9/10/01: Dave Linabury a/k/a Davezilla – can he handle one more smelly neighbor?
Though he didn't buy the domain name until 1998, Dave
's personal site, which started as a simple, small portfolio, has been around since 1995. Back then, when many of us were just discovering and starting to dabble in the web a little, Dave was already working as the webmaster for the city of Royal Oak, Michigan. As time went on, he added new content and features to his personal webspace and it's evolved into one of the web's most popular personal sites, from what I can see.
It's not surprising to me that Davezilla.com
has become so popular – He's an excellent caricaturist and illustrator and has a wonderfully whacky sense of humor. He's managed to come up with concepts that keeps people coming back for more. Dave pushed the boundries of what "weblogs" can include, and gems like his Celebrity Anagrams
, Anagram Interviews
, and the Freak Watcher's Textbook
(which, incidently, started as an offline club in Royal Oak), represent independent content that's entertaining and intelligent and fun – and they're just a small part of the scattered mix of diversions that is Davezilla
– you gotta love this guy!
So – my wife and I are moving to Auburn Hills, Michigan soon and I just found out that I'll be living about 15 minutes north of Dave. I can't decide whether to simply hang around Royal Oak and see if the Freak Watchers end up spotting me, or just join in with their fun immediately before they have the chance. We'll see. In the meantime, I really appreciate Dave's offer to show me the coolest places around my new digs – he's apparently as nice offline as he seems to be online...
Hi, Dave. I've been lookin' forward to this. I'm picturing you in high school, drawing cartoons on your bookcovers and being somewhat of a comedian that everybody likes. I'm also thinking that your interest in art and design goes back a long time. Am I close? Tell me a little about your life before the web.
Yeah! I was a skinny punk rock kid and quickly found out that being funny got me dates, and kept brain-dead soccer players from kicking the crap out of me when they found the caricatures I drew of them.
Was I a comedian? Yes. Did everyone like me? No. I was too open with my opinions. Still am. So uh... I guess I haven't changed at all really! Damn.
I don't have a great interest in art honestly. I've been drawing since I was two, but I tend to like most commercial art better than fine art. I feel no shame in admitting that. Most of the talented illustrators are working for agencies, not art fairs or galleries.
Before your gig as Royal Oak's webmaster, were you doing commercial illustration for a living? How did the webmaster gig come about back in '95?
I did my first illustration job when I was 16. I beat six photographers out for a stint in a college biology book. I was hooked. I thought, "Dang I can make money just by drawing?"
The web gig came about when I was an art director for a local chain of newspapers. I was putting in a mere 65 hours a week so the publisher figured I have lots of idle time available. He quickly filled it by signing a deal with the city that we (I) would create and maintain web pages for the entire city. It was fun but I was sooo overworked.
"Laundry, the Manly Way" is one of the funniest things I've ever read. You're a single guy, right? By choice?
Thanks! Years of Manly Living has taught me necessary survival skills that today's bachelor needs to get by. As for my marital status, I've been very happily divorced for about ten years.
I've noticed that many people leave comments on your "weblog" entries. What do you think makes your "weblog" different and why has it become so popular?
Fresh, whole milk! It does a blog good. I guess it's because no one knows what I'll do next. My mind does not think in just tiny news snippets or linky-love. I have too many odd concepts that don't fit into the "standard blog format," whatever that is. So I get about one or two emails a week telling me I am not a "real blogger." Ooh. Shocker.
Now you know why I used quotation marks around the word.
So, what is it about Royal Oak? I've been told that a lot of "creative types" live there and your Freak Watcher's Textbook
tells a different story. I should mention that FWT just appeared in Yahoo! Internet Life
– at least the print magazine doesn't have any friggin' popunder ads like some parts of the Yahoo! website. What is Royal Oak really like?
Well, Royal Oak has become this haven for punks, pagans and prima donnas over the past 18 years. Several things have kind of contributed to this:
- We have no vagrancy laws so it's OK to be homeless here. Hence, tons of bums and people with mental disorders wandering about.
- Dr. Kevorkian is a Royal Oak man and his office where he built his suicide machine was right downtown.
- The infamous Noir Leather S&M shop is here and attracted a whole host of punks, strippers and dominatrixes.
- The Post Office where the first postal slaying occurred is here and spawned the phrase, "Going Postal."
- Several famous magazines like Film Threat, Hour, Fun and Orbit got their start here.
- Our train seems to attract suicides like crazy. Some years as many as 12 people feel the need to jump in front of our train. I actually was assigned to do a safety sign for the city. I did one that said, "Please don't feed the trains." They didn't use it. Go figure.
So there's kind of a death vibe in the city which for some reason makes it seem cool. I don't know. The odd thing is, everyone here seems pretty happy.
Wow! I had no idea that Royal Oak was so rich in pop history. I doubt I'll be bored with a place like that just minutes south of me. Has anyone ever asked you to remove their photo from the Freak Watcher's Textbook
? If so, were they really pissed?
Yes, one person has. I had him listed as the American Warthog. That didn't phase him. I said he was a greasy, spineless artichoke. Nope, not a problem. I said he is still surfing the Internet on his Tandy II computer. That was the last straw! "I'll have you know I have NEVER owned a Tandy product. How insulting. I INSIST you take that malarkey down this very instant!"
So – we're moving to Auburn Hills soon? Whataya know about that town?
It's chock full of reddish-brown hills. And Ummm, yeah. No threat of nuclear fallout in Auburn Hills! There has never, I repeat never, been an alien invasion there, and I'm not saying that because the Greys are using me as their mindless spokesperson devil-puppet or anything. Nope. Not me.
Gee, thanks. Maybe we should move to Royal Oak instead. No, nevermind... I almost forgot about that smelly neighbor of yours.
Your Celebrity Anagrams
are probably my favorite thing about Davezilla (besides the blog, that is). I love the caricatures and the anagrams you come up with are so appropriate, just as they are in the Anagram Interviews
. How did you come up with these concepts, anyway?
Oh thank you! A lot of people don't get those. I get about twenty Google requests a day for "Eminem Interview" and "Stephanie Seymour Interview." The kids looking for legitimate Eminem interviews get pretty pissed off, and despite the disclaimers, feel the need to send me hate mail. Most of it is pretty hilarious.
The interviews are difficult to do. I can do anagrams in my head, but doing anagrams that not only work in relation to a person's life, but answer an interview question logically... well that can take weeks. It also requires a bit of research on the celebrity. Several of the ones I started I have never finished because I simply could not get enough anagrams to make it worthwhile.
In your "about
" section, it says that in 1999, you "went to work at General Motors as an illustrator and web designer. After three months I began working on confidential, advanced technologies and concept vehicles." Is that really true about the concept vehicles? Are you still working (or contracted) at GM? If not, what are you doing these days to buy all that fresh, whole milk and Starbucks and stuff?
Still there. It's a great job. Right now I'm doing mainly information architecture, web design, Internet consultation and patent drawings. My job is different all the time so I never get bored. Plus my boss, Sarah, and my coworker, Tamity
, are the coolest people to work with.
Yes, I really do work on concept vehicles. I also work on Car Design News
which is a huge website dealing with concepts cars, automotive design and industry news. And Joe, if I show you my work, I'll have to kill you.
I'll pass on asking you to show me your work, thank you...
Remembering that coolstop is meant for a broad audience, so tends to be on the slightly anal-retentive side, hit me with your favorite joke.
Our nation's literacy rate? That always amuses me.
Hehe. Speaking of jokes, Dave, I'm sure nobody gets my thing about the "smelly neighbor" unless they've visited Davezilla. Fill us in.
Ugh! This guy moved in a few months back and two tenants have left as a result of having to smell him. He is somewhat... hygienically challenged. No, that doesn't quite describe it.
He smells like Chernobyl.
He *seems* to have a job. I assume it's something repulsive like cleaning septic tanks. He spends the majority of his day sitting on his porch passed out. On weekends he fondles women's underwear in the shared laundry room.
A real winner. I just can't believe he's not married.
This has been a real slice, Dave. Thanks again for being here – cya in Michigan...
Thank you Joe!