Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Boys Are Back SUNDAY!

This is just a reminder that the brand-new 2012 edition of Chihuahua Comics are returning on Sunday.  That's really really soon!

My friend Wes said, "The anticipation for June 3rd is killing me!  I'm more excited for the comics than I am for The Dark Knight Rises."  Have no fear, Wes!  June 3rd is right around the corner and you can bet your ass it's better than anything Christopher Nolan could come up with.

Well, maybe not better.  But definitely right up there.  Okay, maybe second best.  I wonder if it's too late to give us superpowers...  Batman doesn't have superpowers either though.  Just a really cool suit, car and crime-fighting gadgets.  Brian and I could fight crime.  Maybe not.  I cried the other day over a hangnail.

No need to choose though.  Check out Chihuahua Comics on June 3rd and see The Dark Knight Rises on July 20th.  I'm premiering a whole month earlier so it's not even a contest really.  Apples and oranges.

To reiterate, just read the comics.  I work hard on them.  These are hand-drawn, people.  None of this computer crap.  I even color them with Crayola colored pencils.  I'm hardcore.  I bet Chris Nolan can't do that.  What does he have that I don't have?

Just millions of dollars.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chuck E. Cheese

Sylvia and Stasha on a ride at Chuck E. Cheese's.
When I was a kid, Chuck E. Cheese's was the coolest place ever.  It was where a kid could be a kid.  I remember a massive stage where Chuck and his pals would sing and dance.  It was so awesome!  Then Chuck himself would run around and say "hi" to all of us; high-fiving my friends and me as we stuffed our faces with pizza and played arcade games.  Finally, with fistfuls of won tickets I would select my prize and go home happy.  Chuck E. Cheese was so cool, he made Mickey look like some boring mouse.

That, of course, was years ago.  Many, many years ago.  All of my memories of Chuck E. Cheese's are from California and my family moved to Colorado when I was seven.  So we're talking a long time here.  Brian and I went to the Chuck E. Cheese's in Orem, Utah yesterday for a birthday party.  My little cousin Stasha turned four years old and I'm sure to her the place still had charm.  But for me, it was kind of a letdown.  What happened to my totally rad pal named Chuck?

You know those guys who were studs in high school but somehow never seem to amount to anything afterward?  They stay and "hang out" with all the high school kids and talk about how awesome they used to be and yadda yadda yadda... constantly living in the past.  Well, that's what Chuck E. Cheese reminded me of.  That guy.  You go in, and it's like you've stepped back into the late 80s/early 90s when Chuck used to be cool.  He's got really cheesy-looking photos up of his glory days.  There's Chuck posing with two little girls with side pony-tails and scrunchies! There he is kicking a soccer ball!

And he doesn't even look cool anymore.  He came to our table to greet the birthday girl and he just looked shabby.  He even had a handprint embedded in the fur on the back of his head... poor guy.  Somebody should tell him.  And it's crazy to me how I was once fooled by his costume.  It's so unappealing.  And the animatronics show?  Wow.  Horrible.  I'm pretty sure the singing chicken's mouth movements were still set to whatever Madonna song she had originally been singing, they just play Taylor Swift's "Love Story" over it.  That's about the extent of the upgrades.  There's also a dance performed to LMFAO's "I'm Sexy and I Know It" (sans lyrics obviously... a chicken and a mouse can't be sexy).

Although, there was a vaguely sexual animal documentary that played on the TVs for a good ten minutes or so.  It was a series of animal photos with captions played to weird porn music.  The captions said things like "Check out that goat over there" or "You're smooth, Mr. Moose" or "Oh yeah, eat that grass."  When that ended it turned into an 80s pop music video with flashing, strobe-like images of kids in neckties playing the guitar and singing "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" by Wang Chung.  That was followed by a skit with puppets teaching kids the importance of proper ventilation while painting indoors.

I couldn't handle the entertainment anymore so I just focused on the pizza... which is probably the worst pizza ever.  I've microwaved pizza rolls more delicious than that stuff.  And the pizza is freaking expensive!  My Uncle Greg spent an arm and a leg buying pizza and drinks for ten people when I know he could have baked a much better one at home with his own ingredients.  Oh well.  The games were still fun and Stasha and her little sister Sylvia had a good time winning tickets and riding rides.  Brian and I did the noble thing and gave our tickets to the girls.  We could have cashed them in for a star-shaped eraser or something, but we figured the girls would put them to better use.

Not like Stasha needed more prizes.  You should have seen all the presents she got!  Brian and I got her a stuffed Ty teddy bear which made her face light up.  I was surprised actually.  She just squeezed it close to her with this big cheesy grin, even bigger and cheesier than the ever-smiling Chuck E. Cheese who came over and frightened little Sylvia into tears before he scampered away to his aging electronic friends and the pizza that only the Teenage Mutant Turtles could appreciate.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Craft Time! Frames as Wall Art

I'm feeling crafty lately.  And not the devious, scheming kind of crafty... I mean the kind that makes crafts.  Not long ago I posted a project making storage boxes, and today I've got another little project.  This one is much easier.  All I needed were some frames which I bought really inexpensively at Deseret Industries (a thrift store).  Each frame cost a dollar or less.

Then I sanded them down a little and painted them a new color.  I used various shades of blue and a pop of red.  The acrylic craft paints I got from Hobby Lobby and they were about 60 cents a tube.

Once they were all painted to my liking, I used the sandpaper again to distress the frames a little bit.  I roughed up some corners and accentuated the ridges in the framework.

Then I hung them in a pattern on the wall of my bathroom!  Don't they look great?  Instant wall art!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pitter Patter

by Jack Garcia

The sound of rain, like gunshots in the night,
lashed liquid whips against the window pane.
But all the water could not drown my fright.
Or wash her wounds.  Or cleanse her of her pain.
“I would have killed myself were you not there”
was all she had to say for me to cry,
and though my tears joined hers in wet despair
I didn’t hurt enough to want to die.
The pitter patter of the rain like feet
reminded me of tiny children, scared,
running to their mothers—a safe retreat
—to plead with watered eyes they will be spared
the cruelties of the closet monster.
I’ll never know how the rain still haunts her.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Possible New Prologue

Since school got out I've been working more on my comics (which will begin to be posted in June) and less on writing.  But the other night I was lying in bed and an idea for my novel, Jacky Boy, came to me and I couldn't stop thinking about it.  I tried to just sleep, but my mind was reeling with ideas so I crept quietly out of bed, tip-toed to the living room and with only the glow from my laptop screen I plunked out this short little prologue.

It's a first draft and who knows if it will ever make it into the book (in fact, who knows if the book will ever happen... ha ha), but there are things I like about it.  I let Brian read it the other day and he said it was good.  He's a really harsh critic so I believe him when he says it has potential.  Let me know what you think.  (Oh, as a warning, there's a vague sexual reference in there... so proceed with caution).

The boy was surely dead by now.

Even from a distance the red blood was as noticeable as a clown’s nose.  Comical in its vibrant hue yet sad in its significance.  She hadn’t expected to witness something so ghastly.  Had she been given a warning, she wouldn’t have taken to her newly acquired hobby of spying on the neighbors, but no such notice had been issued.  She was caught completely unawares by the sudden act of violence seen through the telescope.

Nobody in the town below her dwelling had any inclination that she existed.  Now that she thought of it, nobody in her own home seemed to know she existed either.  Well, perhaps her husband knew it, but he didn’t seem to care.  She bit her lip at the thought of her husband.  Gently at first, like a pouting schoolgirl.  It might have looked adorable were she not in her mid-forties.  But before she realized it she was biting down on her lower lip rather aggressively and as tooth punctured soft skin a drop of blood fell forth. 

From her vantage point, it almost looked as if the blood below was somehow a result of this careless lip-biting and the thought made her laugh. Laughing made her feel uneasy and she took her eye away from the telescope and made to return inside from the balcony.  Instead she stood still for a moment, pinching her fingers tightly before biting on an untrimmed thumbnail.  An annoying habit really.  Always biting.  Always chewing.

In a rash decision she returned to the telescope—almost tripping on her long skirts in her haste—and peered back down on the scene.  The two bodies lay still in the bloodied dirt, but in the distance, coming from the boy’s house, she saw a woman in a bathrobe making her way towards them.  The observer couldn’t tell if the woman could see the bodies yet.  They lay over a quarter mile away at the base of the small hill from which they fell.

Her heart went out to the boy.  She liked to watch him the best.  He was much too young for a woman of her age, yet she felt something for him.  Most times she was able to convince herself that her fascination with him came from her strong female yearning to have a child—to be a mother.  She didn’t have any children.  Not any of her own at least.  A young man stayed with them once, not too long ago, and had called her mother.  She liked it.

She wasn’t, however, truly na├»ve enough to believe that maternal affection was all that interested her in the boy now bleeding in the dry earth.  She often thought about him in a way that no mother should ever think of a son; she entertained ideas that caused her to perspire and slip her fingers down below.  Something about his smooth, slender body as he performed his outside chores in nothing but blue jeans made her happy inside and out.  He would push his yellow hair from his face with the back of a sweaty hand and stretch his arms out like a beautifully tanned angel made in the dirt and not in the snow.

A tear slid easily from her eye and trickled down her laugh line and curved around her bloodied lip.  She stuck out the tip of her tongue ever so slightly and tasted the salt of her tear mingled with the rust of the blood.  It tasted good somehow and she let it comfort her as she closed her eyes and tried not to think of her imagined young lover dead in the dirt.

A scream sharp and penetrating erupted the silent morning and the woman with the telescope snapped back to attention.  Peering through the lens she saw the mother falling to her knees over the boy.  Another—this time quieter—scream was let out by the mother and the watching woman pushed the telescope away with her wrist and buried her face in her hands.  She couldn’t watch anymore.  That poor mother deserved her privacy.

Again she stepped away only to return.  This time she remembered that if she didn’t focus the telescope on the spot where it had originally been, her husband would know she had been looking through it.  She peered inside it once more and jumped as if shocked by another scream.  She was startled to find that the telescope was now resting on a small house several miles from the tragic scene and through a window somebody was looking right at her.  She held in her breath as she pondered over whether there was any way the white-haired old woman could possibly see her.  But what else was the woman staring at if it weren’t her?

Unnerved, she swung the telescope back around and focused in on the house it was normally on.  The girl’s house.  And as she retired quickly into the dimly lit room adjacent to the balcony, she couldn’t help but take solace in the knowledge that if the boy was dead, the girl must be dead as well.
So... good?  Bad?  I'm excited to proceed!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I would like to thank my mom, Kathi, for bringing me into this world.  This world is far from perfect, but she taught me how to embrace it and love the people in it.  She was the one who encouraged me in school, hugged me when I needed it and who still supports me without judgment.  Her sense of humor and kind heart still bring joy to my life, even now that I'm all grown up.

I would also like to thank my stepmother, Patricia, for taking my father's hand in marriage and being the companion he needs.  She's sweet and devoted and has been nothing but nice to me.  I'm grateful for the love she's given my siblings and for bringing cheer to their home.  I'm sure her own children love her just as much.

Lastly, I would like to thank my mother-in-law, Katherine, for being a wonderful surrogate mom while I live so far away from mine.  She's welcomed me into her home and has gone out of her way to make me feel important and cared for in the Kesler family.  Our long conversations and many shared jokes are some of my favorite things in the world.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama Supports Same-Sex Marriage

Brian and several other people I knew posted a video on Facebook called "It Could Happen to You," and I must admit that I never felt the urge to click on it.  I didn't know what it was about.  It wasn't until Brian's mom urged me to watch it that I did.  It's about ten minutes long and it tells the story of a loving gay couple.  When one man dies, however, the story turns horribly sad as his partner is left with absolutely no legal ties to the one he loved.  It's a personal story that highlights the importance of gay marriage.

Brian's mom said, "Hope you and Brian know how much I love you both.  [The video] touched me and I just wanted to make sure you both know for sure of my love for you!"

I recognize that I am very blessed to have found Brian and together we are very happy.  I'm also blessed in that both my family and his family love and support us with all they have.  I'm grateful that I am always welcome in the Kesler home.  In fact, his family has gone so far as to say that if there were ever a family function (such as a reunion or dinner) where I were not invited, then they wouldn't attend either.  While that sentiment sometimes makes me feel guilty, I am indeed deeply touched that I am that important in their lives.  I love being a part of Brian's family.

And it's that love for family that motivates me, a gay man, to fight for my right to marry the one I love.  Brian and I love each other, support each other, live together, share a banking account, long to adopt children someday and even wear rings... but we are not married.  Only 6 states in the U.S. allow for gay marriage, and Utah is definitely not one of them.  With North Carolina recently becoming the 30th state to amend the constitution in a way that bars gays from marriage, the future doesn't look so good.

However, President Obama just yesterday made a statement in favor of gay marriage, becoming the first sitting president to ever do so.  He said, "I have hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient.  I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people the word `marriage' was something that evokes very powerful traditions, religious beliefs and so forth.  But it is important for me personally to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married." 

He added, "In the end, the values that I care most deeply about and [first lady Michelle Obama] cares most deeply about is how we treat other people.  That's what we try to impart to our kids and that's what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I'll be as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I'll be as president."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Craft Time! Decorative Storage Boxes

I meant to post this ages ago but never did.  If I remember correctly, the March Optimism Challenge took over and then I just plain forgot after that.  Anyway, I'm not the craftiest person, but every once in a while I decide to make something.  We have open shelving in our bathroom, and all our extra soaps and shampoos and stuff were just sitting on the shelf looking ugly.  I thought they would look better in a wicker storage basket or something, but Brian had put me on a spending freeze.  So when I saw two identical boxes all discarded and lonely at work, I got an idea.  I could make a box out of a box!

The first thing I did was tape the flaps up (so the box would be taller), and then I just made sure all the corners and edges were sturdy by applying even more duct tape.

In order to give the final box more visual interest (so it didn't just look like a cardboard box), I cut out strips of cardboard (leftovers from all the Ikea furniture boxes) and taped them along the edges.

Then I tore up strips of paper (I used a parchment-colored resume paper, but any paper will do) and with a mixture of glue and water, I applied the paper to the boxes using a paintbrush until they were completely covered.  For those who don't know, this is a technique known as decoupage.

And after the glue dried (which took a while actually), I filled up my boxes and put them on the shelf!  They've been working out great!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chihuahua Comics Return on June 3rd!

Once upon a time I used to draw little comics about my life.  If you want to check them out, click "Chihuahua Comics!" up at the top or the link in this blog post.  The last one I drew (which was kind of stupid actually) was way back in August of last year, but I am delighted to announce that they will be returning in June.  I've been thinking about bringing them back for a while and over the last few weeks I've been secretly drawing again.  They will follow a more linear narrative than they did before with the story starting with our move into the new apartment.  I'm really excited about them and I hope you are too!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

All Men Can Be Heroes

Brian brought a YouTube video to my attention the other day.  It features a British soldier returning from war.  Amidst the crowd he sees his male lover and the two embrace after such a long time apart.  The soldier gets down on his knee and proposes to the man, who happily accepts.  The two kiss and the words "All men can be heroes" appear on the screen.  It is a beautiful thing, and I hope you take the time to watch the video.

This sort of thing really does happen in real life.  On April 24th, a Navy veteran named Cory Huston proposed to his boyfriend, Marine Avarice Guerero (dressed in full uniform after returning from Afghanistan), at Camp Pendleton outside of Oceanside, California.  It's supposedly the first ever gay proposal to occur on a military base.  And in case you're wondering, Guerero said "yes."

So if you don't think gay men can be heroes, I think you should pay attention to what Captain America himself has to say about it:

“Are you kidding me? It’s insane that civil rights are being denied people in this day and age. It’s embarrassing, and it’s heartbreaking. It goes without saying that I’m completely in support of gay marriage. In 10 years we’ll be ashamed that this was an issue.” 
- Chris Evans (Captain America) in Playboy Magazine


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