Mar 202012

“i know everyone has their complaints about the new facebook format. my biggest complaint is how it slows down my streaming of porn.” – Mike Holgers’ last Facebook post, October 26th 2011

“Standing in hellz kitchen with an apron and a hairnet ready to work.” – Brian Sonntag’s last Facebook post, March 13th 2012

This is kind of fucked up, for many reasons. First, I have lost a second friend in less than six months. Brian Sonntag, a friend from my youth in Crystal Lake, apparently died of heart failure in his sleep sometime during the night of the 13th-14th.

While Brian and I had been out of contact for over 15 years, the wonders of Facebook and social media brought us back in touch in the past few years. In that time I learned that he is still skating, snowboarding and, it seems, surfing when possible. He has a son who he is terribly proud of. And, in a surprising note, shares a common interest with me, one that few could’ve predicted all of those years ago: We are both fans of Wisconsin Badger football.

Then, suddenly and without warning, he is gone.

This one was a bit more of a shock than Mike’s death back in October because, and let’s be honest here, Mike wasn’t in the best of shape. I am only guessing here, but his weight may have been a strong contributing factor to his death. Brian, on the other hand, seemed to be taking fairly good care of himself. He was athletic in the “alternative sports” kind of way, and didn’t seem to show any signs that something was wrong, health-wise.

Bummer, man.

Additionally, my brother-in-law’s wife’s step-mother (wow) also passed away suddenly a couple of weeks ago. In her case, she wasn’t feeling well for a few days, went home from work, lay down to rest in bed and never woke up. Some type of stroke or aneurism, I believe. I never met the woman, but understand the grief that is being felt at the sudden passing of a much-beloved person who, by all indications, was in good health.

And so these three deaths in such a short period have allowed me to begin to appreciate another fact of life. It is damned fragile. One day your running around doing whatever and, the next, you are gone. Nothing has reinforced this better than Facebook. I mean, just look at the innocuous final posts by both Mike and Brian*. Mike, cracking a joke about Facebook’s new look, and Brian talking about, well… I ‘m not sure. Is it an analogy, or was he actually getting ready for work?

Still, look at those posts. Life and living. And how quickly it is all gone.

It makes me ponder the concept of ‘last words’. We always seem to think that they will be something profound or whatever but, in reality, they can probably be kind of lame. I mean. Mike suffered a heart attack at work at the oil-change place he worked. So it is entirely possible his last words could’ve been “Now we also recommend changing your sparkplugs every 30,000 miles,” or something like that. And Brian’s could easily have just been “Good night,” to whomever he was with.

I don’t know what else to say, other than that this sucks.

*This, technically, wasn’t Brian’s very last post. He did share someone else’s later that day, but this was his last personal comment on FB

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Mar 142012

Video first, talky talky afterward…


This short animation is designed to be featured on the countdown-to-launch page for OTUS Analytics. Once that countdown-to-launch page is ready we will post a link to it. But in the meantime, as fans of Asplenia Studios, YOU get to see it here first (being a fan does have its perks).

This is really only the 4th or 5th animation I have ever done, so I am still learning the ropes. As you can see, there really isn’t a lot of movement in the animation, as much as lighting effects which produce the visual stimuli. This animation does, however, mark the first time I have tried to add sound to an animation. I’ll let you be the judge as to how successful I have been. =P

This animation also marks the launch of the Asplenia Studios channel on Youtube. So don’t forget to ‘like’ it on Youtube, and to share it with all of your friends via FB, G+, or… Skyrock (?)!

Remember that we still have 9 free-prize giveaways (one for every 100 fans on FB and G+)! So the more you share, the better your chances for some free swag!


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Mar 062012


We here at Asplenia Studios have been hard at work on putting together an animated .gif file for the OTUS Analytics “countdown to launch” page. Below is a frame from the animation featuring the leader of a group of hard-working robots, OTUS, as he converts unorganized data into a beautiful and organized dashboard!

The animation should be ready soon, and we will provide a link to the launch page as soon as it is ready!

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Mar 042012

Right now the Asplenia Studios store is having a sale, $5 off ALL t-shirts with the following coupon code:


This sale is running from now until Thursday, March 8th, and is only confirmed for the United States store (Zazzle’s decision, not mine). If you use your country’s local Zazzle store, please check their site to see if they are running a similar promotion, as Zazzle always advertises their sales and special offers right at the top of each page.

Why not take this moment to pick up a new “Resisting Tyrannical Government” t-shirt, or maybe the classic “Asplenia Curling” design?

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Mar 032012

Below we see the first rough sketch of the OTCticon “Grasshopper”. What is an OTCticon? See below


About the sketch/design:

the OTCticons will be each be reminscent of a particular style of Japanese robot/mecha designs. Grasshopper’s overall design, and even his pose in this sketch, owes a lot to the Motoslave from the animated series “Bubblegum Crisis”. These designs are my little way of honoring the many mechanical-design influences that Japanese anime and manga have had on my art throughout my life.

What’s an OTCticon?

OTC Analytics is a small team of data-lovers who believe that we work to LIVE and life is too short for beautiful dashboards to be hard to build.”

Essentially, OTC Analytics is going to provide low-cost dashboard solutions to everyone from individuals and small groups to large businesses.

Asplenia Studios has joined with OTC Analytics to create a series of robots, six of which represent the ascending tiers of service (each tier determines the amount of dashboards and cost, all tiers come with unlimited users, spreadsheets, widgets, etc.). These are the OTCticons. The seventh and final OTCticon, OTUS, is the proverbial leader of the team (you can see an early sketch of his head above Grasshopper).

Grasshopper represents the basic tier of service and, hence, is the smallest OTCticon (yes, that is a mechanical pencil he is holding). But just because he represents the tier that only provides two dashboards, and is free, that doesn’t mean he isn’t as powerful as his larger teammates!

In addition to designing these robots, Asplenia Studios will be producing regular comic strips featuring the OTCticons, as they helps everyone from small, non-profit, organizations to large multinationals ‘fuze’ their data into one, all-encompassing dashboard.

Stay tuned for more!!!

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