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Bless me, Father, for I have sinned... it's been OVER A YEAR since I did any kind of meaningful blog updates...

What can I tellya? Life's been crazy. Truly crazy... sometimes the 'good' kind of crazy and sometimes the 'bad' kind of crazy, but the last 12 months have been perpetually, unceasingly crazy.

And it's only gonna get crazier...
  • Listening to: The air conditioner
  • Reading: Mutts
  • Watching: Monty Python's Flying Circus
  • Playing: No time...
  • Eating: Some weird combo of dead animals
  • Drinking: deliciously cold ice water
Much to my own shock, I actually have a few minutes to spend on something other than work, and so I have chosen to indulge by 'blogging' about how cool 'Star Wars' is. Tragic, isn't it? Oh well... my thoughts on the current state of the presidential race will have to wait...

I'd like to challenge you (by 'you' I mean the four people who read this blog regularly) to think about your life before 'Star Wars' (later appropriately re-released as 'Star Wars - Episode 4: A New Hope'). Seriously... think about it for a moment. Think about the period in your life when there simply wasn't anything called 'Star Wars.'

Now think about your life AFTER seeing it for the first time.

It changed you a little bit, didn't it? It got you excited... it rallied your imagination...

Now, maybe you're one of those people who believes that every sequel/prequel after 'The Empire Strikes Back' was a dud (I have yet to hear someone denounce 'Empire' as anything other than sheer genius... so we shan't bother speculating on the possibility that someone out there feels that way)... I'm not out to argue your opinions of the other movies, comics, cartoons, the 'Holiday Special' or any other of the branches of the 'Star Wars' franchise. You are entitled to your opinions and I respect that.

But what you MUST admit is that 'Star Wars' is really friggin' cool.

Even if you loved the first movie but HATED all of the others, the reason you probably hate them is because the first one was so friggin' cool that it ALTERED you... you had been brought into this whole new fantastical world and it got you excited about a bunch of people, creatures, planets, weapons and stuff that AREN'T REAL.

Now take a moment and think about how amazing that is.

Real life can't be beat. Real life is awesome. Real life is filled with so much adventure and drama that there really is no 'need' for fiction at all. Thus, the fact that something that is utterly made-up (and on many levels absurd) can affect anyone to the degree that 'Star Wars' has is nothing short of astonishing.

'Star Wars' inspired me to draw a lot as a child (see the above illustration - drawn in kindergarden, this is a scan of an actual 'ditto' of the original)... this led me to get into animation... this led me to come to L.A. where I met the love of my life and got married... y'see what I mean by 'Star Wars' having an 'affect'? There are probably only a small handful of stimuli that have had a truly profound influence on where I have steered my life's course (among them, of course, are less whimsical elements like family, friends, religion, etc.). I'm sorry if I'm beating this point into the ground, but the fact that a wonky little film about robots and space-ships can have such a great influence is, to me, incredibly cool.

And, if you will forgive my presumption here, I don't think I'm the only one in the past 30-something years who was affected in such a way by it.

An undeniable, traceable, permanent affect... that's GOT to put 'Star Wars' in the category of "great art" doesn't it?

And, yes, it's become a gajillion-dollar franchise and all that... some of it is good, some of it is horrible... but it doesn't erase the original affect. Not for me anyway.

My point is, 'Star Wars' is really, really, really cool.

P.S. I wrote this while sipping ice-water out of a vintage 1977 Coca-Cola/Burger King glass (thanks, Leigh!) with Chewbacca on it.
  • Listening to: My inner child
  • Reading: Life In Hell
  • Watching: The Kids in the Hall
  • Playing: Grand Theft Auto 4
  • Eating: Some dead animal of some sort
  • Drinking: martinis by the gallon
  • Listening to: Adam Corolla
  • Reading: Epicurus The Sage
  • Watching: M*A*S*H*
  • Playing: Grand Theft Auto 4
  • Eating: Egg whites and Ketchup
  • Drinking: martinis by the gallon
That's right, amigos and amigas... HOT MEXICAN LOVE COMICS #8 is out there and ready for your dineros! It features a story in rhyme that is - for the third time - written by my lovely wife Leigh and illustrated in my "anti-slick" style.
This particular story brings our "water trilogy" (i.e. three stories about the unique properties of Mexican water) to a bombastic, zombie-filled conclusion.
That's right, amigos and amigas... HOT MEXICAN LOVE COMICS #8 is out there and ready for your dineros! It features a story in rhyme that is - for the third time - written by my lovely wife Leigh and illustrated in my "anti-slick" style.
This particular story brings our "water trilogy" (i.e. three stories about the unique properties of Mexican water) to a bombastic, zombie-filled conclusion.
Need a taste? Check out the panel from the strip in the gallery with all of the friggin' ZOMBIES!
Now if that's not enough to get your PayPal or credit card jamming on over to the HMLC web site and ordering a hundred copies then I just can't help you. Oh wait - yeah I can... here's the link:

www.hotmexicanlovecomics.com

Also, check out the blog for ComiCon appearances and updates:

hotmexicanlovecomics.blogspot.…

And while you're at it, shouldn't you complete your collection of our books, paintings and other merchandise at:

fountainspenproductions.blogsp…

Okay... enough plugging and pitching... JUST BUY STUFF, OKAY?! SHEESH...
Oh - and enjoy the comic!
  • Listening to: Howard Stern
  • Reading: 'The Onion' collections
  • Watching: M*A*S*H*
  • Playing: Grand Theft Auto 4
  • Eating: pork rinds
  • Drinking: martinis by the gallon
Okay, I know I'm the least-updatingest guy on the planet, but the fact is that I've got pages on Deviantart, Facebook, Blogger, Tagged, Linkedin and probably others that I'm forgetting about.

On top of it all, I've been getting some freelance commissions lately as well as working on some secret projects that are exciting but - tragically - not in a state where I'm comfortable talking about them just yet.

What I CAN announce, however, is that the latest issue of HOT MEXICAN LOVE COMICS (premiering at the San Diego ComiCon next week) has a brand-spanking-new 3-page comic written by my lovely wife Leigh and drawn by yours truly...  this story rounds out the 'agua trilogy' (all of our 3 submissions over the past several volumes have had a water-based theme) AND IT HAS ZOMBIES IN IT!

To check it out and order the damned thing go to:

www.hotmexicanlovecomics.com

Buy a bunch of them.

Also, thank you to everyone who have been adding me to their favorites and writing nice compliments to me. It really does warm my heart. I'll always try to make personal replies as much as possible, but, as I've said, I get a little overwhelmed.

I think I'm going to start posting more comic strips that I did while I was in college. They're very '90's-centric, so you might get a larf out of 'em.

Anyway, hope all is well with all of you crazy kids out there.

And now, back to the drawing board...
  • Listening to: Howard Stern
  • Reading: 'The Onion' collections
  • Watching: M*A*S*H*
  • Playing: Devil May Cry 4
  • Eating: egg whites
  • Drinking: martinis by the gallon
Howdy kids...

I've been working from home lately - and part of that 'work' is trying to find a new full-time animation gig.

Consequently, however, if anyone is interested in commissioning any artwork - NOW is the perfect time.

I just finished a couple of projects that were very stressful... as such, I haven't slept that well lately and I'm a guy whut needs his sleep.

My brain is constantly on overdrive, so if I don't get a good chunk of really restful sleep, it makes me loopy.

Working from home for extended periods has a weird effect on me... I literally become intoxicated by the womb-like environment of my home and studio.

My studio is particularly rad... it's got all my books, all my toys are on display, all my DVDs... everything is within reach and my chair rolls easily back and forth between my computer station and drafting table.

Anyway... back to job search...

BIG announcement coming soon!

Toodles,

JF
  • Listening to: The music from PORTAL
  • Reading: Zippy the Pinhead
  • Watching: Gunbuster 2
  • Playing: HALO 3
  • Eating: wishing I was eating chocolate brownies...
  • Drinking: martinis by the gallon
Yes, um, I'd like to submit my request for more hours to every day. Twenty four just isn't enough for me to get everything done. I need more, please - thank you.
Sorry for the utter lack of updates, folks... I do hope you won't hold it against me. I just haven't had the spare time for blogs, journals or internet stuff in general.
The good news is, I'm busy because I'm MAKING STUFF that I think you will enjoy.
Some major announcements and new art are on the way - so stay in touch and stay tuned!
Thank you for your patience...
I am now going to watch cartoon and eat cereal. Life is good.
  • Listening to: Really, REALLY happy bubblegum pop music
  • Reading: Peanuts
  • Watching: Dexter
  • Playing: HALO 3
  • Eating: wishing I was eating chocolate brownies...
  • Drinking: martinis by the gallon
I think if you took a poll among the people in my life that know me fairly well and asked them to pick one word to describe me, the word 'cynical' would undoubtedly pop up a lot (but nowhere nearly as often as 'insufferable').
This is, of course, a vibe I admittedly give off. I love to bitch, gripe and rant... having a shaved head, sinister eyebrows and a wardrobe consisting almost entirely of black stuff doesn't help.

(if I may digress for a moment - I'd like to set something straight about the black clothes once and for all: I adopted this 'style' - or lack thereof - in college after I heard that Einstien used to have seven identical suits that he wore so he'd never have to waste any effort on wondering what he was gonna wear. Einstein, of course, was brilliant... I, of course, am a dolt... but I'm smart enough to realize that having that little extra space in my brain to devote to other things like maintaining balance and controlling basic motor function is EXTREMELY useful. Suffice it to say, I've NEVER been 'introverted' or 'sullen' or 'tortured.' Nor am I 'goth'. I got nothing against goths - but I just don't have the willpower to commit to that lifestyle. Nor am I 'protesting' anything and I most CERTAINLY am not trying to look 'cool.' I'm not 'anti-fashion' but I'm obviously no slave to trends, either. I try to make myself look presentable and, at least, slightly more 'together' than the obese guy at the 7-11 wearing running shorts and a "Molly Hatchet" tank-top. My ONE fashion 'vanity' are my hats. I've honestly liked hats since infancy. Ask my parents. I don't know why exactly - I just do and, clearly, it's not gonna change. My point is, I try to maintain a healthy balance of caring about my appearance enough to not disgust the general public without being vain. Aren't you grateful to me for clearing that up?)

But, back to cynicism... I confess that a good portion of my life was spent wallowing in miserable cynicism - convinced that the world was doomed and everything sucks.

However, I have come to realize that not EVERYTHING sucks - and as far as I'm concerned, that makes me an optimist.

Maybe it's because I've found the love of my life and actually conned her into being my bride, maybe it's spiritual growth, maybe it's having puppies at home, maybe it's all of the above - but happiness IS possible in this life. It's not always guaranteed - it's like anything else... ya gotta find it yourself and work hard to keep it - but it's possible.

I think the thing that generally screws people up is that the things that give them joy are far too complex or lofty. I mean - do the math: if the thing that you want most in life is to be rich and famous (and you weren't born into either) then you basically have a 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000 chance. Now, you can pursue fame and fortune and maybe you'll get lucky (it DOES happen) but if your entire happiness hinges on it I think you're out of your friggin' mind.

Besides - look at all of the rich/famous people out there right now who are obviously the most miserable wretches on the planet.

I'm not saying people shouldn't have lofty goals or "reach for the stars"  - but don't let your happiness hinge on something that may very well be forever out of your grasp.
For instance, if you enjoy singing and want to make it a career, then by all means go for it... but pursue it because you LOVE TO SING and regardless of whether or not you can make it a career, enjoy singing for yourself.

I think that far too often people are afraid to express themselves creatively because "art" has become so commercialized and slick that they forget that the arts exist because the compulsion towards creativity is something we ALL share. Not everything has to be for the purpose of selling albums or getting ratings or selling tickets.

What made me think of this was seeing the neighbor kids having a birthday party recently. They were literally dancing in the streets. They were doing "moves" to some incredibly goofy bubblegum pop music - and bravo to them.

Peasants used to sing, dance, cavort and frolic just to let off steam and celebrate a day without getting the plague. We should get back to that mentality of celebrating what we have and not constantly obsessing over getting more.

Let the "hipper-than-thou" elite have their 'coolness'... I'd rather be happy than cool (yeah, yeah... I hear you: "Oh don't worry, John... you have NO danger of being cool").

I'm not saying I'm gonna start frolicking through the streets handing out sunflowers and singing 'Kumbaya' all the time, but the fact is, being perpetually negative is the easy way out. Finding something positive to focus on when you're surrounded by awful shit takes a helluva lot more strength.

Now pardon me while I go fetch the new 'Spice Girls' CD...
  • Listening to: Peter Gabriel
  • Reading: Zippy the Pinhead comics
  • Watching: Gunbuster 2
  • Playing: Awaiting HALO 3
  • Eating: lots of low fat stuff
  • Drinking: martinis by the gallon
Now that I've actually got a few things in my gallery, I feel as though I should explain my purpose here a little bit...
I work in the animation industry... animation is, by its very nature, a very precise artform. Everything has to be carefully planned and synchronized or it all goes to hell. Yes - making cartoons is fun, but it's also a perpetually stressful 'juggling act' that can really wear a person down. In fact, it can really make you hate drawing.
Thus, in an attempt to regain the joy of playing with pens, paints, paper and photoshop, I decided to develop an artistic philosophy called "Anti-Slick" (as dubbed by my friend Holly).
I discovered that it was my occupational habit to strive for "perfection" that was stifling my desire to draw for fun. After all, I would spend all day striving for it at work - why would I want to come home and do the exact same thing?
Consequently, I began to embrace the notion that not everything has to be "perfect" and personal artwork should - at the very least - bring the artist a sense of satisfaction.
Most of the drawings, paintings and doodles you will see here are a result of that revelation. They're not necessarily meant to be "great"... they just are what they are. Some people may like them, others may hate them.
Regardless, I had fun making this stuff... let me repeat that: I had FUN making this stuff. Regaining that enjoyment was, in and of itself, a huge victory as far as I'm concerned.
So, whether my humble little gallery seems primitive to you or not, it represents the reclamation of my love for creating.
And I have to think there's some artistic merit in that...
  • Listening to: Howard Stern
  • Reading: "Mind Over Matters" by Michael J. Nelson
  • Watching: Fellowship of the Ring
  • Playing: Awaiting HALO 3
  • Eating: lots of low fat stuff
  • Drinking: martinis by the gallon
First journal entries are always so awkward, aren't they?
Well, what can I say... I'm a cartoonist working as an animator in Los Angeles California... I've written, directed and storyboarded for shows like YIN YANG YO!, FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT and I was a character designer on INVADER ZIM.
In the past year or so I've gotten back into painting and making comics and stuff, so I thought this would be a good place to have a presence.
I know this entry is lame - don't worry... I'll be more interesting later.
In the meantime, enjoy my gallery.
Excelsior!