Salgood Sam ● Com

Illustrator, Cartoonist & Writer
Posts Tagged ‘personal’

What’s new?


I’ve totally fallen behind on updating my blogs!
Things have become pleasantly busy with drawing,
and teaching, keeping me more than occupied.
But still, overdue!

I submit my messy studio
as proof of business.



How is everybody? I’m well. I’m planning an event in Montreal – sign up here to get news about that – There will be news very soon hopefully re guests and things, things are falling in place. It’s to be a night of Jamming and Jawboning for cartoonists and lovers of the form in Montreal.

In other news, The Patreon got off to a nice start but a year in has held stable for a while. Partly due to my intermittence in promoting it I fear. And a recent shift to mostly lower level pledges means the total has gone down a bit in fact, slightly offset by the dramatic decline of the Canadian Dollar recently.

Patreon is in USD, so I get a nice boost from the exchange rate.

LCdragonquestwebrawStill though, I’d like more pledges for sure. The current goal is to get to $350 a month, most of my rent. That means about a 175 pledges at $2 each. Could take fewer if folks pledge more and I have a few reward tiers for that to encourage it. I’ve taken out formal “teaching” as I find that hard to do online. I teach privately at my home though, contact me if you’re interested. But there’s still the option to get postcards or convention sketches!

I did this fantasy illustration as a commision for one of my patrons recently. I’d be glad to do something for you if you pledge too! Once a year you’ll be able to request something like this for yourself or another for a consideration of $15 a month. That’s just 180 a year, a pretty good deal for original art to your specifications.

ravenburnEven without more of those though, still 175 patrons giving just 2$ pledges monthly seems like a reasonable number to hope for in my audience? Certainly from some of the stats I’ve looked at, many can afford it! So I hope I can entice a few more in time! And I think it’s well worth the deal. Free access to a digital library of all my independent comics and bonus patron’s only content shared to the patreon blog!

I think getting a bit more focused about my posting regularly on my site blogs again would help for sure, both comics but other things too. I’ve probably been spending a disproportionate amount of time with the community on Facebook and neglected these platforms. Partly it’s due to mostly working on comics I’m sharing in the rough–lots of process but have to hold back final work on for now. Ironically if you are a patron, you get to see that all sooner. But for now only Kickstarter and Patreon readers get to read Dracula first.

I’m doing a fair bit of posting and instagramming for my classes, and editing my teaching sites for Dynamic Drawing, and Making Comics. And there’s other stuff I could share too, work on commissions and things or just a bit of Blogging. But time is the shortage. I fear it’ll be sporadic this summer at best.

A Bastards Tale is currently holding up Revolver Four, I got it started but then hit a problem….basicly involving how to represent myself, and my dead father in the story! That sounds more dramatic that it is, but it was a tough problem and I ran out of time to get it done, had to get back to drawing Dracula some more, get a big chunk of Dracula done if not rap it all up before I can go back to it! Probably the latter as really, it’s much too late already.

Frustrating but making comes is often about deferred pleasure and keeping and eye on the long game.

So that’s it for now, I’ll post about my thing in April in a week or so…check in here or sign up to the list if you want to come to my MTL comix Salons!

The Spilt Ink Podcast 009: “Like moving pictures, but not.”

Crosspost from

"A last dinner"This episode of the podcast I take a question from Andrew J. Hawthorn, who asked about “Narrative techniques or figurative tricks you can only do in comics?”

“The roots of violence”Tricky question to answer with JUST words. I’ll give it my best go but for sure this podcast will have a youtube version shortly, with some visual aids. And check out the description texts here for links below. Right off the top, you’ll find page Page 89 of Dream Life, “The roots of violence” on the left, and “A last dinner”, page 68. Both typifying two very different approaches to unconventional page layouts, structurally, and thematically. But each applying the kind of non linear collagen like sequences that do away with conventional panels altogether.

I name-dropped the following scribblers and geniuses in this episode, If you’re not familiar already, go check out their stuff: Bill SienkiewiczDave McKeanNeil AdamsBarron StorySergio Toppi! & Diego Rivera! Check out the astounding DIA installation of the Detroit Industry fresco cycle here! And, Chris Ware’s Building Stories too!

As always, you can become a patron of the arts and subscribe here! Great news, the Patreon campaign has gone over $100 a month! Very encouraging to hit that mark at two months! I’ve just cleaned up the page a bit and set up a custom video playlist of my best stuff for the first page on patreon.

The Spilt Ink Podcast 009: “Like moving pictures, but not.” by Sequential Radio on Mixcloud

Music is, SadOceanSpaceBear & NASA in the opening. Diggin’ On Comix by Dr. John. Which some will recognize from the wonderful Comic Book Confidential, by Ron Mann. Closing out with Montreal’s The Unsettlers, “Disco Junkie”, off of Blood. And then Oscar Purrs!

Thanks again to Andrew Walsh & Troy Carlson, my newest patrons, along with Michelle Darwin, Emil Underbjerg, Tim Moerman, Ian Hodgkinson, & Shannon Becker! Plus, two secretive souls who will take no public thanks, but have it most assuredly. Merci beaucoup to you all!


Potpourri of bloggity | the work and the stuff, and a notable death

I started off the last post mentioning how Facebook’s new pay to be seen model is working against the site being as useful to me as much as it had been before, and noticing how I’ve been neglecting this space too long.

With books coming in the spring and everything, I’m going to try to get back into posting here more regularly. Maybe even like this, transitioning a lot of my activity from social networks blogging to here about all and sundry that interests or provokes me.

It seemed almost like a message when I saw this “How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook?” app from I plugged in an estimate of my daily average here out of curiosity, it took a while to do its thing. lol. I use it to promote my work often so not “wasted” I feel, but the app says 108 DAYS, 7 HOURS, & 33 MINUTES Since Sep 15, 2011. And I’ve posted 10,865 things to my feed in that time? Does that include my other four fan pages there [1][2][3][4]? Rough estimates that makes about 10 to 11 posts a day av. Sounds about right anyway.

I’ve been reluctant in the past to post “off topic” on my own site so much, keeping it mostly about work. But I think I’ll try diversifying things now. So here’s some stuff that I’ve noticed or had thoughts about in the last two days, and some work.

Did you catch the news about Israeli PM Netanyahu Facing Zionist Racism for his Son Dating a Norwegian?
Kumuppins eh? I don’t know how widespread it is but not surprised in the least.

While I’m to my knowledge Ashkenazim on both sides of my family, and considered a full blooded Jew under Jewish law. I am also an atheist who was raised outside of the temple entirely. Never had any indoctrination at all.

I’ve always felt an outsider everywhere, and it started in part from realizing when I was a kid that Jewish tradition suggested that my being raised like that meant that to some, I’m a gôy. In the original Hebrew it means a Jew ignorant of the Jewish religion, as well as a non-Jew. So potentially that’s me.To some orthodox minds anyway. I would point out I’m not ignorant, having read about my heritage and been present some family events of a religious nature and enjoyed them for their social merits.

In the past and often today, many Jews like to think of themselves as above or immune to racism. But that’s hardly the case. No one is. And a lot of traditional doctrine, like that bit I just mentioned, always rubbed me the wrong way for its intrinsic race based nationalism. To my mind racism=nationalism=racism and I loath both, you know? And I see both as artifacts of culture, not real in any material way other than the way we deal with the idea of them.

A Israeli friend of mine recently lamented that if we were in 1800’s France, he would be supporting Herzl and I’d be opposing the movement. It’s possible, assuming I had the same philosophical leanings. I can understand the Jewish quest for homeland at that time. But If my mind was the same as today, I’d reject his racially driven world view. Though at that time it was pretty much most of the worlds world view. But If I had my modern mind, I’d be fighting the illusion of Race at home in Europe, rather than promoting a colonial idea that what involve the displacement of another ethnic group in order to make us feel safer–but in the end putting us in greater peril I think.

File under the more you know…and often don’t. The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast on

I have been wondering about the details of his side of this story. I was around for the news when it first came around and recalled it being much less cut and dry than the recent tweets and backlash made it seem. Glad someone kept their notes.  I’m well convinced Woody is a hard person to deal with or be involved with. No strike that, is really quite ethically compromised given who Soon Yi was when he started his affair. But It’s always felt a bit fishy the way Mia Farrow handled all that as well. Since posting this Dylan has now had her say, and i’m inclined to support her as a victim. But there is also the problematic nature of memory and vague nature of a lot of the incidents he’s accused of. But I don’t think she’s lying. In any case, bloody messy business.

Café Chat l’heureux – There is a Cat Café opening in Montréal!

First Cross-Country Tesla Trip Takes Less Than a Week, Costs $0 | Awesome. Just plain awesome. The infrastructure of the future.

Discovered the Art of Nicolas Delort. Also, awesome. 

Check out this clip here of him doing some of his magic.  This is really deeply zoomed in. Crazy details. It’s been ages since i tried Scratch-board techniques. Not since high school i think. Sam Agro said “Like a creepy Franklin Booth“. Agreed. gorgeous!


Scientists watch glowing molecules form memories in real-time!

A few days ago i saw a cool report about how scientists had worked out a way to watch molecules involved in the forming of memoriesCool in of itself, and I was reminded of it again, upon seeing another post of that cornball Dr. Emoto rice test from a FB friend with the comment “If you think your thoughts have no influence on the physical world, think again!

Along with commenting on that posting, it inspired me to post about the breakthrough in active brain imaging along with this thought: For those that wish to promote the idea that our inner thoughts have a real impact in the outer world around us. I use inner and outer here pointedly. Because really, that’s a false dichotomy propagated by the way we perceive thoughts vs the physical. Good old Descartian dualism that seeks to elevate humanity and life by saying there is something other, special, about us that definitely separates us from the rest of the stuff and beasts and holds the promise of immortality for many.

Well, here’s my thoughts. Our thoughts have influence on the physical world in two ways. One*, when they lead to actions. Ok, obvious maybe but worth pointing out. Most of the time, even if you are unaware of how, this is what is going on. Two**, they are in fact properties of the physical world–of your neurons. They were never separate from the physical world in the first place. If you thought so, you were misled, like most of us at one time or another. To that end, look at this…and think about how as you do, it’s happening in your own skull as you form a memory of it.

** Having a thought causes other neurons to respond and all kinds of interesting brain chemistry to happen. They are not nonphysical things. Imagining them as something that happens in another place/space/without forms, this is a popular but unfounded idea. * A lot of the new age meme about the impact of our thoughts attributes the consequences of subtle behavioral interactions and body language to the supernatural. It is unlikely that you never show any of your negative or positive feeling on your face, stance, or the way you interact with others. Depending on how observant and sensitive people are to that they might know you feel in general terms good or bad about them, or they may just have a gut feeling about it. But one way or another most of the time they will pick up on something even if only subconsciously. So, intentional or not, a lot of your thoughts lead to actions, including pointed inaction and intentions even unconscious ones. And all that has an impact.

On Turning 30 by Molly Crabapple

Well written. Resonates with my own thoughts witnessing how age anxieties mess with the minds of most women I’ve known. It gets to guys too but not nearly as intensely. Also this struck me due to the fact I once witnessed a few older female comic creators whose work I admired, go from trying to armor themselves over their mixed feelings of being seen as elder ladies, not getting noticed as much, and being catty about Molly who one of them had sat next to at a show. She did not approve of the 20 something Molly’s penchant for corsets and bustiers.

Personally I’ve always been of the mind to, and encouraged my partners to try to age gracefully. Fit as we can manage, into whatever decrepitude inevitable entropy has in store. My hair has several silver strands now. I like them. They have been earned.

U.S. Government and Top Mexican Drug Cartel Exposed as Partners:

*Sigh. premise for the next HBO series?

Speaking of HBO crime stories, I have been most impressed by True Detective. Very tightly written so far. And the cast is killing it. More please.

Ok, lets get into the work….

Dream Life pencils | I like making unexpected places pretty.

new115Right now I’m “penciling” my the final few pages for Dream Life book one. It was supposed to be done a year ago, but last Feb I had some test and found out I’m Diabetic. At the time i said little, I was not sure what it would mean or how it would impact anything other than my penchant for surgery coffee and energy drinks was going to have to come to an end. It runs in the family, so not a total shock. It had me worried for a bit but I responded to meds well, and between diet and an increasing amount of exercise I’ve been doing really well with controlling my levels.

At the time though, I was about to enter crunch time on Dream Life and I realized something I was trying as a short cut for doing the tones wasn’t cutting it and I’d have to do some of them over – and that there were things I wanted to fix with the story that I’d only just noticed in the last round of edits. I only had under 20 pages of 160 left to work on, many mostly done even. But in the time left, and with the news about my health, a hard bird to make it for TCAF 2013 was out. Not unless I wanted to risk some serious health problems. At 42 [now 43] and having dodged a bullet with cancer, I’m not screwing around with that for anything. So I put off Dream Life of a bit while I got other commitments done, and got healthier. And this month I’m wrapping up that last bit of the book finally. I have to say, I do like me some delayed gratification.

new118One of the bits of new work I’m doing is a scene I’ve had in mind a long time. It’s a long scene that exploits place and a lot of public art to tell a story about a person. Posted to the right here is a page from a scene of PJ walking through the city having just arrived, reconnecting with the town and internally resolving some heavy stuff from earlier in the book. On the left is the bottom later page from the end of the same sequence. I’m working in red felt tip pen here. For pencils I use many different things, whatever my mood calls for. Sometimes it’s even pencil!

This panel background, the one with the trees painted upside down on the overpass structure, is from photo reference I took of public art on the Gardiner Expressway in about 2008 or so. Rodney Graham‘s Tree Portraits wrapped around the pillars beneath the Gardiner Expressway, creating an inverted forest within a concrete jungle. [1][2][3]. The last location in this scene is set in a nearby space inspired from some other public art too. Found near the Toronto Music Garden, in the Spadina Quay Wetlands. I changed it to suit the story with PJ, from what looks like a small factory building to a house.

A lot of Dream Life is set is a semi fictional version of Toronto. In that I am basing it on real places but take liberties liberally to suit my storytelling desires. As I was walking the route from my script for this scene, taking location shots for reference. Passing through his inverted forest seemed perfect.  it echoes the earlier scene that happens in a forest under trees, and just generally evokes a lot of appropriate things about PJ in this moment. Been looking forward to drawing it since I was there taking the ref shot in 2008. Originally had planed to used it much later in the story. Part that would not fit in this first book. But after realizing I was going to have to break the story up to get it done and publish it, I felt PJ’s narrative was weak as is. So I found a way to bring this forward, and in a way make it far better and more meaningful as well, I hope.

The sudden passing of a kind stranger.

I was going to leave it at that for this post. Plenty NO? And I felt unsure if this was something I had any business posting about here. But then looking over the post not mentioning this in my journal entry from the last two days seemed far to conspicuous.

See the thing is I didn’t really know Debra. From the sounds of it I wish I’d known her better. Only met her a few times in her capacity as a volunteer at events and at Kevin’s shop once I think, or maybe twice.  Through the years I’ve gotten to know Kevin Boyd well professionally but didn’t have much knowledge of his personal life. I only recently learned of Debra after he opened his comic shop I think. And probably a lot of what I did know of her came from Facebook. So far I had learned she was involved along with some other mutual friends in Toronto’s comics scene, as a lawyer, volunteer, and shutter bug. And one of the core founders of a regular saturday night ladies night at the lounge. Always active it seems, she posted a reminder for their gathering saturday, and then took a nap and never woke up.

It was almost totally random seeming. Young and very vial person many people I know knew suddenly was no longer there. Word today was SUDEP, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. I’m informed by Kevin that no one really knows what it is, what happens. Just that it does. 50.000 times a year on average! I had no idea.

As the publisher for Sequential I posted her death notice for our site and asked a friend of hers, Rachel Richey who recently joined the team to pen a personal remembrance we’ll be putting up in a day or so. The shock-wave of regret and condolences after Kevin posted of her death on Facebook January 26th has been a little epic. The impact of her enthusiasm disposition and volunteering extended well outside of the Toronto Comics scene, online and via all those who had met her at events.

Reading some of my other friends and Kevin’s laments of her sudden passing, It’s certainly made me ponder mortality and life more than a few times over the last two days, and think I missed something not having spent more time around her.

An official final posting was put up on her profile, it read…

DebDebra Jane Shelly, aged 39 (April 23, 1974-January 25, 2014)

Our precious Debra passed peacefully in her sleep on Saturday afternoon from an epileptic seizure. Debbie will be forever remembered as a genuine and kind soul with unparalleled wit and a spectacular smile. She was the adored daughter of Scott and Susan Shelly of Oakville, ON. Debra was the loving partner of Kevin A. Boyd. She was the world’s most cherished older sister to Karrie Shelly Singer (Dave), Cristie Shelly Schultz (Mark) and Greg Shelly (Laura Waters). Debbie was a doting aunt to Caleb, Noah, Liam, Ana, Sidney, Kaitlyn, Michael and Lauren. We will miss her dearly….

[redacted ceremony info as i don’t think it’s really for the public as much]

Debbie was a ray of light in all of our lives- please feel free to come dressed in your most cheerful colors in tribute to our sunny girl. In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to Epilepsy Toronto in Debbie’s honor here.

Slow web, sick on the CBC, and doing the work.

[PreS: sorry you early birds if you got surprised by the auto-play, fixed now.]

Recently been reading Warren Girard Ellis’ ramblings again, that last post a couple of days ago, making listing to this back logged episode of tmsidk the second or third time mention of the ‘slow web’ or something like it has come up for me in the last week, when Tell Me Something I Don’t Know interviewed Jeffrey Inscho.

Hah, that would be just my luck, as i’m finally getting half a hang of promoting myself publishing ventures at something approaching the pace it seems to take to get anyone to take your seriously online or noticed in the torrents of updates, the game would go and change from under my feet.

Being buddhistly inclined I liked a lot of what he had to say about applying mindfulness to your work in the digital sphere. I do try to do just that as much as my mind will allow. Also think I spotted some impracticalities too. Share Jim’s concern about the narrowing of focus and echo chamber effect [something he mentioned in passing in the interview].

We will see. Agree enthusiastically with the sentiment of it, as a card carrying member of the old slow action movement I’d far rather quality of interactions trump update cycles.

Over time I do think they count more. But when you’re still one of many, and growing numbers of creators trying to raise awareness of our work, and have as eclectic a reader base it seems I have, I’m not sure how much liberty I have to choose to overly narrow band broadcast. I feel like on the edges of your media domain you need to have fairly fast moving streams to match the pace of the rest of the web, to draw in readers to your core presentation. I don’t post on the blog here rapidly. No way I could keep up with a even once daily rate that Warren thinks of as a lower gear, while maintaining a good level of quality of content, and keep on top of my artwork. Beyond the usual challenges of content creation being dyslexic makes the process of writing and proofing laborious.

But Facebook, my pages, and twitter, G+ to a degree too, I can post small bits of thought or just promote other people’s stuff – something I agree with Dean Haspiel about being a important and valuable role to play, not just as being a community builder but also being someone anyone cares to pay attention too as well. Rather than someone who only talks about themselves?

I suspect some aspects of the slow web Warren and Jeffrey talk about is in part the privileged cruising gear of those who’ve established themselves. For those that describes It makes a lot of sense to economize your efforts.

At this point I follow the feed-back, post more where I find I get responses and less where I don’t.

Never was all in for twitter, it’s always been a semi-automated branch of my blogs. Don’t have a phone attached to my hip so it was never practical for me and too much of a distraction from the drawing table.

For the moment I get far more attention to my work on Facebook than anywhere else. My computer is seldom far from me so when I brake to pace around, grab a coffee, or set up a show to half watch, I often check in and poke around, like or share something, post a bit of work i’m in the midst of.

I tried promoting a couple of posts on Facebook recently connected with RevolveЯ. They got a lot more views but I remain unconvinced if it helped all that much. I did notice that you have to watch it with that, need to look closely at how the options are laid out for you when you set up a promoted post. Seems like a default was to keep promoting and charging after the budget I had set was spent. Not sure what to make of that but I was not pleased to find I was getting charged again without first being asked. As is too often the case it feels like communicating is not FBs strong suit. Incidentally it’s been amusing to watch as twice as many people who’ve added me as a contact in the past 6 months, did so in the last week on Flickr post instagram TOS fiasco. All good, welcome to all. I was never on instagram so works for me.

Speaking of attention…

Having a hard time getting some key comics news sites to pick up my press for RevolveЯ. Others have, but a few of the key players are being tough nuts to crack. Another round of press needs to be done, hoping I can get more traction in the new year. Wondering if I rubbed some the wrong way along the line or something? For sure not really being part of the convention circuit has not helped. Last show I did was TCAF, and that just as a civilian. Ran into one former editor I once worked with who now blogs, it was kind of awkward, as is to happen at these hectic things, but has not replied to an email since?

Be nice to go to more shows and have more fluid relations with the comics diaspora at large, have a chance to build solid friendships in person. But my lack of funds aside, when am I supposed to make time for that and still draw my books, and do all the other shit we have to do ourselves these days eh? Would love to, but we have to have a successful book first. For that we need the book we have to get coverage so people know it’s there to order or buy. A dog and tail game.

Best is if the word gets out more virally, and becomes something the diaspora can’t ignore. If you’re reading this, do us a favor and check out the book if you have not already, mention it to a few someones, share it blog it and if you’d like to review it contact me about that, be glad to oblige. I have lots of visitors and followers these days but outside a core group not enough sharing what they find to get that fantastic fractal spreading pattern going yet. Needs more cowbell!

On the other hand and not to seem to only gripe, I have had some nice windfalls!

Most recently I managed to get invited onto the CBC show to do some local color run after this great doc, Graphic Chicken Soup for the Graphic Soul, by David Gutnick. Thanks to David and Maria Turner, my boss at carte blache both for putting my name in for that. I’m on with an old acquaintance, Simon Bossé, in a piece called Growing up graphic. Our parents get all the blame.

Making it a more entertaining experience than planned I got nailed by the flu about 6 hours before the interview, vomiting all over the place very suddenly and sending my poor Ange into a cleaning frenzy. Managed to clear out the pipes and get it together to do it all over the phone, thanks to some nice editing, I even sound totally coherent.

Growing up graphic: CINQ A SIX | Dec 22, 2012 | 10:36 © CBC 2012


So that’s me for the year probably. Couple more retailers on board and some new distribution channels about to come online for RevolveЯ. I’m running behind on RevolveЯ Two right now due to last minute editorial decisions on my part, and the feeling like the slow moving soft launch is progressing well, but has not reached the sweet spot for the next Minimum Effective Dose. The next book dropping and it’s associated press releases, to help crank the series forward. Taking the time to color a story and add another to make it all that much cooler, less ignorable, and put it out in January instead of this month as I had planned originally.

Keep your eyes open for a kickstarter project from me and Mark Sable too in the new year.
As work on Dream Life book one gets done i’ll be jumping directly onto a story we have planned.

Happy Holiday and a grand old new year all!

My Little Friend

I’ve been keeping some stuff under the hat for a bit.

A few people have known, very immediate family and a few I was dealing with at the same time this was going on so the work I was doing with them would be affected. I eluded to something being up a while back that was keeping me from posting my comic for a couple of weeks.

But seeing as I had no idea till just two days ago exactly what I was dealing with and I didn’t want to have to think about putting worried minds to rest till I had answers, or have people treating me differently–the less time I spent thinking about it myself the better for me–I chose to wait on sharing. Honestly while I’m a private person in some respects that was hard for me. I’m not one to keep stuff bottled up.

FYI if I saw you recently or talked to you and didn’t mention it, that’s because mostly I was still digesting the latest news and waiting to see how it sat before I spilled. Just know I’m good, and I wasn’t blowing smoke when I said things are well. I’m going to be fine in all likelihood, feel very good health-wise now and not down at all about this recent turn of events although it’s been a surreal ride for sure.

So to catch you up.
And maybe let you know me better then you expected to ;)

For a while i’ve had some discomfort and occasional mild pain or cramping in the groin, that I was attributing to being out of shape, too many hours at the damn desk! Like many men I didn’t give it a hell of a lot of thought, though more recently it had become more constant and I was starting to worry about it. But last year I’d been given the brush off over health concerns by doctors and was feeling less than eager to get the same again.

Then late last year a relative had one of his testes removed for what ended up being a benign tumour. But we didn’t know until after the holidays his was benign, and talking about it with my mother I was alarmed because he had similar symptoms leading up to this as I was having.

So I booked an emergency appointment–taking full advantage of the C word and news of my relatives situation on the phone with the doctors office to make sure it happened that week and not a few months later–and had it checked out. Long story short, blood tests showed nothing before the holidays, but a mass was visible in an ultrasound I had done in mid February, and a week later I had an operation to remove the affected testicle. I was given a prosthetic at the same time.

On the right here is a sketch from memory of the ultrasound image. —>

That went smooth, very, interesting experience. My first surgery. Strange to have people poking around inside you for sure.

Opted for a local/spinal and was up and out by the end of the day. It took the better part of the week resting up in bed mostly but healed up fast. At this point, other than a little tenderness on the scar things feel back to normal, better than, really. I was probably getting some wonky estrogen levels from the tumour that were making me feel off before, more hyper sensitive than usual, and made my tits hurt! :) All that is gone now and my energy seems to have spiked since. Feels great.

Two days ago I got the results from the biopsy of the tumour. The news was not as good as it was for my relative, but it was the next best. I had a classic Seminoma tumour, small (pea sized), stage 1 with no detectable vascular intrusion, and nothing appeared to have traveled up towards the vas deferens, which is good because it means it was probably still isolated to the testes. Here’s a wiki link for some more info–warning, pictures! With all these links :) And they aint sexy.

Now anything I could have had short of stage 3 would have very good odds for being curable, even stage 3 is not a death sentence.

Testicular cancer is one of the most curable today.

But this is a great scenario to have if you’re going to be dealing with this kind of thing at all.

They got it early he said, so my doctor thinks the odds are pretty good they will have cured it with the operation. I’m going in for a CT scan to check out nodes soon and everything else, we’ll know after that for sure if I’ll need any follow-up treatment. Hopefully they don’t find anything else new when they go looking! If they find nothing then I’m looking at…

-surveillance, which is on the books no matter what. I’ll be having regular CT scans for the next year or so.

-possibly a short round of localized radiation therapy targeting the lymph nodes in my back

-or two rounds of chemo.

Both are to make sure we kill off any free roaming mico-tumour cells.

On the other hand if they find anything in my CT scan, depending on what it is, I’m looking at the latter two of those for sure. Successful treatment in any case is just about certain. About 97% are cured with stage 1 Seminoma. So not benign, but at least the next best thing.

Ok, so that’s the news! Hope I’ve not freaked anyone out too much!

UPDATE– 18/04/11:So I’ve had my follow up CT scan, and the news was good! My doctors want to keep and eye on my lymph nodes, they spotted one in the pelvic region they were a bit concerned with just due to it’s proximity, but at the moment it looks fine. So all clear and lucky me, no radiation or chemo! Way to go for early diagnosis and treatment. 

So why post this?

Well a couple of reasons. First, to help get people to be less freaked out by this kind of cancer and cancer in general.

It’s a serious disease, for sure. But the worst thing is having an intense fear of it and not dealing with it. If you’re at risk not getting checked out will NOT protect you from anything.
And as puke inducing and harsh as some of the cures can be, they are far better than the disease.
Don’t be a wuss, if your nuts hurt get it checked out dude! And don’t be too prissy to do this for yourself on a regular basis. Mine didn’t really show up this way but yours may. 

Of course if I can help it I will be happy not to have to do chemo or radiation therapy. But I’ll be lucky to be so lucky. And far better to feel like crap for a little while then feel like death before dying.

Partly–No, really all of what has made this such a curable disease is Science and Research. So, I also want to take this opportunity to thank all the hard work that has gone into make this–really for me?–an almost painless experience.

I’m lucky in this, which is not the case for all people. But for everyone who gets it testicular cancer is now so far from the horror show compared to what it once was. The medicine is good, and thank Tommy Douglas for Canadian health care. I’ve not had to think once about financial consequences.

An immense help, that. You have no idea, unless of course you do.

Also the knowledge and resources available online are amazing. In the future I’ll try to post something more comprehensive, but these links alone were the biggest help for me.

Got a musical crush

Still in Toronto for another day, but soon I’ll be back at work. In the mean time though….


After the con, i was able to finally catch Ronley Teper & co preforming @the Tranzac in Toronto Live. This is a band/performer i’ve been following for a little while now, found her via myspace, my cousin plays with her sometimes. you can check her out here.

Also lots of links on youtube with the vid, check them ALL out. :)

The great thing was that i wanted to see this show but forgot the day of about it, lost in Kensington market reminiscing w old friends. Made some new ones too. Then me and john walked up to Bloor on Brunswick to get some sushi, and lo there we were passing the Tranzac! Ronley was out side and we said hello, got the stage time and grabbed a great din before the show. Nice night.

So, want a bit more?

RIP George Carlin – the PG 13 Obit dept

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits.

I loved that man, damn.

quote: theglobeandmail
Comedian George Carlin, a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs, dirty words and the demise of humanity, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital on Sunday. He was 71.

Remember my dad or someone going on about how cool this dude was, first time i became aware of him when i was a toddler. I loved listening to him and Cheech and Chong, trying to inmate them, though it was a long time till i was allowed to hear the most infamous of his routines.

Always thought he was insanely funny even before i had a clue about how ‘blue’ he was.

from –

to –

well done you cranky old dude.

Laughs are cathardic, and i had other reasons to need cheering, a good Carlin Jag can be had surfin’ youtube.

my desk

Cleaning up the studio got the drawing corner sorted now, yeay!

I do my layouts and sketching here, more privet so i can get and stay in the right head space for more cerebral work.

my books

Just finished organizing my books…:)

There was a big storm tonight

I was waiting for the rain to let up a bit so I could go to the D&Q book store opening, but the roof drain was blocked and it all started coming in through the ceiling!

drainholesLandlord had to come over, fist we drilled holes to control where it was coming in – it was pouring out of light fixtures and all over. With the holes it was possible to get it to all drain out in one place. But it came down in torrents! it would fill the bins in about 5 min. So the landlord went up to the roof, saw that the drain was blocked, and that was almost it. Mostly it’s stopped now, except one slow dripper in my bed room, that’s keeping me up……grumble….

sprained L ankle-tcaf2007 001

did it good, on the stairs to the bathroom. Top and left of left foot and lower calf are sore, very.
ice, rest and stretches are paying off, but it looks damn ugly.
I lurch like a zombie well right now.

Chester Joe and Seth

Well, I didn’t end up taking too many photos at TCAF, planed to but on Saturday I twisted my ankle and it kind of slipped my mind. So I just got a few good ones at the Awards on Friday.

Had a blast at the show, and the launch went well. Not really in the mood to talk more about it all right now but I’ll try to find some time to go on latter.

For now, feed the need at Sequential.

My great Uncle Harry

Got word from my grandmother today that her brother died. She sent me this link to a very nice write up about him, here’s the copy by Rebecca Goodman…

Harry Rudney furthered medicine
Chaired biochemistry department at UC

HYDE PARK – The life of Harry Rudney is a Horatio Alger story.

From humble beginnings, Dr. Rudney’s talent and inquisitiveness landed him a job and an education provided by an appreciative benefactor.

He later made an important contribution to humanity through his research on cholesterol, which laid the foundation for the later development of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.

Dr. Rudney, chairman emeritus of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, died May 30 at Hospice of Cincinnati in Blue Ash. The Hyde Park resident was 89.

Born in Toronto on April 14, 1918, Dr. Rudney was a member of a struggling Jewish immigrant family, according to his son, Joel Rudney of St. Paul, Minn. With no money for college, Dr. Rudney was tracked into Central Technical High School even though he was interested in biology.

The school recognized his gift for science and hired him after graduation to set up chemistry experiments for students.

Although he couldn’t afford college, he attended public lectures offered by the University of Toronto. Among the lectures he heard was one given by Dr. Bruno Mendel, a Jewish refugee who worked at the Banting Institute. Sir Frederick Banting, who had discovered insulin, conducted research there.

“My father was so excited by what he heard that he wrote to Dr. Mendel and suggested an experiment that he could do and Dr. Mendel was so impressed that he contacted my father and offered him a job in his lab,” Joel Rudney said.

But Dr. Rudney felt he couldn’t break the contract he had with the high school.

Mendel asked Banting to intervene. He arranged for Dr. Rudney to be released from the contract. Dr. Rudney went to work for Mendel, who paid his way through the University of Toronto.

“By the time my father had finished his undergrad degree, he had published seven papers,” Joel Rudney said.

Dr. Rudney went on to receive a master’s degree from the university in 1948 and a Ph.D. from Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1952. He joined the faculty at Western Reserve before being recruited by the University of Cincinnati to be the chairman of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology.

He was the Andrew Carnegie Professor of Biological Chemistry from 1967 until 1989. After his retirement, he returned to serve as interim chairman of the department of pharmacology for three years. He later served as chairman of the institutional review board. He retired for good at age 87.

Dr. Rudney was elected to the Fellows of the Graduate School at the University of Cincinnati in 1976 and received the George Rieveschl Jr. Award for distinguished research. He served as president of the Association of Medical School Chairmen of Biochemistry and was on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

While in college in Toronto, Dr. Rudney met his wife, Bernice. The meeting was arranged through friends. He came to her home and chatted with her in the breakfast room.

A week later he called to invite her to a movie. “We just hit it off,” his wife said. He was a “sweetheart.”

“My mother cautioned me that he was a poor boy. I said that didn’t matter. I thought he had prospects.” And she was right. “He went on to do really important things,” she said. “It was a lovely marriage. We would have been married 61 years on June 25. And they were very good years.”

In addition to his wife and son Joel, survivors include another son, Robert Rudney, of Mount Washington; and two sisters, Libby Grant and Pearl Shore, both of Toronto.

Services have been held. Burial was at United Jewish Cemetery in Montgomery.

Lots a big brains in the family, but i didn’t know about his work before now, cool to read about.

It’s been a long time since i last saw Harry, but i recall him being a very warm and good hearted man.

I did a quick google look on him after to see what came up and found this sweet photo of Harry & Bernice from 2005 by Jason D. Geil of The Cincinnati Post.

The Italian Machine


I just


this link

very cool! is hosting streaming video of an early David Cronenberg short film titled The Italian Machine [ED:Sadly the film is no longer on the site :P].

You can watch it there, I Grabbed a copy for myself from the site while it was up. If you like to see it there’s a rare DVD collection of early Cronenberg shorts that includes it, i’ll have to get my hand on a copy of that some day. I found a bit of background on the production from this site, The Italian Machine was actually meant to be a 60 minute long TV film for CBC before the head of CBC Drama removed Cronenberg from the editing of the final cut to create her own 30 minute long version, or so the story goes.

It’s central character is based loosely on real ‘legendary acid and pot dealer’, general trouble maker, writer and photographer, Lionel Douglas [played in the film by Gary McKeehan], who was killed in a freak motorcycle accident in 1979. It features an array characters all to familiar to me, and displays Cronenberg’s classic off beat approach to his subjects.

“When motorbike fanatic Lionel learns that a rare and prized Ducati has been bought by a rich art collector purely for the purpose of display, he enlists the help of his friends to liberate the motorbike.”

Now while I am a Cronenberg fan, my reasons for being hyped about tracking this down are a tad more personal. The real Lionel was my father. This version is an exaggerated caricature, but I recognise the source material.

I’m told that the premise may have been influenced by a true story about a bike being displayed as art and Lionel’s reaction to the idea “how can they not want to make it go!!”. The other guys in the film with him are loosely based on people who shared a garage with my father in behind his house. I remember bikes in parts, being worked on all the time, made to go a bit faster and bit smother, tuning till they hummed like instruments. Always lots of talk and laughter. And the smells of metal, oil, cleaners and gas. That garage, and him talking with other people around the kitchen table about all sorts of crap, astrology to philosophy, these are probably the most common icons in my memory of my father.

He and Cronenberg were close friends I’m told, they went to university together and rode bikes out at mosport speedway a bit one summer. My grandmother says there was a time when the two were inseparable. This film was meant as a little tribute to him. Lionel was a larger than life kind a guy; he left his mark on a lot of people. Every once in a while someone comes along whom knew him, and when they find out that I’m his son their behaviour towards me tends to change, suddenly I get these wired reverent looks. When Ron Mann made his short documentary about Rochdale College called Dream Tower (1994) he contacted us about looking through my fathers photos for stills to use [a number of which ended up in the film]. In researching the film he told us, every one he talked to told him look up Lionel Douglas, he’s the guy you should talk to, until he found someone who told him Lionel had died. So then he tracked us down to get permission to use his photos.

He had watched some film of my dad giving speeches at the collage found with the reels of old film he dug up on Rochdale, and he showed up in some early CityTV footage apparently. And even with that, not having met him in person, Ron talked to me about him with the same kind of mythic aw as everyone else did. I’ve never seem much of that footage Ron told us about, except a short bit that appeared in the film [He explains for the camera how they conducted security checks at the door of the building after Yorkville imploded].

For a long time this was all very strange and odd for me. Sadly I hardly remember the living Lionel now. I was 8 when he died, it knocked me for a loop as you would expect. When I came out of that emotional coma 10 years later I barely remembered him any more. I have his photos, a trunk full I’m planning to make a book from some day. And there is a small chap book sampling his poetry, text and photos his friends put together after he died.

My two copies are both raged and dogged. One, that I’ve had since I was a kid, is marked with tabs so that I can flip right to my favorite poems. Over the years I’ve tried to tease more of him out of my head by digging up more of him out there, so I’m always happy to find another bit of him floating around.

Bellow is a selection of some of my favorite bits of his book. I think you might be able to still get it here.

In the middle of the book is a piece between the poetry and the photos simply titled ‘Prose’. It was a bit of a philosophical guide through some parts of my life, my teens for sure. I made an audio file of my laptop reading it, you can grab that here.

Rochdale & Lionel & The Dealers

Sort of continuing with the sentiment of my recent post about The Italian Machine, a short Cronenberg made for TV film that features a fictionalised version of my father in one of the central roles – here is some more of Lionel online.

From the mid 60’s to the mid 70’s Lionel was a central player in the experiment in anarchist education called Rochdale [links to media on the CBC archive about the school]. It was many things to many people, and in the 90’s as I mentioned in the last post, Ron Mann made a short documentary called Dream Tower about the place. A very large portion of that film appears inter-cut with an interview with a Rochdale survivor here on POT TV’s web site .

A very young Lionel has a brief appearance in the Doc [time index reads about 9:27:00 on pot tv’s video]. This was filmed back then for a log documentary about the project that was never finished, but in the end provided a greater deal of raw footage for Ron’s film. Lionel was at the time of the interview, helping to coordinate the newly instituted building security along with several of his biker friends, in an effort to stem the tide of Yorkville junkies that invaded the place after the cops cleared out Yorkville [paving the way for a major gentrification of that neighborhood – its now a luxury condo and shopping district for the very very rich]

When Dream Tower was made, I had not seen any footage of Lionel or heard his voice for 10 or so years. Ron gave me a dub of the film when it was done, I recall rewinding and watching this very short bit of footage of my father several times over that night.

And I have a tape of Lionel anonymously interviewed on the CBC maybe before he had me I think, or just after, anonymously as a Drug Dealer, it’s pretty strange and interesting! I have them on my site here, two sides. The tape is very distorted.

I used them in this little bit of video art i made low-fi back in 98 or so i think.


Lionel was a complicated guy as far as i can tell. The whole dealer thing was just one side of the guy. He wore many masks. I’ll talk more about them next time.




I was about 10 years old, and we went to what was called the semi Annual Waifs and Foundlings.

A party by any other name. It was a tradition amongst my parents circle of friends, who were for the most part, either estranged from their families (“get out of my house you freak!”) or so far away from home as to make returning for holidays hard (“I’m a free spirit man! Just give me a stretch of road and a pair of wheels and i’m gone….”).

So several times a year, they would all gather at one of their homes, and insanity would ensue. On this particular occasion the excuse was Thanksgiving, or Halloween, or something. It was a very mild autumn, and the hosts were the parents of a girl, three years my elder, who i had a massive crush on.

Oh, and she was a redhead. A deep rich natural red like arterial blood, blue eyes, a perfect smile, stunning, curvy tall and stunning.


So anywho, being a couple of wild children out of control, and with parents on the sauce and a variety of other intoxicants, we were left to our own devices.

Messing around with dry ice in the upside-down plexiglas skylight full of cold water and bear, poking stuff in the bonfire in back behind the house, watching a whole lamb turn on a spit, following her older brother, a tall mohawk sporting punk rocker six years older than I, and watching him chop up watermelons gleefully with a machete. Generally running around and screaming like mad banshees – something she did particularly well.

Eventually we found the helium her dad had used to fill thousands of balloons that decorated the party. We started off filling a balloon and taking hits of it to mess with our voices, and eventually just took shots of helium off the tank itself, the giddy feeling was probably oxygen deprecation. After a while we staggered through the house like a couple of drunken Disney characters, imitating with little effort a drunken sailor impression one of my father’s old friends was doing quite well in the front room at the time.

I found myself bouncing down the hall like a ping pong ball towards a screen door, pushing the door open, veering towards the steps to sit down….and dirt!

I woke moments later light headed, that feeling you get when you stand up too fast…
…found myself face down in a flower patch by the front walk…about three feet from the steps of the house.

I got up, dusted myself off and checked for all my parts.

Nothing missing.

I walked back into the house and found myself faced with a wild head of Red. Did i mention it was curly and down to her waist? Her back was turned to me, she was backing towards me in a stumbly staggering way.

She ‘whoops’ed and the next thing i knew i had a face full of soft sweet smelling hair and a unconscious girl in my arms….

…. she woke up moments later like i did in the flowers, all fogy and fuzzy, and we learned nothing from our youthful folly at the time, in fact we went right back to the helium and got all light headed and giddy again, and to this day i have a massive sweet spot for red heads.