Monday, February 28, 2011

From the Simple Present to the Future Perfect Progressive

I am an ESL teacher, but this is generally not the example I use in class when I am explaining tenses. However, I do try to avoid the classic grammar book examples which always seem to involve telephones ringing, taking showers, walking home, having dinner and someone coming into the room (I was having dinner when the phone rang. Sharon came into the room after I had eaten dinner. The phone had rung three times before Sharon entered the room. I had been thinking about taking a shower for fifteen minutes when Sharon entered the room. Before Sharon entered the room, she walked home. Sharon had heard a phone ring in a neighboring house while she was walking home. I wonder when Sharon will enter the room again, and if the phone will have rung before she next enters the room. How many showers will I have taken by that time? And why is Sharon always entering my room?).

There is some grammar planet where phones are always ringing and showers are always being taken and Sharon always enters (but never exits) a room.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dancing with the Star Wars!

I like to imagine that the Storm Trooper is playing the guitar part from No Sleep Till Brooklyn by the Beastie Boys, but the Jawa is definitely blasting Louder Than a Bomb by Public Enemy. The X-Wing Pilots are definitely onto something a little more disco, but I'm not sure what exactly. Maybe Mika's Big Girl (You Are Beautiful).

And I've created a page at the top where you can see all the dancing characters that I have done so far.

Friday, February 25, 2011

And Then We Came to the End

Friday crush? Friday and that weekend is just stretching out before you crush? Friday and it's over crush? Friday and I'm not going to wear a tie or shave my face for two whole days crush? Friday and no more work pants crush? Friday and God damn it I can't believe I actually have work pants crush? Friday work shoes no more crush? Friday I love my Vans sneakers crush?

Yeah, man. It's Friday.

Next week... anti-crushes? Turn-offs A-Z? Hmmmm.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crushing from the Stadium to the Arcade

Some of these alphabetical crushes came really easily. The record store crush and the supermarket crush are crushes that I have had often enough that they just popped right up. But T? The Tuesday crush? Tent crush? Team crush? Teamster crush? Technicolor crush? Tag sale crush? Technology crush? Toboggan crush? Televangelist crush? Or Q? Quixotic Crush? And just how are you supposed to draw that? Quaalude crush? Quadragenarian crush? Quadrophenia crush (but I already did the jukebox and the record store crushes)?

Wrapping this up tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From Kilimanjaro to the Pub, Crushwise

I think the laundromat crush may actually be mythical. I've gone to a number of laundromats and never have I developed a crush. There's the grumpy guy my age washing a million pairs of gym shorts. There's the woman with three out of control children filling up six different washers. There's the crazy guy who's just hanging out. There's old Ms. Lonelyhearts who manages to glance at everyone with a look of not only fear but suspicion as well. And there's Mr. Combover who doesn't take advantage of the seats and just stands glaring at his washer and then his dryer.

Where is that beautiful girl with the exciting underwear?

Q-V tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crush Crush Crush (E-J)

I think the crush that I am probably most guilty of is the jukebox crush. Some voices and some songs just blow you away. There are these songs that I'll just want to hear again and again and again. I can't get enough of them. Dream a Little Dream of Me by the Mamas and the Papas. I Want You to Want Me by Cheap Trick. And, of course, Total Eclipse of the Heart and It's a Heartache by Bonnie Tyler. It's almost like I can't help myself. If I play it once, I'm going to play it five hundred times.

But my current, most recent jukebox crush is MEN. They are great! And they have an album that just came out this month which you should pick up, especially if you somehow happen to be a person who decides what gets into a jukebox.

Monday, February 21, 2011

An A to Z Guide to Crushes (A-D)

Crushes are great. And what a great word. CRUSH! It's got all those violent meanings when used as a verb. The government crushed the rebellion. He was crushed by a boulder. I will crush you! Yet turn it into a noun and all of a sudden it's just a bit of fun, a little bit of infatuation, just a touch of hello-who-is-that?

E-J tomorrow.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Narcissism and Pau Gasol

My friend Ben is the funniest person I know. He is hilarious. He's got a mind that runs at about a million miles a minute. The jokes just pile up. It's like the car crash at the end of The Blues Brothers, the jokes just keep coming. You haven't finished laughing at the first one when in comes a second and a third. Of course, when I say this to someone who hasn't met Ben, they always ask for an example, and it's just impossible. It's all the timing and the context and I often can't remember what exactly it was that he said. Even when I do remember, when I say it, it just doesn't come out right. I can never do him justice.

Which is kind of like the first comic.

And Pau Gasol's resemblance to a llama might get more laughs in Boston than elsewhere.

Below are a few pages I drew for Vengeance yesterday. This wasn't a terribly productive week on the big book front. I only worked on it Tuesday and Thursday. I would like to reiterate to all my friends that if you see me, you should feel free to ask how the book is going and chastise me if I give a lame answer. I may not respond to this chastisement with excitement, after all, it is chastisement, but I need it.

And this week I gave my midterm grammar exam and forgot to bring a book to read while the students fought with adjective clauses and noun clauses. So I drew this...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Height and the Desert

This first comic is a phone message I got a couple weeks ago, pretty much verbatim. The only thing I have changed are the pronouns. I'm not really that tall, 6'2" on my good days. Though I am taller than most people, I certainly don't tower over everyone.

The second comic is just one of my many random acts of kindness.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Picky Picky Picky

It's only been recently that people have assumed that I'm Jewish. It started a few years ago and I don't know why. The assumption has never been made by someone who is Jewish. And of course, when I ask someone why they think I am Jewish, there is a rapid bit of, "uh, ooh, um," as they try to avoid engaging in any (further) stereotyping. Sometimes, it has been suggested that it is my black glasses (which also get me called a hipster), which I find completely ridiculous.

One friend offered the explanation that when people meet new people they try and classify them as a way to understand them. They try to find a label or a handle for a person.

I hope this isn't true.

I think this is what really makes me bristle at being called a snob or what makes everyone bristle at being called a hipster. It is just so dismissive. "I've got you pegged, buddy. I know all I need to know about you." Once you've been labeled, you're no longer seen as an individual. You're just a type. You've been put into a little box and can easily be written off. For example, once you've decided someone is a crybaby, you no longer need to listen to their complaints. After all, they're just a crybaby.

But, you know, they might just have a legitimate problem.

To quote Kierkegaard, "Once you label me, you negate me." And nobody likes to be negated (and if anybody is wondering where that little bit of wisdom came from, the answer is yes, I heard it first from Wayne's World).

I may be a music snob, or a hipster, or (with that adoption a few generations back) even a little bit Jewish, but, really, I'm so much more than that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Television and Gluttony

I may disagree when the word snob is applied to me, but there is no denying that I eat a lot. It's true. I eat more than most people I know and I am always hungry. Always. In high school, my mom insisted that I eat a dinner before we went out to dinner because I ate so much. People told me that the hunger would go away once I stopped growing, but that hasn't been the case. I feel like I could still eat as much now as I did in high school. The only thing is now the growing would no longer be of a desirable nature.

However, I do not have a TV.

Not that I'm an anti-TV snob.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Snobbery and Contrarianism

Snob is an interesting word. It's something I have been called before, and something that I have repeatedly denied.

But it seems I was functioning under a misunderstanding of the meaning of the word. To me, a snob has always been a person who pretends to have superiority in a certain field. A traditional snob would be someone who tries to appear more sophisticated than they really are. For example, a beer snob would be someone who acts like they are a beer aficionado, but when it comes down to it, they can't tell the difference between a good IPA and a bad one. A music snob would be someone who claims to have encyclopedic knowledge of music, but can't tell the Rolling Stones from the Bay City Rollers (or perhaps more specifically cannot tell simply by listening 1980s Rolling Stones from early 1970s Rolling Stones).

And when I look in my dictionary at home, I find a definition that agrees with this.

snob, n. 1. a person who imitates, cultivates, or slavishly admires those with social rank, wealth, etc., and is condescending to others. 2. a person who pretends to have social importance, intellectual superiority, etc.

But... my dictionary at home was published in 1968.

And when I look in a more recent dictionary.

snob, n. 1. a person with an exaggerated respect for high social position or wealth who seeks to associate with social superiors and dislikes people or activities regarded as lower-class. 2. [with adj.] a person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people: a musical snob.

Gone are the words "imitate" and "pretend." Which changes the meaning. With this meaning, I see little difference between the words "snob" and "elitist." A snob is a person who merely condescends, perhaps even with justification. I understand the meanings of words shift and change, but if snobbery no longer implies that one doesn't really know what one is talking about, what do we call that guy who is all about microbrews but can't pick out the macrobrew in a blind taste test?

And also, isn't it weird that to call oneself a "beer snob" is perfectly acceptable, while to call oneself a "beer connoisseur" seems just a little bit, well, snobbish?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sleeping Is Easy

Sleeping should be easy. Everybody else seems pretty good at it. I wouldn't say I have insomnia, but I often wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time getting to sleep. It's difficult getting to sleep to begin with. I'll read until my eyes are closing and then turn off the light. Yet somehow, in the moment between falling asleep on Carl Sagan and turning off the light, I catch my second wind and find myself wide awake. I try counting and breathing really slowly and deeply. I also try not to think of anything, but this is often a failure. I especially try not to think about comics because if I start drawing comics in my head, I'll never get to sleep.

Another problem is that I get into pretty set sleep routines. I wake up at 6:45 Monday through Friday, which pretty much means I wake up at 6:45 on Saturday and Sunday without the alarm and regardless of the fact that I may have been up until four in the morning. Anyone who has had me spend the night in their house has had to deal with this.

I'm in awe of those people who can sleep until noon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Work on Vengeance has been progressing slowly but consistently. I've backed off my goal of just cranking it out, and I am now just hoping to maintain a steady flow of production. It would be nice if I could be the kind of person who produces massive amounts of work in no time at all. There are those people out there who seem to get stuff done in their sleep. I'm just not one of them. I'm definitely in the turtle league.

Below is a sequence of pages from my sketchbook. I've settled into the writing process that I used with Joe and Azat. I write an outline, but nothing resembling a script. I have my plot point in mind when I sit down (in this case: man comes to door looking for Chastity Brandt) and that's about it. The dialogue is made up while drawing. In some cases, even character traits are made up (there was no plan for the father to be crippled). I find that if I write a script out, I tend to get lost in the words. Dialogues grow long. Soliloquies begin to sound like good ideas. What I write doesn't end up working when it comes time to draw.

I break up the page into a six panel grid and just go. This is just a rough draft and I don't worry about detail or which panels should be big or which panels should be small or if their should be candles or oil lamps on the table. I'll figure that out later.

The background for this section is that Chastity Brandt is hiding in Clinton Moore's (the guy who answers the door) barn. The guy knocking is looking for her.

Monday, February 7, 2011

An Hourly Comic

On Thursday, I found out about the idea of hourly comics. Friday, I tried one out. It's fun. Sort of an automatic comic experience. The idea is that about once every hour, you take a little time and draw what you are doing at that moment. You don't have to be too strict about doing it at exactly the same time every hour or even drawing that well. It's just fun and it's cool to see a day laid out that way.

Appearing in this comic besides myself were: David, Alex, Colleen, Kevin, Michelle and Mirabelle (the dog).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dancing with the STAR WARS!

Way back in December I had the intention of drawing a whole bunch of dancing Star Wars characters after having drawn a bunch of superhero characters getting down, but then, well, you know how it is, you get other things on your plate, and things get shuffled onto the back burner, and then shuffled onto the way back burner, then the way way back burner, then you begin to wonder how big your stove is and just how many burners does it have on it. Anyway, here are a few rebel fighters kicking it. I recommend a little Hot Chip for the soundtrack.