Another one from over three months ago. Time moves fast. This is a shoe repair shop on C Street called the Davis Shoe Shop. Shoe repair shops are great set-ups for jokes. Like for example, “My friend said he was a member of the shoe repair men guild, I said that was just a bunch of cobblers”. Yeah, that doesn’t work if you don’t know what I mean by cobblers. Also it just doesn’t work. So, a cobbler is someone who repairs shoes, you know that. Well in British English at least, if you say something is ‘cobblers’ or ‘a bunch of cobblers’ it means it’s bullshit or not true. Like, if I said “I had lunch with Prince William today,” you’d say “cobblers” and it means you wouldn’t believe me. So a better joke might be, “All my friends are shoe repair men,” and the appropriate response would be “Cobblers”. You could also say, “I went to get my shoe repaired the other day, and the guy said he couldn’t do it, but he did fix me a fruit basket. Turns out he was only a Peach Cobbler.” See, yeah that doesn’t really work either. This is what I do all day, I try to think of joke opportunities that can fit any potential situation, but I don’t know any situation that would allow me to use that one, and nobody would laugh at that one anyway. File it under ‘dad jokes’. Not my dad, he wouldn’t tell jokes as good as that, but my son would definitely say I would tell jokes as bad as that. Situation specific jokes are handy though. A couple of days ago my wife was telling me about a joke she read on one of her Disney blogs that she likes (Disney blogging is a really big thing) that made her crack up, but you really had to be a Disney fanatic to understand it. Needless to say I didn’t understand it. We got talking about different genres of blogs and she was telling me about Credit Card blogs, people do have forums and blogs where they talk about different credit cards, pros and cons, points and deals, that sort of thing. Apparently it’s a thing. So I started wondering what credit card humour would be like, whether I would be any good at it (I thought I’d take a swipe at it, if you will). (See that doesn’t make sense because take a swipe means have a go at it, not give it a go; oh, the English language, what are you like). Anyway I eventually came up with the following, feel free to use it in any situation you find yourself in with credit card enthusiasts. “So I was shopping for kitchen utensils and I accidentally chopped off six of my fingers! I didn’t mind though, because I only like to show my last four digits.” No, that doesn’t work. Ok how about this: “Why does a credit card blogger cut two fingers off of each of their gloves?” No you can see where that’s going, that’s rubbish too. Or how about “Did you know in America they don’t have chip-and-pin? Instead they have fries-and-pin”, yeah that one is, look credit card humour just isn’t as funny as regular humour. (Side note, I think this all counts under the heading “The author’s explanations are so boring, by the time he gets to the point you already forgot what he was talking about“.) Ok back to the Shoe Repair jokes. “What’s a shoe repair man’s favourite type of music? Sole Music.” (That’s weak, even for me) “What’s the difference between a shoe repair man and a wild animal doctor? One fixes heels, the other one heals foxes.” Ok that one is pretty good, maybe more of a joke-in-progress. “What is a shoe repair man’s favourite Star Wars movie? Brogue One.” Actually no, “The Laced Jedi”. Actually “Sole-o” (that’s the new one). The comedic possibilities are endless. Not very funny, but endless all the same. Perhaps the best sort of humour in this genre is more physical rather than descriptive, that is, “shoe don’t tell.” Ok, I’m done.
Ah, another big gap in posting. I promise I am busy as well as lazy. I’ve also not sketched as much, though I have been doing ‘Inktober’, that thing where you draw a picture in ink every day of October (interestingly enough I discovered that ‘October’ is originally the month where for 31 days people would use a different southern French word for “yes”, before that it was just called “Tober”, similarly this is how ‘November’ got its name, although it was Nonvember until scribes dropped the nasal almost silent ‘n’, before that it was just ‘Vember’, and no I don’t know where this is all going, I’m running myself into nonsense again, or is that no-sense? Forget all of this, I made it up). Inktober though, you get a list of 31 words and they are prompts to get you drawing every day. Good idea for inspiration. Despite it being October, one of the greatest months ever invented (cheers Rome! I guess), I didn’t do as much outside sketching, and all my Inktober efforts are actually just of Lego minifigures (you’ll have seen these if you’ve followed me on Instagram – where I’m called ‘pwscully’ because someone else is ‘petescully’, someone who has no posts and 1 follower). I’m going to post those up soon, I only scanned them in a couple of days ago. In the meantime, here is a sketch I managed to do on Saturday afternoon after a very long day of AYSO duties. I’d cycled downtown to get a haircut and came away empty-handed (or rather full-headed), as the barbers were packed. Must be haircut-tober or something. So I got a milkshake and sat on the sidewalk at the edge of Fifth Street to at least get a sketch in this overly warm late October weather. I have drawn this scene a few times before, and the leaves are all crisping up into their proper autumnal colours. Mood lately has been tired, stressed, a bit deflated, uninspired. Sketching helps with that.
So does getting a haircut. I finally did a couple of days ago, and Tottenham beat Real Madrid 3-1 in the Champions League on the same day, so those two things have improved my mood massively. Roll on November!
Early last month I flew down to Los Angeles with my friend Roshan who was visiting from London, for a boys weekend to celebrate his 40th birthday. I didn’t do much sketching; it was a short trip and we mostly did tourism and, well, the pub. One or two pubs! A good old few pubs. I do find it harder to sketch when travelling with non-sketchers, (not for any fault of their own, I just struggle to concentrate) but I did manage a few sketches, including the in-flight drawing above. We stayed downtown at an awesome hotel with a great view, I only grabbed a couple of quick sketches of it, but we were really close to the LA public library (which I have sketched before, years ago).
And of course, one fire hydrant. It wasn’t a 2am hydrant sketch (like on previous LA trips) but the library is once more in the background!
And I got a few quick people sketches down at Venice Beach, of dancing roller-skaters. I would like to go back there on a sketching trip someday, there is always so much to draw around there. I really like LA.
The US Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis is found on 3rd Street. You know I have never been in there? I guess I’m not really that interested in Cycling. Oh I ride a bike every day, I love actually riding a bike, I’m just not interested in Bikes, or Cyclists. Yet here’s the thing, I am very interested in cars and the history of cars, I love to draw them, but I don’t drive a car myself. I sketched this from across the road on B Street. I remember several years ago when the Tour of California kicked off from Davis, Lance Armstrong (in his pre-ignominious-fall St.Lance days) was participating and had his bike stolen from Sacramento the day before. Someone actually half-inched his bike! Now Davis is a bit of a cycling center you might say, in fact we were the first city in the US to have bike lanes, that’s right, Davis was first, number one, us. We’re pretty good at it too. This time of year though on campus it gets a little chaotic, with all the new students and all the new freshly-minted cyclists going in all sorts of directions, careening across corners and riding round roundabouts. The bike crashes are often spectacular; it’s worth cycling defensively at this time of year, and wear a helmet. Also, new Davis cyclists, don’t go through stop signs downtown (or anywhere) because the local cops do actually hide around the corner catching errant cyclists out, and giving out tickets. I’m glad I live in such a bike-friendly city like Davis though, with all its bike lanes and bike shops. Helps that it’s flat too, because I don’t like riding up hills, or any kind of slight incline. Which is funny because I love hills, I love walking up and down hills, and seeing them from a distance.
Hello folks! Sorry about the blogging break! Been very busy lately, settling into the new job, also coaching soccer again, also a little bit of travel (a couple of days in LA helping my friend from England celebrate his 40th birthday), and a slow-down in the sketching (but only a slow-down, not an actual break…never an actual break!) Also I just have had a lot of things piled on top of the scanner and you have to move it to scan things and…excuses, excuses. So I am up super early today watching Tottenham beat Huddersfield (it’s 3-0 at half-time, Harry Kane is giving a masterclass) and it seemed like a good time to start catching up. So, this sketch is of the Davis Farmers Market and I drew it at the August “Let’s Draw Davis” event, which are still going monthly, this one was organized by fellow Davis sketcher Alison Kent. I stood and sketched this among the Wednesday evening ‘Picnic in the Park’ crowd. That’s what the Wednesday evening summer events at the Farmer’s MArket are called, they have music and bounce houses. A few days later I added this sketch to the Pence Gallery’s annual Art Auction, and it sold!! I’m so glad, as I really enjoyed sketching this. The Farmers Market on a Wednesday after work is a nice place to hang out in this town.
I did a couple of other sketches, of the band performing, using one of those multi-coloured pencils for the second sketch.
My final sketches of the evening were at a very important event elsewhere in the park, the Unity Rally, organized in resistance of bigotry and hate, this coming just days after the events in Charlottesville. One of the speakers was US Congressman John Garamendi, who very kindly signed my sketch afterwards! He did look it over to make sure I hadn’t misquoted him; I thanked him for repeating the Nelson Mandela quote a couple of times so I could get it right. The evening ended with a touching candle vigil, of course I’m always nervous about candles all around me (a candle once burned a massive hold in my shirt at a party in east London, leaving me to go all the way across London on the night bus with basically half a shirt on, very embarrassing) so I sidled back with my sketchbook. Another of the speakers was the new UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May, who has now appeared in my sketchbook three times; I’ll post about the other two times soon, but I’m very happy he is our new chancellor (he likes Lego! and Comics! And is obsessed with Star Trek!)Speaking of Lego, one of my latest things is making Lego animations. I’ve made a few this past month, and if ever one gets any good I’ll maybe even post it here…
This is on 4th Street, Davis, behind that funny shaped building on G Street. A hot August afternoon, a weekend day when I felt I had to leave the house to make it feel like I achieved something with the day, but soon went home after a sketch aching with the hot weather. I sometimes envy the faculty who go away all summer, escaping to cooler climes, then I remember they may be away but they’re all busy all the time, doing research, speaking at conferences, flying vast distances, and I do get tired of flying. If I feel a little preoccupied with the heat, it was 110 degrees here in Davis today, the last weekend of August, and it really needs to just stop now, please. September can be very hot as well. October starts to cool off, and then it is lovely. November gets a bit chillier, but it is still nice. December is cooler still, the rare time when we are cooler than San Francisco (which I swear warms up slightly in the winter-time), and yes despite the fact it has been almost 12 years since I left Britain I STILL GO ON ABOUT THE BLOODY WEATHER! It’s all we Brits talk about. I just had a cup of tea too. And like a Brit, I am never happy with the weather, not really. Except in October. October is nice. The next ‘Let’s draw Davis’ sketchcrawl that I organize will be in October, date TBD. There is supposed to be one next month also which another of our group is organizing, but no dates for that yet either. I’ll announce those on here soon (also on the Let’s draw Davis FB page). I just hope it cools down soon. Please cool down soon.
Of course, despite the heatwave, we have to count ourselves lucky. The people of Texas have been hit hard by Hurricane Harvey this weekend. I really hope the people there will be safe, and that they get all the help needed through this crisis.
A note on the sketch – I’ve always wanted to draw this little covered alleyway, it’s an often forgotten spot in Davis. I was interested in the perspective and also the light, the way it reflected on the ground. Most of all though, the woodwork, there’s nothing quite like drawing woodwork, for some reason I love it. Like beards, I like drawing beards too.