Monday, January 31, 2011

Sick!

Some people are good at being sick. I am not. Some people get a little sick and they know they should just sit back and take it easy and drink lots of orange juice and tea. I try to do that, but I'm just not very good at sitting back. I get grumpy. I brood. I start thinking about all the things that I want to do and that I should do and how I'm not doing them. Then I feel guilty. Brooding, grumping, and guilting are no way to get better. They just cause a headache.

Fortunately, I don't get sick too often.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Love and Fiction

The thing is, the me in these comics is already a pretty fictional me. I don't get yelled at nearly as often as I make it seem. It's an exaggeration, though I do seem to find myself in unexpectedly heated conversations with certain people. I also like to think that I am not as opinionated or judgmental as I portray myself, although that may only be me slipping into the I'm-actually-pretty-laid-back territory that was the subject of a few strips a while back.

Also, sadly, I don't have a good brick wall to sit and talk with my friends on.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Love and Romance

The blogs for this week are a little bit of an experiment. Normally, I draw the comics in non-photo blue pencil and then ink them with a brush. No blue pencil or ink this time, just a normal pencil scanned into the computer. It's a little rougher looking, but I like that you can see some of the parts where I have erased. More of the process of drawing is visible.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Realism!

The numbers can be ugly sometimes. It's also strange to look at them from a comic strip point of view, because there is this limited space and you can't go into full detail. Some of these numbers have been chopped down to a point where some of their meaning gets a little lost or misrepresented. For example, the $18,000 sounds bad, but I think it sounds worse when put into the perspective that the median black household income is around $34,000. There just wasn't really room to get that in there, and I didn't want to make it only about income. I wanted to get a variety of stats and numbers.

But the number that has really been sticking in my head this week is the number of days that the Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted. I think everybody has read about it. I think everyone knows who Rosa Parks is. But I wasn't aware of how long it went on. 382 days! It blows my mind. To be able to sustain that...

I wonder if there's even that kind of attention span today.

Anyway, the median income stat came from here. The obesity stat came from here. The credit card stats came from here. The prison stat came from here. Monty Python also has a good song about numbers that always makes me feel better.

Pessimist!

I've been called a pessimist so many times, and for the longest time I argued that I wasn't a pessimist I was a realist, that I didn't see only the worst aspect of the situation, that I didn't lack hope for the future, that I just took everything as it comes, that some things are good, but that some things are also bad, that the situation could always be worse, but that the situation could always be better, that optimism was just as bad as pessimism because it was just as inaccurate a way of viewing the world, that optimists tend to ignore problems which have severe negative effects...

But I don't bother to argue that anymore. If people want to call me a pessimist, that's fine. I don't agree, but so it goes.

Anyway, here's a link to something I like.


Intelliosity

I don't know if anyone has been noticing, but I have been playing around with different styles with the comic strips of late. Sometimes it's the way characters are drawn, sometimes it's the coloring. This week it was the inking. Most of the time I use a brush or a dip pen, but with the three that I'll be putting up this week I used a Pigma Micron 08. These used to be my favorite pens but I haven't really used them much in the last few years. You can see that I figured out how to represent my hair on panel three. The first two panels it looks a little rough.

And...

NEXT BOOK!

Things go slowly as always, but what I really want to do is to encourage all my friends to give me a hard time about it. Even if you aren't my friend, you can give me a hard time about it. Tell me to get cracking. Tell me I'll never be successful if I don't sit down and do the work. Tell me to put my nose to the grindstone. Tell me to straighten up and fly right. Tell me to knuckle down. And if you ask me how the book is going and I give some mumbled excuse, feel free to give me a good shake, or a punch, or a kick and chide me for my laziness.

I'm serious. Everybody. Do it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Right on Time!

After reading one of these punctuality comics, one of my friends asked me for some tips on how to be on time. I really didn't know what to say. Leave earlier? Don't be late? None of which seem particularly helpful. But talking with my dad and some punctual friends of mine, I came up with a list, not so much of tips, but on mistakes that are made.

1. People don't actually know how long it takes to get places, meaning that maybe this one time they got from here to there in twenty minutes and therefore in their minds it takes twenty minutes. This is sort of like bowling a 212 once and then claiming it's your average. Twenty minutes was a fluke. A little over thirty is normal.

2. People round down. That "twenty minutes" was actually twenty-two minutes and that "a little over thirty" is actually a little less than forty.

3. People think things take "no time." Everything takes time. Putting on your shoes takes time. Finding your keys, your wallet, and cellphone, turning off the lights, turning off the coffee pot, putting on your jacket, patting your pockets for the keys, wallet and cellphone, locking the door, walking to the bus stop, forgetting whether you actually turned of the coffee pot or just reminded yourself to turn off the coffee pot, slowing down your walk as you debate whether you turned off the coffee put, further slowing as you debate the possible harmful effects of not having turned off the coffee pot and whether it is worth it to turn around and check, turning around, unlocking the door, checking the pot, finding that you did turn off the coffee pot, locking the door again, debating whether the fact that you went back and checked was a determining factor in whether the coffee pot was on or not, coming to the conclusion that if you had not gone back and checked to see if the coffee pot was on it would have been on... it all takes time.

4. People think they are there before they are there. Someone says they are going to meet their friend at the Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square at two o'clock. They get off the redline at two o'clock and think, "I'm here." But it's still another five minutes walk to the Harvard Bookstore.

5. People are overly optimistic. I've been called a pessimist by a number of people, but things do go wrong. Buses are late. For some reason there id someone is getting on or getting off the bus AT EVERY SINGLE STOP. Traffic is congested. You get lost. People give you bad directions. None of these things are the end of the world, but they do happen.

But really, I'm not sure how relevant any of this is. I think that most people are on time for work. I think most people are on time for job interviews. I think most people are on time for plane flights. If something is important to them, people will be on time.

And if something isn't, they won't.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How DOES Time Work?

Snow Day! The national guard called in! 100,000 without electricity or heat! People stranded! Amtrak suspends service (Bah! More like they just have an excuse this time!)! Cars off the road? Snow sneaking its way inside boots! And more importantly I got a message this morning saying that I didn't have work!

And I really think snow days are better as an adult.

And, of course, with all this snow, people have an excellent excuse for being late. And one thing I have learned is that if someone is late, the only thing you can really do is bite your tongue. No words can be said. Somehow, even though I am the one on the right side of the clock, if I mention anything about it I become the evil ogre. I guess there is just something authoritarian about telling people they're late. That's what a boss does. No one wants someone who is not their boss acting like their boss. Most people don't even like it when their boss acts like their boss. And I don't want to be anyone's boss, but still... is timeliness so hard?

And whatever you do if you are on time and some keeps you waiting, do not tell them that they don't know how time works! No one seems to take this comment well for some reason.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Time Time Time

One of the things that I have definitely gotten from my father is punctuality. I am rarely late, which can lead to a fair amount of frustration because other people are. It's actually gotten to the point where I now try to be late. I am amazed that others can do it so easily. It's such a conscious effort for me. I have to willfully find some little project to do that will take up too much time and make me a little late (reading a chapter of a book, washing the dishes, alphabetizing my socks), but some part of my inner-clock keeps ticking away and I end up on time anyway.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Uggs! Aviators! Popped Collars! Aliens! Breeding Laws! Christians! Jon Stewart!

I have to give credit to my friend Gabe Pell for the "anyone who pops their collar should be popped in the face," line. It came up in a mild-mannered, laid back discussion about some of the fellows you see around Harvard Square.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Alex Rodriguez!

There are some specific places where my intolerance streak becomes readily apparent. Baseball is one of them. I know it's silly. I know that it's this massive business and players go wherever they'll get paid and there isn't the loyalty that existed sixty years ago. There are no lifers in the way Ted Williams or Joe Dimaggio were. I know that when it comes down to it the Red Sox and Yankees are pretty similar in the way they scoop up talent from smaller markets. I know the sport is riddled with steroids, and the more I hear about it the more it sounds like nobody was or is clean. I also know that with Red Sox winning a few, not to mention the Patriots and the Celtics being good again, all that lovable loser stuff has gone out the window.

I know it's just a game.

But there is just something so utterly repugnant about the Yankees.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Harry Potter!

It looks like I've already broken one of my resolutions, which was to refrain from mocking books I have never read. I did try to read Harry Potter. I tried. I read at least ten pages. And that was really about all that I could take.