Allen's Zoo

Asserting Control with the Killer Elbow
August 17, 2015, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Photo's, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

At the same bus stop I talked to a cute little girl only a week earlier, I had an experience as different as you possibly have. As I rode up on my bike, I noticed a guy standing off to the side of the bus stop, his bike on the ground. Someone else obviously not alright was sitting in the bus stop on the bench. He didn’t acknowledge anyone and had dirty, worn clothes. Not long after I sat down I smelled a cigarette. He’d lit a cigarette butt he had. I got up and moved just out of range from the smell. The guy off to the side said, “Schizophrenic. That’s not right he smokes there.” “Mmm,” I acknowledged. I got out my sketchbook and began drawing. He said, “I draw, too”. “Oh?”, I said. He said, “Yes, in prison”. He began telling me how a lot of people drew there. It brought to mind once during life drawing in college, one of the models mentioned just that. I was going to tell him…I stopped myself. He started to explain how he survived being in, “The most dangerous prisons in the world. California prisons.” While he was explaining this he moved in front of me and started telling me how he keeps himself in shape. He went on to say how he killed someone in prison with his elbow. He lifted his arm up to show his elbow. I have to admit, it looked dangerous. He continued to say how he was better than me (and others) because he controlled his surroundings. He then went back to his original spot. A guy with sunglasses on walked up and asked me the time. After telling him he walked around to the back of the bus stop. “The killer” continued talking. He told me how he occasionally likes to come to this area he calls, “Whiteland.” Then I noticed “the killer” had gone from my peripheral vision. After a while I heard something in back of me…in back of the bus stop. It wasn’t loud, it was barely above a whisper. Then “the killer” and the guy in sunglasses came out from behind the bus stop. The guy in sunglasses was half-yelling and half-pleading for “the killer” to leave him alone and stop talking shit. This went on for a while. Then “the killer” came back to the bus stop near me and leaned on one of the pillars of the bus stop looking over to the far side past the bus stop. After a while he started calling to the sunglass guy who was there, “a faggot!” Every few moments he would yell, “Faggot!” Then after a while he stopped and moved back to his spot on the side. I actually thought, I’d prefer he was talking (or yelling) where I could see him. It seemed less ominous. During all this, I was sketching. My bus arrived. I was gone. The experience brought to mind something a friend said about the possible hazards of bus travel a couple of weeks before.


Taken from my balcony yesterday around 5 something am.

While traveling you can learn a lot from kids and dogs
July 27, 2015, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Photo's, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve been riding a bike and the town’s shuttle bus quite a bit lately. Yesterday I rode my bike to the bus stop and sat down. Invariably, there’s a mom with a little girl at the bus stop or on the bus who starts a conversation with me. She whispered loudly to her mom, “Why isn’t he talking?” Such are the beginnings of conversation. The talk evolved to, “My grandmother’s name is Shelly.” “Her last name?” I asked. “Yes,” she said. I said, “Oh. Do you have a great, great, great-grandmother who wrote a book called Frankenstein?” No response to that question. Then she showed me illustrations on her lunchbox. She asked if I knew who it was. “Minnie,” I said. I asked her if she knew who Minnie’s boyfriend was, she did. I noticed her last name written on the bottom of the lunchbox with marker. “McQueen…that’s your last name?” I asked. “Yes,” she said. I asked her if she had a great, great-grandfather who’s first name was Steve? Her mom started laughing before I got halfway through saying it. The girl asked what bus I was going to take. I said, “A red and green one. Here it is now.” We said our goodbyes.

I put the bike on, got on the bus, and sat down. The bus just started to move when someone said, “Wait! People across the street.” They were waving to get the drivers attention. The driver stopped. There’s a big family, seven children including a child of about five with moms’ standing at the edge of a sidewalk on a very busy four-lane street. They aren’t going to…before I could finish that thought, sure enough they all ran across the street. “Dangerous,” I said. The bus driver said, “Don’t try this at home, kids,” as they got on. They had been to the McDonald’s across the street and had drinks from there. She warned them if one of them spilled, they all had to go. They became quite vocal as we started moving. I noticed the five year-old girl sitting in the window seat next to her mother kept looking back at me. During the twenty-minute ride, her mother took three photos of the girl from her phone. Each time, her daughter dutifully affected a smile. As we neared my stop, one of the women in the group sitting in the seat in front of mom turned around and started talking with her. The mother was telling her about when they walked her dog, it would only bark at the men and not women. “I wonder why?” the woman said, with an acknowledging look. I had realized then the girl’s looks. There…she looked again, half-hiding behind her mother. I remembered a documentary I watched a while ago. Nova’s Decoding Dogs/ Understanding the Human Dog Relationship. The documentary explained how dogs were very adept at reading unconscious visual and verbal cues given by their owners and would thus react. The documentary shows interviews later with dogs beside their owners. The owners spoke of their dogs’ amazing ability to know exactly what was on their owners’ minds. I saw my stop coming up. I was glad to be home…and safe.


Playing with shapes
June 20, 2012, 8:09 pm
Filed under: sketchbook, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,
Playing with shapes by 9567
Playing with shapes, a photo by 9567 on Flickr.

As I’ve mentioned previously (on this blog) I find this kind of play helpful to me. Not only does it help me loosen up and helps me move into work that’s more expressive, less predictable. Play’s important for learning….I guess that’s generally accepted now.

            Jack Kerouac

The War’s Over
July 23, 2011, 7:57 am
Filed under: Photo's, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Taken during a road trip awhile back.

I felt I wanted to revisit this post first published May 3rd of this year.

When I asked my daughter what she thought about the recent news she said some were saying the war’s over at the school she attends. The more sober know it’s not.

Here’s the conundrum. We’re human. Humans are aggressive. If you see it just in the context of nations you’re blinding yourself. The seed of violence is in all of us. Whether it plays out in physical violence in one human and not another is inconsequential.

 Games Without Frontiers

August 12, 2010, 2:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Here’s a funny story…There was this guy I’d run into every once in a while going to and from classes at Art Center College. He was friendly, one of the few people who’d say hello in recognition there. One day I turned on the T.V. and there he was being interviewed on the local news in the entertainment segment of the program. As I tuned in towards the end of the interview I could only gather he was an Illustration major (something I didn’t know) and made a short film for a class assignment that apparently turned out well. The film had been nominated to Cannes Film Festival’s short film category. The interviewer concluded the interview by asking him what grade he’d received. I was impressed by his ease in front of the camera. I would have been nervous.

It had been quite a while since I’d seen him the halls again. The next time I saw him coming down the hall he lifted his head, his eyes widened. I said “Hi”, wait, he was looking past me. I heard a girl behind me ecstatic with excitement. It was her he was greeting. I thought, “Oh”, a little embarrassed. Since then every time I see him in the halls people were always around him.

Later I was talking to a teacher, he mentioned this guy who made a film in his class. It was him. Come to find out he’s French, as in Cannes and comes from a well off family there. I thought, “Mmmm”.  I explained to my teacher as I had above. He replied apathetically  ” Fame changes everything”.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,748 other followers