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Showing posts from July, 2009

Two thousand miles from here.

I am so tired and I have a headache my head is going to explode I'm going to forget something tomorrow I just know it I'm already forgetting something I haven't even started packing yet there's still so much left to do God shit fuck I have to wake up early and finish taking care of all this stuff why can't going to the beach be something that's also relaxing in theory.

Tomorrow: the ocean. Tonight: head explodey.

Productivity please.

A good friend of mine sold me his old mountain bike. Now I have a bike! Things are looking up for our plucky hero.Speaking of plucky heroes, my hand is unbelievably tired. I am never going to do something like this in one sitting again.Somebody please, tell me I don't have to draw another comic until Monday.

The best station in the world.

Sometimes--a lot of times--I forget what day it is and then I look at my calendar and it's Tuesday and I still haven't touched my lab report. Not so good.I'm still trying to improve my art. It's a slow going process, but with more studying and more practice, it'll pay off. I can already see some improvement! I did this for the Texan:Just kidding.

Simple wants.

I really want to go to the aquarium now.Also, I want a boat when I go to the ocean so I can mess around in a boat.

Tired of stick figures.

I stood and watched as she flipped through the pages lazily. Pages of doodles with class notes inserted sparingly between them. All dwarfed by the blank pages. Notebooks full of these pages. She mentioned something about sketches and it was at that moment that it dawned on me. I am a cartoonist without a sketchbook. I mean, sure, I doodle and sketch things in my actual notebooks or on random pieces of paper in my room but I've never had a notebook--a sketchbook--to put all of them in exclusively.
And so I got one.

Well, I already had one, but it was empty. I thumbed through the pages to make sure. I gathered my drawing utensils and cleared away some clutter from my desk. My drawing desk which has apparently been repurposed as a "dump all of your shit on top of it in haphazardly constructed piles so that you can't use it or find anything on it" desk. I flipped open to the first page and put my pencil to the paper.

And suddenly I didn't have anything to draw…

Dread one day at a time.

A friend of mine asked me if it would be weird to attend her wedding in four or five years. I didn't have to think very long to respond. In fact, as soon as I saw the word wedding I started to panic a little.

Growing up is such a scary prospect. And I know I've talked about it already--it just bothers me that much. And I know there's nothing to be done about it except go along with it as best you can. We are all growing up and some people just aren't very good at coping with it. Four or five years is not a very long time. High school was a blur that, in hindsight, felt more like a month than four years. I've been playing clarinet for over eight years, but that doesn't seem so long. So four or five years is going to be here tomorrow, and I will still not be ready for it.

Weddings are just weird. It's strange when it's composed of people you don't know, it's strange when it's people you do know, and it's insane when it's people…

And you knot the rope.

Planning for big things is hard. There are always little details you forget or little details that people don't tell you until the last minute. Or details that people nag you about. Or details people rub in your face until you plan around them the way they want. Or they just don't tell you at all and get mad later. Or they tell you and make you mad and don't realize it. If there's one thing I've learned when it comes to making big plans with big groups of people it's that in the planning stage, everybody will get angsty. There will be some infighting, some resentment, and some group tension. Then, as the trip progresses, the tempers go down into a resigned bitterness that simmers until the end of the trip when it explodes in a tempest of passive-aggressive acts that leave everybody drained and angry.Which is, of course, my favorite part of the whole thing.

History starts in panel one.

In all honesty, I am not much of a party person. I'll go, but I have a hard time being sociable. I'm the guy who stands off to the side and nurses his drink. Or I'm the guy sitting in the chair looking around. Or I'm the guy standing in the middle of the crowd smiling and looking around while nursing his drink. They're fun, sure. For a while. I guess I am just not a lively person.

But we started planning out our mega crossover epic. Which is going to be amazing. Ambitious? Yes. Insanely difficult to pull off? Also yes. But it's a challenge, and challenges are fun. And if we can actually do the whole thing, it'll make history.

Well, when we do the whole thing.

Fifty cups of coffee and you know it's on.

I'm excited about going to the beach. Too bad it's still a week away.

And I will wear that dress.

Today was a good day. We got to jam. And it was a string of three or four songs that we just pulled out of the air in all kinds of styles. It felt good. I soloed on clarinet for one of them. That felt good. I haven't been able to really do any real improvisation like that in such a long time. And despite all the squeaks and fumbles, well, I don't even know how to describe the feeling. Well, maybe I could take a shot at it.

It was bliss.

It's funny how easily those things will come back to you. Then we goofed around and pulled out as many covers as we could. From Jason Mraz to Sixpence None the Richer to poorly constructed originals, we were an unstoppable wave of musical fun. Playing music is so therapeutic.There's a feeling you get when you play with other musicians and you all click. Everything just works. Everybody feels everyone else and there's this vibe that goes through the room. It's such an incredible feeling, this musical synchronicity. I…

That time of the month.

Next week will feature family scandal, almost a dozen murders, a drowned girlfriend, and lots of manic depression, yet it's not in any way based on Hamlet.

That was my horoscope when I read The Onion today. Makes me a little worried about going to the beach. But today was a better day. I got fan mail for ben the box boy! I mean, sure, I've gotten compliment comments on Facebook and whatnot, but it's different when it's over e-mail. It's like it really means something. They must have really liked it to actually sit down and write an e-mail about it instead of just mashing buttons on Facebook--something people spend too much time of their day doing.It's exciting stuff. Everything just went well today. And, hopefully, more of the same is in store for tomorrow.Feels good man.

You lose some, you lose some.

I've been feeling edgy lately. Like I'm teetering on the dividing line between acceptable and splodey. I feel pent up. Like a dog left in a kennel for too long. Or a cat that's being forced to take a bath. Just generally grumpy. Or touchy. Malicious, even. I just want to break stuff.I decided that this steadily building rancor would be best exorcised with a trip to the gym. I brought a change of clothes with me to my appointment so that I could get on the punching bag afterward. I was looking forward to it. It was time to let off some steam. After the appointment was through, I headed over and got changed and then realized that I had forgotten my shoes. I decided that I didn't need them and walked over to the gym in my flip flops and found out it was closed.

It figures.

All the time, actually.

I was glad to hear from him--it was the first time in over a week. A long, bad week. He typed out short sentences when we spoke. "Hard problem. Bright people working on it." "We heard the conflicting reports." I said. "Both wrong." He said. "Everyone's got an agenda."The best lesson my dad ever taught me was to be cynical. To be distrust what you hear. To stay on your toes when it came to the world. And to assume the worst in people--because most of the time you'd assume correctly. Or, of course, you might be surprised when you were wrong. But when does that happen?

Mouth is open wide.

Well, it wasn't the trip I was expecting, but then again I have high standards. It was fun, even though it was brief and largely uneventful. I had hoped it would be physically demanding to the point of absolute exhaustion, but what can you do when there are no caves and the water is hot enough to make coffee with? Oh well. It was a nice couple of days and it let me forget about things.It's not enough, though.

Don't wanna sound gay or nuthin'.

I found myself at a traffic light the other day, watching the other drivers and waiting for my light to change. As I did, a man in no shirt drove by in a sedan. It was the most awkward thing I've seen while driving, I think. I never knew how strange it looked when people drove around shirtless. It looks like they might be naked. It's just awkward. And I'm a guy who drives shirtless on occasion.

I've found that my worst ideas tend to be the ones I think about. Because I have time to consider all the aspects of them before convincing myself that they are good. My impulse decisions, which are also bad, are somehow less bad than those that I stew on for a while.

A friend of mine told me that I seemed like a person who could pull off having shaved legs. I don't think of myself as a particularly hairy person, but I tend to worry about being considered a hairy person. And so his statement stuck in my mind for a long couple of weeks. Ultimately, it came down to th…

I pump for you; pump, pump.

By the end of the summer session, the bus driver and I were on pretty friendly terms. When we got to my stop he would turn and say, "Alright then, brother. You take care now." And as I stepped off the bus I would turn and say, "Thanks a lot, man. You have a good one." And as he closed the doors he would say, "Will do. You stay out of the sun now, you hear?" And right before the double doors squeaked shut I would say, "Will do."

For a large number of nights spread out thickly over a large number of years I've watched my reflection in the glass of the front door as I made my final stalk down the hallway from the kitchen to the stairs. By the end of the hallway my posture would be fixed and, fully upright, I'd stride confidently around the banister and dart up the stairs in my ill-fitting pajama pants hanging off my hips. My reflection was always the same: a slim, cutting figure that betrayed tales of Peter Parker-like flexibility a…

Petty as she goes.

Little things set me off. Little things get under my skin. And I can switch gears in about 0.001 seconds from happy-go-lucky to furious. The whole hidden violent temper thing runs in my family. Both my dad and my mom have hidden violent tempers that often are not very well hidden. So you can imagine that, when mom + dad = me, the same applied to mom's temper + dad's temper. I'm usually pretty good about not getting my feathers ruffled though. I've learned to just bottle all of that up and then eventually casually toss the bottle out to sea so that some poor castaway can find it on his uncharted island."Went all the way to worldpool cave!" it said, scrawled across the top of my news feed. I commented simply, "whirlpool, fool" and thought nothing of it. It was good that someone had gotten into caving. I went about my day doing the normal things I do, whatever that may actually be. I came back later. "Who cares if I spelled it wrong? N…

Lots of forget-me-nots.

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I were more confidently candid when I interacted with people. Or even when I wrote. By sometimes, I mean often. I think it would be a bad idea.

Night of the loving dude.

Last night I played a terrifyingly stressful campaign of Left 4 Dead in which I was the last survivor battling impossible odds to make it to safety. It was all very dramatic and I was shaking by the end of the whole thing which is somewhat pathetic, considering that it is just a video game. Nevertheless, I went to sleep soon after my harrowing experience with undeath.

I dreamed about zombies. It was a terrifying dream. I had broken my ankle and I was trying to out-limp the massive mob of shambling zombies that were chasing me down a deserted city street. I had no weapon and no companions. Just a broken ankle and the constant moaning of the zombies, a reminder that I was only delaying the inevitable. I limped and cried for help and their hands reached out to grab me and I woke up. And I heard it.

An eerie wail drifted through my window. A lone woman's voice--or what had used to be a woman--wavering in the late night. They were coming. I lay frozen in my bed for a moment as…

Butterfly in the sky.

I took a day to myself. Let everything else go up in smoke. All of the day's plans. Poof.And I read. I read all day. I read at my desk. I read on the hammock. On the rocking chair. On the couch. On the floor. I just read books all day. Alice in Wonderland and World War Z and Casino Royale and started remaking a list of books I still hadn't read.

And it was spectacular.

I remember when I was a little kid and I spent all my free time reading books. Putting off homework to read a book by that month's favorite author. Putting off everything. And just reading for the sake of reading. For days. Spending an entire day reading a book instead of sitting at the computer. It's funny how things change like that.

But mostly depressing.

I need to read more. Make time for reading. Instead of messing around on the internet, I should be getting into a book. That's more productive. And rewarding. And I miss doing it.

Gub it with your gubbo.

The best thing about playing sports is when you limp away from the field. It doesn't really matter whether you win or lose, it's just the feeling of accomplishment. You did something with your time and have the scrapes to prove it. Feels good man.And ultimate frisbee is a sport.


Today, I was somebody's shoulder.Tomorrow? Who knows.

Pseudo-science (like psych).

I consider myself a man of science. I try to approach problems and deal with them logically, using observations previously recorded to handle new problems. So of course my interest was piqued when someone I knew posited that men are needier and more complicated than women.

An interesting theory. But to properly examine it, one must understand the concept of sexual selection and its two aspects: male competition and female choice.

Which brings us to point one: men are needier [in relationships] than women. This is true. In a natural/primal setting, the males are generally love-'em-leave-'em kinds of guys. Their main objective is to reproduce as much as they can. Humans, in their infinite wisdom, have decreased the emphasis on this to the point where it has become a footnote in male purpose. Civilization dictates that, instead of finding a partner for the sole purpose of reproduction, males find females for life companionship. With the effective removal of their natural t…

Calamari rising.

I really hate Starbucks coffee.

See what I did there.

Trying to surprise somebody is an exercise that usually fails. There are just too many variables in the mix that usually play out not in your favor. Something always goes wrong. Surprises get spoiled. They figure it out or something doesn't quite go according to plan or it doesn't have the impact that you thought it would. And then, when it's all said and done, you come away from the whole experience a little disappointed and discouraged.

Most of the time.

But when it works, it's great. Watching the gears turn in their heads while they piece everything together and then watching their eyes go wide in a slurry of confused responses makes it worth it. The big plans never work out. It's all about the subtlety.

Strike a match, boom.

I actually like cooking quite a bit. I jump at opportunities to cook for myself. Or for other people. My heart skips a beat sometimes. It's an art, really. Chopping, dicing, mixing, spreading, baking, grilling. All those wonderful kitchen verbs. And the sounds. Sizzle, pop, bubble, crackle. It's a satisfying experience. I want to cook more.

Lunch time story time.

"Hey, did you go to Westlake?" She asked. "Yep!" I said, taking out the bottle of KHP. "Did you go to the movie club?" I thought. I didn't remember any movie club. Oh, the film organization. "Yeah, a couple of times." I said. She took her bottle of KHP and we went to our weighing stations. "I thought I remembered you from that." She said. I weighed my three samples and recorded the data in my lab notebook. "Do you remember me?" She asked. "Yep!" I said. I put the KHP back in the container and took my samples back to my lab table.

I am not good at meeting people.

I never really know what to say. How to carry on conversations. And then I get lost in my own thoughts. I'm just not a very sociable person, I guess. Oh well. Something to work on, I guess.
I started to network with the rest of the cartoonists on the staff. Talking to them and friending them on Facebook. Meeting up with them in …

Nice going, there.

I tried to finish drawing the story arc in my comic today as fast as I could. I was doing pretty well for a while. Everything was looking surprisingly good and I was making good time until all of a sudden my computer shut off. And I hadn't finished. Or gotten a chance to save. And Photoshop doesn't have an auto-save or a recovery function. So I lost most of the work.But, that's how it goes. Now I'm frantically trying to download the Windows 7 Release Candidate and install it before my computer shuts down. Apparently the "bi-hourly shutdowns" started today. Which, I think, is pretty ridiculous. But better than having your computer melted or completely shut off forever, I guess.

Friday is coming up quick, and I'm mildly excited. Free Willy, it turns out, is two hours long. Sitting through it as a little kid was much easier. Sitting through it again now? I'd almost rather have my computer shut down before I'm re