Other People Exist

and are not just sense data

My Photo
Name:

Studies show that even when they are not there, other people exist, with thoughts, feelings, and desires just like you

Tuesday


Wednesday

Nashville International Airport

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
It is still possible to arrange a kidnapping ransom and/or drug deal at the CM Hall of Fame.

The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
Nashville, Tennessee




















An honest sign

Issue #40 of OPE zine has entered the mail stream. I recommend readers begin their vigil by the mailbox tomorrow morning, just to be safe. Plan on being out by the mailbox by 7:00 AM. Subscribers who live in foreign lands should consult their national postal service for estimates as to arrival time. They are probably safe waiting until Friday morning to begin their vigil beside their culture's traditional mail receptacle.

Please, apply sunscreen at least thirty minutes before you take your seat by the mailbox, and have your snacks with you; you don't want to miss the arrival of the zine because you were inside buttering a muffin.

One reader suggested placing a baby monitor in the mailbox, then attending to one's regular life tasks while keeping the monitor nearby. I don't recommend this. The level of vigilance sufficient for infant care is probably inadequate for this task. Stay by the box. Keep the box in your sight. Don't lose focus.

Best of luck.

Thursday


At the 104 minute mark (1 hour, 44 minutes) waiting to talk to my health insurance company. I'd called the Friday before, and after holding for 55 minutes, I got a busy signal (!). The battery on my phone is beeping, indicating that it could stop working at any minute. Life in America!


Question: shouldn't this magazine be called just "MD"?

Sunday

Seen and enjoyed in Manhattan.

Monday

My favorite google translation to date:

"From the windows of my room there to see just a lovely big rainbow, so I have to go there now, unfortunately monkeys fascinated."

Thursday

The "penetrating gaze" of the artist



Readers may be familiar with Smiley Face (pictured above), created in 1963 by Harvey Ball. Before Smiley, humans had no way to graphically represent the happy feelings they experienced inside.

Friend of OPE (and caretaker of Kurt's bike) Doug has long enjoyed drawing Smiley Face. After many years of meditation on Smiley, and utilizing the artist's "penetrating gaze," Doug was able to decipher some of Smiley's mysteries. Though Smiley has only ever let himself be seen in full frontal view, Doug was able, after much reflection, to draw this profile of S.


Monday

From the OPE Digital issue

You hold in your hands the first digital issue of Other People Exist, plus whatever else you are holding. We’re halfway through Year Five, and it’s a good time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far, if anything. I’ve written some of the finest and most underappreciated work in my oeuvre, I’ve kept pandering to an absolute minimum - just enough to retain my stupidest subscribers - and I’ve built OPE into the moderately successful enterprise it is today, all without losing my street cred. That’s success in my book - but then, I wrote my book. Others may define it differently, such as in the traditional manner.

As subscribers are reading this issue, their birds, bunnies and guinea pigs are hopping from foot to foot in anticipation! They know that the arrival of this publication means a fresh cage lining for them, followed by weeks of superior comfort and leak protection. It’s one of the reasons I work so hard to make each issue as thick and absorbent as I can. When I think of the looks on your pets' snouts/beaks/muzzles, I know that the work I do matters. Pets on three continents have been comforted by OPE’s familiar feel underfoot. It is the first choice among choosy masters.

Sure, my subscribers could use newspaper to line their pets' cages. But newspaper requires frequent changing, which can end up costing hundreds of dollars a month. And veterinarians tell us that 75% of all pets prefer OPE zine as a cage liner (among pets who specify a preference). One important note: I don't recommend OPE zine for subscribers with gila monsters or other monster lizards, as these animals need a substrate of playground sand or bark chips in their cage.

I’d like to thank each of you for your renewal. I know you could find other uses for your four dollars. You could buy a small watermelon and eat it with friends. You could take a child to a matinee movie with the permission of its parents. Or you could use it for a third possibility that I haven't considered. But you chose to renew your subscription to OPE, and I (and your treasured pets) thank you!

Kurt














Available
©Kurt
(click to enlarge; do not click and it will remain as it is)

Tuesday













Note that the Giant Gator flies both the US and Gator flags. ©Kurt

Sunday

"Meat"

 What concerns me is the quotation marks. ©Kurt

Wednesday

From Toy Fair 2013 in New York City.

©Kurt

Thursday

I am hard at work on Issue #35 of OPE zine, the 7th annual Death/Christmas issue. It has been seven years since the first Death/Christmas issue of Other People Exist. In the interval, I have celebrated seven Christmases and died zero times. I hope to continue this trend indefinitely.

At this juncture, six of the necessary 24 pages have been completed. It is unlikely that the issue will be ready before Christmas, which falls on December 25th this year. Still, it is always a good idea to wait by your mailbox just in case. Draw a chair up close and listen for the tell-tale thunk of OPE striking the bottom of your box.

Wednesday

A clarification

Though readers should know by now, I want to make it clear that Other People Exist is written for a sophisticated audience of intellectuals and other smart-types - cultured folks who read books and enjoy $10+ bottles of wine (as well as anyone who can pay the $24/yr subscription rate). In keeping with our impressive snootiness, even our non-human appreciators are of the glasses-wearing, intelligent-seeming kind.


photo courtesy of Perpetual Chocoholic

Tuesday

Overheard at MOMA

click to enlarge; do not click and it will stay the same

Thursday

Tip of the hat to Joanne Casey of I Have Seen The Whole Of The Internet.

Click the image and it will open a larger version of the image; if you do not click, it will stay the same size.

Wednesday

An email to OPE subscribers:

Issue #34 of Other People Exist mailed out today. In it, the word "supervillain" is misspelled. I apologize for any inconvenience,

Kurt

Readers enjoying their OPE (updated)

Send your pic in today!














Monday

Us serious artists have to contend with meaningful questions about art such as "Is graffiti art?" I don't have the answer, but my thoughts have been heavily influenced by having the word SUMO permanently etched in the glass of the door to my home. I guess I am not a big fan of the destruction of personal property.

When it comes to the graffiti-ing of advertising in the public space, however, my view is different. I consider advertising visual pollution, filthying up the world for profit (or as They call it, "creating a branded environment.") And I think when people alter billboards and posters, it's hilarious.

I particularly never get tired of the blackening of teeth, especially the teeth of computer-generated pretty people who inhabit artificial worlds. It's like spoiling their perfect party.

Sunday

In anticipation of the arrival of the latest issue of Other People Exist, subscribers may want to take this opportunity to perform their annual mailbox maintenance.



For ease of maintenance, you may find it easier to unmount your mailbox and perform these procedures at your workbench.

Begin by removing and cleaning the hinge pin. Scrape away any rust with a wire brush. Coat the hinge with WD-40 or other water-displacing lubricant spray and reassemble. Adjust hinge play per the owner's manual.

Wipe down the interior of the box with a damp rag and allow to fully dry. Tap the box body. It should resound to the blow. Boxes that respond with a dull thud should be replaced.

Inspect your mail pick-up flag for chipping or pitting, and touch up as necessary with red enamel paint. To prevent dripping, do not oversaturate the applicator.

Align your box post using a two-way post level. Remount the box. Add shims as necessary to level the box in the horizontal and vertical planes.

Add a sprig of rosemary or a potpourri sachet to the box to keep your mail smelling fresh.

Your box is ready to receive mail for another year!

Friday



Today we mourn the passing of our Sharp AL-800 copier. It was with us for ten years, and it served us well, making approximately 20,000 copies (it has an internal counter somewhere, but we've never seen it). Its paper feeder recently broke off inside, and we knew the end was near. We tried to copy issue #33 of OPE with it, but it was no use. The paper just jammed. I have removed its toner cartridge to give to a friend who owns Sharpie's twin, and Sharpie sits in the hallway, gutted.

In other news, our new copier arrived yesterday. We watched the sales like a hawk and got this one for $99 (with free shipping). It makes 23 copies per minute (almost four times faster than Sharpie) and even does double-sided copies! The zine is so easy to copy now, I may start taking on additional subscribers!

RIP Sharpie.

Thursday

Issue #32 of Other People Exist, the 6th Annual Death/Christmas Issue, entered the mail stream today at approximately 11:00AM EST. Subscribers should begin their vigil by the mailbox immediately. 

Several people have written asking me to recommend the best type of chair for vigil purposes. I cannot recommend any chairs, since I don't recommend sitting at all during your vigil. Sitting leads to distracting activities such as reading, resting, or eating. I recommend standing beside the mailbox with a hand or arm resting gently upon it. In this position, the vigil-holder is quick to detect any motion in or around the box area, particularly the insertion of mail.

Stay by the box. Don't lose focus. If you are performing the vigil correctly, you will be there for the arrival of the issue. That is the point of the boxside vigil.

Saturday

Another email to lapsed subscribers of OPE

Dear Lapsed Subscriber,
This is Kurt's assistant, Malcolm, again. I hate to be a pest (not true), but I still have not received your remittance for OPE Year Six. Kurt has urged me to "let it slide," but I was not raised that way. My caregivers taught me the importance of responsibility. They also kept me in a laundry hamper until the age of seven, but nobody's perfect.

The point is, those who wish to receive OPE for one more year need to remit $24 to Kurt ASAP. I can't keep writing reminder emails all the time. I have filing to do.

The best part: Kurt will never know that you needed multiple reminders to renew; he'll think you remembered on your own, and it will warm his heart.

The future is up to you,
Mal

Tuesday


Here it is: the latest Leak&Spill catalog. As someone who both leaks and spills, I am finding many useful products inside this catalog. In addition to Grippy® Mats and Fat Mats®, this catalog features the Haz-Mat, which can soak up "acids, bases and unknown liquids."

As you can imagine, unknown liquids are what trouble me most. Where do they come from? Of what are they composed? One day the floor is clean and tidy, and the next day there is a puddle of something, but it does not look like something I normally leak or spill.

Perhaps two known liquids leaked or were spilled, and these two liquids melded into one puddle, possibly overnight, while I was asleep. But this only makes the above questions doubly troubling. Especially when I do not remember spilling anything nor do I recall anyone or anything leaking in the area.

Haz-Mats, by the way, are $61 for the pack of 50. They will soak up the unknown liquid, but the questions remain.

Monday

T-Shirt giveaway

I received an email from a custom t-shirt website asking me to try two of their t-shirts for free in exchange for reviewing them on this blog. Normally, I'd cut off my ear before I'd shill for a website, but I thought I could give the t-shirts away to readers of this blog and it would be a win-win (assuming they like t-shirts).

***Shilling begins here***
I uploaded my own image to ooShirts.com and, using their interface, I was easily able to customize the size and placement of my image on the t-shirts. The checkout process was a little bit confusing for me, but after getting help from someone who doesn't give up at the first sign of difficulty, it went fine.

The shirts took about two weeks to arrive. The shirt is a "Gildan Heavy Cotton" tee shirt. The image quality looks excellent to my eye - the line is crisp and clean - though I should note that the OPE logo isn't a complex image. I'll have to wash it to judge the comfort and image durability, but I don't expect any problems. [update: I washed the medium shirt and, as predicted, nothing untoward happened]
***End of shilling***

Knowing that my readers come in various sizes, I ordered a medium and a large, and the only fair way to decide who will get the shirts is for each of you to send me nude photos of you, and we will all vote on who would most benefit from wearing a shirt. Alternatively, you can leave a comment on this post, mentioning your shirt size, and I will pick a winner at random. [update: winners have been picked. Shirts have been mailed.]

The shirts are arriving:

Friday

Issue # 31 enters the mail stream

Issue # 31 entered the mail stream today at approximately 11:00 AM my time. Long-time subscribers know this means it is time to pull up a chair and begin their vigil by the mail slot. Remember: keep focused. Don't take your eyes off the slot. Monitor any pets or infants sparingly.

Also: our subscriber Judith moved and did not notify us of her new address. I had already personalized her copy of issue #31 when I found out. I am in need of a new subscriber named Judith. If your name is Judith, or you know a Judith, please consider subscribing yourself/her. Judith, your copy of issue #31 is ready to mail.

Monday

Important notification

Issue #29, The 5th annual Death/Christmas Issue, entered the mail stream on Monday, January 3.

Sunday

The announcement by the Postmaster that Saturday mail delivery may soon be suspended was a shock for those in the zinemaking community, as well as for postal enthusiasts, mailman spotters, and anyone who hates change.

What this will mean
Without the arrival of mail to break up the empty purposeless day into two smaller, more manageable periods of emptiness, Saturday will become, like Sunday, another "lost day," when nothing is accomplished and life ceases to have meaning.

What you can do about it
Absolutely nothing. Once every four years, we have the opportunity to vote for president, but in the interim, we have no control over what the federal government does. We can only pray that God exists, that he hears our prayers, and that he stays the hand of Postmaster Patrick R. Donahoe (all unlikely).

The worst part of this tragedy
On weekends when Monday is a federal holiday, there will be no mail for three days (!).


What Saturdays will look like

Wednesday

Final Email to Lapsed Subscribers

Hi,
It's Malcolm, assistant to Kurt at Other People Exist zine. In anticipation of the major hurricane ("Irene") heading our way, Kurt has asked me to get his affairs in order w/r/t Other People Exist zine. He has requested a complete list of currently active subscribers, sealed in a ziploc bag, which he will carry on his person in the event he must flee the area and rebuild on higher ground. I don't want to give him that list without your name on it, but unfortunately I must unless I receive your remittance (or solemn promise) soon.

I have attached a sample from the upcoming issue, an excerpt from a co-cartoon by Kurt and Sean. It is my hope that this sample will so impress you that you will rush to the kitchen drawer (or wherever), retrieve your checkbook, and send $24 to:

Kurt Xxxxxx
XXX XXxx St.
XXXXX, XX XXXX3

Until that time,
Malcolm



It worked!

Tuesday

An email to OPE's lapsed subscribers

Hi,
This is Malcolm, Kurt's assistant at Other People Exist zine. He doesn't know I'm writing to you. In fact, he'd be mortified to know that I email his subscribers to remind them to renew their subscriptions. He thinks each of you just remembers on your own, without prodding. Isn't that sweet? Let's not let him find out the truth.

Please renew today and help preserve the adorable innocence of a young American cartoonist. Year Six of OPE is, as always, $24 (though larger donations are appreciated). OPE's address is:

XXXX XXnd St
Xxxxxx, XX XXXX3

You can make a difference,

Mal

Thursday

From Issue #15 of Other People Exist zine

archived

Sunday

We received a new subscription order for OPE zine yesterday through Old Tyme mail. OPE zine is now read and presumably enjoyed on three continents again. It was quite a blow when we lost our Australian subscriber (and the associated continent) in 2007. That same year, we realized that we would probably never secure Antarctic subscribers. But the continents of South America and Africa still hold millions of potential readers, especially in English-speaking areas.

Of course, we welcome any and all subscription orders, even those which do not help us conquer fresh continents. Our latest subscriber remitted payment in my most favorite form, the cash-stuffed envelope (CSE). With PayP@l now stealing a substantial portion of every payment I receive (and becoming less like a pal than ever), there has never been a better time to use the CSE. Simply locate an envelope, stuff it with cash ($4) and mail it c/o Kurt at OPE. Stuff $5 in your envelope and receive a free surprise!*

*we cannot guarantee that you will be surprised.

Monday

Yesterday, a reader asked if I mail internationally. Dude, I'll mail OPE zine to anyone in the world who has four dollars. If you have eight dollars, I'll mail you two.

I also have extra copies of some back issues (#27, #28, #30, & The R. Crumb Edition) - for $16 you can have them all! I even have a Kids' Issue for $2 (pictured below). Basically, I will put together any kind of packet that will cause you to send me money.

For those who would like to send me money but aren't sure exactly what service they want rendered, email me and we'll figure something out. Or just send the money, and we'll work out the services later. Or never. It's totally up to you!


By the way, I can create custom greeting cards for all occasions, even Eid ul-Fitr.

Sunday

An unused piece for OPE zine

Merry Christmas 2010!
Thank you to everyone for the many generous gifts I received. I noticed that some of you used USPS Priority Mail to send your parcels. My gift to you this season is to pass on some important information regarding Priority Mail. It’s this: there is no separate service for Priority Mail. Give that a moment to sink in.

Remember when the clerk told you that if you sent your parcel Priority Mail instead of First Class Mail, it would arrive in 2 to 3 days? That delivery time is an estimate, not a guarantee. Because (it’s worth saying again) there is no separate service for Priority Mail. Shocking? You bet.

For packages over 13 ounces that do not contain media such as books, CDs, or 8-track tapes (for which you would be an idiot not to use Media Mail (1 pound for only $2.38!)), Priority Mail, though a ripoff, is your best rate. But First Class Mail is always your best rate for packages under 13 ounces.

Say you want to mail me your unused prəscription pain killərs. Thank you. Let's compare the rates for an 8 ounce package:

Priority Mail: $4.95
First Class Mail Package: $2.41

That’s $2.54 more you’re paying for nothing. As you can see, Priority Mail is a huge scam.

More than ever, it is important to be vigilant. Remember, The Man is always trying to keep you down, for example by not advertising far less costly options such as First Class Mail. Further, The Man wants to make you fearful, for example by telling you that Media Mail can take up to 21 days (ridiculous!). Lastly, The Man wants you to conform, for example by placing free Priority Mail envelopes and boxes in convenient locations throughout the post office.

Don't fall for it. Break free from their ideas about how you should mail! Know your rates and choose what's best for you!

Note: Here at OPE, I have a small postal scale and a collection of stamps in various denominations (available from USPS.com) so I can frank all my mail easily at home. FYI: Packages under 13 ounces can be mailed from your neighborhood drop box.

Tuesday

Update

I need to begin work on issue #30 of OPE zine, but I have not yet done so. I did get an idea for a cartoon called The Football Party. It's a cartoon that will "write itself," though it will need me to physically move the pen.

Issue #30 has been delayed in part because I'm preparing some cartoons for submission to a comics publication of note. This has put me on the computer much more than usual, which is the exact opposite of my goal in life. Much of the work of OPE takes place offline, disengaged from the collective, where I must generate my own thoughts using my mind. But the computer causes my brain to reorganize in undesirable ways.

I admit that I believe that being published will lead to bigger things, e.g., author readings, invitations to panel discussions on the state of sequential art, a critical examination of my work, groupies, etc. One reason I press on is that I envision a future for myself much better than one I could ever possibly have.

Update updated: I mailed my submission packet on Friday, April 22, at approximately 3:40 PM.

Sunday

Zine Giveaway (has ended)



The zine Do It Yourself with ButterSword was released this month, and I was honored to have 3 pages of cartoons in the issue, two of them previously unpublished.

MC & Jen (AKA ButterSword) sent me three copies. I of course will laminate one and file it in the archives, but that leaves two copies that are available for giveaway. Are you interested in do-it-yourself projects? Do you like to read about them in a cartoon format? Are you unafraid to send me your mailing address?

Then leave a comment in the comment area of this post indicating that you are desirous of receiving a copy of Do It Yourself with ButterSword, and I will contact you to arrange delivery via the postal service.

Please note: the winners of this giveaway will be expected, per common courtesy, to write a note of thanks that mentions such things as their favorite pieces in the zine, how the zine brightened their life, etc.

Thursday

Household Hints

Friday

Update

Work has progressed on Issue #29, The 6th Annual Death/Christmas Issue. I have completed 12 pages of first quality material, so I have only to add 4 pages of shameless filler and the issue will be ready to mail. Of course I will let everyone know when it is completed so they can begin their vigil by the mailbox.

Tuesday

Attention cat researchers

Readers know that I try to take in as many life-enriching activities as possible so that I have experiences on which I can draw to create new material for Other People Exist. Pursuant to my duties, I recently traveled to the West Coast of the United States and stayed with Doug (keeper of Kurt's Bike).

The accommodations there consist of a comfortable foam mattress thrown upon the floor and a sleeping bag of the appropriate temperature rating for Doug's unheated home.

Though I was comfortablish, Doug's cat (another story) made his presence known throughout the night as he periodically departed and returned from various nighttime maneuvers, each time using his clattersome cat door.

In addition, my position on the floor gave him full access to my person, which he took advantage of one morning:



In order to prevent further similar moments, I endeavored to create an association in Doug's cat's mind between pestering me and unpleasantness by bopping him on the nose. Cat researchers should note that this worked, as he never bothered me again during my stay.

Say it with puppies (click and you will see a larger version of the photo)

Monday

Other People Exist, Robert Crumb Edition



Printing of the Other People Exist Robert Crumb Edition is complete, and a copy has been mailed to Mr. Crumb's home in an undisclosed location. Mr. Crumb did not request this special edition, but I know he will be glad to receive it, as I am sure he has at least one wobbly table that needs a leg shimmed, or a ferret/budgie/gerbil whose cage is due for a relining. At 1/8th inch thick, OPE is not only strong and absorbent, it can easily fill any gap between table leg and floor (under 1/8th inch thick).
Copies are available for US$4.

I am currently resting on my laurels

Issue #27 seems to have satisfied my subscribers lust for new material, so I am currently resting on my laurels. During the interludes between issues of OPE, I generally do not think very deeply about things or reflect on my experience, as that might lead to deep insights that demand expression, and that leads to new work, which must be strenuously avoided. Subconsciously, I am probably developing new ideas for the next issue as I interact with the world around me, but consciously, I am watching Wipeout. I am also likely drunk.

Many great artists work in a similar fashion, except that they make much more money. In order to deal with the onslaught of important insights, they must have some "down time" during which they can rest their brain meat and perhaps watch people wipe out. Being a conduit for the collective unconscious can be tiring; even Dali needed to take a break now and then to stage elaborate sex circuses with dwarfs, lobsters, and Mia Farrow.

Friday

The latest (and final) email reminder to lapsed subscribers:

Hi. This is Malcolm, the OPE intern again. Issue #26 of Other People Exist (The Fifth Annual Death/Christmas Issue) mailed out yesterday, but I cannot release your copy until I have received your $24 remittance. Kurt tried to get me to mail you the issue anyway, telling me what a great subscriber you've been and saying It's not about the money, but I refused.

Kurt says the latest issue might be the best ever (as judged by Kurt). It includes such future classics as I'm Not Gay, Much and The Hipster Holocaust, as well as Kurt's annual Christmas letter. And Kurt says he tried to keep filler to an absolute minimum (though some is unavoidable). I watched him labor over this issue until his fingers were pink with wear, so I know just how good it ostensibly is.

Your $24 will do more than keep the issues flowing for the rest of Year Five. It will restore your good name in the community and seal your status as a supporter of American art, regardless of quality. Won't you renew today? Your checkbook is where you left it.

Malcolm
OPE intern

Thursday

A recent email to OPE subscribers who have not yet renewed:

Dear OPE subscriber,
Hi, this is Malcolm again, the college intern at Other People Exist zine. Kurt is finishing up the 5th annual Death/Christmas issue (issue #26), and unfortunately, you are currently not on our mailing list. This is because you forgot to renew/refuse to renew/have passed away. Kurt plans to complete the issue and have it at your doorstep before Christmas Day, which falls on the 25th this year. But you must renew to receive this blessed issue.

Kurt explicitly instructed me to keep the tone of this renewal reminder professional, but I can't help mentioning the long hours I've spent waiting for the arrival of your moneys. Just because I'm imaginary doesn't mean things don't bother me.

If you prefer not to receive any more issues of OPE, simply harden your heart against my earnest request and ignore the call to support American art in an age that is so badly in need of it. And Happy Holidays!

Malcolm


Photo courtesy of Perpetual Chocoholic

Tuesday

Happy Half Christmas!

archived

Work begins on issue #27

Work continues on Issue #27 of Other People Exist:

Status update: Issue #28

Lost trading cards

Each morning, when I rise, I ask myself What should I do to fill the empty hours before my inevitable annihilation? The answer used to be Watch or re-watch episodes of ABC's television series Lost. Once the show ended, however, I had to find a new activity to stave off the crushing despair.

Then the folks at ButterSword posted Robin Cain's delightful Lost trading cards, and I realized making Lost trading cards could give me the illusion of purpose I've been looking for.

Below are the trading cards her work inspired me to create. Enjoy where possible:

Lost Trading Cards
Inanimate Objects Series
by Kurt