Monday, April 15, 2024

Where the heart is


I know it is dark humor. Maybe not as dark as the mime getting his mouth sewn shut, but in the same ballpark. I'm thinking I could create another version of this for Valentines Day next year with the headline, "I give you my heart." 

Seriously who would buy that?

Okay I probably would, but I don't think it would be a good idea to give it to your Valentine (unless you are one of those people who choose Valentines Day to break up).

Note to self: Come up with a series of break up designs. Why text someone when you could send them a t-shirt?

I tell you these are million dollar ideas I'm coming up with. 

Though I still struggle a bit with Art AI. This morning I wanted it to create a Don Quixote design with the headline "They might be giants." I wanted him to show Don Quixote on his broken down horse charging a windmill that looked a bit like a giant. First Art AI puts Don Quixote on this magnificent horse and makes him a young man in a nice, stylish set of armor. I tried getting very specific and told Art AI to make Don Quixote in his mid 60s with gray hair and a beard and put him in armor that you'd see in the early 1600s. It gives me the Don Quixote with gray hair and a beard, but still puts him on a nice looking horse and shiny armor. It also give him sword. And it has Don Quixote running away from the windmill (which looks nothing like a giant BTW). 

I finally gave up. Maybe it was because there was no corny Dad joke pun involved and Art AI didn't know how to handle it. After all, I did a whole series on sandwiches.

Art AI came up with the islands of ketchup and mustard on its own, too. I thought that was a nice touch for a disembodied designer who can't deliver a decent image of Don Quixote. 

It nailed my request for a pen pal design.

I thought that was spot on for income tax day. 

It was write on.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Who you calling a pig, man?


I saw Cheech and Chong's movie Up in Smoke in 1978. I'm pretty sure I saw it at a drive-in theater. It was a classic. And it was hilarious. Or at least it seemed hilarious at the time (and no I wasn't smoking).  I imagine it would seem dated and not real relevant any more, especially since weed is legal in so many states now.

Still, it makes a classic t-shirt design. Art AI added the joint. I didn't ask it to. Sometimes it is very intuitive. Other times it is dense as hell. For example, I asked it for a picture of a beaver with the headline GIVE A DAM. It gives me a cartoon beaver that was okay.

But I wanted to see something a little more realistic. Then it give me this.

I mean, damn, the beaver looks like a friggin' vampire. And the more I tried to clarify, the freakier the beaver images it would give. They looked like feral wolves had mated with a beaver. But none had beaver teeth. I'm not sure why that was a stretch.

It's like when I asked for a freaking out panda bear.

At first it just gave me ones that looked like Kung Fu Panda. Then it gave me this one, but at first it had six toes on it's front paws and no claws and four toes on it's hind paws and claws. So I had to fix it with Photoshop because I was pretty sure some panda purist would give me shit because the panda looked like it came from Chernobyl.

Still, I like the result. That is one freaked out looking panda.

I was thinking that I am probably spending way too much time talking about my designs. But it has become a passion with me. I tend to get obsessive about these things. And in theory if someone goes to the storefront and an is curious about where I come up with these things they would come here. 

I don't want to disappoint. You'll just have to bear with me.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Dunce more unto the breach


After Disney crapped all over my "Dunce upon a time" design, I couldn't quite let go of the dunce theme. I have never taken kindly to injustices in my life (which is a big reason I despise Trump and his MAGA monkeys). So there is poetic justice and irony rampant in this design playing off Henry V's line from Henry V, Act III, Scene I, "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead!"

The irony is that I'm trying yet again to use this dunce pun and irony in that all of the dunces are running away from the castle they are supposed to be storming. That was Art AI's humor or error. 

I've always thought there was a certain folly in rushing into a situation because a leader rallys you and thinking that is courage versus thinking it through and wondering if this is worth dying for. As General George Patton pointed out "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his."

I also popped this one out about King Arthur and the book The Once and Future King. If only the well read suddenly had a penchant for buying t-shirts.

I am sure if some of my British friends wandered into my design storefront they would be sniggering drolly about the humor of a moron pulling Excalibur out of a stone by mistake and becoming King of England. There somehow seems to be more credibility in it than how the English monarchy is chosen today.

I will end with some dark humor I slipped into my shop today.

There is something darkly compelling (and satisfying) about this design.  Disturbing as it is, it makes a statement.

I've never been able to hide my distaste for mimes and clowns.

Friday, April 12, 2024

It was the best of Charles, and the worst of Charles


I had to work like the Dickens to get this image. "Cute as the Dickens" is an odd phrase. ChatGPT says it is likely in reference to Charles Dickens because of the cute and charming characters (like Ebenezer Scrooge) he created. It can't be that Dickens himself was cute. Because if you look at any of the photos or portraits of the man cute does not come to mind. The man was beat with the proverbial ugly stick.

But sometimes something can be so ugly it is cute. I tell myself that a lot.

On another note, I had another design removed from because it offended the intellectual property gods.

The Disney Corporation took offense to the design. I assumed at first because Cinderella looked like their stereotypical Disney princess. But I did a Google search and apparently the own the trademark for "Once upon a time." And "Dunce upon a time" is too close for their corporate comfort. This is an example of where if I was a wealthy lawyer (or Donald Trump) I would challenge them. First how can you own "Once upon a time." Second my design is "Dunce upon a time." You didn't trademark that one I bet. And if it is because of the blonde Cinderella in a blue dress, I would suggest you can't own a trademark on all of the blonde princess looking women in the world wearing a blue dress.

Pisses me off that this is even an issue. Its not like i sold a sitcom pilot for "Dunce upon a time." And it isn't like they are stocking "Dunce upon a time" t-shirts at the Disney Store.  Don't deny me the opportunity to get me $2 royalty (irony intended) for selling the shirt.

Speaking of selling a shirt I thought would never be purchased by anyone but me (and I haven't even bought one), a friend of mine who actually reads my blog (and rides the bus) bought one of my Dizgraceland Record Company t-shirts and posted a photo of him wearing it on my Facebook page. 

I was touched. I may even have to buy one myself now.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

What keeps me awake at night?


For whatever reason the Brothers Grimm popped into my head at about 2 a.m. First I thought it would be funny to have an image of them trying to smile for a portrait and they still looked grim. But then I thought of them trying to be farmers so they would be Grimm reapers. I tried having Art AI make the image look like the American Gothic painting of the farmer with a pitchfork standing next to who I thought was his wife. But ChatGPT informed me it was the man's daughter in the painting.

I just learn something new everyday.

But Art AI apparently can't imagine crossdressing purveyors of fair tales so it gave me the above design. I thought it was pretty cool and went with it. 

Later, I tried to do something with a Grimm family portrait. At first I just wanted a design with the brothers and their wives and families (each had four kids). Art AI spit out some moody looking images, but they didn't quite cut it. Then I thought it would be interesting to have the brothers posing with family members but those family members would be characters from their fairy tales. I got several that had some images that I liked and I pieced them together with the real faces of the brothers.

I really like the way it turned out. Still the designs are a bit cerebral and I'm thinking they might sell well in someplace like Half Price books. 

I also had this idea in the wee hours for a Rapture Airline where Jesus was the pilot. It was loosely based on this guy who used to push a shopping cart around the campus when I went to Boise State University many years ago. He was always shouting out shit about Jesus and God. And he had a sign on his shopping cart that read, JESUS IS MY PILOT. It stuck with me.

I'm afraid this one will either offend or inspire depending upon whether the person is Christian and smart enough to know I'm making fun of them or Christian and too stupid to know I'm making fun of them. Of course Art AI chose the typical racist white Jesus that most white Christians seem to think Jesus looked like. I think this one looks kind of like a young Michael Palin from Monty Python.

And since I was already offending people I came up with this one this evening.

I thought the bear turned out pretty Catholic looking, but I gave up trying to have Art AI show the Pope shitting in the woods. Remember I figured out that Art AI doesn't depict bodily functions. But for whatever reason it had no problem spelling shit. Go figure.

Quick digression as a follow up to my discussion of trying to flip stuff I find cheap at Goodwill on eBay. I was joking about the ashtray I found from a a 1930s era cruise ship and wondering if it would sell even if it had a chip in it. I'll be damned if it didn't sell this afternoon.

I think the Pope does shit in the woods.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Don't give a fig


I have a hunch that Isaac Newton really didn't sit under an apple tree. I suppose purists will argue that fig trees are native to the Middle East. But are you seriously going to quibble about a bad pun on a t-shirt?

I was just grateful that Art AI got the gist of this design in a couple of tries. I did have to add the Fig Newton. It tried to make a fig look like a cookie. But it spelled everything right and created someone who could be Isaac Newton.

I suppose the real point of this pun was that Newton didn't discover gravity despite the popular myth that he was sitting under an apple tree and an apple fell on his head. He did observe falling objects and formulated the law of universal gravitation which basically describes the force of gravity and how it affects objects. That doesn't make for a very funny t-shirt though.

I do, however, respect the gravity of the situation.

Speaking of gravity, I have become enamored lately with the concept of finding things at Goodwill for a pittance and flipping them on eBay for umpteen the cost I paid for them. It is a good concept in theory. But I am discovering the flaw in the overall plan. It is very similar to the flaw in my becoming famous from forcing Art AI to design t-shirts based on my puns. You have to find someone interested in buying the treasures I've picked from the shelves of other people's cast offs at Goodwill in order to quadruple your investment. 

Similarly I need to find people with extremely esoteric and cultivated tastes to understand my t-shirt puns and want to become a walking billboard with them on.

It seems like a good plan to buy a Mickey Mouse mug from Disneyland at Goodwill for $3 and then list it on eBay for $15. That's five times what you paid for it (minus the eBay fees and the time you spend photographing the item, listing it, packing it, and mailing it). And you have to compete with a hundred or so other people selling Mickey Mouse mugs on eBay, some for half the price. Of course, they all aren't the same mug, but you have to wonder what the market is for Mickey Mouse mugs that were pretty much mass produced in the thousands and purchased on a whim when you were delirious from standing in line all day at Disneyland. 

That's why many end up at Goodwill and are snapped up by astute pickers like myself.

Now granted, I have acquired an eye for collectibles from the time I spend in antique malls. But what I am learning is that flipping second hand merch takes lots of patience. And since I don't have a space at an antique mall, it takes up lots of storage space in my office. Which is why I am trying to sell it in the first place. 

But I tell you there is a rush when you find an ashtray from a defunct cruise ship from the 1930s that Amelia Earnhardt sailed on to Hawaii with her airplane back in 1934.  Okay, it has a chip in it, but who is to say that didn't happen when Amelia threw it in a drunken rage at the room steward for not changing a lightbulb on the reading lamp on her night stand?

I think there is a t-shirt design in that story somewhere.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

In a pig's eye I will...


I keep coming back to pigs (or hogs if you are a purist). We seem to have a ton of idioms referring to pigs. I'm not sure why that is. Pigs are much maligned by us. Not to mention we raise them, kill them, eat them and now harvest their organs. Doesn't seem quite fair.

But I do like bacon so I am no one to talk.

Who will live, who will die, who will tell their story? I suppose I could have put the pig's face on a $20 dollar bill, too. But this works fine for me.

I reached 401 designs today. This doesn't count the ones I've had to take down because someone thinks they infringe on someone's intellectual property. So that is a lot of t-shirt designs. 

BTW, do you know why they are called t-shirts? Because when you lay them out flat they resemble the letter "T."  I never knew that until I asked ChatGPT.

So anyway, more than 400 designs. You would think someone would take a shine to a few and buy some. I still harbor this fantasy that they will start showing up in Google searches and take off. Because I tell you posting them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter doesn't seem to do squat. I'm lucky if I get an occasional like. 

If you design a t-shirt and no one wears it, does it still make a statement?

There's a t-shirt in that somewhere. Someone just needs to pick it.

Monday, April 08, 2024

Hey hey, we're the monkeys...


I was feeling a bit like I needed a break today from binge designing. I was posting an average of 12 per day during the last week or so. So today I only posted three. And two of them were Charles Darwin rocking out with an audience of monkeys. 

The other one was something I started yesterday but was piecing together stuff since Art AI was being difficult. I wanted a real estate development sign for a neighborhood called Sherlock Homes.

I think it was so so. It is kind of the same vein as some of the Shakespeare spoofs. There are several puns related to Sherlock Holmes. But they may be a bit obscure for the average person. And it makes for a kind of clunky t-shirt design.

But I am happy with the Darwin designs. 

Other than posting here, I don't really talk to anyone about my designs. I've shown a few to my family. But I've had this revelation of late about my delusions over the years thinking I would recognized for my clever ideas. I wanted people to say stuff like, "Wow, you did this? I never knew you could do this?"

But people aren't impressed by me or my witty ideas. I can be smug as I want about my clever puns but I generally only get a head shake and an eye roll. If I rattled them I could at least get a shake, rattle and roll pun out of it.

See what I mean. 

It is one of those realizations I've found I get now that I am in my 60s. People didn't expect much from me when I was young because young people haven't experienced enough to know anything. Now I am old and people acknowledge that you have experience, they just think you can't keep up anymore. I can't tell you how many people try to prompt me when I'm paying for something at a store with my debit card.  They assume because I am old that I can't fathom technology. 

What they don't realize is that I'm not really aging and deteriorating. I'm evolving. 

So don't monkey with me.

Sunday, April 07, 2024

I am the walrus?


Even John Lennon said that the lyrics of the song I am the Walrus didn't really mean anything. Though Goo Goo G'Joob does seem full of deep meaning. Art AI had difficulty repeating it. It doesn't seem to like to violate grammar and spelling rules. But to be a true artist, you have to do both. I just wish it would simply print headlines exactly the way I dictate them. But it can't seem to do that.

It had trouble with this one too. 

It kept wanting to say, "Those Thar Cookies" instead of "Them Thar."  It also had difficulty with drawing fortune cookies and a gold mining pan. It kept wanting to put the cookies in wok with handles and many of the cookies looked more like slugs or biscuits. But I prevailed. I can't complain too much about the time I spend fixing the art Art AI gives me. It does do a lion's share of the work. And I feel more like it is my art when I spend time reworking it.

Art AI also had difficulty reproducing bodily functions like a dog pooping in the grass that I asked it for in the grassroots movement design. And today I asked it for a male dog lifting its leg to pee on a fire hydrant.  I get the sense that AI's prime directive is not to reproduce animals or people relieving themselves. 

I asked it to show a male dog lifting its leg peeing on a tree, a fire hydrant, a signpost, a bush and a car tire. It kept giving me dogs standing sheepishly next to the items. A few times it had the dog legs twisted in weird contortions. I finally asked for this version with just the items I wanted pissed on. Then I asked for a new design with just a male dog lifting one rear leg to pee on a fire hydrant. It came close, but the dog only had three legs and it is lifting a leg but there is no pee. I added a leg and copied the image onto the fire hydrant image of the main design. I gave up on showing pee. It doesn't really add anything.

But it pissed me off.

If you don't get this design, it is a parody of a Dr. Seuss book called Oh the Places You'll go. It was an inspirational book he published in 1990 to inspire young people graduating from high school. I got a kick out of a mother dog inspiring her puppy with the places it will literally go (as long as it doesn't have to rely on Art AI to have it lift its leg to pee).

I wonder if anyone will get it...or get it (if you catch my drift).

Saturday, April 06, 2024

I am not a man, I am an animal...


I wonder if anyone remembers The Elephant Man. It came out in 1980 with a young Anthony Hopkins. It was also directed by David Lynch. I didn't know that at the time. But it doesn't surprise me. It was an odd and dark film.  If you don't know the movie, it was based on the true story of Joseph Merrick, a severely deformed man who was paraded around as freak show in late 19th century London. He didn't really look like an elephant.

One of the classic lines from the film was when Merrick shouts "I am not an animal! I am a man." I used to randomly say that in meetings at work. Not too many people got the reference. 

It's my life story.

But I liked the idea of swapping the elephant and the man. It does kind of speak to the treatment of animals in circuses who are used for our entertainment. I'd like to see them protest. 

At first I asked Art AI to put a man's head on an elephants body. It didn't seem to warm up to that idea and kept giving me elephants standing on two legs and dressing like people. I eventually just went with that because it did look to freaky when Art AI finally gave in and gave me a couple of concepts with human heads on elephant bodies.

It wasn't pretty.

I messed around with some images of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum I'd had Art AI create for me a few weeks ago. I pictured them as the twins from the Overlook Hotel in the Shining. It finally came together when I found an old nursery rhyme that introduced Tweedly Dee and Dum before Alice in Wonderland brought them to life. They apparently were going to fight a duel over a rattle and got frightened by a angry crow. Made no sense, but I liked the imagery.

I particularly like the beanies with propellers on top. Disturbing yet compelling. Kind of like Kramer from Seinfeld.

The Shining made me think of Redrum. 

I like the absurdity of Redrum not being about murder spelled backwards at all and more literal. 

Finally, for no apparent reason, I had Art AI crank out a NASA logo with the word NASTY on it.

Apparently since NASA is a government agency they don't have as much license to scream intellectual property violation. But I am relying on what ChatGPT told me and it also told me Jimmy Buffett couldn't copyright "It's five o'clock somewhere."  Google set me straight that Jimmy did have tons of copyrights. It reminded me that ChatGPT is a notorious liar.

It can be NASTY, too.

Friday, April 05, 2024

There is not eye in team


I make no secret that my gorge rises at inspirational quotes and especially those that imply teams are more productive than individuals. I particularly hate "Teamwork makes the dream work."  And "there is no 'I' in team" is right up there with simplistic teamwork propaganda that makes me throw up a little in my mouth when it is spouted in my presence with a sense that it means something. 

I used to reply, "But there is an "am" to blank stares and bafflement. So I was quite pleased with myself when I whipped out a design for "There is no eye in team." Art AI wasn't particularly cooperative with it. I think it is a chronic Pollyanna and does not grok my sarcasm and puns. It couldn't crank out "There is no eye in Team" for the life of it (not that it is alive). But it did create some pretty cool looking eyeballs. So I did the text myself.

I like it because it means absolutely nothing and should keep positive people at bay for awhile. 

While I was fixated on eyes, I came up with this one.

Art AI still wasn't totally with it and I did have to do a bit of work with this one as well. But it did give me a pretty bitchin' tiger head with one paw up and a bandaged missing eye per my instructions. But again it couldn't deal with my verbatim headlines of HAS ANYONE SEEN THE EYE OF A TIGER. I made sure it wasn't Eye of the Tiger because I've been burned one too many times lately with intellectual property complaints. 

I had a design pulled today:

Apparently Jimmy Buffett's estate holds a copyright or trademark on the saying "It's five o'clock somewhere." I find this very disappointing because the stupid saying was around a long time before Jimmy Buffett wrote a drinking song using the phrase (and I know "drinking song" and "Jimmy Buffett" are redundant). So I am not sure how you can copyright something you didn't really come up with. But he did along with umpteen other phrases (most of which include the word Margaritaville). 

Don't get me wrong, I like Jimmy Buffett and I listen to his station on Sirius Satellite Radio all the time and I was very sad when Jimmy died. But now that whoever inherited his estate has gone all draconian about making sure no one steals lyrics that Jimmy...well...stole....I may have to rethink my lapse in taste in music.

It's not that I think the "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" design was great art or that interesting. I just figured it would appeal to many of the borderline alcoholic Jimmy Buffett fans who like to make excuses for day drinking and think a t-shirt with the phrase "It's five o'clock somewhere" gives them that excuse, who am I not to exploit their addiction.  Again, it wasn't like anyone had bought one of the designs.

I plan on changing the headline to "It's cocktail time somewhere" and throwing it back up on just out of spite. It's the principle of the thing that pisses me off. 

It did motivate me to create a new Hunchback of Notre Dame t-shirt just to tweak Notre Dame for making me take down my Hunchback football player design. I thought about changing it to an early 19th century football game in Paris organized by the Catholic church out of Notre Dame, but the thought of explaining that to Art AI and going through 100 attempts to find something that worked didn't appeal to me.

So I created a simple one with two early 1800s Catholic priests holding tryouts for altar boys in Notre Dame Cathedral and encountering Quasimodo. I reused the same lines the coaches used in the football version. So screw them. I have a hunch they'll never see it anyway. 

 All in all I cranked out and loaded 13 design ideas on my storefront today. I'll leave you with one I think is pretty cool looking. 

See, I don't have a one-track mind after all.

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Someone's knocking at the door


I was feeling Orwellian this morning so I created a couple of 1984 designs. I lived through 1984 and it wasn't really very dystopian. The world we live in now is pretty darned dystopian. I was driving my son to high school just over a week ago. They have installed these traffic cameras to cut down speeding through the school area.  I didn't really think much of it because I don't speed.  I have to turn into his school just a a short bit after the first camera so it didn't seem to be a problem.

Then yesterday I go a ticket in the mail for $135 for driving 27 mph through that area when apparently the light was flashing on the 20 mph sign a few feet from where I turn in to drop him at the school. So I had been slowing down from the posted 30 mph in the zone just before the school when the camera caught me. You can see my break lights on. 

You can either pay the ticket, ask to explain it to a judge or fight it. I am belligerent enough about it to want to at least explain that I was coming out of a 30 mph zone, slowing down to pull into the school driveway so I wasn't speeding through the area. I think $135 is excessive for the infraction, especially since I haven't had a speeding ticket for about 40 years. But I'm not sure it is worth my time to drag myself into court to bitch about it.

The other thing I'm pissed about today is that pulled another t-shirt design because of an intellectual property complaint. It was the hunchback of Notre Dame football design.  Jesus. Like Notre Dame hasn't got bigger fish to fry than hunting down an image of a hunchback playing football. I wonder if they have even aware of Victor Hugo's book.

Screw them. I posted 12 new designs today to make up for it. I was tempted to repost the hunchback design but change the locker room to a church and the coaches to priests. But it doesn't seem worth the effort. It wasn't like anyone was buying that particular design anyway.

I'm also pissed at Amazon. I ordered flowers for my wife for our anniversary. They were supposed to be delivered yesterday on our anniversary. They were delayed and delivered today. I tried complaining and asking for a refund because the flowers looked a bit worse for wear. But I got thrown into Amazon's version of an online phone tree maze. and told the item wasn't returnable but I could contact their customer service if I had questions. That sent me down several rabbit holes.

I should start my own grassroots movement to protest.

Oh well, shit happens.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Rocky Raccoon fell into the room...


I have always liked raccoons. I red the Sterling North book Rascal and watched the Disney film in 1969 and was convinced I should have a pet raccoon. My parents agreed I could if I raised the money to buy one myself (they didn't think I could save the money). At the time I think it was about $30. I mowed lawns and saved birthday money and saved up the $30 and my parents were freaking out. They convinced me that it would take a lot of work to have a pet raccoon. So they bought me a guinea pig instead. 

It wasn't the same thing.

When I moved to Seattle in the 80s I discovered that there were tons of raccoons living in the area. I remember watching a raccoon come in through my cat door one night while I sat watching television. It walked by me and proceeded to go to the cat food dish and eat all of the cat food.

Raccoons have balls.

I have also liked the song Rocky Raccoon by the Beatles (or more specifically Paul McCartney). So I had this idea to ask Art AI to create real Rocky Raccoon. It gave me some cool images including the one above. Then it dawned on me, wouldn't it be cool to have a Rocky, ala Sylvester Stallone, Raccoon.

It does the Italian Stallion proud. Though it does look a bit like the raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy

Me and Art AI were pumping out designs today. I added 12 to my storefront. Most of them were animal related. In addition to raccoons, I posted a few about porcupines (and pricks), one about a goose and one about the creature from the Black Lagoon. 

Looks pretty nice. I think I could use a holiday myself. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Why did the opossum cross the road?


If you are dying of curiosity, the opossum crossed the road because the chicken showed it that it was possible. Opossums don't have a good record of making it across a road without getting hit. But then again since opossums play dead as a defense mechanism (according to ChatGPT they "an opossum may fall onto its side, become limp, and exhibit other signs of death, such as drooling, foaming at the mouth and emitting a foul odor.

Opossums sound a bit like foamers, the train enthusiasts I wrote about a few weeks ago.

I suppose I thought of opossums because I made such a big deal about chickens yesterday. Rather than write about roadkill (which I may eventually do) I thought I'd write about my design idea that young opossums may actually think of play dead as a game like four square, dodge ball or tether ball. At least in my world they would.

Seemed like a logical design for a t-shirt. Art AI obliged but continues to piss me off by dropping letters, misspelling things and adding random Greeked text for no apparent reason. I get so I'll accept a mediocre design if everything is spelled correctly.

I can't tell you how long it took me to correct the Opossums at Play design above because Art AI placed half the headline off the page. So I had to import it from another design. It was killing me and I was dragging.

Speaking of Dragon.

This one was inspired by the new Netflix movie Damsel starring Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things fame. I think she was pretty amazing in it. Though I'm still blown away that she is British and faked an American accent for Stranger Things. Anyway, Damsel is worth watching. Spoiler alert, it has a dragon. Thus the inspiration.

I was also inspired to develop a design based on some reorganization at my day job. 

I just thought that I am grateful that I'm no higher in my organization than I am because people at the top come and go, but I hang on. It's like the bottom turtle on the stack of turtles above. If your feet are on the ground, you stick in there while everyone above you falls.

There's got to be some inspirational speaker out there who is going to glom onto 40 or 50 t-shirts with this design to get the losers pumped about never getting a promotion. Doubt if they'll want to shell out the bucks for this quality design though.

On that note, I think I should always end a post on a bad pun. 

Monday, April 01, 2024

Chicken at a crossroads


You would be amazed at how many people have created designs of why chickens cross roads, or not questioning their motives or telling ducks to not even try.  Which led me to imagining a chicken encountering the devil at the crossroads while it was trying to get to the other side. Then I imagined the devil would be a demonic incarnation of Colonel Sanders. 

Don't think it was easy going round and round with Art AI trying to get a demonic Colonel Sanders. I finally got one close enough and then had to create the string tie with Photoshop. And even after I uploaded it and thought I was done I discover there was an extra "I" in chicken when uploaded it here. So I had to go correct that.

For something that is supposed to be intelligent it has trouble with spelling even when I give it the exact thing to say. 

Despite all of that I am pretty satisfied that I came up with a unique design that stands out.

Not that that seems to matter.

I do wish I could just upload my own photos and tell Art AI to riff on them. For example, I was getting all nostalgic about this bar in Boise called the Ranch Club. It was one of the first places I had a drink in. The bartender was best friends with my high school girlfriends father and I think he gave us free drinks. We didn't really hang out in the bar. It was a restaurant at the time too. 

This is sort of what it looked like. It has since closed and reopened as a Gay bar. They changed the name but left the iconic giant horse on the roof. I Googled it and found an article about why this gay bar in Boise has a giant horse on the roof.  

But I couldn't just create a design that looked like the Ranch Club when I was 19. I had to describe it to Art AI and let it use its artificial imagination to recreate the thing. Not quite what it looked like, but close. I actually like it better. I was pretty lame by the time I started going there in the late 70s. The drinking age in Idaho was 19 at the time so I didn't even need a fake ID.

I seem to recall they served a pretty decent Chicken Fried Steak. Chicken Fried Steaks were always pretty big in Boise. Other than that it was just a dated country bar that had seen better days. I remember ordering crap like sloe gin fizzes and whiskey sours because I hadn't found my drink yet.  Eventually I discovered it was the mixers in these types of drinks that contributed to hangovers. 

Interesting tidbit about the Ranch Club. Clint Eastwood shot scenes there for his movie Bronco Billy. I remember when the movie company was in town. It was rare for anything like that to happen in Boise when I was living there. 

Oh well, happy trails Ranch Club!

My recreation of the Ranch Club naturally made me think of the Buckaroo Tavern that used to be in the Fremont District of Seattle. It was basically Seattle's version of a biker bar. You could never drive by the place without seeing a host of Harley's lined up in front.  I only drank there a couple of times, but I had fond memories of it because a local band called Ranch Romance had a love song about the Buckaroo. Well it was more about someone hooking up at the Buckaroo and cheating on their partner. "He want to do the Buckaroo, She want to do the Buckaroo."

The Buckaroo opened in 1938 and closed in 2010. The coolest thing about it was the neon sign of a bucking bronco outside the tavern.

This is sort of what the sign looked like. At least it is as close as I could get Art AI to recreate it. 

It's good enough for a t-shirt anyway.

Yee ha!

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Poisson d'Avril


I realize April Fool's Day isn't until tomorrow, but no one but the bots read these the day I post them. So I'm getting a jump on the festivities for tomorrow. Not that I tend to play April Fool's jokes. 

Regardless, I vaguely remember researching some of the origins of April Fools Day years ago and discovering that the French call it Poisson d'Avril, or April Fish. It may or may not have something to do with April 1st falling after Easter when Lent ends and the fasting traditionally concluded by eating fish. 

I love the image of the fish as a jester. 

Speaking of jokes and spoofs, I started the day expanding my album collection of the BigBeats, the Bigfoot Beatle's cover band I invented. I wanted to do something in the lines of the White Album. But it would be a stretch to turn it into a t-shirt (unless you just labelled a white t-shirt "the White Album." So I thought maybe the BigBeats would do a black album where all you could see were their eyes, but I think it would have be hard to tell they were Big Foot. So I went for a Gray Album

I think even the Beatles would have been impressed. I realize it is a stretch to sell this design for a t-shirt because you'd have to a) follow my blog or my store and b) get the humor of a Big Foot Beatle's cover band.  Both are kind of a stretch.

I also created a version of Sgt Peppers for the BigBeats over the weekend.

I think Lt. Lemons Solitary Soul Society Band sounds like an album that would sell like hot cakes (though I've never understood why hot cakes would be a big seller other than you have to sell them while they are hot).  

Now lest you think all I have to do is dictate to Art AI to give me a Big Foot cover band knock off of Sgt Peppers and the White Album, it took a zillion repetitions to get ones close to what I wanted and then I had to patch them together using bits and pieces from different designs to land on the one I wanted to load to my store. For example, for the Gray Album I had to cut and paste four different Big Foot faces onto the album background I liked because Art AI couldn't get the concept that I wanted the album cover to have four different big foot. It kept giving me the same big foot face four times.

And the Lt. Lemons album required the same thing. Plus I had to cut and paste the BigBeats written in carnations onto another image. And I had to add umpteen background faces to look kind of like Sgt Peppers. So don't think there is no art in what I do. It's not all about clever slogans, puns and spoofs. It's got to match what I'm picturing in my head before I use it.

So the jokes on you if you think this is easy.

I guess I'm fishing for a compliment.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

An Easter to dye for


You can't really go wrong with an Easter Island design for Easter. Of course, Easter Island is only Easter Island because a Dutch explorer named Jacob Roggeveen stumbled onto the island on Easter Sunday in 1722 and declared that it would be known as Easter Island much to the bafflement of the people who were living there. They just kept calling it Rapa Nui.

Funny how Europeans had this nasty habit of discovering things that were already there long before they showed up. It would be kind of like me driving to Texas for the first time on my birthday and declaring that Dallas would known as My Birthday despite the irate gun toting Texans who had been there since they stole it from Mexico.

Oh well.

But back to Easter. In my new design world, I discovered all you really need to do to make an Easter design is slap some bunny ears on something.

It's not like the Easter Bunny (a totally fictitious character like Santa Claus but without an reasonable explanation for existing ) gives a rip.  He (or she) are probably too busy dyeing eggs to worry about an Orangutan moving in on their territory. I'm not sure why I chose to put bunny ears on an Orangutan and suggest they would make a good back up for the Easter Bunny. Something tells me they would be more likely to fling feces at you than hand you a dyed egg.

And this is how I imagine the real (imaginary) Easter Bunny dyes eggs. Though I'm not sure why we think the Easter Bunny dyes eggs. I have been dyeing my own Easter eggs since I was a kid and it has always involved a cheap dye kit from the grocery store, food dye tablets, vinegar and a lot of patience.

Though I am a little vague on why we dye eggs for Easter anyway. I understand the egg is a symbol of fertility (as is the bunny...see my post on Fibonacci numbers). I just don't know what dyeing an egg has to do with it. 

Marketing no doubt.

I imagine that is where the whole chocolate bunny tradition came from. I don't know why we can't just hand each other the candy rather than putting out the empty Easter baskets and then pretending an imaginary bunny fills them with candy overnight using the same miracles Santa uses to do it all in one night.

Okay some of you may be getting impatient with me because I have glossed over that Easter is supposed to be a Christian tradition celebrating the resurrection of Jesus after he was crucified. And of course the Church co-opted a pagan festival called Eostre which celebrated the spring equinox and the renewal of life to get the Jesus angle in there after they converted more locals.

I would kind prefer to just believe in the Easter bunny and leave it at that.