Monday, 31 August 2009

Art Day: Loose Balloon

For lack of anything better to talk about, here's another Art Day filler post.

I finished this one up last weekend. It's called "Loose Balloon." Like any good artist, I stole the idea of doing a painting based on a song from a coworker (who happens to be a legit artist); Score one for originality. This is based on the song of the same name "Loose Balloon" by The Presidents of the United States of America.

Listen to the song here:

I've had the idea of this one rumbling around for a good long time, probably since March, and since Micheals was having a sale on giant canvases I figured now was as good a time as any to do my first giant painting.

I started out with the blue background, and it turned out really well. The background is by fair my favourite part of the entire thing. Because I liked the background so much I decided to leave it mostly empty, because cluttering it up would take away from how much I like the shades of blue, as well as how simplistic the whole thing is.

But of course because I'm no pro I made a few screw-ups, had to repaint the hand, and the majority of the clouds are me being lazy and covering up mistakes or places where I somehow managed to splatter paint.

On the whole, everyone thinks this one is very pleasant, relaxing to look at, and is very 'normal' for me. Here's an actual quote of what someone thought:

"Oh my god. It's normal, I love it!"

True Story.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Art Day: Roving Rover

Here's a painting I finished up a couple weeks ago. It's not the first 'animals doing people things' kind of painting I've done, and it seems to be a recurring theme.

It's called "Roving Rover" which really has nothing to do with what's going on here aside from a dog driving the SUV. (I wanted to paint a van, but it turned into more of an SUV)

This was another exercise in perspective, but also colour. I wanted to paint something really really bright cheerful (I even bought special silver paint for the grill). In hindsight I forgot some things in the painting that would have made it look better, but overall I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I would have liked to clutter the background up with road signs, but I didn't really decide what exactly the whole thing was going to look like until I started painting the SUV.

The more I painted it the more twisted it became too until finally the vehicle ended up with some bug splatters and dead animals. I bet any psychologist would have a hey-day looking at this one.

Anyway, the best part is seeing people's reactions to this one. They've ranged from people saying "Oh my god!" in shock, and sheer joy.

Anyway, what do you think is going here? Why is the dog driving? What makes that kid so happy?

The White Stripes - We're Gonna Be Friends

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Today's Great Achievement

Let's face the facts:
  1. I'm pretty heartless.
  2. I love cake.
On the spur of the moment I can cheat, lie, and steal without a second thought. My coworkers are often shocked at what I'll do for little to no reward. If you need a villainous character to take care of something, demean someone, or just generally be a bad guy, people come to me.

I've done some really bad things in the past, but I won't get into them here. Today though, of all my nefarious wrong-doings, I took the cake. Literally.

You see that? That birthday cake is for ME. But it isn't my birthday and my name isn't on it. Wanna know why?

Well I got it after encouraging someone to submit their foster child's name for a contest to win a cake. Except the child is from a third world country.

Thanks buddy. I enjoyed your cake.

(ps. If someone needs me to I'll make up for this with some good deed along the line somewhere.)

Monday, 24 August 2009

Kickin' it with Penner

This weekend I went and met famed Canadian children entertainer Fred Penner. You may remember him from such programs as “Fred Penner's Place” and for his cover of the song “The Cat Came Back.

He attempted to remove my eyes Three Stooges style but I was pretty quick on the uptake.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Review: The Goods

The Goods: Live hard, Sell Hard

This film stars Jeremy Piven as super-keen car salesman "Don Ready." He's an unstoppable machine on the car lot. Around him is assembled a team of crack salespeople from various walks of life, and together, they're mercenaries for hire who go in to boost dealership sales.

They get a call to go to some podunk town with a failing dealership, and no future, to sell some vehicles during the 4th of July long weekend.

That's the concept right there. The previews didn't entice me at all, but a friend wanted to see it so I went. The previews just made it look like wacky pandemonium all the time, but the movie is a little more structured than that. But only a little. I'm happy I was dragged along to figure that one out.

To me, it felt a little like a Family Guy episode in the way that there's constant tangents. Sometimes right out of the blue, like in the case of where a hate-crime was committed, the protagonists would start doing some wild things completely out of character. Then it would quickly be resolved with little to no laughter. Tangents are only good if the work! Why can't people understand that?

All the subplots, and I literally mean %100, were about sex. That's fine too, but only half of them were anywhere near entertaining, and rest ran their comedy gamut almost as soon as they were introduced.

Sometimes the 'comdey' was as painful to watch as a highschool student film or a new episode of the Simpsons. Long after a point of laughter (provided there was one) had been made they kept trying to drive it home; Over, and over, and over.

Finally, my biggest pet peeve is that you could see the boom microphone in several shots. It was right there for everyone to see. The microphone actually got more laughter during the movie than the supporting cast. I hope it got listed in the credits.

The film did however have a few excellent cameos. I won't ruin it here for anyone who wants to see the movie, but there's a surprise entrance that I know quite a few people will enjoy. Unless you get your movie ticket for free though I wouldn't go out of my just for the cameo.

Now because I got in for free, I can't really complain about getting ripped off. But I will say that I'm not sure it's worth the $8-11 for a ticket. This is at best a renter when you're stuck for a movie and have an ample quantity of illegal substances to inhale, snort, shoot, or eat while watching.

Final Verdict:


You'll get some laughs. If you're between the ages 13-18, or if you're a fan of those famous gratuitous booby shots, you'll probably really enjoy this one. Wanna be a cool aunt or uncle for your teenage nephew and his friends? Take him to see The Goods.

The Little Ones - Lovers Who Uncover

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Weekend Activities

How do you plan a successful weekend?

Well, first you go hang out with some oxen.

Then you participate in a rutabaga roll.

Myself and another girl had to kick a rutabaga through an obstacle course with our legs tied together. We finished next to last, but still received a ribbon for completion. It has a butterfly on it so I guess that's some compensation.

Then you go get socked in the face by country singer Lisa Hewitt and call it a night.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Art Day: Under Every Stone...

Here's my latest painting. It's called “Under Every Stone...” I couldn't think of a good title so I just went for something vague. It works for a lot of legit artists so why not me too?

I just sat down one day after work and started painting without a real goal in mind, and halfway through I decided I wanted to paint some gnomes fighting under a mushroom. Voila! Painting done.

It was mostly an exercise in angles and perspective. The yellow gnome is supposed to be closer to the 'camera,' but instead he just looks lopsided and extremely low-waisted. The other gnome turned out okay though. That's supposed to be a button sewn onto his arm, but I f*cked it up a little and didn't make it so you could see through the holes, so it just looks odd. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Anyway, I'd like to hear what people think is going on in this picture, and the story of it.

Immaculate Machine - Dear Confessor

Monday, 10 August 2009

Reading my Spam

I was busy checking my emails the other day, when I found that this little gem in my inbox:

HI :) whatcha been up to babe? its me ash! u still on FB? havent
chatted wiht u in a while! i broke up with my ex so u knwo what that
means? we can hook up FINALLY!
wanna plan something? add me to ur chat list my info is below (dont
email back my emails dont come through i wont get it).. k k waiting

First off Ash, You sound like a damn yokel! If your poor grammar and spelling is any indication of your intelligence level, I suspect you have a hard time using a spoon to feed yourself.

Secondly dear, how did you break up with your ex? Technically speaking, if he was already your ex wouldn't that mean you had already broken up with him? Don't try and trick me with your double negative rhetoric you devil-woman!

I gotta harp on the grammar some more; Have you heard of capital letters and commas? They're pretty useful Ash. You should get to know them.

And if you can find me so easily by email, why didn't you just add me on FB (as the kids and hookers are calling it apparently) in the first place? Especially since your mysterious email account doesn't seem to work.

Also, this is the year 2009, Spellcheck has been around for just about 20 years now. Those squiggly red lines under your excuse for words aren't 'Bling.' They're to tell you you're stupid, which I suspect you're reminded of every day when you puzzle over how to use the metal scoopey thing in your hand to try and eat your soggy Cheerios every morning.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Battle of the Bone.

Shenanigans? Luv' em.

So when the call goes out for a competitor, a champion, a hero to save the day for some stupid competition, I'm there. I answer the clarion call of any contest when it makes its summons.

The contest I entered? An eating competition.

A chicken wing eating competition.

As some of you may recall, I like to call myself the eating champion of Grande Prairie. I won a contest this past St.Patties day for eating the fastest. It was an epic victory. I smote my enemies, and by smote I mean I finished my meal before anyone else was even half way through.

So naturally, when I heard the slightest hint of a chicken wing competition, I was all over it. Especially since it involved chicken wings, because I love me some chicken wings.

I was entered last Thursday, which is when my rigorous training routine began. I started by devouring entire heads of lettuce.

Lettuce is mostly water, and has almost no nutritional value, but it's very voluminous. So when people train for eating competitions they'll put down heads of lettuce to stretch their stomachs. When I started I could finish one head of lettuce in a sitting, about 8 minutes to be exact.

The day before the contest, I was up to two heads in a sitting, which was about 12 minutes.

I also biked a lot. I don't know if that helped, but I'm pretty lazy so I figured the exercise couldn't do any harm.

Then the day came, Wednesday morning (this morning as I post this). I barely slept the night before, images of chicken wings danced relentlessly before my eyes, keeping me awake, while also encouraging me to drool all over my pillow.
I was confident in my abilities to win. This was just a media challenge after all, and out of all the media people who would be representing, I was definitely the greatest. But still, sleep didn't come easy.

I got up early as I had a radio spot scheduled for me to appear and talk about how awesome I am. So I made my appearance, ate come chicken on live radio, shot the shit for a little bit, and went about my day.
I took some promotional photos to get things going, to get me all psyched up.

Then the clock rolled around, 7 pm on the dot was when I was to register. I arrived at Madhatters Liquid Lounge, signed in, and I settled down to have a beer while I waited.

The time came, and I walked up on stage to many cheers. I was the only one who decked himself out for the occasion; Which owes mostly to the fact that wherever I go I like to make a spectacle of my appearances.

I had been told I was going to eat 40 wings, and the first one done would win. No problem, 40 wings is like 3.5 lbs of food. I can eat that easy peasy.

It began.

The only problem though, there were 60 wings on the plate. That was roughly another pound of food. I cruised through the first 50 no problem, but around number 51 I started to loll a bit. I slowed down, things dragged out. I spent more time chewing than I should have. I even got up at one point to puke, but found immediately afterward that the screams of disappointment and the small walk I had livened me up. I pounded through the final 6, and four were left.

Then I lost.

I couldn't get through the last 4 fast enough, and another competitor snuck up from behind and stole my win.

I can honestly say I've never felt worse about a loss. What really grinds my gears is that I had been in 1st place up until #50. I would have won had the surprise amount of wings not been dumped on me.

Oh well, no point in dwelling on it. I masticated my way through the final four wings, finishing in second, and was the only other person to actually finish. Then I immediately went and spewed my recently swallowed food into the toilet.

A hollow finish, bereft of any satisfaction, for a former champ like me.

But this is how all great sports movies start out. I have another chance. This was just a qualifying round, I'll be back in a week or two to try again (just as soon as I can stomach chicken wings again). I lost in my debut round, true. This was the one I was expected to win. But I'll be back, like any great athelete, one setback won't derail my career. I'll take a victory in the second round, and make my way to the finals.

Why do I want to win so badly you ask? Allow me to show you a picture of why I want to win:

Fuck. Yeah.

If I win, that belt is MINE! I must have that belt, and I must reclaim my rightful place as the eating champion of Grande Prairie. There is no substitute for total victory.

And, oh yeah, it's all for charity. I fundraised quite a load of money for the United Way charity. All proceeds of the competition go towards the United Way, so by competing more and bringing more folks in I'll be helping the world or something. So I'll use that as an excuse to not be so selfish.

That kind of works, right? Anyway, I'll keep eating more lettuce, but I'm not above trying something else for a change. Anyone have any tips to help lock in a major victory for me?


Hi Jake, I just found out the results of the competition and was told that at 40 wings, you were in the lead (and 40 was what we were telling participants). As a result, you will also be going to the finals on September 16th. See you there!

Thanks, I will see you there, and you'd better have that belt ready for me when I get there.

Dear chickens, tremble in fear, for Jake Hammell...

The Final Countdown - Europe