Saturday, September 30, 2006

Trying to get back into my art.

I am a cartoonist who is closer to expiring than aspiring. I find myself out of work again so I get ideas of doing a new set of strips. I finished a set in May but I was unsatisfied with the results. I did not give to friends nor did I mail it out to syndicates. I wonder if I should pack it all in. However, I haven't found myself fortunate enough to find something different that pays well so the dream continues...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Blast From the Past

March 27, 2000

The big event in Seattle on March 26th was not the Academy Awards but the implosion of the massive concrete structure known as the Kingdome. It was a structure designed to stand for a thousand years. However, the whims of a billionaire and the vote of the people made the 24 year old structure turn to dust in 18 seconds.

I wanted to witness this event live. I felt cheated when I wasn’t able to convince my friends to celebrate the new millennium at Times Square and the city of Seattle was cheated out of their own celebration on New Years. So, this Sunday I was fortunate to have the day off to scout out a location and get a good view of history. It took place at 8:30 in the morning, which meant that I would stay out all night dancing and stay in Seattle to witness history. I chose a grassy knoll location near Harborview Hospital which overlooks the Pioneer Square area of Seattle which contains the Kingdome. I made a good choice for several reasons.

I arrived by bicycle at 4:30 in the morning. There were about 8 people there. I sat near a group of people who were sitting on a bench that had a view blocked by some tall evergreens. The three women were good friends who befriended the guy who was there. They were friendly and about my age, so I felt comfortable hanging out enjoying their company. The guy was by himself. We all had one thing in common. We wanted to see this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Twenty four years ago this would have been unthinkable. When the Kingdome was built, it was part of the trend of building multi-purpose stadiums. The Kingdome was unique from Three Rivers and Riverfront in that it was topped off by the world largest self supporting concrete roof. It was the ninth wonder of the world.(The Astrodome in Houston was the 8th) The Kingdome was the symbol of civic pride. It enabled the city to acquire two professional teams, the NFL Seahawks and baseball’s Mariners. The Kingdome was built with efficiency in mind. It housed at times 4 professional teams (Mariners, Sonics, Seahawks, Sounders) and had many other events like Monster Trucks, rock concerts, home shows, and boat shows that were too big for conventional arenas. At first the Kingdome was considered a great venue for events but soon after a few rock concerts by Wings and Led Zeppelin, it developed a reputation for having lousy acoustics. This lousy acoustics was a key factor in the Seahawks early success. It allowed the fans to make so much noise that it proved to be a distraction to the opponents. A NFL rule about excessive crowd noise was created due to the Kingdome’s acoustics. The Mariners on the other hand were not well served by the Kingdome. The capacity of baseball was large, about 55,000. The Mariners were sub par team for the first 15 years of their history. The size of the Kingdome emphasized the lack of fans attending the games and it seemed like a tomb at times.

I had been in the Kingdome for about 8 games of baseball, 2 games of football and one rock concert. I went to a Mariners game the day after I arrived in Seattle in 1991. I was spellbound by what I first saw upon entering the seating area. I had never been in a bigger indoor building in my life. I had not seen Astroturf before and was pleasantly surprised at the temperature inside. The crowd was pretty good in size, about 24,000. The fans were quiet though. I had been used to going to Mets or Yankees games were the crowd was raucous and obnoxiously loud. After the game got slow I started to figure out the shortcomings of the Kingdome. At Shea Stadium, you get a gorgeous view of Flushing Bay, which makes up for the ugliness of Shea Stadium itself. Yankee Stadium is a grand structure with a good view of buildings of one of the most dangerous areas in NYC. The Kingdome on the other hand allows your eyes to wander to the gray ceiling covered by the infamous ceiling tiles that fell in 1994. This quote by Mariners announcer, Dave Niehaus says it all. "And Randy Johnson points to the sky…that is covered by the roof!!" The fact that Randy Johnson’s signature gesture to his dead father seemed obstructed by the roof made me vote for the construction of a new baseball stadium that would become known as Safeco field. This would mark the beginning of the end of the Kingdome.

The Mariners were making noise that they could not survive as a franchise if they continued to play in the Kingdome. They always had a hard time convincing people it was a good idea to go indoors in August to watch a team who was not in the playoff hunt. The team needed to be really good in order to get people to sacrifice warm sunny evenings to attend indoor baseball. A close losing initiative vote convinced the government to fund a new baseball only stadium. They came up with the idea of a retractable roof stadium located just south of the Kingdome. It opened in 1999.

The Seahawks was threatening to move because the lack of luxury boxes would not allow them to "compete" in the NFL. Paul Allen-billionaire, bought the team on the condition that the Seahawks would get a new stadium in exchange for his purchasing the team. An initiative passed and after debating where it would be built, it was decided to be built on the grounds of the Kingdome itself. This set the motion for the Kingdome’s demise. The last event in the Kingdome was when the Seahawks lost to the Miami Dolphins in the playoffs was in the Kingdome. Soon, after the game the procedure began for the final show, the implosion of the Kingdome.

So, we decided that the view we had could have been better if we moved to a grassy knoll that was next to a former homeless haven. The grass was wet from the night dew but the women had the foresight to bring sleeping bags and a plastic tarp. The tarp was large enough to accommodate the five of us comfortably. The women even brought donuts! I was planning on making this an endurance test and these kind women made it so I would have comfort food and a dry spot to sit. (They were cute to boot!)

The sun started to rise and the Kingdome in all its concrete gray glory faced its last dawn. The columns and the roof were all that remained. It looked like the Roman Coliseum without its outer shell. The sun was warm and touched places inside a building built to shelter patrons from Seattle’s inclement weather in the first place.. It looked eerily beautiful with black tarp covering the columns and the stripped down roof with its black look. We can see boats of all sizes arriving in increasing numbers into Elliot Bay. People were gathering on the rooftops of the buildings that were in close range to the Kingdome. It was 7 AM and I took a catnap. I awoke to see the crowd around us double in size. Ken, the man who met the women before I arrived tuned in his radio. The atmosphere was getting festive with children being dragged out of bed to witness something that may thrill or terrify them.

The excitement was brewing when 8 o clock passed. Only thirty minutes to go. People who brought cameras were getting ready. The highway below us was now closed to traffic. The people were gathering at the wall screaming. An impromptu wave started. It was 8:25 and the excitement was reaching a fever pitch. Everyone in our little group were rubbing our hands in anticipation. "4 minutes!" Ken shouted. "Two minutes!" Ken shouted again. "ONE MINUTE!!" All eyes were focused on the doomed Kingdome, I don’t think anyone blinked, that will wait til later. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1…………….nothing….It turned out the radio got a precautionary countdown but the feed from the demolition crew was now counting down for real. 10, 9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, …..OH MY GOD…..first came the streaks of red light flowing up and down the ribs of the rooftop, it looked a little like the fireworks display that Seattle should have had on New Years. It was followed by some small puffs of smoke. The loud booms followed and the columns started to buckle, finally the roof collapsed inward. It was an awesome sight! It was so quick, a building built to withstand earthquakes collapsed like a house of cards. I was sad. The show wasn’t over though. The smoke created by the implosion rose high into the air and moved north towards the downtown area. The King Street Station clock tower was quickly erased by the dust. The men who were standing on top of a large crane soon was covered with dust. The historic Smith Tower would be next. It was gone. The cloud of dust continued to cover everything in its path. People were grabbing gas masks. Others were running away filming the event with their camcorders.

Meanwhile on the hill, the people started to walk away because, although we were not directly in the path of the cloud of dust some bits of it was raining down on us, covering our jackets and shoes. The cloud still covered the area where the Kingdome once stood. Some of the buildings close to it were starting to appear through the fog. Finally, we can bear witness to what effect the blast did. It was like a Polaroid picture developing before your eyes.

Slowly, the fog lifted, and it became clear that the demolition team did their job well. I nearly cried when the sight of mangled steel and broken concrete started to appear. The crowd started to thin out, it was time to leave. We parted company thankful that we had good people to enjoy probably the most famous implosion in history. I’m thankful I was not alone but sad that I will probably never see them again. However I will remember Ken, Julie, Katie, and Shari whenever I think of the Kingdome, because for all its minor faults, the Kingdome was a fine place to take the family to see fun events and I will miss it, although the men’s room with its trough like urinal deserves the fate of the Kingdome itself.

2006 Update: Like many cities at the time, multi-purpose stadiums were replaced by individual stadiums for football and baseball. Seattle has Safeco Field for the Mariners and the Seahawks play in what is now called Qwest Field. Safeco is splendid, one of the best venues for baseball. It's clean, has great views, and the seats are comfortable. Qwest Filed is an improvement but not much better than what a renovated Kingdome would be like. I like though, that the Seahawks continue to play in a very noisy venue and the Hawks nest is cool. I'm now3 looking forward to what the Mets will bring to the table cuz Shea is getting to be a dump.

Me, Nervous? Of course! I'm a Mets fan.

This was a great season to be a Mets fan, so far.... It started off good and when they lost their nos. 4 and 5 pitcher they got better! They lost their starting left fielder and right fielder and still they ran away with the division. So when Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine went down with nagging injuries, I didn't panic because they were so far ahead it didn't really matter. Then I realized that although it was a foregone conclusion they were playing post season baseball, I was unsure they had the starting pitching to do the job.

I think Glavine would be an okay no. 2 starter but he doesn't make he feel confident. I like Orlando Hernandez though, he's a gamer. Steve Traschel is a .500 pitcher but the team scores runs for him. John Maine I like but he's new and unchallenged. I was hoping that Pedro Martinez was gonna come back strong. I thought he was playing possum with his injuries. Resting because he wasn't needed but alas he was really hurt, and now he's gone.

For awhile the team looked like the 1986 Mets but the longer the season went it wasn't the 1986 Mets but the 1996 team, actually the 96 Yankees. I feel this year is just the beginning of a potential great run by the Mets. They have most of their starters set for the next few years. However, their pitching needs to get younger and it looks like if Rick Peterson is the real deal we'll see some really decent pitching the next 5 years.

hopefully, we won't see a let down like the 80's Mets that only had one World Series crown. Hopefully we'll avoid bad trades (Len Dykstra and Roger McDowell for Juan Samuel), The sudden performance fallout of regulars before their time, (Sid Fernandez, Howard Johnson and Ron Darling) and personal problems taken to the field (Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry)

We can hope!

Let's go Mets!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm Walkin' Here!!!!

I am not a big fan of driving. Walking and Biking are my preferred ways of commuting. When you live in a city, especially New York, you can walk freely without incident. However, if you are in the suburbs and you are walking the sidewalks without the required jogging suit it seems to be cause for alarm.

I just moved to a small town close to the Jersey shore. A mere eight blocks from the beach. My apartment complex is three blocks from a 7-Eleven and two blocks from the Post Office. So, I walk to these places to get a little exercise. However, several times, friends who live there have offered rides, on sunny days no less! Today, however took the cake. A stranger, a woman in her fifties, offered me a ride. Maybe because I was wearing a button down shirt, or maybe she thought the puffy clouds in the sky looked threatening, I don't know, but what compels someone to do that? Am I that pathetic looking? Did I look like A male prostitute? I think I look like a serial killer sometimes, so again, what was she thinking?

I am a bit heavy, and I don't make much money, so I like to get my exercise without going through a workout ritual. Hence, I walk to places that are within a mile of where I live. I don't pollute the air, I don't add to traffic, and I get my exercise. So why is this weird? Am I not Mexican enough? We're a fat nation and every community outside of cities built in the last 50 years discourages walking. I just like to walk. Let me walk and stop looking at me like I'm a charity case!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Bill Clinton, Chris Wallace Fallout

I loved watching how Bill Clinton on Fox News Sunday handled himself. However, as usual the Right Wing Foxmeisters spun it so that Bill Clinton went volcanic when Chris Wallace asked the "legitimate" journalist question:

Chris Wallace: "When we announced that you were going to be on "Fox News Sunday," I got a lot of e-mail from viewers. And I've got to say, I was surprised. Most of them wanted me to ask you this question: Why didn't you do more to put bin Laden and Al Qaida out of business when you were president?"

there are many things wrong with the question and the way it was presented.

1. The agreement with the interview was that it would be 15 minutes and that half (7.5 minutes) of the interview would be about the Clinton Global Initiative and the second half would be about anything else. Wallace asked that particular question a mere 4 minutes into the interview. Was he thinking that Clinton would be more long winded on the previous questions?

2. The question was not based on Chris Wallace's journalist skills but were e-mail from viewers, some journalist. He was merely doing the bidding of right wing Fox devotees who are currently spreading the trendy Republican talking Points of recent weeks trying to implicate Clinton for 9-11, i.e. the ABC "docudrama" "Path To 9-11" which admits it made up the scenarios that occurred on Clinton watch, (probably so they can be fair and balanced instead of presenting facts that would have Bush look a lot worse than Clinton by comparison.)

3. The question itself says that Clinton didn't do enough based on no facts and forgets that Clinton had no authority to kill bin Laden and had no support from the same clown crowd that says he screwed up. The Bush administration is trying to make you forget the U.S.S Cole bombing happened mere weeks before the 2000 election and that the identity of the bombers wasn't made clear until January of 2001. So what was Bush doing then? Bashing the Clinton administration on "vandalizing" Air Force One and allowing some campaign contributors to have a joy ride on a nuclear submarine that killed Japanese tourists.

Fox News has spent the last few days defending Wallace and calling him a non partisan journalist but Fox News thinks Britt Hume is non partisan despite the puff piece with Dick Cheney after he shot his friend in the face. They also have consulted their thesaurus to come up with every negative personality trait on Clinton as possible.

anyway I'm loving this because Clinton fights back and understands that you don't need to be polite to your enemies. If only Al Gore or John Kerry had taken some lessons.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

FIRED! Again.

My first real post will deal with my inability to get a good job and an inability to sometimes keep a lousy job. Let me explain...

I had lived in Seattle for 14 years, I moved back to my home state to be with Scangirl who I met in Seattle. I had originally moved to Seattle to seek my fortune, ha ha but really lived much of my time as a slacker. Seattle was a great place to live. It's clean, mellow and ideal for me when I moved there in August of 1991. It was cheap at the time so I never had to give up my dream of being a cartoonist I only had to work part time. I always had trouble finding jobs in the art field when I moved there so I applied to a restaurant as a cook. I really thought it would be temporary, but ultimately it became my career because when the going got tough I always fell back to it.

As I said I met Scangirl in Seattle. After we dated briefly we went our separate ways until we met up again a month or so before she had decided to move back to our home state. We fell in love in that time so when she was gone, I missed her enough to want to move back too. My home state is a better market for graphic artists and my gang from art school PIC is here so I thought it was time to move back.

I pondered the idea for awhile but decided it was a good idea. I planned it out well, so I thought. I had three friends who designed t-shirts in the city and I would work with them. It would be fun, I would make money, and Scangirl and I would move in together and we would live happily for the foreseeable future.

Shortly after traveling cross country in a rented mini-van with my cat I arrived in my home state. I crashed with my parents in their new house in an "active" adults community. I went to the city to visit my friend pro, del and korn at their place of employment. Pro was the boss and he would hire me and I would make lots of money. But Pro had just moved himself to Madison, Wisconsin. I missed him by hours. Del was helpful, though, helpful in pointing out the fact that I had a way to go before I could hope to get employment in the graphic arts field. Months of applying to jobs online proved him right. Soooooooooo, I caved in finally and took a job in a restaurant in a shore town and endured a summer in a place whose business varied extremely depending on the weather. Since the summer ended it was a matter of time before my employment fate was determined. Since I wasn't "Cheap Labor" today was the day. The timing could have been better as Scangirl quit her job a mere two months after moving into a new apartment with a year long lease. It was not a good job by any measure but it paid the bills... And now.... Who knows.... We'll see.

At least I will have time to write the blog in the meantime.

Enjoy your day.


My name is Scan and this is my corner. Basically it is the typical personal blog that will analyze my various obsessions and my interests. I am a Mets fan, so there WILL be talk this October about them. I will talk about my dumb jobs in my past which will be a focus on a book I want to write about. I can be political I lean to the left and I am not religious. I love comic strips and hope to make something of myself involving my ideas for a comic strip. Anyway, this a first entry with many more to follow since I have high speed internet now, strap in your seat belts cuz here we go!