I haven't made it to Berkeley yet. En route my mom called to tell me that she and my twin boys are in Monterey. She asked if I'd like to join them. Why not? Now, I'm bloated with Mexican food and margaritas. I'd be happy as a tick if I weren't watching CNN. Looking at the school bus sitting on the edge of the broken bridge gives me the chills.
A couple days in L.A. let me rest and see some art. The Getty is incredible. Every path reveals a vista, the buildings frame views of the surrounding landscape, every aspect of the place is a crafted composition.
The stairwell is beautiful. Point your camera anywhere and you get a great shot.
Even the fixtures in the men's room are well designed. People get uncomfortable when you take pictures in the bathroom.
Most buildings look great as models. They're designed and sold to clients as models. Next time you look at a piece of architecture, imagine it as a model. I guarantee it'll look cooler in your head as a model than it does on the street as a building. Also, buildings are often intended to intimidate; this Court House is big and you, who are coming here to pay your parking ticket, are very small. The Getty is the opposite. It looks terrible as a model and it makes the occupant feel important. After five years at Architecture school I finally understand what they mean by 'human scale'.
This morning I-5 was my landscape. Talk about feeling small. The drive is so boring that it's exciting to go under an overpass. I-5 bingo is overpasses, rest stops, gas stations, power lines, and the exciting overpass. There's a winner every 5 minutes. I miss the bounty of personalized license plates in L.A. They'd give me something to read. What if we all had to make up our own plates? Would I do something about coffee? Every year I get a ton of coffee related gifts; coal to New Castle. Maybe I'd have HW2BHPY to reflect my comic strip.
I wonder if anyone is annoyed that my book and comic How to Be Happy doesn't actually tell them how to be happy. Though, anyone who thinks that a comic will solve their problems deserves to be duped.
It's Wednesday as I write this. I'm starting to wool-gather for ideas for next week's HTBH cartoon. I love the idea of Emotional STDs but I haven't figured out a funny way to give it a context. Maybe a propaganda film with a newscaster warning of transmutable Low Self Esteem and contagious Paranoia. I don't know. Maybe it'll be two people and one will be accusing the other of giving them Anger Issues with the punchline being something about Emotional STDs. I don't know... hopefully something will emerge.
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Shannon Wheeler is the creator of the long-running comic strip Too Much Coffee Man and he currently writes and draws two weekly strips: "How to Be Happy," which runs in several alternative weeklies, and "Postage Stamp Funnies" for the Onion. His most recent book is Screw Heaven, When I Die I'm Going to Mars, a collection of short cartoons that takes a somewhat sweeter look at life's bigger issues. He lives in Portland, Oregon.