Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nevermind the 'Further more' . . .

You know, one of the greatest things about naming this blog 'Some Guy With a Pen', is that it implies that there's pen used in there somewhere. Mostly, I've been posting sketches and such, but I'm kind of hoping to flex my writing muscles today and throw some thoughts down on RGB color-formatted, digitally historical archives.
I've been having the craziest time lately.
I've had to fend off three crazy people in the past two months(three too many, if you ask me! People should just be sane and those that aren't should just take a flying leap!), I've been trying to foster a growing freelance career and a marketing company at the same time, I've been preparing for the fact that I'm going to be 35(it's a personal milestone that I set for myself in High School and I haven't accomplished crap that I set out to do, I know Lennon said that 'life is what happens while you're busy making other plans' and TMBG said that 'everybody dies frustrated inside and it's beautiful'. Honestly, though! How much beauty and business can one life hold without me taking a good hard look at my own intentions? Eh, spilled milk and birthday cake depressions, I guess.), and trying to expand as a human being overall.
I'd love to get into detail about each, but I'm not sure how much space the internet has allotted for personal bellyaching today.
Sufficed to say, that I've been in a method of self defense recently that has made me feel like this Swine Flu pandemic might be a good thing, by way of handing out some much needed Darwin Awards to people who think that 'Wash Your Hands' or 'Cover Your Mouth' are just suggestions and nice gestures for those around you. Dumbasses.

One of the most unsurprising/surprising things that was brought to my attention as of recent is that two of my best friends tend to gossip about me behind my back, like grade school girls. Not only is it disappointing on the levels that these two are very close to me and that we've been through a lot together over the 17+ years that we've been friends, but it's also not too much of a surprise to me.
Eh, what can you do?

I've been working on some pretty cool digital illustrations, simply because I just don't have enough of them and I'm having to find myself in front of my computer too much, rather than running or enjoying the sunshine down by the river. Why not put it to a positive use?
When I finish up the four that I currently have on my 'To Do' list, I'm n ot only going to post them here, but also start up a Red Bubble account and try to sell some T Shirts! I've been thinking about it for a while and one of my other art buddies who has taken ill kind of inspired me to do it.

I'm liking the smells of the Spring that have started to come about recently. It's reminding me that right around my birthday is the time when the world around me is reborn and it always strikes a chord with me and inspires me to fight. Very hard.

Well, ever forward.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kharmic Cartooning Collection

On the heels of my last post, I've recently put up these sketches of the people I've been coming across in my limited travels throughout the South Coast of Massachusetts.
Now, I was having a conversation with someone the other day(to be fair, this person doesn't sketch or cartoon, so I can see why they didn't understand the point that I was trying to make), and it was brought to light that I might be coming across as a bit harsh, rude, or even in a light that makes it appear as though I am making fun of some of the people that I am sketching.

This is simply not true. As I've stated before about people that are overweight, human beings have weight, shape and character to them an their respective movement. I realize that average people that I meet have lives outside of my first impressions and have desires, hopes, dreams, and are in fact capable of the same heights of potential and depths of despair that I see in myself and in my heroes.

This being said, and also being a caveat of sorts on my part, the people that I decide to sketch are simply asking for it.

There may be a natural line that just strikes me a certain way, or just something that stands out and screams a natural beauty, beit beauty through socially implied ugliness, or beauty through the traditional standards, but a beauty nonetheless, or sometimes there's just a definitive amount of character in the way a person stands, sits, or even looks that requires and sometimes demands that I sketch them as I am left with the impression of them in my eyes and in my pencil.

To that end, I am not rude, mean to people that I hardly know, or evil. I'm a cartoonist. I'm poking fun at what I'm seeing around me and trying to make people smile, not make them cry or become angry.

I've actually gotten to know a little about some of the people that I've been sketching and I've also gotten to learn a little bit too much about how small the South Coast is.

So, on with the sketches and their descriptions.

The first is this woman. She's lovely and full of life. I would sit on the bus and look for people to sketch from time to time and I'd always see her. Normally, she would wear very dark colors, like a dark wool, Navy peacoat, a dark colored hat and scarf, and always with these bright and alive crystalline blue eyes peering out from under all of it. A girl of normal height, her personality would always shine through as she got on the bus as someone who is at once fun to be around, as well as intelligent, sure of herself and a very strong willed woman. As I do with just about any woman like this, I mentally equated her to Wonder Woman.
Only, she was less tall than an amazonian. So, I naturally dubbed her in my head 'Mini Diana'.

This next guy just sat a certain way with me, to tell the truth. The natural lines just kind of called for this stretch and squash of the anatomy that lent himself easily to some brush strokes. The fact that he was constantly smiling in a very nervous fashion also brought my eye to him more than once. I dunno, there's just something about the only guy on the bus that's both smiling and nervous at the same time that makes me want to keep a little more vigilant eye on him. Y'know, just in case a gun comes out, or he stands up and decides to produce a row of symmetrically placed dynamite sticks taped to his chest and scream out 'Allāhu Akbar!'.

Here is one of the security guards at the local library. Okay, Iknow that you must be wondering why there are security guards at a public library, right? Well, my local library also has some geological artifacts in it, as well as some works of art which hang on the wall for all to see and admire. You don't think someone with a firm grasp of the Dewey Decimal system and the annual average rain fall of Botswana is going to guard those things, do you?(It's 475mm, by the way.)
No! The couldn't possibly be asked to do all of the things that they do in a standard day and chase art thieves into the thick of danger! Hence, the guards.
Anyway, this one guard struck me as odd. Neither older, taller or very muscular, she struck me not as a security guard, but as a college student looking to pay some bills as a security guard. Not that there's anything wrong in that, but it just doesn't fit the normal stereotype of a security guard that you would automatically switch to when you hear the words.

One of the people that I've actually gotten to know, Rob is one of the three people that work as part of the kitchen staff at UMass Dartmouth. Pretty cool guy, liked my sketches, enjoyed the fact that I've cartooned him a few times, and when he looked through the rest of the book, he'd said that it 'inspires him to go home and draw some'. Words that I absolutely love to hear, because every time I look at some of my favorite artists works, it makes me want to draw. I dunno, something about the energy conveyed in their work that just transfers itself over to me and gets me going and motivated. So, when I hear that come from other people, it makes me think that I'm on the right track.

This kid is interesting right here. I used to see him every morning on the bus. He'd get on, keep to himself and get off downtown New Bedford. I'd always presumed that he was going to some sort of social schooling for behavioral children, or something that he volunteered at or was ordered to go to. I'd found out one morning that it just wasn't the case.
Y'see, every morning I'd look over at this fresh young face, dressed in the standard getup of a kid his age. You know the type, trying to look tough, keeping the world at arm's length and not realizing that at the same time, the world's trying to help him, so he misses out on opportunities afforded to him. A couple of times, I'd catch his eye and see that there's just a slight sense of remorse and pain in the look on his face.
It just turns out to be not the case at all.
I learn one morning from one of the more friendly and gossipy members of the public transportation community that he'd apparently robbed and old woman at gunpoint, was under constant surveillance by way of an ankle bracelet, and that each and every morning, he was heading over to a juvenile facility to do his time.
The next time I saw him, I saw a scared kid, trying to give himself a better life and hiding in his jacket from all of the terrible things that he'd done that got him to this point in his life and I had to sketch him then and there. I think he'd known what I was up to, because a couple of times later, I'd catch him moving his seat on the bus and sitting just close enough to see what it was that I was working on in my sketchbook. He'd never ask to see anything, but he'd always sit close enough to watch. Maybe it's my fault for not offering, but I didn't want to impose, so I never opened my mouth. Seriously, who wants to jam their work down the throats of normal people who are on the bus and just going about their days?

Here I am at the bus station and I'm scanning for my bus. (No shit, when I'm there, I let my head swivel from left to right, like I'm still in the gunner's seat during a hasty defense waiting for targets to crest the horizon line)
As usual, I glimpse some of the local color and occasionally, I see someone that I'd like to sketch, or just needs it. Such is the case here. I look over toward the brick wall and see that Harpo Marx was reincarnated into the Emo kid generation and is alive and well. Good for him for not wearing his traditional crumpled top hat, sack coat, and taxi horn. Bad for him for being in my line of site when I had my sketchbook and brush pens.

Every morning when the weather was terrible, I'd find that going inside of the bus terminal was a better alternative to staying outdoors. Not only was it a bit more comfortable and entertaining, due to the chatter from the guy behind the counter, but the local color also shows up in droves and never fails to produce one or two people that just strike me. This is a woman that I would see, just before she'd get on the commuter bus to Boston. A beautiful woman who dressed professionally, yet still came across as a bit young for her age, the chubbiness of age setting in slightly, she had to be sketched. A tribute to that point in your life when you just aren't ready to let go of the opportunities that youth affords to offer us, and the clashing of realizing that it is also an inevitability.

Nice! Every go out into public and just see a crowd of kids that is obviously pushing the limits of social acceptance while having a good time and just want to smack them for being ridiculous? Me too.
This mass of curved lines and simplicity was sitting behind me, on the armrest of a bench, burping. Not just loud, but obnoxiously so. As well as commenting, just as loud, on the amount of times that her friends were farting. A reflection in the window gave me everything that I needed to make it come alive in ink.

I've got nothing but respect for the working man. A guy(or girl for that matter) that works hard to support himself and his responsibilities is a great thing. Someone who can multi task while working hard is a little higher up on that respect ladder. A short order cook is pretty high up there, due to the properties of being able to multi task and working as though they are part Octopus. Billy here is the owner of the Table8 Diner over on Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford. (If you ever stop in, give him a shout for me!)
Billy's a good guy, makes a good meal that is easily within everyone's price range, and always is in a good mood. Therefore, I decided that a fish sandwich and a quick sketch later, I would plug his diner on my blog and see if I could do any good.

Monday, February 16, 2009

For those about to Sketch . . .

You know, some of you may not like AC/DC, but I kinda dig 'em. Not like Sugar Smacks, but in the way that they sometimes get my blood pumping when I listen them.
My last post spoke of how I was riding the public transportation around my town and finding some pretty interesting people in my neck of the woods.

If you'll indulge me, I need to step back in time a bit and explain some things.

I'm a bit of an odd man. I like to cartoon. The world around me is a series of shapes and lines that imprint themselves on me and give me impressions of my perceived reality. To that end, I try to translate that reality to my sketch book pages. This comes from the written advice of a great guy, and a character designer by the name of Stephen Silver. The guy not only has interesting story behind him, but he also has some common sense approaches to sketching and becoming a better cartoonist, that I completely fall in line with.
The first and most important is to always carry your sketchbook with you, the muse chooses where and when to strike and you have to be ready. The second is to sketch from life, which I'm finding is not only important, but also goddam hilarious.

I'm going to post them all, starting with the sketches that made me work on this more from a certain Canadian Coffee and Doughnut chain that is nearby, and moving on to the SRTA sketches(SRTA is an acronym for Southeastern Regional Transit Authority, as I live on the Southeastern coast of Massachusetts, this would indeed make more sense now).

The sketches are generally started in either blue or red Prisma Colorase pencil and then inked up using them same three weapons of choice: my trusty Pentel Pocket Brush, an ultra thin Uniball ballpoint pen, and a standard Uniball ballpoint pen.

Here are the results and their explanations. Please feel free to comment and enjoy!

This is the guy that started it all. There I was, looking for something to sketch and this chubby little old man, who was all attitude and wool hat was sitting on the other side of the store, drinking his coffee. As I stole a few glances to work out the shapes and the details, he looked up at me. He was not happy.

That prompted this man a few days later. A funeral had let out and it looked like a bunch of people from that same funeral came into the Tim Horton's that I'd chosen to roost in. None of them were worth note, or interesting enough for me to sketch but the priest was well worth it! I wonder if I can be sent to Hell for sketching him? Is that a sin?

That same day, this girl came in. Now, I'm a sucker for red hair and freckles. So if you don't know, now you know. When this girl came in, it h ad nothing to do with the red hair, or the freckles that made me sketch her. It was this way that she cocked her hip out when she was waiting for her order and checking her cell phone that made this amazing action line that just needed to be sketched out. It came across as more of a line and movement, than an attitude at not getting a doughnut fast enough.

There was also this guy. He looked like that puppet that Jeff Dunham uses in his stand up ventriloquist act. Worse, he acted like him too. He went on a tirade for about fifteen minutes straight with a complete stranger about how technology and Ronald Reagan have screwed this country up completely beyond repair. For that, he deserved to be immortalized!

This guy? I saw him come in at a local diner, ooze into a seat at the counter and just begin to radiate this complete loudmouth asshole personality vibe to his friends and it just extended beyond the normal social circles that take up the nearby space in a group of friends. He needed to be put on paper, he just reminded me too much of Chet in Weird Science.

Now, from here I hit the library. While waiting to use the reference computers, I saw this librarian that was nothing but mass and shape.
I have to take a break here and explain myself for a few seconds.
If it comes across that I harbor some sort of dislike or hatred for people that are overweight, I absolutely do not.
To me, people that are larger than what is considered average are not only more beautiful to look at, but also have more personality that average and even skinny people too. I'm not just speaking about the social interaction aspect of their individual personalities, I'm also speaking about their movements, the way that they carry themselves and grow as people.
If you don't believe me, close your eyes the next time you see an overweight person.

Remove all malice, preconceived notions of them and any other sort of meanness from your mind and the way that will affect your eyes. Now open them and watch them move.
You'll see a more expounded and better version of the emotions that average and skinny people use in their postures, in their walks, and even in their appearance.
Any idiot with a pencil can sketch a thin nude model and make them show up on paper.
Give me a large model any day and I will show you true human beauty and character when that sketch is done.

The human comedy that rides a bus on a daily basis can never be out done, in my opinion. I've seen so many people on there that are so worth sketching, I'd run out of paper if I worked on all of them. From the bus driver who screams at people who cross the street in front of the bus; 'Take your time you fucking asshole!', to the lady who seemed high on speed and snapped at everyone getting on and off the bus, as if her stop was the only one that should have been allowed, to the three handicapped people who rode on the front of the bus and fought over why the blind guy decided that he need to call the lady with Downe's Syndrome a 'whore' at a party the night before, it's all there and can't be contained.

My first dose came with these two men, the tall man in sunglasses talking about how if the cops wanted to, they could storm the bus with shotguns and shoot everyone if there were trouble going into the terminal, his companion smiling and nodding with his greyish blue eyes blazing wide. They just needed to be put on a page more than Steinbeck's Lenny and George.

This old man got on the bus with a broom an kept a tight grip on it for the entire ride. okay, two thoughts on this; who rides the bus with a broom? and if the broom were so important that it required a tight grip for the entire trip, then why didn't he just fly home on it?

This guy was waiting for the same bus as me one morning. He looked like a college bound Al Borland and that sort of pop culture reference, you just don't let go to waste.

Well, it was pretty cold this day and it gave me a whole slew of subjects to sketch up! The first was this guy in his ball cap and ear muffs. He saw me sketching him out of his peripheral vision and decided that sunglasses were the way to go. You have to wonder if John Walsh might have been looking for him or something. Then, there was this extremely Alan Alda looking older man, in a gray wool overcoat, who'd thought that it might be warmer if he hugged himself and tucked way in, close to the window. All while looking very worried, as if something were going to come through the other side of the bus and rip him out. Lastly, there was this girl. A wide base of a woman, albeit pretty, that tapered off into a magenta colored flight jacket and a white woolen and furry cap with sprigs of red curls poking out from under the base of that same cap. All worth the numb fingers that night!

This next guy was great. I guess he works the kitchen staff at UMass Dartmouth and every morning, him and two other people get on and they talk about their shift. Only he falls asleep and I never noticed it, because they usually sit behind me, but this morning, I caught the truth of the matter. He sleeps, the other two people talk about work. Still, it was interesting to sketch him, all shapes and action lines. Very cool and fluid to me.

From here, the rides get better.

Sitting in a bus station, sketching, a guy like me tends to get approached by all sorts of people. Mostly by people that want to see what I'm doing. Whether its to get to know me before I reach the point where the feel that I'll make it huge and become a millionaire, at which point they can say 'I used to watch that guy draw at the bus station!', or to challenge me and see if I can be stumped at drawing something or someone. I can't.
Such was the case this day. I met Janelle. She not only wanted to see if she could stump me, but she also tried to get me to rip one of my pages out of my sketchbook and give it to her. For free.

People, allow me to set the record straight.
I am a professional. The economy is in the toilet. I have bills to pay. My sketchbook is mine and it's personal to me.

That in mind, as a Graphic Designer, I bill out at appr. $65 dollars an hour to start.
Do you have any idea what I'll charge you for a sketch if I don't know you, or feel like your cause in just not worthwhile?
You can tell from Janelle's posture and attitude, she was not happy about my answer or the outcome of the day's events in that bus station.

Next to last one, but still one of the funniest.
It's freezing. I mean I'm shivering and I usually don't get cold easily. There's a group of us waiting for the Fall River bus and only one of us is a tad under dressed.
I found out later, from some tool who got on the bus later and shouted her name out that it was Alex.
Alex was kind of this conundrum and almost a contradiction. From the floor up, she was wearing Chuck Taylor All Stars, canvas shoes with no support. No socks, which could only add to the frigid feeling of being outside in that terminal, and what appeared to be very thin and therefore not able to withstand the cold, yoga pants. From the waist up, it was all North Face coat with a very furry collar attached to the hood.

What struck me as even more odd, was that before Alex sat on the sidewalk. Yep, you read right. She folded down the top of her pants and exposed the top of her ass crack to all that were within eyeshot. So, th image is as follows: Poofy coat, thin pants, bare ankles, Chuck Taylors, ass crack.
It didn't stop in that terminal either, no siree.

This sketch, if you'll pay attention to the waistline, has Alex's ass partially hanging out of the back of her pants as she sit on that bus, on her way to the tanning salon. Again, information obtained by her tool of a male friend, right before he whipped out his cell phone and proceeded to purchase a gram of weed over the phone in a very public setting, only going to prove that he was a freshman and therefore dumb enough to not only get caught, but quite possibly brag about the ensuing anal rape that would befall him for getting caught. MAN! I wished I sketched that kid! His name was Dmitrius, which I think is Greek for Dumbass.

No, wait! I almost forgot this last sketch and the story behind it!
This lady gets on the bus, sits in the first seat right across from the driver, near the door. She appears very fidgety and anxious, like she's either done something wrong or ingested HUGE quantities of somethings that she really shouldn't have a lá Crystal Meth, or Crack Cocaine. At each traffic light, she gets visibly aggravated. At each stop, she gets completely irritated with people getting on the bus. She'd even commented to a few something to the effect of 'Just shut up and get on the friggin' bus!'. At one stop, the bus picks up this very pretty and happy girl, who has obviously just gone shopping. (It's only obvious, because she's carrying the bags with her on the bus and places them in the seat next to her, get it?)
When she takes her seat, it the seat that is one over from Ms. Loudmouth Fidget.
You can tell that as the rides progresses, the happy shopper is getting uncomfortable. It becomes obvious in the way that her youth smile that she was wearing when she boarded the bus, has now been reduced to a shy smirk. It is even more apparent in that her body language has now pointed itself away from her neighbor, and her torso has begun to shy away as well. Almost as if subconsciously, she were expecting Fidget McLoudmouth to whip out a pistol, or worse, a live chicken and bite its head off in some sort of tribute to Ozzy Osbourne on Public Transportation. Anyway, i found it to comedically tragic to NOT sketch, so here it is.

Anyway, that's the end of my public people sketches for now. I think I'm going to carry thins thing a lot more often now and see what sort of hilarity fate throws at me by way of my everyday interactions!

As usual, feel free to comment, leaving me a reason for the way you feel and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


If you think that riding on public transportation is for losers. You may be right.
But it's also a great place to see the people soup that happens along the south coast of Massachusetts and to sketch them when they're not looking. It makes for some funny little cartoons!
I'll have to show you later!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Counting Chickens Before They Hatch on The Cusp of a Brave New World/A Really Convoluted Title That Tried to Sound Whitty

On top of the fact that we NOW have a series of World Changing events that has happened in the last election, (you know, earlier this month? What? You missed it? Where you, under a friggin' rock? Everybody and their mother knew about it! It was like the culmination of good versus evil in the voting booths! I wouldn't have been surprised if Obama and McCain whipped out lightsabers and started trying to force choke the shit out of each other! Anyway, there was a presidential election and some guy won, it's historical and world altering. Seriously, you should read more.) I've been trying to get work.
It's been tough, and as I look over at my trusty marker board that I've been using to keep track of the amount of jobs that I've applied to, using tickmarks like some sort of character from an Alexandre Dumas novel, (Look it up, you'll enjoy the reference, and a little bit of intellectual leg work is good for your brain.) I realize that to date, I have sent out my resume approximately sixty two time and have not gotten a response yet. IT would be angering and sad if I weren't trying, or were under experienced, or even not looking for jobs that aren't in my field, but it isn't so. I've applied at the Golden Arches, Stop n' Shop, Wal Mart, Burlington Coat Factory, Pizza Hut, Bank of America, and the like, only to have received no phone calls.
This new president had better have a degree from fucking Hogwart's, (there, an easier reference for you, don't hurt yourself) because I'm fresh out of ideas, leads and patience with the hiring process.

You'd think with all of this time on my hands, that I'd have posted a whole bunch of work on this blog, showing anyone who reads it that I've been productive, which I have, just not really artistically, more spiritually and personally.

I've been pouring over books; biographies, psychology, philosophy, self help, classic fiction, mythology, anything to help me figure things out and give myself a boost.

If you're wondering if whether or not I have depression issues, then you've most likely hit the nail on the head. After doing a LOT of research, I'm leaning strongly towards Toxic Anger syndrome. It's like depression, except you're an asshole for no specific rhyme or reason and it makes you incredibly sad about your life and the parts of it that you've ruined.

Of which, I plan to touch on.

I had the greatest Saturday.
Y'see, it's been a long time since I've hung out with Keri, Matt and Riley altogether for longer than two hours, due to travel time and distance and Matt's schedule for eating and sleeping. Which is extremely important to a developing child for intellect and psychological reasons. This past Saturday, I'd gotten to see them for just about the whole day, except for when my downstairs neighbor sprung a birthday party on me as I was headed out the door to go and see K and M.
I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
It was great to see Keri and know that she'd wanted to spend time around me, even if she's incredibly angry with me still. It was great to see Matthew and his facial expressions, to see how he's coming along, rather than hearing about it on the phone, and to see his character develop into something more than I'd had the courage to develop at his age. It was also great to her Riley sing. I'd heard it softly this weekend and turned down the radio. She actually has a good voice when she's not clowning around with it.

I don't want to go into too much detail about the day. Counting Chickens before they hatch is poor taste and judgment, but suffice it to say, I've got a road ahead of me that I'm not afraid to walk anymore and even though it's long and looks rough, it's a road that is going to bring me to great places.

I've grown a bit over the past few months. I've learned to control my feelings a lot more, to be restrained and respectful, moreso than I've been in the past. I've learned to objectively look at myself and express the things about me that I'm not too fond of, and nourish the things that I'm proud of.

I'll leave some images from this past Halloween and from this past weekend.

I know I'll enjoy seeing them here as a reminder and as inspiration, but I hope that you enjoy them too.

Here's to Christmas wishes and morning hair smells.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Smallville Kharma Boomerang

First things first.
A poorly laid out, quickly done illustration of my new obsession.
What can I say? I've been going through some stuff lately, a really good friend comes over. We're sitting on the couch, trying to make me feel better about aforementioned drama and she wants to watch Smallville. (Um, yeah. I can have friends that are girls even though I'm a guy. I've been doing it since High School, so get over it.)
It's the episode where they elude to the Justice League being formed and it was not only rife with references, it wasn't too bad.
From there, I was loaned the first three seasons of Smallville and sketched this bit out roughly while I was on my couch, engaged in the Dawson-esque adventures of the Man of Tomorrow. I promised myself that I would work on another sketch, only this one would be laid out better and a bit more care, time and consideration would be paid to this next sketch.

As with everything I do, feel free to comment, but make sure your opinions are explained. I HATE hearing 'This sucks' and no reason for that opinion being given.
An artist has to learn from his mistakes to grow and who knows? Maybe the bit of criticism that you give me today could help me greatly tomorrow?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Watching Trees . . .

Things have been pretty surreal for me lately. A lot less of the artistic and creative juices have been flowing and more of the problem solving and drama resisting juices have been gushing. Last Sunday (this one that had just passed, not the one before it), I'd just had enough and decided that after a breakfast of pancakes with Riley and black coffee for myself, I'd needed some time to unwind.

My little girl, bless her heart, wanted to ride her bike. I however, had a headache and was not choosing to lug a bike up and down basement stairs, nor was I in any sort of mood to remind her to wear a helmet or keep and eye on her to give her some of the finer points of riding her two wheeled choice of Sunday morning entertainment. It would have seemed that fate was on my side that day.

As luck would have it, her tires were in need of some air, and I was without an air pump. Our neighbors, both on the second and first floors were not home, so that ruled out the option of borrowing one from either of them.

Our only other option was to play in the back yard and enjoy both each other's company, and mother nature (oddly enough, a Tim Horton's drive through is on the other side of our backyard fence and the main road is in front of said donut proprietor).
As Riley clambored over the swing set that morning, riding the glider then the swings, climbing the ladders and wrestling me on the lawn, I'd laid on my back and was treated to a show.

Breathing slowly, watching the wind work its way through the branches of that tree in our backyard, with the cyan sky above as its backdrop, I became relaxed. I began to notice a very fluid and natural pattern. As if the branches were at once both a part of nature and separate from it in themselves. Riding each gust and fluidly moving up and down, swaying in unison and at points, in chaos with one another.

It became less of a relaxation opportunity for me and more of a life lesson in reality. It was odd, but I began to almost work out and understand how people and the universe work.

What I'd worked out became a thought something akin to this;
Everything that we know is essentially a part of one another. This planet, the Universe, the stars, the grass that was under me, the ants on my legs, all of it.
It would seem rude, selfish and very self important to think other wise. It'd be as if my spleen, a part of me, began to think that it was separate and wanted to figure out the rest of me. In that we are all apart of a contained reality that is both known and unknown, it should be accepted that we all work in unison as one very large, as well as microscopic biological machine that supports itself and destroys itself at the same time.
Its the ultimate definition of balance and harmony. Picture a mess that cleans up after itself. Taoism that presents itself on a daily basis. A Universe, a Galaxy, a Solar System, all of it, working both independently and together to achieve both a desired and natural result. It works within natural laws and chaotic events, from an amoeba to the Milky Way.
It lends credence to evolution and Eastern religious philosophies all at the same time. I know it sounds insane, and that this is just rambling, but let's go back to the tree, shall we?

While relaxing, each time the wind blew, I'd noticed that the branches, each an individual part of the tree, worked together at times in the wind, other times against one another. Replace those branches with people. We work with one another at times, overcoming natural phenomena or situations, other times and most times, we work against one another for our own personal interests.
This philosophy can also hold true for a person's cells, or animals in an ecosystem, or for ecosystems and environments themselves.

Naturally, these things all work on their own individual time frames, being relative to their size and nature, but the theory and idea holds sound for all of it.

It means that there will be times where things work with me and things work against me, good times and bad times, up and down. The choice is truly up to me to either accept these things; these times and work with them, go with them, or fight against them, swim upstream and feel the agony, stress and pain of working against the nature of these events and people around me.

It lead me back to my hard drive and this picture that I'd worked on a while back. Something I planned on using for a pulp story intro to my 'Skies Over Gutenberg' ongoing fiasco that I keep putting off. It lead me to love lying o n my back on a Sunday afternoon, and listening to the sounds of traffic and donut house speaker boxes as my five year old little girl laughed and played in the back yard.

I still smile when I think of those branches moving. They give me a little bit of hope in my future.