Business As Usual

2 Jul

I’ve never claimed to be a businessman.  Nope.  I really wish I was, but I’m not.  I always have these really BIG ideas, however, from a business perspective, I sometimes never know quite how to achieve big things.

I’ve read numerous business books (and still keep reading them), worked in marketing and more.  But when it comes to MY business, well…..

I watched a documentary about cartooning recently and there was a section in there about a couple of cartoonist (web cartoonist, that is) that got a pretty decent following.  A business-type knew of their work and offered to take over the financial/marketing side of things.  And, the couple of guys agreed.  Seems like things are well.  It’s what they needed to become financially well-off.

I think about that sometimes.

Marketing, business and “getting the word out” is not my forte.  I wish – at times – I had just a total business guru come along, see my work and offer to figure out ways of making it all happen.  I do have people I work with on certain projects (like my partners at BizComics and my website) – which is great – but I’m still stuck in a rut to numerous other prospective things.

Sales Slumped Couch

Here are several thoughts I’m trying to figure out if I can do or not – assuming I’m on my own and no business guru comes along and gives me a hand.

My Own Painting/Drinking Events:  Right now, I’ve been currently teaching painting in the evenings for some extra money (after all, I do have a daughter on the way) and experience.  I actually find it fun.  It’s at restaurants and participants can enjoy a drink and meal while they paint.  I just joke around with them, paint and let my sarcasm rip.  So, I’ve thought about opening up my own painting at places type thing.  Right now I’m working under someone.  No, I’m not an employee – but as an artist, I don’t make as much as the person who brings in the cash from ticket sales.  My thoughts are why don’t I just have my own?  After all, I know restaurant managers, can hire painters (and do it myself) and a good friend of mine is in the wine business.  Why not?

Oh yeah…it takes money and marketing to do this.  Riiight.

A Cartooning Talk:  I’d love the opportunity to go around and talking about my cartooning career.  I’m imagining a slide-show presentation that was fun and all about my journey of being a frustrated cartoonist trying to make it when a lot of possibilities of cartooning are basically extinct.  Seems like a good thing, but I can’t exactly say “I’ve made it” with this talk since I’m constantly looking for new ways of making money.  I have professional work in publications and so-forth, but consistency is my issue.  So, not sure if I am qualified to talk about cartooning when it’s still a struggle for me at times.  (Although, that being said, has any cartoonist nowadays actually “made it”?)

Some cartoonists get calls to do talks.  I’m assuming they just don’t have my phone number.

Online Cartooning Course:  I tried this last year and it didn’t do too well.  I would create the whole thing over and try again.  Thinking of something along the lines of selling cartoons.  Again, how do I get the word out about this?  Eh, something to think about.  I just have a feeling – like last time – marketing it would be my issue.  I have people that read my work on a regular basis but probably aren’t too interested in learning cartooning.  At least that is what I experienced when I tried this before.

Books:  I’ve got gobs of books I’m working on.  My fear is getting them out in public.  I had a failed Kickstarter several years ago because I couldn’t get enough attention for it (or people didn’t really find it something they wanted to support).  It did have some awesome supporters – but not enough.  And I think from a business point of view, I asked for too much money.  Anyway, it wasn’t very pleasant.  I have a hard time pitching new things.  I get overwhelmed when I go to Kickstarter and see cartoons I’ve never heard of just raise $50,000 on a project and I’m like, “How?  I’ve never even heard of you guys!”

Well, these are just a few ideas I’m thinking about.

What’s frustrating for me is consistency and time.

I consistently make money off of numerous platforms, but these platforms aren’t growing quickly enough.  I have some NEW venues I’m excited about.  Here again though, they will take awhile to take-off.  I’m hoping they become more consistent, but only time will tell.  In the meantime, business as usual needs to pick up.  I have a new addition coming, so that’s why I say that.  We’ve been getting by okay for now, but I want something my family can really feel comfortable with.  That will be numerous sources of income (like I have now), but I need to get some new stuff out there.  Baby Fakes will need diapers.

And the time thing.  What DO I focus on the most to generate more income?  Here’s where making a good decision helps.

So, I’m hoping I make some good business decisions from now and throughout my life. (A lot to ask for, I know.)

I hope I’m not coming across as a “poor me” in this post – because I think all of us have been here before whether you’re a business owner, employee or anything.  Sometimes, you just want to make the best decision about switching a job, relocating, hiring/firing, etc.  I know I’m not alone.  But it is frustrating, right?  I always feel like there’s just one, itsy-bitsy element that I’m missing that makes the difference between a few cents and a modest living.  Think, brain.  Think!

I know many new parents feel the need to make more – so that’s where I’m at.  After all, I need to think about sending my child through art school in the future, right?

Chances of a multimillionaire calling me up and putting an ad out for my work on Super Bowl Sunday probably isn’t too likely, so I continue to work away at new ideas and try to prepare for the future.  Things aren’t horrible – but again, I want them to pick-up.  It’s natural.

And while I’m at it, I’ve surrounded myself with good people that tend to help the cause more than hurt it, so that’s a plus.  And I do have exciting, new things that I’m anxious to grow (like BizComics and my website).

While I might not be the best businessman on the face of this earth, I do feel like I have just about every other element that I need.  I work hard, dedicated and – well – good stuff.  Really, I can take things far.  I’ve done it before.

Just those BIG ideas and where to take them.  That’s the BIG question.

 

A Brand-Spanking New Week in Review

26 Jun

As a business owner, I’m constantly thinking of business cartoons.  Although I don’t use a boardroom orbod150620 have executive office suites, I am familiar with a lot of this-and-that that about office life.  Many previous day jobs have provided me with ample information and that has lead to many cartoons.

This is the first time though I have used a chairman as a premise.

And as a chairman, yes, I agree they probably should get some chairs.  He would be in charge of that, right?

Somehow this year I – again – forgot to make a holiday-related cartoon.

bod150621Father’s Day was this past Sunday.  And so did I publish a creative cartoons for fathers?  Nope.  Instead I featured a creepy clown.

Like business cartoons,  for some funny reason, I have a lot of ideas for clown cartoons.

Some find them scary, some find them amusing or some find them repulsive.  Either way, I’m sure there will be more on the way.  And hopefully, the next time a holiday rolls around, I can have something more suitable.  (Come to think of it, do I have any good July 4th cartoons?  Yikes…)

I’ve mentioned before in numerous posts about my enjoyment for the local craft beer here in the area.bod150622

The craft beer trend seems to be exploding all across the country.  And I like it!  Before these new beers, I used to just have the occasional Bud or Miller.  Now I can barely drink the “cheaper” stuff. Taste like muck.

And since I’m not in college and don’t drink like a fish, I only have a few beers now and then.  So, hey – I might as well make them quality ones.

As for crafty beers, well, I haven’t come across one of those yet (except in my comics).

bod150624This next knife gag is very cutting edge.

Okay, sorry – that was a very awful pun.

Anyway, I have always liked the notion of knives and their different uses.  Probably because in the kitchen it’s very true – only certain knives do certain things.  I’ve tried using butter knives for cutting purposes when desperate (like I didn’t feel like doing the dishes so all my sharp knives are dirty).  Yeah, it doesn’t work well.

Moving on…

If I were a bird, it would probably be more of a late bird rather than morning.  As much as I like to foolbod150625 myself into thinking I’m a morning person, I’m not.  Well, not really.  I WAKE UP in the morning, but I’m pretty content with getting up naturally around 8-8:30.  Most people wouldn’t consider me a morning person waking up that late.  I always think of morning people as the ones that get up around 5-6 and have no problem with it.  That’s totally not me.

And now, for the last cartoon of the week.

bod150626I’m not sure where this idea came from, but I found it funny.

I almost drew Father Time mowing, but not many people are familiar with his image (think about it – can you envision what he looks like?).

A clock mowing though is just as solid.  At least in my humble opinion.

Well, that is all!

On a side note, sorry I’ve been lagging on my daily blogs (somewhat daily).  I’ve been busy teaching and other things.  I know – excuses.  I hope to getting back to more frequent posts soon.  And I will.

In the meantime, be sure to put chairs in your boardroom and keep your lawn pedicured in a timely matter.

Subscribe to the daily cartoons by clicking here!

 

 

 

A Week-in-Review is Here

19 Jun

Along with everything else, I have ANOTHER Week-in-Review.  I know, right?

Let’s start with some hilarity.  What else is more funny than close talkers (okay, a lot of things)?bod150613

I’ve known a few close talkers in my lifetime.  Sometimes, it’s because they’re hard of hearing or just aren’t aware of what they’re doing.  To test what it is, I’ll either raise my voice or move in even closer to see if they back-up.  If I’m very close to them talking loudly, chances are, it’s a hearing issue.  If I move pretty close and they move closer still, well, that’s just creepy.  Or maybe they want a kiss.  Either way, I’m married.  So, unless it’s my wife, I’m bailing.

In a dog world though that is full of dog breath, this is probably a worse experience than us humans have considering all the butts they lick.  Yuck.

bod150614With all the rain we’ve been getting around here in gorgeous Dayton, Ohio, it (along with several bolts of lightning) sparked this idea for the next cartoon.

I was probably a weather man in a past life.  No, really.  I talk about the weather a lot.  It was my downfall on first dates back in the day.  I didn’t do it (talk about the weather) though because I couldn’t think of anything else to think of.  Nope.  I genuinely interested in clouds, storms, floods – you know – weather stuff.

Plus, if you’ve been reading for awhile, you know I’ve recently experienced quite the weather condition with a tornado going past my front window (it’s a few blogs back, if you’re interested).bod150615

So, as cliche as it is to talk about the weather, I do.  Anyway…

Do mobsters even meet in remote locations anymore? Probably not.  But, let’s pretend they do.

If anything, I’m pretty sure they don’t dress like this currently.  Maybe back in the 30’s they would.  But, when putting together a cartoon, I have to be some-what able to relate with people.  And I believe most people associate the hat, suit and all with a wise guy.  Hence my mob cartoon and toy car.

You see how I put these suckers together?  It’s just a bunch of assumptions on what I think YOU want to see.  Easy, huh?

My next cartoon was one that – I hope – I was the first to create.

bod150616Yes, in this industry, often times ideas are used by others unbeknownst to the creator.  Trust me – I know a lot of cartoonists – and we don’t rip-off each other.  Sure, we take elements and bits of ideas off of others work, but rarely copy directly off one another (a.k.a. plagiarize).

I think every cartoonist out there has been accused of ‘stealing’ or copying someones work off from a reader.  However, the reality is, great minds think alike and it happens (not saying my mind is great, but you know….).

Anyway, I hope I was the first to think of this one.  It’s a pretty obvious selfie gag, but I enjoyed making it.bod150617  I don’t want to get an email saying, “Hey!  That selfie cartoon was in last week’s Garfield!”

As for salad dressing, well – I’m pretty certain only I could come up with such an awful pun.

There were a few angles I could’ve went with this.  My intention was I wanted the caption to sound like, “I don’t want to look like a slob.”  Not sure how many people caught-on to that.

bod150618I used to sleep walk (and still might…not too sure).

I know I lose a lot of sleep thinking about things that need done.  Naturally, I thought that anyone that enjoys caulking is probably bound to lose some sleep as well.  And if that caulker is a sleep walker (hey, that rhymes!) then this cartoon might actually have a touch of reality to it.  (But seriously, who DOES enjoy caulking?)

bod150619And my last ‘toon of the week consists of my least-favorite subject:  math.

You know those equations with a ton of ‘X’s’ in them?  Yeah, I hate those.

They’re the reason I flunked out of a lot of math/algebra classes growing up.

I can, however, handle a good game of Tic-Tac-Toe.

Okay, well, that’s all, folks!  Nothing more to see here.  BUT, there is a lot more to see at the new Nate Fakes Cartoons.com.  Head on over.

In the meantime, watch out for those close talkers and if you sleep walk, try to keep the caulking to a minimum.

 

 

 

Wake-Up Call

17 Jun

When I wake-up in the morning, like a lot of people, I generally run through my mind and figure out what it is that needs done for the day.  Everyday is a bit different.  Right now, I have my daily cartoons that need produced, teaching Paint Nite some evenings, working on and promoting Nate Fakes Cartoons and BizComicsPlus, I have other projects that I’m doing regularly like oil painting, a children’s book and graphic novel.  Oh, and marketing, invoices and the office stuff.

Everyday I’m faced with the same question:  What is the priority?

What NEEDS done today?

So, now that a lot of what I’m doing is ready to go, it’s time to really focus on the business side of things.  I mean, I always do have that focus (business side) but it’s time to fine-tune a lot.  The NEEDS are ones that produce regular income.  The stuff that is fun (like the children’s book, painting, etc.) are activities that I will continue doing, but aren’t exactly necessary on a daily basis.

Cartooning is enjoyable – and challenging – profession.  The enjoyable side is creating everlasting ideas that people enjoy.  The challenging side is getting those ideas to payoff.

I’m extremely excited about quite a bit in my profession right now.  Nate Fakes Cartoons is still being built-up and worked on, but it’s open and I’m thrilled to FINALLY have a place for customers to get instant downloads, license cartoons of mine and contact me for custom work.  This has been on my mind for years (a site like this) and now it’s here.

Also, BizComics is going to open the doors to some great new series for businesses that they’re going to love.

The “side projects” are things I do because I want to.  Will they payoff?  Well, in financial terms, who knows.  I’d do them anyway, so it doesn’t matter too much (although, let’s be honest, if they DO somehow, that’s never a bad thing).

Of course, I still have those really BIG ideas as well floating around.  And of course, I’ll try them out.  You The Big Picture (1)never know.

So, waking up there are a lot of things running through my head.  I make decisions and hope they’re good ones.  Different days and different decisions are what I wake- up to.  And when fueled by morning coffee, it helps give my decisions a well deserved wake-up call.

Take Note: Another Week-in-Review

12 Jun

Music note that is…bod150606

Wait a minute, it’s not a music note – but it IS a musical symbol (if that’s the proper term) that will kick-off this week’s Week-in-Review.

In this day and age with people not happy with their looks and getting implants, plastic surgery and other body modifications, it only makes sense that – if musical symbols had thoughts – they may want a few changes as well.

bod150607They’re just looking for that finely-tuned image.

As for a dogs life, well, life on a leash is no way to reach your full potential.

Dogs that go far in life usually live indoors or have a fenced in yard.  Those are the type that can speak, sit and lay.  Ask Lassie.  That boy, er – girl – made it pretty big.

Talk about big – what’s bigger than a bear?  (Okay, lots of things.)bod150608

There are a million and one puns that I could use here, but I’ll stop myself and use NONE.  Bear in mind that….oops.

Anyway, I’ve featured koalas in previous cartoons and have mentioned them as bears.  I typically get a handful of emails or comments about how THEY’RE NOT bears – they’re marsupials.  It appears to offend some people when mentioning them by what they’re not.

bod150609However, aren’t they technically called Koala Bears?  I dunno…. I’m confused.

My next cartoon was my favorite of the week, but I don’t think it was for everyone else.  It didn’t seem to “take-off” on social media or elsewhere online as much as I thought it would.  Again though (I’ve mentioned this many times in the past) that doesn’t mean anything.  A good cartoon isn’t measured by “likes” and shares.  It just isn’t.

In my personal opinion though, I like this one.  If you look at it closely, it has several layers of humor I tried to add to it.  At least I think.

bod150610If you thought my vacuum cartoon sucked (Ha!  Another pun!  Eh…sorry.) you might enjoy one with some colorful birds involved in it.

Has this bird joke been done before?

It was one of those obvious gags when I wrote it.  And as far as I know, it hasn’t ever been done by another cartoonist.  I try to stay original, so I hope I was the first one to this.  But c’mon…’grounded’.  Get it?  Get it?

bod150611And on this next cartoon, I’d label this a hardcore pun.

Can a pun get any worse than this?  I’m not too sure it can.

bod150612An interesting note on this next cartoon.  When I first drew it, I had the bigger TNT saying the caption.

I thought about it though, and it would make more sense to have the littler one saying it.  Why?  Well, because it’s smaller and would have a smaller “boom”.

See, even if I don’t know what I’m doing at first, it often times comes together with the help of the eraser in Photoshop.  (Yes, the original cartoon of this has two lines forming out of the speech bubble.  Looks awkward, at best.)

That’s it for this week!

Have you been over to Nate Fakes Cartoons yet?  I wrote a post about it’s GRAND opening yesterday.  Click back to read it or just head on over by clicking here.

 

Nate Fakes Cartoons and BizComics

11 Jun

The day has come where I can introduce you to the newest go-to source for all your cartoon needs, Nate Fakes Cartoons (www.natefakescartoons.com).

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 8.55.17 AM

I’m thrilled to announce I actually have a full, functional website that features all of services which includes custom cartoons, stock cartoons, illustration and the latest feature, BizComics.

In the past, I’ve tried (terribly) to create my own site where customers could purchase my stock cartoons for use.  Let’s just say it was a failed effort.  Luckily though, roughly a year ago, I got together with my friend Mark, who is owner of O’Brien Communications Group and asked for help.

Throughout this time, I’ve been corresponding with Mark and the rest of the team (Jonathan and JoAnna) and they helped develop Nate Fakes Cartoons.  Despite being great people, they know what they’re doing.

This new site still has a few upgraded features being added – but is basically complete.  Soon, there will be a search bar where you type in a keyword for what type of cartoon you’re looking for and it will pull-up everything associated.  Right now, what’s holding that up is my tagging of all of the cartoons.  There are over 1,500 of them in the library (and growing everyday), so it’s a lengthy process.  In the meantime though, everything is categorized, so you can still browse through and look for a specific cartoon.

For the stock cartoons, once purchased, it’s an instant download, so you get the cartoon(s) instantly.  Prices vary on use – but there are three simple options to choose from.

As for custom work, there are several exciting options for that.

I do custom illustrations for basic needs – such as a birthday card or something simple – for a fair price.  However, most of the custom work I do is for businesses and corporate clients.  Therefore, as of this past Tuesday, another collaboration with O’Brien’s that we just launched is BizComics.

bizcomics

BizComics is – in my humble opinion – the absolute best marketing tool that can be used for any company to help support their brand.  And the best part is – it’s fun!

It’s not just a website but it’s a club.

The idea sparked from one of the features that I’ve created with O’Brien’s, Thought Leadership.  It’s been a success.  And so, why not take that to the next level and introduce cartoons to other companies?  What business WOULDN’T want their own feature in their newsletters, website, emails, etc.?  Many probably haven’t even considered them (cartoons) an option, however, BizComics let’s them know about it – and why it works.

I always ask people when DIDN’T you pay attention to a cartoon on your Facebook feed, in a magazine or email?  Think about it – if you see one, you typically read it.  BizComics once again enforces my belief that cartoons are the most effective marketing tool for any brand.  They WILL draw (no pun intended) attention.  And customers take notice.

There is a link to BizComics on the Nate Fakes Cartoons site and also you can read the official press release of it by clicking here.  Or, jump right to it and visit BizComics at www.bizcomics.club.

So, for stock cartoons, custom work, BizComics, illustrations or to just send me a note that says “hello” – Nate Fakes Cartoons is open for business.

Hope you stop by, hangout for awhile and I’ll see about offering coffee and donuts while you’re there.

Elance Experiment

9 Jun

Last year, I tried a little experiment.

Since I was working on developing my own site at the time that would feature my work, I decided to give Elance a try.  What is Elance?  Well, it’s a place for customers to hire freelancers.  That includes cartoonists.

Eh, why not?  Seemed legit.

I put together an online portfolio with all the bells and whistles featuring my best work.  It looked good, if I say so myself.  Yeah, I spent some time on it.  Didn’t just toss it all on there like a Jackson Pollock.

How the site works is, once you have your portfolio and personal stuff up there, they “verify” that you’re a  real person by doing a quick Skype interview.  That took a second and then I was an official Elancer.

From there, you can view projects.  For example, I would type in the keyword ‘cartooning’ and it would pull-up all the people out there looking to hire a cartoonist for something.

“Great!” I thought.  “This could be fun.”

When you find a client and a project that looks like something up your alley, you bid on it.  You quote them, basically.

Here, you can do it by an hourly rate or by a flat fee.  Or, the client sets it either/or so you don’t have a choice.

Sound exciting with potential?  Sure.

First off, I bid on a lot of projects.  I was very professional about it and bid what a professional should.  I wasn’t always cheap – but fair.

When I have a client, it’s not just about creating a pretty picture.  I ask questions.  I do MORE than just draw things.  I learn what the illustration is for.  Where it will be presented/displayed?  What is your goal for it?  How can this be the most effective?  I really dig-into my clients head so that I produce quality work.

Elance though, has a higher ratio of non-professionals.  And the clients can get someone much cheaper than me.  Some “cartoonists” will quote rates cheaper than what the 5-year-old down the street makes on her lemonade stand.

Lemonade Stand (1)

And so, people looking to hire a cartoonist tend to go that route – the cheaper.  Or, they would argue with me on why I’m so expensive.

My response is I’m not just a “for hire”.  I’m actually a partner with you on your project seeing the BIG picture of what all you’re trying to do.  I base my rates around my experience and professionalism.

Anyway, I think you get the idea.  It wasn’t for me.

I know some people out there can eek out a good living on Elance, but from what I hear, you must take a bunch of cheap projects first before making something of yourself and getting to the point where you can quote a bit higher.  I’m sure that’s not always the case, but generally, that’s what I’ve read via online.

You see, you’re rated on there as well.  Every customer can rate you 1-5 stars for your work and leave feedback.  So, once you have a dozen or more ratings, you’re a bit more established and can maybe quote more.  I’m not sure, but I’ve read a few things that basically say the same thing.

I actually ended up with a few projects.  And they were fairly quoted and after talking with the clients they realized who they were dealing with – someone who actually cares and doesn’t just want a job.  Again, that’s not every cartoonist out there on Elance.  I’m sure some are like me and really do care – and quote low.  But, if that’s the case, they should quote more if they’re professional.

The ONE big mistake I made was actually taking a per hour job once.

Why is that a mistake?

I saw a great cartoon awhile back that illustrated the point.  I might have the wording off a bit, but it was something like this:  It had an artist go up to a client and say, “Here you go.” holding up a completed illustration.  The client says, “That only took you about 15 minutes.  Why should I pay you?”.  The artist then says, “It took me decades to get to the point where I could complete it in 15 minutes.”

I can work quickly.  And professionally.  But, it wasn’t easy to get to that point.

So, back to my hourly job I took.

I took it because it wasn’t major – it was a t-shirt design.  Also, I quoted $28 an hour and got accepted for that.

HOWEVER, going back to how quickly I work.

I was able to execute this project at a pretty fast pace from conception of the gag to the actual illustration.

When you work hourly on Elance, you set a timer up that automatically takes screen-shots of your computer.  Which is kind of lame considering not much of my work was on the computer – only the Photoshop part.

I’m an honest person, so I didn’t just let the timer go while I didn’t work.  I took the job and that was that.

At any rate, I was able to complete this very quick and only made just a little chunk o’ change.

I go back to that cartoon I saw about working quickly and I’ll probably never do an hourly project again – unless it’s something like teaching or where it would make sense.

After a few months, I ended up deleting and cancelling my Elance account.  It just wasn’t professional to have – in my opinion.  I saw a lot of amateurs and clients that didn’t want quality over value.  Not saying some of these people that quoted lower than me couldn’t draw better than me.  Actually, a lot of them were stellar and could illustrate a lot better than I could on some parts.  BUT, for what they quoted, they’re not getting paid what they should.  And I’m not sure about the “extra mile” they go for clients as well.  I like having a personal one-on-one relationship.  My clients should have my cell phone number – and I believe they all do.

Is Elance a good starting point?

I’ve quoted lower prices to clients before if it was a long-term project or something that I felt was worth it.   That being said, I did have several clients that did pay what I felt it was worth on Elance also.  What I think Elance DOES do well is it gives you the experience of negotiating rates, handling clients and fine-tuning communicating with customers that you might work with.  I guess I don’t highly recommend it, but it might be a good place to get your toes wet as a cartoonist.

I just found it exhausting and not worth my time.  This was when I didn’t have a site of my own up and it was a temporary “fix” (I thought).

So, it might be worth experimenting with to find out if Elance is right for you – or not.  But in the long-run, I’d get away from it and create your own identity and not be labeled an Elancer.

 

 

This Week-in-Review Gets an ‘F’

5 Jun

Well, at least at the beginning of this it gets an ‘F’.bod150530

Yes, the first cartoon of the week featured a letter that I used to be VERY familiar with back in high school.

It’s true about that letter disappointing parents (I know firsthand).  But, little did we know how sensitive ‘F’ is.  To the point of where they’d need counseling.

‘A’s’ probably don’t have as many issues.

Everybody looooves the ‘A’s’.  They get all the praise in the world.

Poor F’s.

How are sales doing?

It’s funny that I create a lot of cartoons featuring the corporate office and sales charts.  A lot of other cartoonists feature the same thing.  And I really try to differentiate myself from other cartoonists.  I really do.

bod150531I was thinking about it though and I doubt this day and age many companies still use actual sales charts.  I mean, do they?  I honestly don’t know.  I’ve been out of the corporate world for awhile now.

I might have to check into that.  If they’re using something else to project sales, I want to draw it.bod150601

If I had to guess, most companies just use computers instead of the old paper charts or whiteboards.  Or, maybe to my surprise, they use pocket calculators.  I dunno.

Speaking of computers, my cat enjoys my computer probably more than me.

No, really, she does.

If I leave my MacBook open and on the couch, for some odd reason, it because a very comfortable cat bed for her.

Luckily, I don’t have a problem with her scratching posts online.  However, if she saw a cat tower on the internet, she likely to try and climb it.

bod150602The fact that I had some fish featured this past week was interesting considering I wrote about the recent editions here at home.

To save you from time from reading my latest post about my fish (although, it is quite fun), I’ll just mention that yes – I have two new goldfish.

I’ve been studying up on raising goldfish all week.  It amazes me all the care that is needed for them.  I had no idea!  I posted about my new fish on a fish forum and the responses were interesting to read.  They can live over twenty years and grow up bigger than I imagined.  Who knew?

It’s looking like a bigger tank is in my near future.

bod150603If a dog does catch his tail, that’s pretty big (for the dog).

What else is there to accomplish? 

I guess there’s the old routine of chasing tires, running after a mailman and peeing on bushes (which doesn’t require much of an effort).  But, the biggest challenge seems to be tail catching.

After one is caught, well…..

bod150604And if you work at a furniture store, this cartoon is probably quite true.

I just hope employees might get a bit of a better raise than just pocket change.

I’m sure some interesting items do pop-up at these stores though if it’s anything like my couch.

Sometimes, I’ll discover wrapped gum, receipts and pennies.  You know, valuable items.

bod150605And finally, the last cartoon of the week was another one of my classic Reader’s Digest cartoons that was rejected.

If good does outweigh the bad, it’s best to keep it that way.  And what’s better than some burgers and a shake (or maybe that’s a soda)?

I had to redraw this one a few times.  Why?

First, I drew a digital scale.  But, that didn’t look to good from this perspective.  So, I grabbed my eraser and went to town.

I then drew the angel (good guy) facing straight ahead with the devil in the background.  That looked screwed up as well.  Another eraser was frantically put to use.

So, finally I was able to sketch-out this version, which I’m happy with (although I’m not too sure about the way I drew that scale).  And luckily, my eraser was able to catch a break.

Aaaaaand, that’s it, folks.

You DO realize you can subscribe to these cartoons and get them first DAILY by CLICKING HERE

Otherwise, til next time.

Hopefully the next Week-in-Review will get something better than an ‘F’.

 

Toledo Trip: Part 2

3 Jun

Continuing on about my recent travels to Toledo, Ohio, it’s now time to venture forward to Part 2 of my trip.  I really thought I’d get to posting about all this earlier, but boy – time catches up with me.  I had other things on my mind to post about and this epic vacation (a little exaggeration there) has been delayed a bit.

If you’re just joining me on this fascinating and insightful journey, you probably want to start at Toledo Trip: Part 1

And so, moving on…

After leaving Northwood High School and heading down Woodville Road, where else would I go but the great Woodville Mall.  Located in the same community as my high school (Northwood), it’s a place full of exciting shopping destinations, entertainment, food and – er, wait….rubble?

Yes, the great all-mighty mall has recently been demolished.  Actually, sections of it were still up, but wrecking crews were eying them down.

I knew this prior to my visit, but seeing it in ruins was something else.

I know it’s just a mall, but I grew up around it.  From birth to 5th grade, I was roughly a mile away from the place.  During high school when I moved to a different house, the parking lot for it was my backyard.IMG_0094

Above:  The main entrance.  In the background, you can see the remains of the old Andersons store.

I remember its heydays back in the 80’s.  It wasn’t ever very vibrant compared to some malls, but it had a lot going for it.   There was the Woolsworth store where I bought candy, toys and my pet parakeet.  Also, the Fox Theater was there (where – not sure why – I remember a class trip to go see The Little Mermaid at).  It also had arcades, a busy food court, toy stores, hobby stores, bookstores, etc.  About any store you could think of.  The big anchor giants were The Andersons, Elder-Beerman and Sears.

Again, I spent tons of time here.

My friends and I growing up would be the first to arrive on Saturday mornings.  Yes, we were known for loitering.  We’d typically buy some food (candy) and then waste all of our quarters at the arcade playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or anything that involved street fighting.

At that time, all the “fun stuff” was bought in person at a retail store such as K.B. Toys.  We’d drool over the latest video games that – at our age – were unaffordable.  We could only hope that when a birthday or Christmas rolled around, we might end up with the newest Mario or something as a present.

But, we all know that malls (well, some of them) aren’t what they used to be.IMG_0095

Above:  Another view of the main entrance.  This part lead to the mall…which is rubble now.

Seems like the ones with less high-end items – like the Woodville Mall was – seem to be in decline or closed up.

The sad thing about the Woodville Mall area is everything around it is basically closed.  There used to be a Hills department store across the street (I believe Hills are totally gone everywhere now), a grocery store, little shops, auto repair places, etc.  Again, a vast variety of shopping and services.

Unfortunately, it reflects bad on the entire area of Northwood.  I mean, yikes. It was about the only major thing the community had (for an excuse to visit the area).

When I moved away from Northwood after high school (in 1997), I can’t say I didn’t see a lot of this coming even back then.  The mall had shops open and wasn’t doing too bad, but it still didn’t have hardly anything compared to those bigger malls on the other side of Toledo.  A new Meijer mega-store opened up as well in the early 90’s and I think that took a lot of business away from here.

I do know – according to news – that the final nail in the coffin is when the roof started to collapse, mold started to grow and the place was generally unsafe to be in.  They tried a small revival of the mall about four years ago, but it was too little too late.

I’m guessing the remaining abandoned sections of the mall that were up when we were there several weeks ago (as seen in my photos) are probably gone by now as well.

What’s left is memories of wasted quarters, weekends with friends and the smells from the pretzel place by the theater (those were some good pretzels).

RIP, mall.  It was fun.

We hopped in the car and headed out of there.

Next up is Toledo Trip:  Part 3.

Stay tuned…

 

 

One Fish, Two Fish, Orange Fish, Lucky Fish

1 Jun

This past weekend I was in a wedding.

At the reception, there were fish.

The theme of the night was beach, so the place was adorned with little bowls containing flowers, seashells, sand and – well – fish.  Each table had a couple of goldfish in them.  (Or as they were referred to at the wedding, feeder fishYou know, the kind you feed to your carnivore pets.)

FullSizeRender(7)The fish were probably about twenty-cents a piece.  But hey, they did the trick.  It looked nice with all the fish swimming around.

Toward the end of the night though, we (my wife and I) noticed fish disappearing.

It was mentioned by word-of-mouth that everyone could take some home, but I don’t think too many people got the memo.

So, I heard everything from fish being flushed down the toilets to – quite possible – getting tossed down the sink when it was all over.

I’m not blaming anyone in particular for the mishap.  Again, the intention was for people to take them home.  Somehow though, we heard a lot of people didn’t realize that they could.  And when the cleaning crew there was itching to get out of the reception hall on a Saturday night, apparently fishes lives don’t matter much.

Fish – especially these twenty-cent “feeder” goldfish – don’t have an easy life.  I guess if it’s not partaking in a wedding, it’s being devoured by a snake, piranha or some other not-so-pleasant ending.

We decided to save a couple.

Besides the fact that I wanted to get some fish at some point anyway, we figured they would make great entertainment for our cat, Tiger (as long as she didn’t eat the entertainment).

Long story short, again, we brought back a couple of fish.  I know of only four other fish that were brought home.  The rest (gulp), well, I don’t want to know.

FullSizeRender(6)

I knew the vase they were in was too small for them, so I went to the pet store the next day and picked up a bowl.

I noticed today though that they seemed pretty unhappy.  Restless, gulping like crazy and so-forth.

I’m a sucker when it comes to my pets.  I take GREAT care of them.  I mean, everyone should, right?  I just think if you want to own one you have to go to the extreme for it.  Ask Tiger.  She has it very well.

Being a concerned new fish owner, I did some research online on what is best for goldfish.

Turns out, they are miserable in bowls.  Bowls are not meant for these type of fish.  In fact, goldfish are one of the more complicated to take care of breeds.  They are a bit messy.  And need a minimum of a 10-gallon tank to really be happy and survive for awhile.  If taken care of right though, a goldfish can live up to 20 + years.  I had no clue….FullSizeRender(5)

Above:  Tiger getting familiar with the new arrivals and contemplating knocking over the new bowl.

That being said, we decided to ditch the new bowl and went and found a pretty decent tank with all the fixings.  And we got all the bonues to go with it such as chlorine remover, filter and even some decorations to perk-up their tank.FullSizeRender(4)

Above:  The new pad. 

It’s the weirdest thing – and some of you will think I’m crazy for believing this – but I can tell they’re happier now.  It’s almost as if they realized how good they have it compared to 48 hours ago when their buddies were probably being flushed.  All I can say is they’re swimming more joyfully and seem to have a ‘nice’ aura about them compared to even this morning in that small bowl.  I know…I know.  “They’re fish, Nate.  Really.”  Whatever…

Twenty-cents or not, the price you pay for a fish doesn’t place value on them.  I like having them here even more-so if I bought a hundred dollar guppy (is there such thing?).

We named them Bonnie and Clyde.  Just like Bonnie and Clyde eluded police capture for awhile and escaped imprisonment, our fish escaped the wedding.

Hopefully our fish will die of old age and not get shot like the human version (or flushed).

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