Return to Sender

Dear random stranger stumbling upon this abandoned shack on the internet:

Hi. Why are you here? LOL… that sounds rude in text, but I don’t mean it to be.

This ain’t it anymore. Hasn’t been for a long time, the final maQLu release having been dumped out onto iTunes without any fanfare or promotion in 2015, long after I kinda stopped caring.

I moved on and you probably should, too. (That also sounds way ruder in text than I mean it to be.) I’ve logged in to tidy up this e-joint and dispose of a few things that no longer fit my life as it is now, so there’s a lot of gaps in the post history etc. but that’s as it should be.

Or would be, because I know perfectly well that the internet is forever, so some of what I delete might still be floating around. Good for you if you got it.

I might even log into CDBaby and request my old stuff be pulled down from iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify, dunno yet… seems like that might be unfair to the few people who still listen (at least on Spotify, wouldn’t affect Amazon and iTunes people since if they bought it, it’s theirs).

I will leave instrumental work up, though, but those are available as free downloads here on this site, so… never mind.

But in case you’re curious as to what I’ve been up to and haven’t already bounced out:

Let’s see here… early 2014 I ran into a music scene pal and we got to talking about a mutual contact we’d both worked with, someone I’d come to despise and no longer cared what he and his minions thought of me because I knew I was leaving that scene behind, so I unleashed what I really thought of him, and she started to laugh… nervously at first, then more and more.

“Oh my God, you’re so funny! You’re, like, a Comedy Central roast – you should do stand-up!”

Now, I wasn’t kidding, but I caught myself just before I was about to say so and bluffed: “Yeah, haha… just kidding.”

I wasn’t, but it got me thinking. I’d always loved comedy and I had a knack for making my friends laugh… maybe she was right… And so I did do some stand-up for a year or so but mostly got into doing rant-style podcasting.

Including a couple epic meltdowns over that U2 album that was pushed on our iPhones, lol… at the time I despised U2 and especially Bono and those who know me from more recently will now be laughing as hard as my ol’ music pal was…

Hey… that little twerp looks familiar… quick, hide yo’ iPhones!

This got me the attention of a local Vancouver political comedy podcast, which I won’t name because it’s long since over now, stick a fork in it, but I ended up being their obnoxious news girl and eventually producer/audio editor for a while.

Then I left Vancouver for a small town on one of the BC islands in 2017. I thought maybe I’d lead a quiet, nondescript life… maybe even get back into the family business of my grandparents before the wars: sewing. (My paternal grandfather was a tailor and he taught my grandmother to be a seamstress, a skill that she used throughout her life til she couldn’t see well enough in her later years, but she worked in a fur coat factory after being widowed the second time and having sold the homestead she and her second husband acquired on the Prairies… my aunt was also a seamstress, albeit more of a hobbyist.)

So I had a period of focussing on textile arts and quilting and I was co-leader of a semi-local quilt guild for a while.

And there had been a rock n’ roll project with a “friend” but that went sideways when he decided he was gonna do blow and drink cheap cervezas in Sinaloa for the rest of his life… and then claimed our demos project, which he spearheaded, wasn’t a collaboration but that he was just teaching me to write songs… which would be news to all the radio stations that used to play maQLu songs from, like, 5 years before I ever met the dude… anyway, I stopped banging my head against a brick wall responding to his emails some time in 2019.

So, end of 2019 and I was fed up with a lot of stuff, and I had just bought a house, and I needed a reboot to go with it. After much thought and doing the whole Artist’s Way thing, I decided to go back to an original love, visual arts, and started painting again.

Then we had the Great Karening of 2020, and we all know how that went… though a lot of people pretend it never happened now, or that it did but they weren’t the ones doing it… whatever, I don’t really care anymore.

I had a cancer scare that fortunately ended up just being a fatty lump, not a malignant one. And I discovered I got a heart arrhythmia (or rather I’d always had it and it runs in my mother’s family, but I didn’t know what it was but it got way worse over the last few years, but it’s now under control so I’m OK). And I hunkered down to work on a variety of stuff that we’ll get to in a sec… but the point is: I got off lucky, because some of my circle lost their minds and never got them back after 2020/2021, and some others had horrible health issues (physical and mental) and only lifted out of them in the last year.

And my circle weren’t even that bad off… one of my former podcast co-hosts related that he lost no less than a dozen friends to suicide during the lockdowns.


So, that “variety of stuff”:

  1. A couple years back I posted about the Nick White Show, which was borne out of loneliness and nostalgia during the lockdowns.

    At this writing, it’s on hiatus, but I have all the dolls and props set aside and I have a dozen scripts for what would be half-hour episodes, so you never know… Nick may wake up out of his alcoholic stupor and make a new appearance or two, darling…

    More likely: the scripts may eventually become comic books/graphic novels, because the amount of time to make a 22 minute sitcom video of a script to be watched for free on YouTube and the amount of time to make that script into a comic book I can sell is about the same amount of money but with very different payoffs.

  2. A few months into doing The Nick White Show in 2022, I got a bad flu or maybe it was the dreaded ‘Rona, but in any case, I lost my regular voice for 2 weeks and my cartoony character voices for 3 months, so I couldn’t work on the show. At the same time, I’d been working on developing a puppet show that was to be a rock n roll news comedy show, but by the time I got sick it had mutated into a comic strip idea… so I ran with that because I don’t have to be able to talk to be able to draw a comic… and thus Noah’s Archipelago was born.
    DIY Noah cards featuring a cartoon collage on the back.
    Yesterday’s strip, wherein Noah gets heckled by his daughter and mother-in-law.

    This wasn’t my first rodeo with a webcomic, having done Zamo the Destroyer from 2006-2009 (which I then revived as a podcast in 2014, but had petered out by 2022… they are supposed to be on that same Zamo site, but I think I have a broken plug-in that I have to fix, so…).

    Anyway, it’s been a couple years of near-daily posts, so I’m overdue for gathering them up into an anthology or three, but for now, you can check out Noah on the site or on Facebook Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and usually on Saturdays.

    (There’s also a Twitter, an Instagram, and a Tumblr but those follower counts are far less impressive, lol…

    I also have some ideas for longer Noah story arcs that would be strictly in comic books.

  3. Speaking of comic books… I am almost done the lettering on the first book of my Ricky B. the Rock N Roll Rat series (and I do mean series, as I have 7 scripts ready…). The book is being done the old-fashioned way, drawing with a non-photo blue pencil on Bristol board, then inking (lettering with a fineliner marker, drawings and panel borders with india ink and a dip pen), then it’ll be scanned in black and white.

    Do cartoon rats use cheese-flavored toothpaste? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

    Some of the stories might hypothetically be sparked by things I remember or heard about in my music biz days, but mostly not.
  4. Speaking of cartoon rats, they’ve taken over my life and art practice, showing up in everything from ceramics to sculptures to monotype prints.
    Including a sketchbook full of drawings of that leprechaun dude who likes screwing with our iPhones…
    Small sampling just of Ricky in various mediums and formats, plus a selfie… this was from some Instagram hashtag thing like “art and the artist” or whatever from late last year

    And we can’t forget Ricky’s half-mouse frenemy Myles, who won’t show up until the third or fourth book unless I do some reordering, which I might… anyway, here’s a monotype of that little sonofabitch:

    And more generally (aside from the rats), I’ve developed a love for printmaking, particularly monotypes and linocuts, started making small sculptures, and have started an interest in artist books… some of which is evident above, but here’s a bit more:

    Owl vase from a couple weeks ago.
    I also make rosaries… oops, haven’t mentioned about that in the main text yet.

    I’m also still doing some textile stuff, especially embroidery, but on a much smaller scale.

    Layer 1 of a slow-stitching piece… 6 more layers to go… this will probably end up having a Ricky motif on the top, lol…

So to recap:

2006-2009: Zamo the Destroyer
2009-2013: maQLu heyday
2014-2017: comedy and podcasting, also limped out Divisive
2017-2019: textiles and the “quiet life”
2020: painting.
2021: The Nick White Show – development
2022: The Nick White Show – production, superceded by Noah’s Archipelago – development and production, printmaking
2023: Noah’s Archipelago – production, Ricky B. – development and production, printmaking, artist books, sculptures
2024: Noah’s Archipelago – production, Ricky B. – production, printmaking, artist books, sculptures

So that’s where I’m at.

I’d like it to be known for the record that I didn’t choose the rats, the rats chose me… and it was funny when going through old posts to see the couple mentions of mice in the old jam space. Little did I know I would still be dealing with mice 10 years later… well, at least cartoon rats and mice don’t shit on your keyboards or chew your audio cables.

There’s also a matter of a life-threatening incident leading to my reversion to Catholicism, but that’s a story for another day and another place, maybe even a whole full-length memoir.

From a nearby cathedral

Suffice to say, if you’re looking for old maQLu content about the devil and occult stuff; sorry, not sorry, but I’ve ditched all that.

What else is there to say… well, basically, goodbye, I guess? And thanks for the support way back when I was still working on this old noise project.

And if you read this far and are still curious/interested in what I’m doing now, well, the place I post the most is my Instagram: @pyradraculea

and occasionally I remember to update my blog on (that site is desperate for an update/overhaul, too, but it’s not being archived like 90% of the content of this one)

and of course the project links I put up above.

Anyway, I guess the tl;dr version is this: I found out I have no interest in making angry music or noise when my life is going well, and life is going pretty well these days, so I’m making cartoons and clay stuff now.

See you on the other side. Peace be with you.

Pyra Draculea
aka “maQLu”
March 9, 2024 AD

PS: I probably won’t be updating this site from now on, though I suppose when the first Ricky book drops, I might slap one post up to shill it, just as I did for the Nick White Show when I launched that.