Elliott And Captain Underpants

It was only a matter of time, but Elliott has found out about Blogtober. He knows I made a couple of posts about him and now he wants EVERY post to be about him. He’s got a lot of ideas too. It’s adorable. He really wants everybody to see the Captain Underpants cut out that he made.

Elliott is super into cut outs, which I think is awesome. When I first starting using epoxy resin to cover my paintings back in 2004 the majority of my work was cut outs glued to painted wood panels. Like this:

Let’s just say cut outs are dear to my heart and I love that Elliott is making them and totally discovered them on his own.

After he made the BIG Captain Underpants he decided a smaller one needed to be made for on-the-go purposes. Elliott is totally one of those kids that has to grab as many things as possible as he walks out the door because he “needs” them wherever he goes. He’ll stuff his backpack to full capacity with Hot Wheels and plushies and things he “needs” and then he’ll never even open the backpack while we’re out and about. Anyway, this smaller Captain Underpants gets to go on adventures like trips to Trader Joe’s and whatnot. Although, now I think it might be crumpled up in the bottom of his backpack. So, it’s a good thing I took this photo when I did.

Oh yeah, he said it’s very important for you to know that the cape is a separate cut out piece that he taped on the back of Captain Underpants. I took a photo of the cape, but it didn’t quite capture the full glory of what the cape stands for, so you’ll just have to trust me.

That’s it for now.
Y’all have a good weekend!

– Jeff

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In other news:
– It’s Open Studios Tour in SLO County this weekend and next. Go check out some art! For more info visit: Arts Obispo
– I’ll be at Viva Paso all weekend. Come by and check out some art and all of the other goodies we have to offer. 1211 Pine in downtown Paso Robles.
– If you have a 10 year old or younger have them check out The Elliott Show.

Somebody Loves Wheat Thins

At what point does “reduced fat” just become normal amount of fat? Do you know what I mean? It has to balance out at some point. For example, could the person in line in front of me be better off just getting one or two boxes of regular fat Wheat Thins. Would two boxes of the regular be the same as eating five of the reduced fat? Anyway, I don’t normally take photos of other peoples groceries, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. The ONLY thing they were buying was Wheat Thins. Ten boxes of Wheat Thins. My first thought was “eccentric millionaire”, which would also explain the sweatpants. I didn’t have it in me to photograph the Wheat Thins hoarder. I might be creepy, but even I draw the line somewhere. Just trust me when I say eccentric millionaire is the only thing that would make sense of their grocery store garb.

Naturally, the only other thing that would make sense of the outfit and Wheat Thin obsession is “crazy person.” Now, I’ve got to be honest with you. My knee jerk reaction was crazy person. As I was walking back to my car after my own purchase of one single solitary watermelon (Jeff Claassen, eccentric millionaire at your service) I had a realization. The Wheat Thin addict was not an eccentric millionaire, despite her sweatpants and the odd way she had to lay out all of her bills in order of denomination. As for being crazy, I realized she was probably just a normal lady and only suffered from being temporarily crazy. And this is why. Her normal state of being a rational person got manipulated by the power of grocery store marketing. I am almost certain the store was running one of their insane deals where you have to by five (or ten) of a product to save “big”. Sometimes “big” ends up being something like 25 cents off per box, but you have to buy ten boxes. Your caveman brain thinks $2 off is a bargain and it overpowers the rational thinking part of your brain that knows you do not need ten boxes of Wheat Thins. But here’s the thing. By the time your rational thinking kicks in you’ve already lost because you’ve already decided to buy the ten boxes. Now you rationalize the ten box purchase because you know that eventually, in time, you will go through ten boxes of Wheat Thins. Even if it takes you a year (or more) to do so it’s worth the bulk purchase to save $2.

At the end of the day the store wins and you got duped into spending more money. And you don’t even care because you got a “deal”. You might even think that you really stuck it to the man by taking advantage of the sale. To add insult to injury, if you think about, you actually double lose because now you’re going to eat more just because you have more. I can’t tell you the number of times I would have been totally satisfied with one Kit-Kat, but I got the two for 99 cents deal (or whatever it is). Then I eat one on the car ride home and eat the second one later that night. If I did not have that second one tempting me with its chocolaty crunchiness I would never go back to the store to buy a second one. It wouldn’t even cross my mind that I want another Kit-Kat because that would be crazy and I’m not a crazy person.

The sad truth is, like the Wheat Thin lady, I’m just a sucker from time to time.

Well, that’s sort of a sad and boring way to end this. You know what? I love Kit-Kats. And my new crazy friend loves Wheat Thins. So, fuck you, grocery store! We’re the winners!

Happy grocery shopping!
– Jeff

P.S. – On the real, this is a fascinating topic and I’d love to dig deeper into it, but I’m not Malcolm Gladwell. I have no time to interview people or do any research. I’m just winging it here. Writing one post a day has been fun and it’s a great reminder that things don’t have to be perfect. If you haven’t watched that Jack Conte video yet, please do yourself a favor and check it out.

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Was this enough or would you like more random musings? If so, check out these posts from back in the day:
Dear, Hollywood. Remake The Goonies
Kim Carnes Is Rod Stewart With A Vagina

Late Night At The Hardware Store

Oh snap! It is 11:28pm, which means I have 32 minutes to write this blog post or else I will fail Blogtober. I’m really not sweating it though because, let’s face it, I could literally click “publish” and this would be my whole post for the day. Yea! I’m a winner! Where’s my Blogtober prize?

I wouldn’t do that though because I’m not a little bitch. The truth is, I’ve been working on blog stuff and I lost track of time and am now editing photos and typing as fast as I can. So…

I’m working on a few paintings and got to a point with two of them where I did not have a color I wanted. Normally, I just roll with the punches in this situation and make the best use with what I have. I just didn’t feel like doing that tonight. Sometimes rolling with the punches is fun and inspiring because I’m forced to use something that’s not my first choice. Tonight, rolling with the punches felt more like settling, in a bad way, and I don’t want to settle. So, this blog is about my impromptu trip to Home Depot.

I left work at 9:30pm and headed to the hardware store.


Oh my goodness! Will you look at that? Have you ever seen anything more delicious?

UPDATE: It is now 11:40pm. I need to think and type faster if I’m going to pull this off. Ok, go!

I picked out two new colors and also got two colors I’ve had before that I needed more of. Check these beauties out.

The purple one is called “Wizards Potion”. How do you pass that up? You don’t! The pink one is “Strawberry Freeze” and the other two have boring names, but they sure do look great. Anyway, this was not planned out at all, but those four colors actually make a pretty sick color combination that I’m excited to use as soon as I can.

The nearest Home Depot to me is in Atascadero and it’s really hard to go to Atascadero without swinging by this palm tree place.

Now I’m back at work and ready to get some more painting done. It’s going to be a late night.

Enjoy!
– Jeff

Oh, here’s one more shot of all the fun colors you can get at Home Depot.

Whew…that just makes my heart go pitter patter.

Ok, see you tomorrow!

I Love A Good Bad Parking Job

This is so good.

I’ve been collecting bad parking photos for years. I just can’t help myself. When I see a bad parking job I just have to photograph it. I think this one is especially good. When you are responsible for a parking job like this it says one of two things about the person behind the wheel. One, this person does not give a fuck. Or two, this person should no longer be allowed to operate a motor vehicle, but they’re doing it anyway. And in my opinion, both are pretty badass.

Here’s the thing, unless you are drunk or blind there is no way you step out of this vehicle and not know how bad of a job you did at parking. To walk away from this situation fully aware of how much you screwed up is crazy to me. It’s that special kind of crazy that is almost admirable. You almost have to look up to this person for their total disregard to social norms and common sense manners.

From here on out, make a deal with yourself. If you are going to park bad, park REALLY bad. Park bad enough that it’s photo worthy. Who knows, you might have the honor of being immortalized on this blog.

Good luck!

– Jeff

Time Lapse Tuesday: Pirate Digital Doodle

So, I got this GREAT idea last month. You know how every day is National Something Day? Like, National Donut Day, which is one of my personal favorites. Well, for every day of the year there are actually multiple things honoring all kinds of random shit for that particular day. There is even a National Day Calendar to keep track of all of them. Take today, for example. You may not know it. In fact, you probably shouldn’t know it and I almost feel bad taking up your time telling you, but today is National Cheese Curd Day. It’s also National Grouch Day as well as National I Love Lucy Day. Why do any of these things get a day? I have no idea, but back on September 19 it was National Talk Like A Pirate Day. And this is where my GREAT idea came from. I figured I could use the absurdity of some of these National Days as a prompt for something to draw.

True to form, I did it once and then never again. I actually attempted a few more, but ditched those digital doodles because other things took priority. I do love the idea though and totally encourage you to give it a try if you find yourself stumped on what to draw on any particular day. What made it a GREAT idea to me is the hashtag possibilities. Obviously, I am not the first person to think of this. National Talk Like A Pirate Day was trending on Twitter and there were a lot people using #nationaltalklikeapirateday on Instagram, so it could be a good way to find some like minded individuals as well as promote your art and maybe pick a up a few fans along the way. Ok, enough jibber jabber. Here’s the time lapse.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading and watching and hanging out.
See ya!

– Jeff

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Was that enough? Are you not satisfied yet? Well then…
Check out these “stump paintings” from five years ago.
If you like painting time lapses here are some more.

New Koi Journals Are Here

Super stoked to add a new design to my line of journals/notebooks!

But here’s the thing. I have to be honest with you. This Koi Journal has been available at Viva Paso since July. Guess what? This is how long it’s taken me just to take photos of it and make it available online. Can you say procrastinate? I can. I live it!

I’m not happy about my procrastination, but I do have other things going on so it can be difficult to decide what’s a real priority. Anyway, here a couple more photos of it.

And here are the details:
– paperback
– 6″ x 9″
– 120 lined pages

That pretty much sums it up. It’s a great size for on the go writing, to-do list making, journaling, etc. If you’d like to order one that would be super awesome. You can always come into Viva Paso (1211 Pine St. in downtown Paso Robles) to pick one up or you can now order online at: Jeff’s Koi Fish Journal

Thanks for looking!
And happy journaling.

– Jeff

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Need more of me in your life? Probably not, but in case you do…
Follow on Twitter: @jeffclaassen
Follow on Instagram: @jeffclaassen
Subscribe to my YouTube channel: youtube.com/jeffclaassen

Elliott Lego Edition

My shop is open until 9pm on Friday’s and Saturday’s. Elliott is not fan of these nights because it usually means he’ll be asleep before I get home. This past Friday was no exception. Elliott was asleep when I got home and Coral told me that he made something really cool with his Lego’s that he REALLY wanted to show me. In ParentLand this means in the morning I need to be sure to ask him about it. And I would have but, like usual, he beat me to the punch. What that means is that he woke me up at 6:40am with a very subtle, “Dad! I have to show you something!”

Half asleep, groggy eyed and not really 100% sure of what was going on he ran out of the room before I could respond. He came back seconds later carefully carrying this big awesome Lego construction that was actually a Lego version of himself.


(In case you can’t tell from the photo. The arms have some sort of pivot function so they can swing back and forth and the legs have hinges so they can bend.)

Obviously, I thought it was amazing and I told him so and then he left the room with his Lego Elliott and I fell back to sleep. When I finally woke up I had to rush out of the house to make it to work on time. Let’s be honest though, the phrase “on time” actually means opening the shop between 10:15-10:30am despite the posted hours on the front door that claim we open at 10am. The point is, I rushed out and totally forgot to take a photo of Lego Elliott. If you know kids and Lego’s you know the fun things they invent with them are usually quite fleeting. Lucky for us Lego Elliott survived the entire Saturday and this morning before I left for work I was able to get a photo of him. And it’s a good thing I did because when I came home from work today Lego Elliott looked like this.

I’m sure it wouldn’t take much surgery for Elliott to get the Lego version of himself back to working order, but the likelihood is pretty slim. That’s just the nature of Lego building. You build it. Play with it. Wreck it. And then on to the next invention.

That’s a wrap!
Thanks for reading.

– Jeff

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Need more?
Check out this great text convo with Neal from 2015.
Speaking of Neal. Follow him on Instagram: @nealbretonart

Claassen’s Radiator Service

I love that this place exists.

– Jeff

Somebody Donated To Viva Paso…Kind Of

A lot of bizarre things happen when you work in retail. Take this cigarette I found on James And The Giant Peach. Is this an anonymous donation from a kind donor that thinks I look like a dude that needs a cigarette? I like to think so and I should probably leave it at that, but…

I say we dive deep into this because I close the shop in an hour and writing for the next 40 minutes feels far more productive than watching Part 3 of Shane Dawson’s “The Beautiful World Of Jeffree Star” series. How crazy is this? The episode was released 5 hours ago and is #1 trending on YouTube and has been trending on Twitter for 5 hours, but I digress. Let’s get back to cigarettes and children’s books because those two things really belong together.

So, the cigarette left behind was probably not an anonymous donation. One theory I’ve tossed around is that this person was either annoyed or offended or both that our copy of James And The Giant Peach is the peach scented edition. That’s right, this book literally smells like a peach. It’s amazing. Come in and give it a good sniff next time you’re in town. The theory is that this person was so disgusted with the idea of a peach scented book that they set out to sabotage it. Their plan was that the scent of the cigarette would overpower the delicious scent of the peach and who knows, maybe this person works for Big Tobacco as a recruiting scout and their whole objective is to get kids addicted to cigarettes. And what better way to do so than by having tobacco scented children’s books? This is actually starting to sound like a Shane Dawson conspiracy video. Anyway, like I said, this is just a theory. Unfortunately, the sad truth is this. You know those people you meet and as soon as they are out of sight you make a mad dash to the nearest hand sanitizer or sink to wash you hands? You didn’t even shake their hand, but the mere presence of them makes you fill covered in germs. Yeah, it was one of those people. This person was also talking to themself while meandering through my shop. I don’t like to throw around the word schizophrenia, but…

Anyway, based on what I could gather from this person they were probably extremely bummed out when they realized later that night that the last cigarette they thought they had actually did not exist. When you think about it, that’s just not a good state of mind for a person that suffers from schizophrenia. Then again, I suppose that’s exactly what schizophrenia is. Right? Now I can’t even keep up with what’s happening in this story. Good thing I now have this cigarette to smoke so it will calm my nerves.

The end.

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Alternate Ending:

Great…I can’t find the cigarette now. Did I ever have it? Did it actually exist? Of course it did, it’s in the photo. Maybe I already smoked it and it was more than a cigarette. You know, like it was laced with something. What’s happening? Am I the crazy one? I knew I should have just watched the Shane Dawson video instead of being “productive”.

The end.

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Ok, seriously. This post could have easily just been the photo and a simple caption like, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Or something like that.

This is where I would normally add some fun links to more of my stuff, but after this post I’m sure you’ve had enough of me.

Until tomorrow!
– Jeff

PS. I don’t smoke and if I did I certainly would not smoke a random cigarette that a complete stranger left behind.

S’mores French Toast Is My New Best Friend

Obviously, I am not a food photographer. No foodie in their right mind would photograph such a decadent dish in a to-go box. And when I say “decadent” I am not messing around. This S’mores French Toast is AMAZING. Granted, there is no way this is a healthy breakfast. I mean, look at it. It’s literally a giant s’more. I believe the marshmallow is the same size as the bread. That’s one big marshmallow. Yes, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to mention marshmallow’s in two consecutive posts. Anyway, back to the best french toast known to man. It should be no surprise that I have a major sweet tooth. I try to fight it (no, I don’t) and occasionally I find the strength to stay away from sweet things (no, I don’t), but sometimes you just have to allow yourself to indulge. Maybe you’re on vacation (I wasn’t). Maybe you made a killing selling old clothes on Poshmark (I didn’t). Maybe you won the championship game by scoring the winning point with your amazing jump shot from the half court line (I didn’t). Whatever it is (I got out of bed before 10am), you deserve to reward yourself with a delicious meal, even if that meal consists of a melting marshmallow sandwiched between one inch thick pieces of bread drizzled with chocolate syrup and crushed up graham crackers. You know what they say. You only live once. Live each day as if it might be your last. So get out there and drown yourself in something delicious.

Oh, and if your mouth is watering over this S’mores French Toast and you need to have it, and you do, it’s available at Brunch in downtown Paso Robles. And while you’re at, I’ll be just a couple doors down at my shop, Viva Paso. Come say hello. And bring my your leftovers. I’m hungry.

See you soon! And happy eating.
– Jeff

Eat The Marshmallow

There are a lot of days when there is something waiting for me when I get home and the other day this was it.

Yes, it’s a rope hanging from the balcony with a note taped to it. Could it be a ransom note? Has some villain taken my family hostage while I was out? The odds of that are pretty slim, but I will say this. Elliott loves leaving surprises around for me to discover. I think these surprises are hilarious and I love them. I never quite know what to expect. Of course, this note hanging from the balcony is the first thing I see as I approach the garage to put my bike away. What will the surprise be today? Does the note say, “Welcome home, Daddy!” Of course not, that’s too easy. Instead, there is a marshmallow skewered on a toothpick and the toothpick is taped to the paper with the following message.

“Pull the paper up and eat the marshmallow!”

Aww…he left me a tasty treat. What a sweetheart. The thing is, I have no idea how long this marshmallow has been hanging here collecting dust from a windy afternoon. I have no idea what critters might have crawled on it. It’s also unclear to me why I need to go up the balcony just to pull the marshmallow up to eat it when I could just as easily eat it right here on the spot. Elliott must have been spying from the window because before I even got the garage door open he was running down the stairs to see if I found the note.

This shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but he ended up eating the marshmallow before I had a chance. What will be waiting for me when I get home tonight, hmmm…

Perfection Is Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

“Don’t let perfection get in the way of good enough.”

I have no idea who to credit for that quote, but it’s a good one and it’s something, I think, we all need to remind ourselves from time to time. Naturally, my mind leans towards other creative types, like painters, musicians, writers, you know who I’m talking about. I also want to help those types if I can because I’m in the same boat with them, so I can relate. This idea of perfection getting in the way of completing that painting, or finishing that novel, or releasing that song, or uploading that video, or whatever is something I know a lot of creative people struggle with. Last night I came across this video with Jack Conte and he breaks this concept down better than I’ve even seen it done before. Like I said, I think of creative types having this problem, but perfectionism getting in the way of completing a task goes far beyond creative types. Maybe you’re a realtor and are putting off promoting a listing because you really wanted a drone shot of the property and you haven’t had time to get a drone shot. Whatever it is you need to find a way to get over it. If this is something you struggle with I highly recommend you watch this video. Even if this is something you don’t struggle with I still suggest watching it because it’s inspiring.

Enjoy!

Huge thanks to Jack Conte for being so awesome. If you don’t know who Jack is, he’s the creator and CEO of Patreon. If you don’t know what Patreon is then…I don’t know. Click on the link and find out.

Thanks for reading!
– Jeff

PS. I would totally have launched my own Patreon page by now, but I want it to be PERFECT before I do. I’m totally serious. I made an account on Patreon probably five years ago.

PPS. Here are a couple of more quotes I like that fit the theme of this post.
“You miss all the shots you don’t take.”
“Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.”
“If you’re waiting for the perfect time to do something you’ll be waiting forever.”

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Still not bored to tears? This might get you there…
but it goes hand in hand with the topic.
Check out this video I made about how I accomplish my goals.
And of course, follow on Instagram: @jeffclaassen

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