Thursday, October 1, 2015


Detritus defines me.

Though the space in front of me, the path ahead, is always clear, it's only because I've pushed aside so much miscellany into piles that teeter beside me.


It's true of the desk where I'm writing now, my desk at work, and this blog.

These piles of stuff are important, I reason — I have always reasoned — yet not important enough, too vague, to put somewhere safe. There the junk sits, beneath my elbows, in case I need it.
I never do.

It's a problem that will remain with me for life, a problem that plagues those around me by association. Though I can't seem to do much with the real piles, I can dispatch the virtual, starting now.

Out of the 532 posts I have written since the end of 2010, 41 are drafts. They are aborted starts, malformed bits of anger and angst, or whole rants that served their purpose in the writing of them, but then seemed not worth giving daylight.

I present them to you, in the briefest form, and then purge them from my hard drive and my life.

In chronological order:
The first known corruption of the
beloved shawn turner illustration brand
  • "Let us now praise a fantastic consultant," was going to be about a great guy and the savior of all things computer, Michael Zolen. I drew a really cool caricature/logo of him, but he didn't want it published once he saw it. So you'll never see it. But it's really cool. And he is a great guy. (Jan. 25, 2011)
  • "Why I hate iFreelance" (March 15, 2011) was my diatribe against one particular online freelancing site, but I suppose it applies to all. I had just resumed my freelancing career, tried to be like all the cool kids and market myself through social media.

    iFreelance is like a casino, except the house always wins. Always. It's supposed to be a marketplace for freelance illustrators and designers, which sounds reasonable, but it's literally a global market: You pay to be able to bid … someone asks for a bid on a project, proposing an unlivable fee and ridiculous timeframe, and no rights to the creator, and the world's illustrators and designers bid on the project. Oh, do they bid! Artists in the United Kingdom see the bids hours before their American counterparts, and make their pitches way ahead of time. Even with an early start to the day, scanning the list of bids, I'd find many of jobs already won by UK.

    I'm not sure how logo designers created their marks in a day, except by combining existing shapes with type and calling it good.

    I didn't post the rant because, believe it or not, I got a job off the site. It was a fun job, but the client never responded to my followups for additional jobs. Probably he found someone far, far cheaper.
  • "Rogue's Gallery: Logos I don't like" (July 29, 2011) was about the Washington State Cougars logo (just abominable!). I ran out of steam being snarky. Better you shouldn't see it.

    The same with "Logos only a mother could love" (Aug. 4, 2011) in which I didn't get very far tearing down someone else's work. The particular kind of contempt wears on a person.
  • "The hour that the morning comes" (Dec. 7, 2011) came from a James Taylor song, and appeared to be some kind of reminiscence about swimming in the early morning during the time I was a teacher. It was probably going to go somewhere else entirely, but I don't know where.
  • "Ghosts of Christmas Past" (Dec. 8, 2011) was merely an excuse to post one of my old editorial cartoons. I get so few legitimate windows to run these cartoons, which cover the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations (and, in California, the George Deukmejian/Pete Wilson era). Even this excuse seemed flimsy. Here 'tis:
  • "The darker side of comic strips" (Dec. 8, 2011) meant to explore the work of Stephen Pastis, creator of the strip "Pearls Before Swine," and Francesco Marciuliano, artist for the strip "Sally Forth," because I had come upon Pastis' blog and Marciuliano's alternate work, which fascinated me for its bitter and bizarre views that don't appear in family comics. Except I didn't have anything to add except, "Look how weird these guys are!"
  • "No no, Noriega" was another thin attempt to post an old cartoon. Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega had made the news, having been returned to Panama. It was Christmas time (Dec. 30, 2011), I got lazy and didn't finish the post; here's the toon:
  • "Did not … see that coming …" (Oct. 30, 2012) was a totally wrong synopsis of my beloved San Francisco Giants, whom I wrote off shortly before they won their second World Series in three years. So you won't see it.
  • "All aglow" is an upbeat showcase of work I had done, except the client didn't want me telling the world it spends money on such frivolity as holiday cards (Dec. 12, 2012), so I didn't run it, and you won't see it. It's nice work, if I do say so myself. Merry Christmas.
  • "Anatomy of a swim" is a pictorial story of my regular open-water swims, which I'd still really, really love to do, but it's ambitious and since Jan. 13, 2013, I still haven't figured out how to make it happen.
  • "Where are they now?" was going to be a glowing report on people I knew in high school and the amazing things they do now, and how I knew them. Really interesting to me, perhaps, but an unwarranted invasion of privacy, so I didn't get far. I still am amazed at what people grew up to become (Feb. 22, 2013).
  • "Someone else's shoes" (March 11, 2013) was going to be about Aaron Swartz, a young brilliant man, a computer programmer and Internet freedom activist who killed himself when the federal government indicted him for data theft and his backers said the government was trying to prosecute him into silence.

    I try to have something intelligent to say about topics, or at least arrange words just so to appear smart, but this man and this matter were too much for me to say anything smart about.
  • "Drunk with ideas" (March 25, 2013) would have been a long showcase of work I had done for a chain of brewing magazines, but I decided later to publish the work in small batches. Get it? Batches?
  • "How different is your loving life?" was my first attempt to demonstrate the ridiculous emails I get. The title of one from May 22, 2013 comes from a sexual come-on that appears to have originated in a language other than English. I eventually wrote one or two posts about the same thing.
  • "Water floods my dreams now" is not really the title of this Aug. 14, 2013 post, because I never came up with one for this reminiscence about open-water swimming. You will probably agree I have written quite enough about open-water swimming, and it was OK to let this one drop.
  • "Tell me more!" from Aug. 20, 2013 was another attempt to rant about my emails. Eventually I wrote an actual and complete rant or two.
  • "Swim post" was me making fun of swimmers, always bad form. Be glad you didn't see it, on Aug. 25, 2013 or any other day.
  • "Great moments in television" was going to be an Aug. 25, 2013 remembrance of the wonder of TV I felt as a kid. True wonder and excitement, when I wasn't jaded. I might still write this one someday.
  • "So round, so firm, so fully packed, so free and easy on the draw," was a half-baked examination advertising and the lying liars to make it, Oct. 3, 2013.
  • "Nejib Belhidi" was about a Tunisian long-distance swimmer who likes to organize global swims for peace. I just didn't have anything thoughtful to add on Oct. 29, 2013.
  • "You just missed him" was about a young nephew who died tragically and suddenly in a motorcycle accident. For many reasons, it felt false for me to talk about it; though I will tell you, he seemed like a great kid, and he had many friends who grieved for him. March 4, 2014.
  • "First-world Pet Peeves 2" was a sequel about me whining. Who needs that?! Not you. May 6, 2014.
  • "Whither logoest thou?" is really a placeholder for some logos I had done for a client. I may still come back and write it, May 7, 2014.
  • "Art in Everyday Life," is the title of a book I found in a community center, and was going to be an examination of public art that's all but hidden away in a part of my city I don't normally, and wouldn't normally go. But I felt myself too strange in this strange land, and had no business writing about the artwork and the people who make it. Amazing, though, what hides behind walls most people will never see. May 28, 2014.
  • "Cosmosis" was going to be me talking about Neil deGrasse Tyson, the rock star astronomer. Like he needed more publicity from me. I had nothing. June 2, 2014.
  • "Baseball leavins," was just more hand wringing about my Giants. Better I should spare you. July 5, 2014.
  • "Vocal fry" was going to be my take on the peculiar way I hear some people talk. It's a thing, look it up. But I realized, after reading more about it, I didn't know what I was talking about, and no amount of typing was going to make it any better. July 18, 2014.
  • "Owned" is still one I'll finish about our dog. I'm still taking notes. July 21, 2014.
  • "Mother tongue" is about language nowdays. I'm still working on this one from Aug. 19, 2014.
  • "Veterans Day Redux" was to be about Veterans and how they're treated, but not being a Veteran, I shut my own mouth Nov. 20, 2014.
  • "Who is this Shawn Turner you speak of?" is yet more examination of my strange emails, of which I have waxed on plenty. Dec. 11, 2014.
  • "Charlie Hebdo fallout" was not the post I wanted to write about the killings of cartoonists and editors by terrorists at the French satirical weekly. So I didn't post it Jan. 12, 2015.
  • "Playing possum" was simply a false start for another illustration post I eventually completed. Feb. 27, 2015.
  • "This is the day!" I was going to say something April 2, 2015 about Trevor Noah, the new host of The Daily Show taking over for Jon Stewart. Like I was going to say something no one else had already said.
  • "Named by a poet" was a swimming blog post that became something better later. My opinion anyway. May 3, 2015.
  • "Places I remember" and "I've got mail," July 27 and 28, 2015, were false starts to other posts I wrote. "I've got mail" was another rant over email, and began with one of those fake threats I get from people who want me to open the attached document so the document can create some kind of trojan-horse havoc on my computer. The threat went like this:
    do i even know you?
    why did you send me this email?
    you are full of shit.
Whew! That's over. Thanks for sticking through this, and now I can move on. Build another pile maybe. I've got time now.

As Hawkeye Pierce said, it's not much, but it's really nothing.

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