IF: Scale

Mr. Vickers encounters a fly eye

Mr. Vicker’s eye encounters the eye of a fly.



Vanitas is a type of symbolic still life which was commonly executed by Northern European painters in Flanders and the Netherlands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This sketch features objects from my studio (minus the onion and lime – those are from the fridge).

click image for larger

The term “vanitas” refers to the arts, learning and time and the impermanence of life. Common vanitas symbols include skulls, rotten fruit, smoke, watches, and hourglasses and musical instruments. In other words, cool stuff to draw.

Wikipedia has more on the topic.



For Illustration Friday…

“After pillaging the spoils of many, many plastic pumpkins, Mr. Vicker’s head died and his stomach took over. The stomach kept the head as a hat.”



Argyle Monster

Argyle Monster, for Penelope Dullaghan’s Monster contest.

Joie de Vivre

Monsters: A History


It’s October in Baltimore. The leaves are changing colors (because they are dead) and blowing away in crisp chilly winds. The sky is getting dark earlier and everyone’s thoughts are turning to one thing: monsters. I am no different and thought I’d share some useful monster facts with you.


Monsters have been a vital part of every major iteration of civilization. While most people believe that the Tyrannosaurus Rex was the first monster to roam our planet, this isn’t actually true. Sharks were the first monsters, and sharks evolved into t-rexes (see figure 1). This is obvious from their dental plates (see figure 2).
Figure 1
(Figure 1)

Figure 2
(Figure 2)


In order for something to be considered a monster, it must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be larger than a full grown professional football player, and ideally, bigger than the building you find yourself hiding in during a monster attack (see figure 3).
    Monster attack in Baltimore
    (FIGURE 3)
  • It cannot be a mammal. [NOTE: Mammals can’t be monsters, unless they are dead. An example would be an enormous stuffed deer head hanging in a ski lodge that uses its endlessly long, sticky tongue to capture tourists and impale them on its horns (see figure 4). Obviously, this is how zombies are created. Zombies, strictly speaking, are not monsters, unless they happen to be exceptionally large dead linebackers that were impaled by dead deer heads.]
    Deerhead monster
    (FIGURE 4)


The best way to survive a monster attack is to not let the monster see you. As monsters typically do not get involved with basements, it is optimal to be in a concrete, windowless basement corridor until the attack has passed.

In the event that a monster has seen you, the widely accepted best practice is to run away from the monster screaming and waving your arms. If enough people do this, the monster will become confused and frustrated and will move to another urban area. Monsters are drawn to urban areas primarily for a healthy supply of crunchy buses and trains. Noisy panic and mayhem are understandably distracting.

Monster attacks declined considerably with the advent of influenza vaccine. Medical professionals have drastically reduced to use of radiation to treat the flu, and there is a direct correlation between the decline crunchy radioactive buses and trains and the monsters that attack and devour them.


Please use the comment field below to share your own monster attack stories. Have a safe and spooky Halloween.

Skate & Create

SK8 to work day

No Ka Oi from Surf OneThis morning was fabulous! I’m a car down, so I rode my longboard, shown at the right, to the train station (the bike lockers are still obstructed). It’s about 3.74 miles away. I walked down the steeper hills because I was confined to the sidewalk and I have yet to find a graceful way to stop myself on this thing. And, even so, I had a few Mr. Bean moments for the other commuters.

It’s strangely warm for October, and I was good and soaked when I finally boarded my train. But, I know now that I can do this safely and in relatively decent time and…it was TOTALLY fun. Completely worth it. I’ve wanted to do this for months and months.

When I was in high school, I used to accidentally oversleep on purpose. Since Mom worked a hour away in the opposite direction of my school, she had no choice but to write a note for me with an excuse. I would then spend a leisurely morning skating to school, where I’d arrive in time for the last two periods (music and art classes). The frequency with which I “overslept” increased considerably the spring I was accepted into college. I thought a lot about the routes I used to take, and how much fun in was to cruise the sidewalks – it was relatively flat, and the main sidewalks were wide and in good shape.

Gordon and Smith Proline 500

The second board shown here is the one I rode back then – a G&S “Proline 500.” It’s a really solid deck, and thankfully I still have it. I was thinking about how my friends used to pull me behind their cars with a rope. Lucky for me, I never had a bad mishap. I have a lime green tail bone to match the side rails – just need to reattach it.

I am looking forward to cooler days, just ahead. I also figured out that I’ll make better time on a smaller board because I’ll be able to take the steeper hills with more confidence.

I hope you had a great morning, too.

[Additional Note: 10.12.2007] – I rode my Flip Crest deck to work today. As predicted, the hills were more manageable and I made great time. It looks like the bike lockers are ready for action once again, too. Life is good.