TBT: Inspector Gerard eBook is Coming 1 April 2021 (Out NOW in Paperback)!

I released my first self-published book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, two years ago.  Two years on, I have finally released my second book, Arizonan Sojourn, South Carolinian Dreams: And Other Adventures.  It’s a collection of travel essays I’ve accumulated over the last four years, and it’s available now on Amazon.

Here’s where you can pick it up:

With the release of this new book, it seemed apropos to glance back at the release of Inspector Gerard, and all the excitement of yours portly at the time.

With that, here is 26 March 2021’s “Inspector Gerard eBook is Coming 1 April 2021 (Out NOW in Paperback)!“:

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TBT: Even More Little Paintings

Last week I “threw back” to a post about some of my little paintings.  I’m tinkering with the idea of applying for spots at some upcoming festivals, and it’s gotten me thinking about my little paintings.  I ordered some more of my tiny canvasses, and if I have a bit of time this week, I hope to do some more.

Several of the paintings in this original post have sold, mostly to family members, but also to outside buyers.  I sold several at a school art sale, and the remaining originals are for sale on my Bandcamp page.  Additionally, I’ve incorporated digital images of many of these paintings (and some of my doodles) into merchandise over at Society6, so you can get pillow shams, coffee mugs, and even bath mats with these and other paintings printed on them.  Eventually, I’m going to treat myself to these notebooks featuring my painting “Desert View.”

With that, here is 8 March 2022’s “Even More Little Paintings“:

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TBT: More Little Paintings: Hearts and an Octopus

My passion for bizarre, Primitivist artwork has been reignited of late, thanks in part to my setting up a hokey artist page on Society6.  I’ve had a great deal of fun uploading some of my paintings and doodles as designs to the site, and the idea that someone could purchase a duvet cover with a doodle of Roger Stone saying, “MAGA, baby!” tickles me to no end.

I’m also toying with the idea of getting a stall at the upcoming Egg Scramble Jamboree here in Lamar—and, later in the year, getting on at the South Carolina Bigfoot Festival in Westminster, South Carolina—to see if I can, y’know, actually sell some of these paintings.  If I try and fail, then I’ll know it’s little more than a self-indulgent hobby that I can keep to myself.

So I thought I’d throwback to a post from last March, one in which I showcase some of my wacky paintings.

With that, here is 1 March 2022’s “More Little Paintings: Hearts and an Octopus“:

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TBT^2: Hawkworld

This weekend my older brother will be running the Myrtle Beach Marathon, which means we’ll be feasting on seafood and good times (and he’ll be running 26.2 miles, so he’ll have earned the festivities; I’m just driving him to the starting line).  I’m hoping that’ll mean a trip to Player’s Choice, an amazing comics and collectibles store that is, improbably, the anchor store (essentially) for a failing mall.

The idea of picking up three comics for $7 (as I did when I scooped up Hawkworld in 2021) seems unheard of in this Age of Hyperinflation.  I don’t know how much inflation has affected the price of used comic books, but the idea of getting three of anything for seven bucks seems like some kind of fevered fantasy these days.

I really enjoyed this comic and its storyline of a decadent empire in decline, and the message seems eerily prescient for us in these latter days of the American Empire.


With that, here is 3 March 2023’s “TBT: Hawkworld“:

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TBT: Little Paintings

Astute readers may have picked up on my love for little things:  bric-a-brac, LEGOs, short piano pieces, etc.  In that regard, I am like a little old lady with her Precious Moments or Hummel figurines.

To self-indulgently psychoanalyze myself, I think this love the miniature comes, in part, from my own girthful size.  I’ve always been big (and, frequently and currently, fat), so there’s something appealing about disappearing into a tiny little world.  My brothers know that I am exceptionally good at disappearing during family social functions—usually to read a book or to take a nap in some forgotten corner of whatever relative’s house we’re visiting.

Even in fantasy roleplaying games (RPGs for my n00b friends), I like to play small rogues—halfling thieves, Wood Elf bards, etc.  That stealthy, crafty quality appeals to me, especially in a compact package.

Regardless of why I like small things, I do.  That is certainly the case with the arts; besides piano miniatures, I like short stories, and blogging is, in many ways, short-form essay writing.

That extends to painting, too, and a collection of small canvasses that I slowly turned into a substantial body of amateurish works.

With that, here is 22 February 2022’s “Little Paintings“:

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TBT: Composing Humorous Miniatures

There’s something about these winter doldrums that always get my creative juices flowing, and I’ve embarked upon a new composing project, which I wrote about briefly last week.  Piano miniatures—and mine are mini-miniatures—are a fun way to attempt to express a musical idea in a very brief format, much like “flash fiction” or very short stories.

Last year I penned P​é​ch​é​s d​’​â​ge moyen and a short sequel, then my composing pen laid fallow for much of the rest of the year.  I’ve sketched out a few short pieces that will eventually (probably, maybe) make it into Pdam III, but nothing with the drive and focus of the original and its shorter follow-up.

Then I hit upon the idea of taking the small red tardy slips that students bring to class and composing short pieces on that very small physical medium.  I now have a small stack, and it makes for a fun way of composing first drafts.

With that mini-project in the works—it’s perfect because I can take five minutes even on a busy day to jot down a few bars of music—I thought it might be fun to look back to the origins of what would become P​é​ch​é​s d​’​â​ge moyen.  As my red tardy slips project suggests, there are frequently “arbitrary and absurd sources for inspiration.”

Well, at least for yours portly.

With that, here is 8 February 2022’s ” Composing Humorous Miniatures“:

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TBT: Alone

Last February I found myself in a rather discouraging place—dumped and dejected, wiling away my time with designer LEGO sets and DiGiorno pizza.  Unbeknownst to yours portly at the time, I’d embark on two relationships:  a short-lived, doomed-from-the-start imbroglio with a hyper-progressive, anxiety-ridden schoolmarm, then what I thought might be “It.”  It didn’t last, and I found myself in a similar mindset around Christmastime.

Ironically, watching It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) helped immensely.  George Bailey’s frustrations and struggles very much mirrored my own (except that he resented his big family and happy marriage), and I understood his character’s despair and broken dreams palpably.

I’m in a better place—no need to send Clarence—but some of those enduring frustrations still hold fast.  I’m not nearly as bitter about it as I was when I wrote this piece, but no amount of frozen pizza can mend a broken heart.

With that, here is 1 February 2022’s “Alone“:

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TBT: Getting Medieval… with LEGO

Over the last year, my childhood (and childlike) passion for all things LEGO reignited with all the intensity of a nearly-middle-aged man with disposal income and no children.  It all started with the Medieval Blacksmith (#21325) set, which I purchased for myself as a self-indulgent birthday present (and probably as a way to distract myself from a recent breakup… maybe there’s a connection there somewhere).

That splurge resulted in quite a few more, both for myself, friends, girlfriends, and family.  I’ll soon be starting on a very cool build that I will detail here soon.

I haven’t documented every build over the last year, but I’ve tried to give readers a glimpse into a world in which it is increasingly socially acceptable for a grown man to play with toys.

Regardless, in casting about for a good throwback post for this week’s edition of TBT, I settled on this detailed retrospective of my build of the Medieval Blacksmith set.  It was an incredibly engrossing and fun build, and I still admire the detail and craftsmanship that went into the design of the set.  Eventually, it will be the centerpiece of a hodge-podge LEGO world I’m currently constructing and planning.

With that, here is 18 January 2022’s “Getting Medieval… with LEGO“:

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TBT^2: The Joy of Romantic Music III: Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique”

This week music, especially programmatic music, has surrounded me.  It’s remarkable how music so effectively conveys mood and feeling, and how a simple change in musical tone can shift one’s entire interpretation of a scene or visual.

So it seemed like an opportune time to revisit this highly imaginative and emotional work from Hector Berlioz, himself a rather tempest-tossed personality, adrift on a sea of emotions.

Also, my Middle School Music Students are listening to the fourth and fifth movements today while I am away—fun!

With that, here is 17 February 2022’s “TBT: The Joy of Romantic Music III: Hector Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique’“:

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