MAD Zeppelin: The Final Steps

Bob Clarke’s 1965 MAD Zeppelin: The Final Steps
Adding the Final Touches, and Hanging It Up (Figures 8-9)

At this point, the only steps left are installing the Mainsail and Forward and After Sails. Oh, and the stringing of the two main parts. I chose to make black and white copies of the sails. Clarke’s original inserts are black and white and one-sided (probably to save money in printing and design costs).

Not sure why Clarke drew the FIGURE 8 illustration for the Small Sails. Their installation is straightforward. As for the Mainsail, the lack of structure for the mast caused the Yardarm and Mainsail to keep falling apart. This assembly needed patience and delicate finger work. As I tried to make this assembly, other parts of the MAD Zeppelin kept falling off.

TIP: Be resigned in the fact that you’ll have to adjust parts after stringing the parts up (see below).

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MAD Zeppelin: The Assembly Continues

Bob Clarke’s 1965 MAD Zeppelin: The Assembly Continues
Putting the Ship Together (Figures 4-7)


Looking at the Deck and Hull Units, one can easily see that the outer edges of each part are mostly tabs and slots. Clarke chose not to include an illustrative figure to show these two parts connecting. We will never know why he thought the super-easy Figure 3 needed to be illustrated when I had major struggles putting the Deck Unit into and on the assembled Hull.

I think one difficulty for me was the fact that I made the color copies of the MAD Zeppelin with basic 20lb copy paper. TIP: At this point, I realized that I should have used a heavier stock of paper that was similar in weight to the paper stock of the original insert.

My copy Zeppelin felt very fragile at this stage of assembly, and it got more delicate and precarious for the final bits of assembly. TIP: I had to make the cuts on the tabs (Tabs P and Q) of the Hull and Deck deeper in order to make these pieces insert in a way that didn’t keep the deck from popping up and out. TIP: As you can see from my photos, I put small pieces of tape over the middle connections of these two parts. They kept popping out as I tried to work the end tabs. Not pretty, but it keeps things together.

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MAD Zeppelin: The Assembly Begins

Bob Clarke’s MAD Zeppelin: The Assembly Begins
Putting the Balloon and Hull Units Together (Figures 1-3)

When the 1965 Worst From MAD No. 8 copy arrived in the mail, I went over to the copier machine at work to make copies of Bob Clarke’s MAD Zeppelin insert. I didn’t put much thought into how to make copies. Fortunately, Clarke made all the parts one-sided with perforations that could be folded over to make a second side. I quickly realized that I would have to push the spine of the MAD down a bit to get the parts closest to the gutter to lie flat for the copy.

Yikes! This pushing caused some of the die-cut parts to partially come unattached. There goes a possible grade-reducing defect. Even with moderate pushing, the color copies had a perspective “smear” near the gutter at the magazine’s spine. This can easily be seen in the photo showing most of the Zeppelin’s Balloon Unit (Clarke chose to capitalize the word Zeppelin and its smaller parts throughout his instructions). Look at both parts labelled Tab A and you can see the difference.

I wondered if this would cause the MAD Zeppelin assembly to be a bit off. Since the Balloon was Figure 1 of Clarke’s instructions, I hoped it wouldn’t come out too bad. As we shall see, another part caused the biggest headache, and it wasn’t smeared in the gutter.

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Prelude to a MAD Zeppelin [u]

Prelude to a MAD Zeppelin
I assembled Bob Clarke’s 1965 MAD Zeppelin (so you don’t have to).

Here are the complete assembly instructions: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Thus brewed a perfect storm for a geek collector. First, I went online to see if anyone had posted scans of the parts. I also searched for modern photographs of Clarke’s Zeppelin totally strung and assembled. I couldn’t find anything online, but did discover a world of paper object and model making. Cool, but, wow, the Internet had zero MAD Zeppelin images or how-tos. Guess that means I’m buying an expensive intact copy of the ’65 Worst From special and making color copies.

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Flashback: the 2004-era HappyFt

Old School pic of Frank “12 Galaxies” Chu.
Leon lookin’ mean at Cell.

Ooooh…. 2004. Blogs were exploding. Flash drives were a rarity. Bush’s wars drug on. And good ole’ Happy Feet was on the webstreams. With the recent backing up and rooting around the site, I realized that I still keep a copy of the old version of this site (I call it 2.0) up and running. That’s Jacqueie Ben-Eliezer in the masthead (RIP), Frank “12 Galaxies” Chu with the sign, and Mr. Leon Rosen looking all mean with the sticky note (that says “Leon has a posse”). There’s also my fun “@bomb” favicon, the secret <3 (did emoticons exist in ’04?) link on the masthead, and links to all the other pages I had running at the time. Once blog tech got easy to install and use, I basically took the same themes and used them as categories on this version (WP v3.0). Guess this is my #TBT post a day late….

Halloween with Mr. Nobody

The Spookeasy Website is UP!

Mr. Nobody's Spookeasy, Halloween 2014!
Mr. Nobody’s Spookeasy, Halloween 2014!

Just a teaser for now: Over the past few years I’ve been working with Scott Levkoff making very fun adult-themed puppetry events. This is only a sliver of the fantastic vision that Scott has for interactive play, but I have been a minion for his swamp-god Mr. Nobody (black light puppetry… a dream fulfilled at last!), Mr. Nobody himself (and VERY hungry), as well as animated black-light objects, and part of an “animatronic” puppet fortune-telling bit. It’s always a pleasure to work with Scott, so always hard to say no to his invitations.

Coming up, I will be animating objects/puppets for Scott at :::: The first-ever San Francisco Spookeasy Halloween Extravaganza is a new, daring, bold and sophisticated multi-evening experiential destination party that will transform Chinatown’s Great Star Theatre into a scintillating circus-like, madcap séance soiree beckoning back to life ghosts, spirits, and specters from the raucous and rollicking red hot era of 1930’s Burlesque and Barbary Coast Vaudeville in a decadently opulent Max Fleischer-esque ‘ToonTown’ parallel universe’s haunted Prohibition-era Speakeasy.

Sounds fun, right?! More details and pics coming in the following weeks….

23 March: UnEarth-things w. Chris Benfield

Sat., March 23, come on out to Kezar Triangle (in Golden Gate Park) while Chris Benfield and I (aka Lay it on Thick) play with dirt. Gopher dirt!

4pm to 8pm

Where is Kezar Triangle? Just down from the Circus Center:

Sponsored in part by the Friends of Kezar Triangle


UnEarth-things uses gopher diggings (the loose piles of soil left from gopher town tunneling) to make iconic, recognizable images that resonate with the history of Kezar Triange, what it is now, and what it may become. The basic concept is to work with what the gophers give us, using a “connect the dots” approach with their upward offerings. Like a sketch book, the images’s positioning, size, and motifs are brought about organically, creating a nurturing, nourishing interspecies collaboration.

14 Feb: Seattle’s First Crankie Festival!

Seattle’s First Crankie Festival!

Thursday, Feb 14th, 2013 – 7:30 PM

at the Northwest Puppet Center, 9123 15th Ave NE, Seattle

Tickets: $15.00

or call 800-838-3006

wondering what a crankie is? Look HERE.

Anna and Elizabeth
Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle are two young master
musicians living in Virginia. Together they perform the music of the
Appalachian Mountains, from the ancient ballads to the barn-burning fiddle
and banjo tunes. They’ve also developed a marvelous art form they call
“Crankies.” These are hand-sewn rolls of felt that tell a story through
shadows as they are unrolled. Much like an old-fashioned movie, Anna &
Elizabeth sing, play and tell the story of each Crankie as it unfurls. These
handmade works of art transport the viewers back to an earlier time.

Dejah Leger – French Canadian song and crankies
Singer, traditional musician, and graphic designer: Dejah Léger has taken
these three passions and united them in her work building crankies. Her
crankies bring together intricate paper cut art (similar to Nikki McLure) and
old songs from American and French-Canadian traditions.

Sue Truman and Skye Richendrfer – Cape Breton stye Seattle fiddler and folk art artist Sue Truman will bring together some of her new crankies based on Scottish themes. Featuring bagpiping and crankies about topics such as whisky, seagulls and sheep! Masterful piping and story telling by Skye Richendrfer.

It’s going to be a very special, magical evening, on Valentine’s Day no less! If you are in the area, I hope you can make it.

Use as Wallpaper

I think one of the best things I like about my iPhone (well, and my old crappy Blackberry) is snapping a pic and then setting it as the background image (screen saver, wallpaper, etc.). With the iPhone camera, which is good for a phone camera, I have started to take more than just stencil photos (I usually use my camera camera for nature shots). I took the recently-posted empty F train car photo specifically to use as wallpaper on the iPhone.

Here are three more photos I took specifically to frame in a smart phone. They are all vertical. I do take horizontal shots of some things to use on my laptop for a desktop image. Please feel free to grab these images and use for backgrounds on your phone. Just drag/drop and put in your phone’s camera roll to tap/select as wallpaper. Remember that they are all protected by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike agreement. You can use them but not make $$ off of them!

$2.55 Half Tone Stencil Series

The stencils I wored on over Dec. Jan. hang at CELL
The stencils I worked on over Dec. Jan. hang at CELL

Obscure (Jeffersonian politics)… Imperfect (Liberty)…. and Obsolete (Extinct buffaloes)

Each large half-tone stencil took about 20 hours to cut (hole after hole after hole)….

1999 Lost Photos

My storage space spent the past month under plastic sheets to keep construction debris and dust out. After the workers (flipping an apartment above the storage space…. $2000 / mo. 1 bedroom) vacuumed the space, I took some time to purge some stuff. One item was an old Firewire 400 hard drive that I built about eight years ago. I got it working, so I pulled items off and then erased the disc to possibly give to a thrift store.

Three finds on the old hard drive, named Oblio, were these files of scanned slides from my trip to Israel in 1999. I actually tried to photograph people on this trip which is a rarity for me. The man smoking the water pipe was suspicious of my camera, so this shot was from the hip. The camel ended up being on the World Remix flyer for Yair Dalal’s 2001 concert at CELL. Sometimes I miss using my film camera.

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