second thoughts

now wait a second

Second Street, Davis; the Varsity Theater. Today was hot and bright; I sat and drew this in the shade of a tree. The Fall quarter began this week, and there are lots of new students milling about in packs, impressing each other. It’s new year’s day in a college town. 

I remembered that exactly ten years ago I moved over to Belgium for my year abroad, and it rained constantly for the first couple of weeks that I was there. A million miles from here, with nigh-on 100 degree weather. And another thought: it is exactly four years since I emigrated from the UK to live in America. The first job I got here was in the bookstore on this very street, directly opposite the Varsity. I don’t think I imagined we’d still be here now. Funny how the years go by. I got myself a strawberry lemonade smoothie, and went home.

drawing to a close

30, drawing

#30 of 30, and that’s that. This sketchbook is finished. These are some of my current sketchbooks – the moleskine is in between the big watercolour one and the small wh smith one. I’ve had a pen, or a crayon, in my hands ever since I had hands. I’ve always drawn, always, even if for some years I didn’t really draw all that much. It’s funny though, but I feel it’s just the last few years that I have really come back to it and put myself into it, drawing daily and posting online. It’s like, full circle; I have had many many interests, and things I’ve tried out, and I still do, but drawing was the first thing I did, and it is still what I do.

So the series ends. This was a series of thrity things about me, that you may or may not have known. I specifically chose a mixture of fairly mundane things and fairly interesting things, but these are not necessarily the most important things. Similarly, I’ve drawn different views around the apartment (similar to the How to Save the World series), and kept the words as unkempt and off the cuff as possible.

Here then is the final list. Makes sense when you look at it like this.

I hold my pen in an unusual way


29, tv

Penultimate entry, #29 of 30. Funny I should do this on the day of the Emmy’s. Don’t tell me, oh you should get BBC America. If I wanted to watch back-to-back repeats of crap shows like ‘Coupling’, I would have gotten it by now. But they don’t show Match of the Day, so sod ’em.

If you want a vision of the future, they say, imagine a reality tv show, stamping on a human soul, forever. But isn’t Big Brother ending next year in the UK? Long, long overdue, that show, from the man whose ancestor gave us the London sewage system.

And so, this particular reality series is almost over (in fact I just drew the last one), a series of mundane facts about the author, not the most important or interesting parts, but just what I happened to come across while rearranging my head. And my apartment. And it may even be fluff, but hey, I’m fluffy.

a very mini sketchcrawl

Yesterday was the 24th worldwide sketchcrawl. I went to the zoo in the morning, so my son could see the monkeys and, er, tractors, and afterwards I popped into Sacramento to do some sketchcrawling. Against my better judgement; it was so hot, and I had such a headache, that I only managed the one before wandering about and calling it a day.

L and 15th Sac

This old building is on the corner of L and 15th, Sacramento.

one falling leaf does not an autumn make

28, i like autumn

#28 of 30… the autumn of the series, “I hold my pen in an unusual way“. This is how it was last weekend. May be about a hundred today though. When it’s a hundred out that means it is still Summer, according to the Wikipeteia. One leaf does not an autumn make. Even so, the halloween candy is in the store. I love autumn, season of changes; but changes can sometimes be a pain, sometimes it is nice when yesterday is like today. I’m just looking forward to when I can wear nice warm jumpers again. I have so many, and yet I live in the scorching Central Valley.

execute order 99

taco bell receipt

It would have been cooler if it had been Order 66, Sith fans! I needed to draw at the Silo yesterday lunchtime, but could not face drawing another picture of the Silo, so I drew my Taco Bell receipt.

so let’s see your kit for games

27, football shirts

#27 of 30. Some of you know my love for football shirts (or soccer uniforms, if you prefer). I’m a bit of a connoisseur, an enthusiast. Not really a collector, but I have a few. I have a Spurs away kit from the early 90s which is signed by Klinsmann, Sheringham, Anderton, Ardiles, and the rest. I do wear my tops at weekends sometimes, but all that static polyester turns me into a walking van de graaf generator. 

I’ve wanted to have a chat – my annual chat, for sure – about this season’s footy kits. All summer I checked daily the following sites, and, for news on every new shirt release around the world. As always, the South American and smaller British clubs choose practically naked women to promote their tops (almost oxymoronic there); see Linfield’s away kit if you don’t believe me. Some kits this year have been nice – England’s new tailored home kit is lovely, and is the first England kit I’d even consider buying. I’m incredibly envious of Arsenal’s two new away shirts. But there have once more been a slew of lame blah-blah kits this year, with few really original designs for clubs, particularly from the larger companies such as Nike and Puma. Oh, Puma – will I ever like a Puma kit? It’s funny, because the answer to that is yes – I will always like the previous one better than the new one, because they are getting worse. The current windscreen-wipers /chevron template they are overusing has produced some horrific results, but none more ghastly than Tottenham’s current home kit. Awful sponsor aside, the introduction of yellow streaks (cue jokes all over N5, “what do you mean ‘introduction'”, etc) to produce this monstrosity means I’ll be waiting another year for a home kit I might want. It’s not just Puma though – even Adidas have gone for the shock factor with Newcastle’s new yellow-and-custard striped away shirt. Poor Newcastle – they get relegated, and are then told to wear that shirt in front of thousands – okay, hundreds – of people.

But the foulest kit, the most shocking kit of all time perhaps, even more so than Arsenal’s early 90s away kit, has to be Partick Thistle’s new away kit, surely done as a bet, a pink/grey/white camouflage kit. It just has to be a joke. It’s chavalicious. And Puma again.

You can see many of the best and worst kits of all time at perhaps my favourite site on the net: historical football kits. The research these guys have done at HFK is beyond phenomenal, showing images of shirts from all years of English and Scottish football. Its readers help out by forwarding any information they may have; I once sent them a photo I’d found of the Spurs laundry-lady hanging out kits in the mid-30s, showing that we wore navy and white hoops away. Highly exciting stuff for the football kit historian!

And so there you have it, my football kit obsession. It’s funny really, because apart from the beloved adidas trainers, I actually really hate most sportswear.


outside math sciences

Summer’s not finished with us yet, though the Fall presses its nose against the window and demands an earlier opening time. It was over a hundred degrees again on 9-11, and I took a lunchbreak from the busy-ness and drew the outside of work, and not for the first time. Purple Micron. The Math Science Building. I still, even after four years in America, feel funny calling it ‘Math’. To me, and other UKsiders, it’s ‘Maths’, or more properly ‘Maffs’.