Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hello all,

So according to a quick run through my WordPress stats I have 66 living and breathing beings following my blog.

I wish to thank you all for your interest in my words and false wisdom.

It has been a while since I posted anything worthwhile. In the past two years I took an oath not to partake in any political discourse or social critique.

Why? I am too busy drawing lines and chasing after my livelihood.

There are many things in life that you cannot shake off: You being a writer and a radio person.

It has been a good year – minus the French scenery in France and Marion Cotillard – if you know your cinema you will get the reference.

However, I am blessed with a woman who is as lovely as Marion. I don’t talk much about my personal life as I try to let my work talk about myself as much as I can.

So yes it has been a good year. I am now a news reader and editor at Bliss 104.3, where I find myself surrounded by creative decent people. I’ve been working on expanding my art studio F.A.D.A. 317 and a couple of other projects.

I also haven’t stopped doing graffiti. There is something liberating about spraying your lines on a wall in Amman – it cuts the middleman and places your work for observation by thousands of people.

Following an artistic cultural trip to the U.K., compliments of the British Council, I started a blog dedicated to graffiti.

I called  it Spray Rocket Ape: Graffiti JO + and even designed the banner – since my side career is now all about illustration.

Sprayrocketape banner by Mike V. Derderian

I have a thing for apes;-})

Anyway … time for me to get back to designing album art for a client.

So here is the link to Spray Rocket Ape and I hope I can get to blog a little more.

Stay sound and sane …

Mike V. Derderian, a.k.a. Sardine.


Lately I’ve been busy with a new life at Bliss 104.3, where I write, edit and read the news; and host two evening shows, The Lounge and The Bliss Night Out.

I really love radio.

Radio was and will always be a love at first sight affair for this homo sapien thanks to Robin Williams’ Good Morning Vietnam. Working for Bliss really broadened my scope as a disc jockey. It is also pushing me to brush up on my rusty humor.

So … Creating gifs is a way to relieve the stress of this ephemeral life.

Below is an example of what I am doing. This is my Siren of Solitude.

She is simply asking,”wein el ba7ar / where is the sea?”


You can check my gif work at

Nothing fancy … just an aspiring illustrator playing around with Photoshop.

Until my next blog post …

Stay sound and sane :-})

Mike V. Derderian, a.k.a., Sardine


A fish out of water!

“How did it get there?” someone asks, “why did it leave water?”

A few minutes later the fish out of water is still there.

“It probably can flip its way back into the water but it stays there.”

A few minutes later, an eternity in fish minutes, It stops moving.

It died different!

It died different!

from the play Fish, Shotguns and Empty Barrels.
by Manuel V. Derida, 1945

The illustrations below were published in Issue 5 of Daftar, a great design and illustration magazine that features the works of Arab creatives, launched by graphic designer, illustrator and artist Omar Al-Zo’bi.

The theme was censorship.

My fourth submission is slated for Issue 6. To those who don’t read Arabic you can find the translation of my comic’s text under Vol. 2.

Happy New Year all. May our words and imagination never be censored.

Thank you for following my blog :-})

Nippon Vol. 1 lr

Nippon Vol. 2

The Hulking Henchman:
Pucker up dear boy I want to be able to sew your mouth shut!


Out story started when Arabs occupied the west and East Asia in 2012.

Liberties were imprisoned,

Imagination banned …

And thinkers reviled disbanded … 

This happened every where except in Japan where fierce Geishas rebelled and cowardly sheep committed Seppuku …

To be continued …

I really want to thank you all for following my Brick in the Head; and the bricks that I keep trying to shove down your brains.

One reason why I started this blog was to share what I, as a human being, a Homo sapien, have to say about the human condition through my own existence which is but a speck of dust in a universe filled with other specks like yourselves.

So …

I started a new job with a t-shirt company called Mlabbas. I am really enjoying it because it allows me to draw and be creative 24/7. Yes, I am designing t-shirts and working on other creative projects with Imad Shawa, Mlabbas’s general manager.

One of these projects is a monthly stencil anthology entitled Bekh.

The above illustration, Funkybot, is one of many visual manifestations that I have been vomiting in the past few months and publishing on Facebook, Behance and Deviant Art.

Even though I am illustrating and designing posters of things that I am passionate about, like science fiction, fantasy, Film Noir, fan art, freedom, the aesthetics of the female form and above all life, I don’t go around telling people I am an illustrator or a graphic designer. I am just someone who enjoys drawing and designing.

Once I have the time I am planning on re-launching my The Dark Side of the Spoon comic strip as a webcomic. I just have to finalize some work related projects.

A few months ago, maybe a year or more, I started publishing literary themed pages on Facebook through which I wanted to practice writing and translation.

Here they are:

Sleepless Samurai, a Facebook statues series and a prelude for a short comic book.

Thoughts from within a Sardine Can, a page for my Arabic writings.

Listening to Rock with Arabic Subtitles, a page through which I express my love of music, being a radio presenter at 96.3 FM, and translation.

Will share more with you soon. I hope you like my visual vomit the same way you are liking my words, lines and paragraphs.

On a more personal note my other half, Nesrin, and I are watching our lovely two mice, Amie and Andre-V, grow into amazing little beings.


Mike V. Derderian,
A Homo sapien, a writer, a comic artist and a fierce windmill slayer trying to get a hold of a banana in a world governed by apes …

Cinerama: Soleil Rouge

Posted: November 25, 2009 in Uncategorized

Soleil Rouge

By Mike Derderian

Stronger and stronger the red Sun glows burning through our tattered clothes. A fierce Samurai thrusts the rusty blade of his sword in his loins; he failed and this was his reward. Alas all what warriors do now is follow the glitter of coins.

The samurai in Terence Young’s 1977 Soleil Rouge aka Red Sun is different from the samurai featured in this week’s prologue. Instead of committing suicide after the assassination of his master (Tetsu Nakamura) and the theft of a golden sword Kuroda Jubie (Toshirô Mifune) decides to go after the responsible gang of bandits.

I was glued to the television set when I last saw this 112-minute Western on television 13 years ago. Red Sun was really entertaining or maybe it felt so because I was just hitting my teens.

Red Sun stars Ursula Andress, Alain Delon, Capucine, Bernabe Barta Barri, Guido Lollobrigida and Charles Bronson as Link Stuart, a ruthless bandit with a soft spot for angry Japanese samurais. Now back to the synopsis of the movie that is set in the 19th century.

Stuart (Bronson) and Gotch Kink (Delon) are the leaders of a gang of merciless bandits, who attack a special train heading to Washington. The gang dynamites the ambassador’s train cart and brutally massacres him and his entourage.

After failing to kill his long time partner, Kink and his gang escape with the samurai sword that was going to be presented as a gift to the president of the United States. This leaves Stuart all alone to face the wrath of the ambassador’s loyal bodyguard Jubie.

The language barrier between the two—Stuart and Jubie—is barely overcome as both men communicate with what resembles a primitive sign language. Farfetched…could be…but it worked and Bronson’s craggy charisma clicked well with Mifune’s.

Both actors became famous for portraying man-against-the-world type of heroes in their countries and internationally. The shockwave resulting from the Bronson-Mifune combo in this film was certainly powerful.

Three years before his reputation as a fearsome vigilante in the 1974 Death Wish was established, Charles Bronson still looked like a man whose actions were louder than words—thanks to a large pistol in most cases. His tougher than nails face would make a person think twice before messing around with him.

In this movie, someone did mess with Bronson’s character and eventually paid for it. Come on it’s a good-guys-win-in-the-end-movie. Together both men decide to track down Kink. They find a lead to his trail through his voluptuous girlfriend Cristina.

The Swiss bombshell was immortalized in another Terence Young film. Does the image of a skimpy bikini clad siren emerging from the sea ring a bell? Andress starred with Sean Connery in the first 1962 James Bond movie Dr. No as Honey Ryder.

In addition to Dr. No, Young directed two more James Bond movies starring Connery, From Russia with Love (1963) and Thunderball (1965).

Mifune’s portrayal of the disgraced samurai was subtly fierce and touching. His passionate dogged persona through the course of the movie starts to mellow as his friendship with Stuart evolves. However, this very same friendship brings forth his tragic demise near the end.

The western camaraderie cliché, of having two totally opposite characters, is what Terence uses to titillate our senses. The camera angles were mostly wide and its movement was slow except for the scenes that included a sword wielding Jubie against a group of miscreants.

Alain Delon, one of France’s brilliant actors and screen legends, was ice cold as the cold-blooded and backstabbing Gotch Kink. Delon’s characterization of Kink, sharp-tongued and witty, would captivate any one with his charm. To survive his company you simply shouldn’t trust him.

The only scene that I still see clearly in my head after all this time involves Ursula Andress, whose character was left behind in the desert to die. With a tight and wet leather rope wrapped around her neck Cristina (Andress) was bound by Apaches and left to die under the sun. How will she die? Exposed to the scorching rays the wet leather rope would shrink and slowly choke her to death.

All of the above blended with Bronson’s reputation as a man-out-for-justice and a key sentence for a plot that spells, revenge is sweet and bitter at the same time, makes Red Sun a highly enjoyable sit-through western movie that has the sharp edge of a good drama.

Must-see-scenes: Ursula Andress in any scene; the Apache assault on the farmhouse where Stuart, Jubie, Cristina and Kink took cover; Mifune’s performance; and the heart-wrenching finale.

Cinerama: 8½

Posted: November 25, 2009 in Uncategorized

By Mike Derderian

Watching Federico Fellini’s film 8½, aka Otto e mezzo (1963) at first will feel like going through a nonsensical rush of clips, dialogue and characters but midway through its perspective comes into angel and chaos becomes less chaotic.

Fellini takes us inside the mangled mind of a famous Italian filmmaker, Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni), who after suffering a relapse ends up in a health spa, where he and his film crew try to piece together the ultimate idea for a film.

Imagine the following: You are sitting in a room and you are trying to concentrate and write what might turn out to be the next Weathering Heights. No wait, you can’t top that. The room is filled with people, who keep asking you questions. Do you think you will be able to write? This is what is happening to Guido. He is being pestered by everyone, his crew, producer, his blabber-mouthed mistress and his estranged wife and worst of all, his mind.

We love to think that our lives are organized; but try to recall your past, present and imagine how your future would be in a few years time and you’ll discover that nothing is organized. The smallest whiff of perfume, the smell of grass, a sentence in a book, a movie scene from your favorite film, the touch of a piece of fabric and people would help recall thousands of memories in one jolt of thinking. Sometimes these memories come to us involuntarily after being triggered by some of the above elements.

In Guido’s case it is just the opposite. He is trying to escape from reality and what better place for a person to hide from the present than h/her own head. Believing that he no longer has the edge he seeks his memories for refuge and inspiration.

Besides Mastroianni, stars Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo, Barbara Steele, Guido Alberti and Jean Rougeul as Carini, the obnoxious movie critic, who in addition to putting down Guido’s script likes to philosophize about life and the purpose of cinema.

“It’s better to destroy than create what’s unnecessary,” Carini tells Guido after having noticed how much he matured as a director with a clear vision towards life.

Mastroianni’s portrayal of the troubled film director was mesmerizing. The Italian hunk was able to transmit the angst and apathy that engulfed Guido’s soul and nearly ruined him. Cardinale, Aimée, Milo and Steele each had a character to work with and they certainly and brilliantly worked their parts well into Guido’s growth and unveiling as a person. If you want to know a man just see how he treats women.

Fellini successfully created an alpha male figure and a man who is instinctively afraid to open up and reveal his soul to the woman or all the women he loves, whether indirectly or directly. Guido is like any man out there and this is what makes Fellini’s movie a looking glass placed above us all.

Music is an integral element in a Fellini movie and Nino Rota’s musical score helped add to the disorientated spirit of the movie thus amplify the director’s vision, audibly speaking.

is about the search that we do within ourselves through our childhood memories and have to do when life becomes unbearable but the secret is not to get stuck in those memories.

“I thought my ideas were so clear. I wanted to make an honest film. No lies whatsoever. I thought I had something so simple to say, something useful to everybody. A film that could help bury forever all those dead things we carry within ourselves. Instead, I’m the one without the courage to bury anything at all. When did I go wrong? I really have nothing to say, but I want to say it all the same,” Guido so wisely says and with this phrase one of the themes of modern cinema is forever solidified: Man’s inner search for truth, which reminds us of another saying by Alexander Pope, “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, the proper study of mankind is Man.” Always look within.

Must-see-scenes:  La Saraghina (Eddra Gale) performing rumba for Guido and his young friends; when Guido goes to meet the cardinal at the bathhouse (an eye opener); any scene involving Claudia Cardinale and of course my favorite scene, which is the craziest, when Guido fantasizes that all the women in his life live under one roof and are part of his harem.