and he sees if you can guess where the writer is going. Will the story go to the left or to the right? Will a guess turn out to be correct, or did we extend our assumptions too far? The innocence of children is volleyed back and forth with the cruelty of a tennis match that doesn’t worry about the wear of the ball. Checked out from the library on an application called Libby.


July 22

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) Rating: 6

As I went to the Friday Night Frights showing at the Blue Mouse Theater, I wondered if I’d seen this movie before. Allen Gladfelter picked me up, and then we picked up Mark Brill, who’d created the poster for this showing of the movie, before carpooling to the destination. It was the first kill in the movie that reminded me I’d seen it, probably on VHS with a rented machine back in the ’80s when you’d through your lot in with a bunch of strangers to do a marathon of rentals overnight before returning the machine the next day. This time I was in an audience that loves trashy, dated films like these. I sell bingo cards with horror tropes on them. My friends were calling out tropes from memory as we tried to keep a body count. This exploitation slasher pleased everyone. Maybe it will take me another forty years to forget the details.


July 22

Oppenheimer (2023) Rating: 8

I’m suffering from movie afterglow. I wasn’t expecting much from this film and was completely blown away. There are multiple plot lines that weave together so skilfully that you don’t realize the overall big picture is a rope of a plotline. All the actors gave high performances. Allen Gladfelter treated me to this movie at the Grand Cinema.


July 23

Bird Box Barcelona (2023) Rating: 7

This is not a sequel to “Bird Box,” which came out in 2018. Rather it is a story told in the same world, at a different location in the world. The story dives a bit deeper into madness, treachery, and perception. I was going to give it a slightly lower score than the first film in the franchise, but I gave it an extra point for having a dog with a name. I watched it on Netflix.


July 29

Saw (2004) Rating: 6

I can’t believe it took me nearly twenty years to get around to watching this movie. At least now I’ll feel better about watching the rest of the franchise. I couldn’t have helped to see clips, parodies, and spoilers in those long years. Still, it holds up fairly well, and I’m curious to see if the writing will be as tight as in the rest of the franchise. I can also see how this film influenced others that followed. I watched it on a DVD from Netflix.