Blog history reviews

my jack johnson documentary

2010-02-26-falling-rock-national-park  Ken Burns made a documentary on Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight boxing champion.johnson4248
Ken, I love your work, but I’m calling dibs on the other Jack Johnson.jack-johnson-on-stage
The thing about Jack Johnson is, you can’t put him in a box. You can call him a free spirit, if you’re so intent on putting labels on every freaking thing, but I prefer to think of him as just a guy with a song to sing. A song and dance man. A man with a song in his heart and a gift for writing passionate lyrics about banana pancakes.

What makes white Jack Johnson as good a documentary subject as black Jack Johnson? It’s his internal contradictions. His poetry. His album of songs about Curious George. His life as a surfer, then a filmmaker, then a musician. It’s a life filled with twists and turns, trials and tribulations, all of it permeated by the intoxicating odor of those funny-smelling cigarettes.

My documentary will include details such as:
Jack Johnson’s home life in Hawai’i
Jack Johnson’s favorite flavor of shave ice
Jack Johnson’s favorite kind of music (mellow)
Jack Johnson’s favorite place to relax
Jack Johnson’s friends telling us what an awesome, chill guy Jack is
Footage of Jack Johnson surfing, playing the guitar, smoking doobies
A plea to make Jack Johnson’s childhood home into a National Historic Site

My Jack Johnson documentary would also focus on his protege, Mason Jennings. Though not as laid back as Jack, Mason is still awesome. He’s made some of my favorite albums that are not Jack Johnson albums.

So look out, Ken Burns, because I have a feeling my Jack Johnson documentary will rival your Jack Johnson documentary in terms of showing everybody a true American icon. Mine will also have color photos, which yours did not.

Blog friday robot

friday robots be trippin’

These robots be trippin’!friday-robots-2-26-10

Falling Rock

Welcome to Falling Rock National Park

autobiography Blog comic

161 in the Wikio US Comics and Manga Top Blogs

Thanks you you, dear readers, Welcome to Falling Rock National Park has entered the news site Wikio at position 161 in their list of Top Blogs for Comics and Manga. Scroll down after you’ve read this post and you’ll notice their badge of honor on the right-hand side of the screen. For those of you who read this as an RSS feed or on my homepage, you can always find the ranking at Wikio by searching “joshshalek” in their blog search. I’m there! It’s true!

Thanks to the good people of Wikio for including my blog and, as always, to my dear readers. You guys are super cool.

Falling Rock

Welcome to Falling Rock National Park

Falling Rock

Welcome to Falling Rock National Park

Blog history

LS Fred Wunpound

fred-wunpound_01I found this article in the August 2007 issue of Navy News while looking for something else. (I can’t remember what – it doesn’t even matter.) The point is, LS (Leading Seacat) Fred Wunpound traveled the world for almost a full decade aboard the ship HMS Hecate. According to the article, he died in his sleep in 1976, but not before receiving two good conduct badges and one disgraceful conduct badge. Just look at him. He’s a sailor through and through.

If I find any more information on Mr. Wunpound you can rest assured I will pass it along.

This post is dedicated to all the cats who have sailed the open seas, be they aboard Viking ships, Spanish galleons, Chinese junks, or Royal Caribbean cruise liners.

Falling Rock

Welcome to Falling Rock National Park

autobiography Blog

drawn pages

sketchbooksI enjoy sketching. There’s none of the pressure of producing a finished, polished drawing. I don’t know if what I’m drawing will be a disaster or something special. When it turns out well, I’m pleasantly surprised.

I’ve sketched a lot in my life, but I never knew exactly how much. When I was back home I counted all the sketchbooks I have there, then counted all the sketchbooks I have with me here. The earliest books are from middle school (maybe a few pages from elementary school). I slowed down quite a bit in college – I was doing more writing at that point, and the drawings I made were either the comic strip I was doing or for art class projects. Not a lot of sketching. Once out of college, though, I started to burn through sketchbooks at an amazing rate.

Since 2002 I’ve averaged about two books per year. Lately I’ve been using them up even faster. I’m most happy when I’m producing work, even if it is work no one else will see. I think it makes a difference in the final product. Michael Caine once said, “Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.” These sketchbooks are me paddling.

Anyway, for those stat junkies among you, here are the totals:
[Keep in mind this doesn’t include anything I drew outside of the books I’ve kept. ]

Drawn sketchbook pages through college: 1266
Drawn sketchbook pages college to the present: 1800
Total drawn sketchbook pages: 3066

That stunned me when I added it up. First I thought, “I really should be a better artist than I am.” But flipping through the pages I saw that I have been steadily improving. I’m glad I’m getting better, at least.

Here’s to three thousand more pages! Onward!


i’m sick of carrying this band

Yes, I know we all signed on to be a boy band together. I read the contract just like the rest of you guys. I’m totally happy touring with you, and our manager has indeed fulfilled his promises to make us rich and famous beyond belief. What makes me angry is the fact that I’m doing all the work while the rest of you jokers sit around texting your supermodel girlfriends.

How many more nights will I have to spend in the studio, alone, laying down the backup vocals you guys were supposed to provide? How many more lonely mornings will I have to polish the lyrics over cold coffee and stale toast? Love songs don’t write themselves, you know.

It’s gotten to the point where some of our producers think I’m a solo act. They’ve never even seen you guys. Can’t you be bothered to hire a limo and spend a few hours in the studio? I was only supposed to sing lead on 13 of the 15 tracks per album, but I might as well do the last two since you guys are never around.

And don’t even get me started on our music videos. The last one I had to storyboard, choreograph, direct, and edit. All you guys did was mouth the lyrics and demand more Snickers at the snack table.

This boy band was the childhood dream for all of us. When we stood in the 7-11 parking lot drinking Red Bulls, this is what we talked about. Now we’re living the dream and you guys are acting like your work is done. Well, I’ve got a news flash for you: getting there is only the beginning of the work.

A number 1 hit doesn’t just happen. It takes planning, a strong work ethic, and a spark of genius. Do you think Taylor Swift complains that they just added twelve cities to her world tour? No. She’s going to give the citizens of Karlstad the night of their lives.

I’m done trying to coax you. I’ve got to put the finishing touches on this album and design the cover art. I tell you what, though: I’m not letting any of you put your thanks in the liner notes.