In 2010 one of my first “professional” gigs was to do a daily comic during MINI Takes The States. I learned a lot (like never try to do a daily comic while driving hundreds of miles each day). It might not be daily and especially, it might not be pretty, but here it is. Because this post is considered a comic it will always be here, look below for blog entries.
So we’re a week out from MINI Takes The States 2016 and in preparation for this epic adventure I am… Doing nothing. While many folks out there have printed the route sheets, and repackaged their MINI a bazillion times, and done practice runs, and had their MINI serviced and detailed (full transparency I did do that), and contacted their next of kin, and… You get the idea. We all have come to realize that most of Social Media is just to turn the drama up to eleven, and it goes. So looking at everything am I laughing or make fun of anyone who has made sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. Not really, everyone has their level of comfort when traveling and not being in control of the majority of a trip does increase the discomfort. For me, I took my roadster in for service, just like I did in 2014. While there, since I have been lazy (real reason is we threw out our old hose and hadn’t gotten it replaced until now) I had the roadster detailed. So it would be ready for the trip. Came back with a clean bill of health and all nice and shiny. I’ve also added a little MTTS 2016 graphics to the car. So what do I still need to do? Pack I guess. For the monkey and me. What am I bringing, a messenger bag, and a suitcase – the one I take on planes. I’ll have things squirreled away in the car, but I definitely hope I will not over pack.
In the suitcase:
- Pants (jeans, and pants with zip off legs)
- Shorts (maybe, I always get myself into trouble with sunburns so I’ll flip a coin at the last minute)
- Shirts (MINI related- this is one of the only times you can get away with a MINI shirt every day) any in particular? I’ve got a few on my short list, and at least one required.
- Maybe a shirt with a collar.
- Meds, toiletries, underwear, socks
- Two pairs of shoes – In my experience feet start to rebel when you wear the same shoes for too long,
In the Messenger Bag:
- Electronics chargers (for iDevices and batteries)
- An iPad
- My sketchbook or a Bristol pad or both
- Drawing stuff – pencils, erasers, pens
- Glasses cleaning cloth
In the Car (within reach):
- iPhone with Waze and MTTS apps
- FRS radio with headset set to 7:21
- 30 oz. Yeti knockoff cup
- Snacks – trail mix, beef jerky, that kind of stuff.
- Sunscreen SPF 50
- My Tilley and a ball cap.
- Windshield cleaning wipes
- Tire pressure gauge (in the glovebox -always)
In the Car (most likely in the boot):
- An umbrella
- A towel
- A blanket
- A waterproof jacket or pullover
- Various cleaning supplies (Microfiber towels, Griot’s Speedshine) most of this stuff is already there.
Going over this list just now, I feel as if I’m bringing too much or maybe overthinking it. But this is about it and I can guarantee I’ve forgotten something important. (Squirt gums are optional) I think Sue’s list is similar except for the drawing supplies, she have knitting things and her GPS loaded with cache coordinates.
What no camera? I have a lovely Nikon DSLR that I really haven’t used since I started taking snapshots with my phone. It has two lenses, lots of memory cards, and takes beautiful pictures, but it’s hard to capture a spontaneous moment when you’ve got so much to check on and set. If I have room I might include it because of some the picturesque places we will be visiting, but probably not.
What about Cecil? His list is pretty easy:
- Shirts, one for every day (yes, he has enough for even longer trips)
- Two pair of shoes
- Book bag filled with buttons – no he doesn’t have a specific button like he had in 2014. With the whole “premium” rebranding he wasn’t sure whether the background would be black or white so he decided not to this time around. So he has some of his monkey buttons.
- A hat or two
For those who do not know about Cecil, he is a fully registered participant this time around. In 2014 he was included as a “pet” which confused MINIUSA and made Cecil irate that he would be considered at the same level as a dog. Oh yes, Cecil is a stuffed Monkey, who has MINIons around the world aiding him in his struggle for world domination. You might see a few at MTTS. Currently that includes raising money for Feeding America, through MINIUSA’s #defyhunger campaign during MTTS2016. If you would like to help, visit his team page and make a donation. Anyone who donates will get a hand draw monkey (one of Cecil’s MINIons) suitable for doing something with. No two are alike. End of sales pitch.
This month has been pretty interesting especially for a guy who tends to think that he is never “good enough.” Don’t blame me, I grew up trying to live up to my parents view of “good enough” that usually had something to do with being successful in areas I could care less about- i.e. sports or school popularity. So, even at 50ish, when I get recognized for something I usually think there must have been a mistake. When I received an email from MINIUSA that I had been nominated for their “Defy Labels” contest, I first thought there must have been a clerical error. You see at the Super Bowl (It’s a TV show about commercials that has a football game breaking up the ads) MINI had a spot kicking off their new image/branding. Whatever, I still like my Roadster.
Basically, I read the message of the commercial as putting things in neat little boxes devalues the item or looking at the people speaking- the person. Don’t worry about what other people think, be yourself, labels limit the possibilities. A classier view of being “Not Normal.” So I get this email with my full nomination: “If you think teachers are all about suede jackets with elbow patches and boring monotone lectures, you’ve never met Bruce. Teaching isn’t just a job or a career to him. It’s the intersection of art and LEGOs and robots and comics. Bruce knows that kids learn best when you strip away the classroom – and the labels that come with it – and you dig into learning with passion and creativity. When kids have teachers like Bruce who dare to do things differently, they learn more than just what’s in the text book. They learn to creatively approach challenges and they learn that it’s perfectly okay to take the road that looks the most exciting.” The silly part is that they have a character limit on what they display for each person so it ends on “Bruce knows that kids learn best when you strip…” which kinda makes me sound like someone you would never want near children.
A few weeks later I get another email (I really need to start filtering my incoming mail)- This time from one of our district high schools letting me know that one of the top 30 seniors named me as their most influential teacher. Wha? Huh? I think about how I have to teach now, and try to remember what I did eight years ago that was so great… Oh, yeah that was before anyone really cared about test scores, and school grades, when we could teach without fear. I thought about the student who nominated me (I was required to write 100 words about her for the award ceremony) and I fumbled over what to say, trying to think back to when I could teach, really teach. She’s a wonderful young lady with a bright future and I hope I found the right words. She was also asked to write something about me. On Wednesday I stood on a stage across from her and heard about how I had made it “okay to make mistakes,” and that I was one of the first teachers that let them know the person behind the desk, that teachers had interests to share and be excited about (MINI Coopers, Geocaching, and of course Cecil). I held back tears, quipped about how Cecil was sorry he couldn’t be there, and smiled… waiting to be escorted off the stage by security because there had been a mistake.
Like I said, I know that there had to be a clerical error in both cases. I’m know I’m not that good- That I can be better. With that in mind I have set a new goal: I want to be the teacher everyone thinks I am. I may not be teaching much longer with that mindset (thank you politics), but at least my students will be better off (Does anybody really care what a rhombus is?) and I will be happier.
For the record this post is not about asking for reassurances, pats on the back, or even votes. I just felt I needed to get this out of my head so I could move on. It usually happens with drawings, but this one is sorta hard to doodle. It was an honor to be nominated- I appreciate the people who believe in me enough to do so. Now I just need to live up to that honor.
OK just kidding… This years challenge is a bit cerebral. This year I’d like to to accomplish three things on the creative front. 1. Take all the MINIon Badges I’ve done and create a book with all of them (thank you Chris for giving me that idea). 2. Finally get the game I designed for my students years ago into a playable format. It deals with the rock cycle and helps them to remember what it takes to make igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. Not as scientifically accurate as it could be, it at least is a start for elementary kids. 3. Gizmo Girl. I’ve got a story or two, I’ve done character designs, so get a finished issue (24 pages) ready for printing by the end of the year. In the mean time I’d also like to start doing My Geek Odyssey a little more regularly since I’m not drawing monkeys every day. This isn’t a challenge (although it kinda sorta is) more like an ambiguous goal. Basically, I’d like to have more comic strips posted that I did in 2015.
So that’s going to be my 2016 on the creative front. I hope you’ll stick around to see if I actually accomplish anything.
365 days ago I started down this path. “I’m going to post a Minion a day for the entire year!” I thought- “this is going to be easy” around the 200th MINIon it started to get more and more difficult. I thank all the crazy holidays that we have for helping me out on some of those really tough days. Did I miss a day? Yes, when I was away for my God daughter’s baptism, and when I was at my Grandmother’s funeral. I still drew but didn’t have the tech with me to post. Those were posted for the most part in one lump sum as sketches. They may not have been finished, but they were drawn and posted.
Did I make a mistake or two? Yes, the one I know of- there is one badge number that I drew two different MINIons for- the funny thing about that one is I drew two different MINIons, but they were based on the same character! I don’t even know if I like one better than the other. SO do I remember each one? I would say I do, but after discovering that mistake I think it would be better to say kinda sorta, maybe. I have yet to do a formal accounting or have it checked by an accounting firm (if I pay them enough they’ll say whatever I want). So if I discover I just completely spaced a day- I’m sorry. You try to do something like this and see how long it is before you go a little bit insane. here’s the funny thing- except for MINIons that were drawn for specific people, the number actually has something to do with the drawing. For some it may just be the date I posted (wasn’t feeling too creative) for others it’s now up to you to figure out how the number is related… Today’s is pretty simple- 11:59 the last minute of 2015. So see how smart you are or how good you are at searching the interwebs.
I’m expecting to take a little break from everything for at least a few days… Then figure out what this year’s challenge will be (not drawing monkeys). You’ll be the first to know since I will post it here.
I wish you all a safe & prosperous New Year!
I’m kinda ending this adventure the way it began, with a MINI Cooper friend. As most of you should remember I started this project making personal badges for some of the people I drive cross country with every two years. They put up with me, and the monkey- they get some custom artwork for their MINI. It started with my thinking that I’ll just draw a monkey with a fez, (Cecil’s Minions from this comic) and that will be it. Each person gave me a number that they wanted, and some of the numbers spoke to me. 0042, 0666… and I began drawing monkeys that went with the number. Once I started I couldn’t really stop, it wouldn’t be fair that only a few people got special ones- so this yearlong challenge began. 365 monkeys, a monkey a day. With one day to go, we have returned to our roots and – MINIon #0333. Could you guess this person owns pugs? Tomorrow will finish it and I’ll move on to a different annual challenge- that will NOT entail drawing monkeys every day. 🙂