Rain has returned for a bit, a surprise at this time of year. More is coming. Not too much I hope. Anyway this week I decided to finish off Sketchbook #32 (my numbering of my panoramic sketchbooks brings us to this number) with a two-page spread of the corner of 3rd Street and B Street. I last sketched this corner over a year ago on a rainy March day, stood as I was this day beneath the entrance of the US Bicycling Hall of Fame. I think it will be a restaurant. Another changing corner of Davis. 3rd Street has had quite an upgrade from this corner down to the University, this week getting a bit of a celebration (that I didn’t go to). Click on the image to get a closer view (or just put your eyes really close to the screen).
SPOILER ALERT!! I loved Avengers [SPOILER]! It was a great way to [SPOILER] [SPOILER] years of Marvel [SPOILER]. When [SPOILER] flew in and [SPOILER] [SPOILER] in like the first ten minutes I was like, WT[SPOILER]! And what about [SPOILER] going all [SPOILER], eh, didn’t see that coming. I loved the [SPOILER] bit too. I can’t keep this up. At some point I will [SPOILER] [OK shut it now Pete] do an actual spoiler-filled post about Avengers, using the power of Lego to illustrate my points, and then maybe one about Star Wars, I’ve been meaning to Talk About That for a long time. Maybe I need to do a Playmobil-knight illustrated discussion of Game of Thrones. Did you watch that last episode, the penultimate one, the [SPOILER] one where [SPOILER] goes [SPOILER]? I think Danaerys Targaryan should have been told, it doesn’t matter, Manchester City beat Brighton anyway. Oh sorry, SPOILER for anyone who hasn’t seen the end of the 18-19 Premier League season yet. Anyway, here is a non-spoilery Lego Brickheadz figure of Thanos what I drew. I might go and see Endgame again tonight. I loved it the first time, quickest three hours I’ve ever spent in a cinema, and I loved it even more the second time.
It was hot, my allergies were making me tired and irritable, I needed to sketch at lunchtime. So I went outside, where it was still hot, and my allergies were still making me tired and irritable, but at least I got a bit of sketching in. This is The Barn at UC Davis. The rose bush in the foreground looks a bit like ice cream with strawberry flavoured sprinkles on the top, but that’s all I wanted to do, and I quite like that it looks like a massive pile of cold food on an already hot day. As of yesterday though the hot weather has put on the brakes and some rain has come, much needed but I hope it stops because the Davis World Cup is coming next week, and we need the fields to stay open…
A couple more sketches of Walker Hall. As you can see from above there are new metal pieces being added to the front. Progress continues apace. I hope there is enough office space for all the staff that will be working in there when it is done. I can’t wait to see what it looks like. I have not been back inside since that one time, I might see if I can go back in once things progress even more, get the hard hat back on. Anyway, the above was my second attempt at sketching, on the first (below) I was beset on all sides by the inequities of the sneezing, and the allergies of sneezy men. Blessed is he who in the name of allergies and good will asks the weak “what are you taking?”, for he is truly his brother’s keeper, and the finder of unasked for allergy remedies. And I will sneeze down upon thee with great vengeance and furious pollen those who attempt to sneeze on my brothers, and you will know my name is ATCHOO! when I lay my tissues upon you. ATCHOO! ATCHOO! ATCHOO! ATCHOO!
Ok, what? Where did that come from? I sneezed a lot. I sneeze a lot at this time of year. When I sneeze a lot it makes me think of Pulp Fiction. I’ve said before I don’t like being blessed when I sneeze, for one thing it doesn’t work, because I just keep on sneezing. “What are you taking?” “Oh nothing, I’m just hoping all the blessing finally works.” Someone actually said to me the other day after saying a couple of “bless-yous”, they said, “oh wait you have allergies, not a cold” like it makes a difference. I take it then that you can only bless someone who has an actual cold, but allergies are beyond magic spiritual faith healing? But maybe instead of saying “Bless-you!” people can instead go into the full “Ezekiel 25-17”. Just say the whole thing when someone sneezes, then they won’t feel bad for sneezing ten times over you. “What are you taking?” “Ezekiel 25-17.”
“Ask your doctor about taking once-daily Ezekiel 25-17. Side effects include constipation, a runny nose, flocks of seagulls, big brains, breaks in concentration, saying “what” again, saying “what” one more goddamn time. In some cases injury and death can occur. If you should notice any of these side-effects, you ain’t got no problem. I’m on the mother****er. Go back in there, and wait for the Wolf, who should be coming directly.”
I have tailed off from sketching the past couple of weeks. Been busy, not been spending enough time sketching at lunch, but also I have a sketchbook with only a couple of pages left to finish off and I like to fill those with big bold sketches, you know. I was hoping to close it out in April, but never made it. Suddenly it’s nearly mid-May! I’ve not had the time for a two-page panorama, and not been anywhere particularly big and bold lately. I am eager to start the next sketchbook, but I want that one finished before I leave on my summer trip, when I will start a new one. It’s all about timing. So, I should sketch at home more. But I always find, I don’t really want to. Then I stood in the kitchen and thought, I’ll sketch this corner. It’s quite colourful. I accidentally drew the top of the blender a little too high so now it sticks above the line of the cupboard which is actually in front of it, but I’ll just pretend you didn’t notice. By the way I don’t use that blender much. I got it to make nice cocktails and smoothies last year but only made a few. We don’t really make much of that stuff. The toaster gets used the most. I’m of the British variety where everything goes on toast. Beans, noodles, cheese, sardines, even toast on toast. I don’t have a toastie though, back in my teens I loved having a toastie. I’d make toasted sandwiches full of hot melty cheese, it was always the best when the cheese would melt through the sides and get all crispy. Great with a spicy sauce too, and maybe some tuna. I’m thinking about all these foods, but the diet is going pretty well so far.
We went down to Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley, for a soccer tournament (my son’s team the Davis Dawgs got first place after a thrilling and tight final). It was held at Greer Park, just off the freeway, and I had time between games to get some walking in, and some sketching too. This old car was parked near ours, a Dodge Dart, looking very much like it just skidded in from a 1970s cop show, knocking over a pile of boxes, shouting ‘guv!’ and sliding over the bonnet pointing a shooter at some crooks in a Ford Cortina. Even the headlights and the grille seem to be scowling at the DI who is reprimanding them for kicking in the door of a well-known Tory MP accused of taking backhanders from back-door bad guys, before slamming his badge down on the table, shouting ‘guv’ and heading down to the smoky boozer to growl at the barman, where he overhears a tip from a grass and a lightbulb goes off, and the next scene there is a door being kicked in and a scrawny looking crook caught wide-eyed in the headlights, before hauling him into the DI’s office and slinging him across the desk, earning a raised eyebrow, a shouty word, and his badge back, thanks guv. It totally looks like that, doesn’t it!
On my walk around the park (getting my steps in, guv), I saw this skate park, in which the valleys were filled with colourful graffiti. When I went back to sketch, after our fourth game, there were a group of men in their 20s and 30s with bikes having a day out, barbecuing stuff and taking turns going into the valleys and doing big spinning jumps. I also sketched a fire hydrant. After our team won the final, everyone got an ice cream. I got one too, a massive chocolatey nutty thing, and that was my dinner, diet be damned, guv.
Well, I’m on a diet, which means cutting down on the snacks, drinking more water, walking loads, even going to that thing called a ‘gym’. The first time I walked in I’m like, oh yes, I totally know how to use all this stuff, yeah I’m a regular, and I put the exercise bike on a treadmill and pumped weights like a boss. And instead of the big food truck lunches, I’m eating more of these. I like the little Lean Cuisines. I take the instructions very seriously. When microwaving food, you can’t mess with the instructions. I take it out of the box, like it says. Then it tells me to ‘pierce film to vent’. So I get a fork, and I’m stabbing at the film venting, “oh everything is stupid! Brexit is the stupidest thing ever! Why can’t climate change deniers listen to scientists? How are there people arguing the earth is flat? What the hell is wrong with everyone!” When my venting is over, I proceed with the instructions. “Cook on high for three minutes.” So, I unplug the microwave, and put it on the highest shelf I can find, on the second floor of my house, which is a little inconvenient but good exercise going up the stairs, I guess. Lean Cuisines eh! When the three minutes of cooking are up, I remove the film and stir it up, just like it says, I tell the little bits of chicken that the broccoli said their mum was having it off with a goose. Then once I’m done stirring, it tells me to “re-cover”, so I lie down for fifteen minute to get my breath back. Then you cook it on high again for another two minutes, back up the stairs, back to the top shelf, which is dusty and full of Lego but I’m on a diet, I have to do this right. When the mictrowave bell rings, I have to ‘stand for a minute’, so there I am standing on the spot, looking like a twat, and that’s a long minute, I’m very hungry. And then it’s done! And twenty seconds later I have finished eating. This is a good diet.