Monday, April 6, 2015

Pheaturing Phile Alum Chris Hamer

Hey there, welcome to another entry of the Phile. It's a homophobe miracle! After the owners of Indiana's Memories Pizza were forced to close the doors of their restaurant due to threats of violence in response to their theoretical refusal to make pizza for gay weddings, a GoFundMe page was created to support them. At the time of publishing, nearly $900K has been raised for them. Hateful assholes truly have hearts of gold.  Members of Congress, angered by the declined opportunity for a brand new war, are demanding an opportunity to go comb through the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal looking for things to complain about on Fox News. "We want the right to go through the details of the deal and to decide whether we believe congressionally mandated sanctions should be alleviated," Senator Bob Corker told the New York Times.  Now that Barack Obama has visited Hill Air Force base in Utah, the only state in the union that the President has not visited is South Dakota. I can only assume that this is due to the deep shame that he would feel as the four great presidents of Mount Rushmore looked down upon him.  Being surprised by unexpected events helps infants to better understand the world around them, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Observed objects that "violate expectations"... such as a rolling ball being stopped short by a barely visible screen make the child see the world in a different way and stimulate their brains. "Infants who saw the surprising event... the ball that passed through the wall... learned this new information very efficiently," researcher Aimee Stahl told the Los Angeles Times. Babies are really cute until you imagine them as an adult with a really weird baby disease.  AMC's "Mad Men" returned for the second half of its final season last night, which is both terrible and amazing news. Terrible because it marks the beginning of the end of one of the greatest dramas in television history and amazing because we get to see whiny TV critics clamoring over one another to write the saddest think piece. My favorite "Mad Men" is where Don nails the pitch and treats a woman poorly and is existentially empty.  Netflix has announced that it has ordered 13 episodes of "Fuller House," a multi-camera spinoff of "Full House," a '90s-era sitcom that somehow attained cultural significance despite its general lack of quality or originality. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who both portrayed the youngest household member Michelle Tanner, are not involved, as they are way too rich to get involved with this kind of bullshit. "Hey, we're going to be on TV again!" - The Beach Boys' initial reaction to the "Full House" spin-off.
The bitter cold experienced by many Americans during the past two winters is actually not related to climate change, and were simply the result of a series of freak cold snaps, according to scientific researchers in Zurich and California. So, the freezing temperatures are apparently just the Earth's way of trying to shake us off its back. Nice try, Gaia. We're not going anywhere until you're a smoldering husk.  According to HBO's new Going Clear documentary, Scientology leaders are allegedly keeping John Travolta from leaving the church by threatening him with supposedly damaging information he gave them in confidential auditing sessions. Apparently, the actor doesn't spend much time online, or he'd know that we're all pretty well-versed in his private life already.  This is something I wanted to mention in yesterday's entry but I forgot. For years, loyal citizens of McDonaldland have been clamoring for Mayor McCheese to come down from his ivory tower and let them eat Egg McMuffins at night. And now, it's finally happening. Democracy works! Next month, McDonald's will begin testing a plan to offer breakfast at all hours of the day. Currently, breakfast stops being available at the crack of 10:30 AM, well before the underemployed stoners who love McGriddles are awake. For now, the all-day breakfast will only apply at locations in the San Diego area. The company is using that market to test the feasibility of this plan. If it's successful there, they plan on rolling it out to the rest of the globe. It turns out, serving breakfast all day is surprisingly challenging for a chain like McDonald's. The issue is kitchen space. The longer breakfast is served, the more breakfast items the chain has to keep in stock, not to mention keeping them warm and reserving prep space. It's taken McDonald's engineers decades to figure it out, and let's hope they've done their homework. The world needs this. And speaking personally, having McMuffins for dinner is one of my three greatest dreams, along with chocolate toothpaste and banging Kelly Clarkson.  So, in yesterday's Phile Jim Korkis mentioned the fabled Star Wars Land that might be coming to the park where I work at... Disney's Hollywood Studios. Well, I'm not allowed to say anything, but take a look at this picture.

You did't see that here. Haha. Oh, man.  Speaking of Disney... the greatest company to work for ever, they are so fantastic with their synergy. I don't know if this is a scene from the new Avengers movie or the new Star Wars movie.

It looks fucking great whatever movie it's from.  Last weekend I was in Pennsylvania and I saw this poster in a gift shop that I thought was kinda odd.

Ummm... before you write and complain I didn't create that. Anyway, I mentioned this yesterday, in every painting I have ever seen of him, Benjamin Franklin looks like somebody just stole his parking space.  You know those boys at Lay's are always coming up with different flavors of chips, right? well, here's another new flavor I need to try out.

Yes, I definitely need to try those. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Reasons Why McDonald's Is Offering All-Day Breakfast.
5. Customers who have arrive too late for breakfast will no longer have to kill time in the parking lot util 6:00 the next morning.
4. There was a groundswell of support from drunk customers who always slept through breakfast in the ball pit.
3. All those unsold eggs and hash browns were just sitting around until the next day, anyway.
2. It's just more typical election-year pandering by Mayor McCheese.
And the number one reason why McDonald's is offering all-day breakfast is...
1. Gary the prep cook was all, like, "It'd be epic if we made breffisk all say!"... then filed the appropriate paperwork.

If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, so, back in November I think it was the Maelstrom ride in the Norway pavilion closed down to make way for a Frozen theme ride. well, in that ride there was a polar bear that soon found himself out of work. But, he always wanted to be a stand up comedian so a few times I had him here on the Phile to try out some of his new material. So, please welcome once again to the Phile...

Petter: Hei der, Jason, er det flott å være tilbake på den morsomste bloggen noensinne.

Me: That's great, Petter, but once again I, or probably most of my readers don't speak Norwegian. How have you been?

Petter: I have been okay.

Me: Cool, so, tell us a joke.

Petter: Okay. How does a polar bear stop a VCR?

Me: A VCR? No one has VCR's nowadays. I don't know what the answer is.

Petter: It just presses the paws button.

Me: Ha. Very funny.

Petter: How do you keep a polar bear from charging?

Me: Ummm... I dunno.

Petter: Insist that it pay cash!

Me: Charging... I get it. Well done, Petter. Any others?

Petter: What did the polar bear put on the sign when seals were very scarce?

Me: I din't know.

Petter: Tourists Welcome!

Me: That's bad, Petter. Thanks for coming, I hope you get another job soon. Take care.

Petter: Takk, Jason, som alltid.

The 37th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Writer Rich Bernatovech will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

Today's guest is one of my favorite artists who can be seen this coming weekend at MegaCon in Orlando from April 10th to the 12th. Please welcome back to the Phile... Chris Hamer.

Me: Hello, Chris, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been? 

Chris: Thanks for having the back. I've been fantastic. 

Me: It's a bloody small world, isn't it? Your neighbor Susan is a mutual friend of mine. I used to work with her 10 years ago at Epcot. That's crazy, right? Does she ever talk about me? Haha. Not that she would have any stories or anything. 

Chris: It is a small world, sir, no nothing yet... I been so busy with things we haven't had time to get the dirty juicy details about you. 

Me: Speaking of mutual friends, you and I met through Phile Alum Michael Banks who will be back on the Phile soon. How long have you known Michael? 

Chris: I think going on four years now, yeah, sounds about right. 

Me: You guys worked together on some stuff, am I right? 

Chris: Yep, we've done a comic book were we worked on separate stories in one book called "Illustrated" and he's drawn my character Byron a few times and I've drawn if you have his little bubble characters a few times.

Me: He's moved from Orlando to Anaheim... can you believe that? 

Chris: Oh, I can totally see him out in California.

Me: You live in Atlanta, am I right? How do you like living there? 

Chris: Man, I would but all in all my life it's all I know... Atlanta is fantastic.

Me: One of my favorite bands comes out of Atlanta... Nine Times Blue and funny enough I'm wearing my Nine Times Blue t-shirt right now... I interviewed the lead singer Kirk Waldrop a few times here on the Phile. Have you ever seen them or heard of them? You should check them out if you haven't. 

Chris: I've not. I'll have to check them out, thanks for the recommendation. 

Me: You're big into music, right, Chris? Last tike you were here a few years ago you talked about your comic "Pink Noise" which had a great theme and idea. Wanna explain what that is? 

Chris: Yeah, music is is a tie for my first love with art. I adore it. It absolutely one of the most important things to me. "Pink Noise" is a illustrated song lyric... basically what I did is I took so my favorite bands asked them if I could illustrate one of their songs and use the common character to help do this.  It's on hold right now but there are plans for another issue. 

Me: Okay, let's talk about "The Walking Dead"... I have not scene the show but my girlfriend is a big fan. You recently had your artwork on that show, right? 

Chris: Me and my wife love that show. I believe it was episode 512 that my art appeared in that was such a highlighted moment in my art career. So they just got to Alexandria and Carl gets introduced to some other kids and when he walks into the room you see two of my drawings as posters on the wall. It was just unbelievable to see that and the response that I got from my friends family and fans. 

Me: I have a picture of that scene here...

Me: I take it you are a fan of the show. Who is your favorite character? 

Chris: Do you know is silly as it might sound I love Rick... he's probably my favorite character. 

Me: Okay, so, how did your artwork get to be on the show? 

Chris: So, the show is filmed here in Atlanta, and through a series of connections I have a friend who asked me if I would had any art they can be used in the show. The only catch was they didn't know if it would get used or when. So, after we had got all the details worked out I just had to sit on this secret until it actually happened. It was one of the hardest secrets I've had to keep. 

Me: You must've been thrilled when it was, am I right? 

Chris: I can't even begin to describe what it was like to see this happen and even more what it was like for my friends and family and fans of my work to reach out to me to let me know they knew it it happened. 

Me: We talked about your blue alien character last time you were here... what's his name again? 

Chris: I'm going to have to correct you on this he is not an alien, he actually takes a little bit of offense to that he is better known as a monster. But I do believe you're talking about Byron. But don't pay him any mind he's a bit finicky.

Me: Byron, that's right. And of course he's a monster. I still want a t-shirt with him on it. Have you ever marketed him on anything? 

Chris: Byron is like my Mickey Mouse... I put him on everything. Funny you should mention I will have t-shirts available at MegaCon with him on it. 

Me: If you have a XXL I will buy one. He is like the mascot for Urbnpop, isn't he? 

Chris: Yeah, he's totally my mascot, my brand, my alter ego. 

Me: Do you like to do your own characters best or other people's characters? 

Chris: I love creating my own characters but there's something about getting a chance to draw characters that people know that's fund exciting and of course if I'm going to do it I've got to put my spin on it. 

Me: I love the cover you did for "Guardians of the Galaxy" with Rocket and Groot. I have to show that here...

Me: Was that a fun piece to do? 

Chris: Everything about this characters is fun to do. 

Me: And I laughed at that Frankenstein "The Walking Dead" cover which I will also show.

Me: Your art work sometimes is very tongue in cheek. You must have a large sense of humor, Chris. 

Chris: Thank you, it's not fun to do anything that's not fun... That make sense? You don't have to create art that can only be serious or art does not always have to be some kind of release for something that is dark inside you. Get that inner thing out and while your there have fun with it. Humor is important to me... laughing at myself and laughing at my friends and be able to make other people laugh... I don't know, just having the ability to laugh just makes it even better. And that I can do this through my career is awesome. 

Me: I don't know if I asked you this before, Chris, but are you a DC or Marvel fan? 

Chris: I'm split down the middle I like some Marvel and I like some DC but lately I've been reading a lot more DC. 

Me: You have done a few Star Wars pieces... are you planning on doing anything tied in with the new movie? 

Chris: Nothing directly related to the movie but I will always draw Star Wars stuff.

Me: Are you excited about the new movie? 

Chris: I'm super pumped up. J.J. Abrams is going to kill it. 

Me: You get to travel to many conventions with your art job, which is cool. Is there a favorite convention you ever were at? 

Chris: I do, it's the most fantastic job of ever had. You know each one has its pros and cons but I always love coming down to Orlando for MegaCon. Of course I say that and then I start going but I always love going to New York for New York Comic Con or Chicago for one of their cons or even Dragoncon in Atlanta.. That's the trick, it's the deciding which is the best because they're all good in different ways. 

Me: Do you have any bad experiences at a convention? 

Chris: Nothing worth talking about. 

Me: I'll be going to MegaCon this year... I didn't go last year as I had a kidney stone. Where can I find you there this year, Chris?

Chris: Hope you're feeling better... that's rough stuff. At Artist Alley gray nine. 

Me: I have to ask you about your tattoos, Chris, you have quite a lot. How many do you have? Do you have any of your own art tattooed on yourself? 

Chris: Yeah, I guess you could say a pretty covered in tattoos I've got one drawing I did it's tattooed on me to celebrate my first out of town art show which happened to be in Orlando. 

Me: So, are you married? What does your wife think of your art? I bet you have to all over the house.  

Chris: I am married... she loves it. She's one of my biggest fans but to be honest no, we don't have any of my art hanging in the house. There's something about I'd rather enjoyed being surrounded by other people art than my own. I guess I'm just finicky that way. 

Me: A few years ago you were getting some old magazines and painting on the covers. Is that something you're still doing? 

Chris: Yeah, I sure did I. It is kind of flip-flop back and forth between that and just other projects I'm working on, but I love it so much that it will always be around it some point. I don't think I'll ever give up that approach to art. 

Me: So, what else are you working on, Chris? Any new big projects? 

Chris: I just finished a big mural in New York for a music company. I am working on all sorts of new merch for this years travels, I've got new comic book stuff coming out. I just finished 3 new sketch cards sets for Upperdeck and Marvel... I did artwork for a board game package design, for those who know me or follow me on social media you always know I've got my hand in a pot somewhere.

Me: Wow. Alright, so on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? This is stupid. How did your parents meet and fall in love? What a dumb question. 

Chris: Haha. The story changes as I get older but the quick version is my dad was working at a convenience store and my mom came in and bought milk and dropped the milk and he of course had to clean it up and that's how they kind of got introduced. 

Me: Chris, thanks for being here. Go ahead and mention your website and I hope to see you soon. Continued success! 

Chris: Thanks for having me. I always enjoy talking to you. If you're interested in finding me you can always search on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for Urbnpop. 

Me: Or go to Thanks, Chris. 

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Chris Hamer for a great interview. Okay, the Phile will be back next Saturday with Phile Alum Holly Elle. Sunday I'll be at MegaCon, but the Phile will be back again on Monday with young country singer Rick Elliot. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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