Time to catch up on comics and start drawing!
As I write this it is day 28 of my 30 day Paleo Reset. What makes the Paleo Reset different from the Paleo Diet is that during the reset you’re forbidden from eating any dairy, grains, legumes, sweeteners, refined foods, industrial seed oils, soda, alcohol or any processed sauce or seasonings. Basically all the things that we both love and are killing us.
What is permitted: meat & poultry, organ meats, bone broth soups, fish, starchy tubers like sweet potatoes (which I now LOVE), leafy veggies, fermented vegetables and fruits, healthy fats like coconut, olive oil and even animal fat. These things you can eat as much as you want.
One of the biggest adjustments was redefining what breakfast is. Eggs are allowed but I gave them up just in case I have an allergy to them. So breakfast is now a chicken breast and a sweet potato. There were some cravings early on but not as bad as I thought they would be.
You can listen to people give testimonials about how a diet changed or improved their lives but unless you experience it yourself it may be hard to believe. I am a believer.
I didn’t weigh myself before but I know I’ve lost some weight and lots of belly bloat. I feel more energetic and have no pain in my joints whatsoever. My mind is even clearer.
The idea is to introduce some things back into the diet one at a time after the 30 days is up. Then you ‘ll be able to identify the offenders your body can’t tolerate. Be prepared to say goodbye to some old friends.
This has changed my outlook on food 100% and I’m never going back to the way I used to eat. Am i going to occasionally cheat once the reset is over? Hell Yes! But I’m going to treat that cookie or that slice of cake like the tiny dose of poison that it is and only have a bit rather than pigging out like I used to.
I love that the vinyl record has made a comeback. For me it’s mostly a nostalgic thing since I know that digitally recorded music is a more accurate presentation of sound, but with vinyl it’s all about the experience.
Growing up in the 60’s & 70’s playing records was kind of a big deal. When you broke out the albums and started playing them back to back that was an event. Usually there would be friends over or it would be the weekend. Otherwise you’d just turn on the radio. There was no streaming or mp3 players.
Just watching the record spin on the turntable is kind of hypnotic. Not to mention all the extras, lyrics and artwork that come inside the album jacket.
We are blessed with one of the coolest record stores on the planet here in Olympia, Rainy Day Records. I have spent hours on my hands and knees going through their 98 cent records. New vinyl is more pricey than I remember. A single album today can run as much as $30 so it’s worth it to look through the bargain bins.
Along with used stereo equipment, used & new cds and dvds, there’s a wall of rare records displayed as a comic shop would show their prize silver and bronze age books. They even have 45s!
Rainy Day is going to get a lot of my business in the months to come as I replace my record collection that was mostly given away before our move. Any records new or old I’ll get buy from them because places like this are a treasure and should be around forever.
A feat thought by some to be unachievable became a reality a couple days ago when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. I never get tired of writing that or saying that or thinking about that because that makes it more real.
Finally, the men in blue put together 11 wins in October. Cub fans, especially older Cub fans know what it’s like to endure not only losing but also constant ridicule from everyone from White Sox fans, co-workers even the national media. Every year they made the playoffs ESPN would rebroadcast the 84 or 03 NLCS. Finally they have to bury that shit.
Thanks to a team of young studs that don’t know or care anything about those teams, the north siders are set up for a possible dynasty. Even when fans lost hope,(myself included) they come charging back. Down 2-1 to the Dodgers, 3-1 to the Indians and after losing a 5-1 lead late in game 7 when your horse of a closer gets lit up for a tying homer, these boys still come back in the 10th inning of the greatest game 7 ever and score 2 runs to win their first championship since the dead ball era.
I know a lot of you don’t care about sports but this is bigger than grown men playing a boys game. I can’t count the times I have been mocked or even at times bullied when I was a kid simply for being a Cub fan. Those who stand by their team especially in rough times (108 futile years) to me shows something about that person’s character. Anybody can be a fan of whoever the current champion is. That just means you’re a front runner, a coattail rider, a brown noser even. If I knew a job applicant for my company was a front runner I would never hire them. I could never count on their loyalty.
This World Series win is like the payoff for putting dollars into a slot machine for over a century. That payoff came in tears and the release of energy that could be felt worldwide. Everyone has a story about a family member or friend or partner that was no longer alive that was a lifelong fan. For those of us still in the body, we had the weight of 50 giant gorillas lifted of our backs on Wednesday November 3rd 2016. This was the last great American sports story. I’m trying to think who should play Joe Maddon in the movie…
On December 7th, 2011 I bought a pair of pink V-MODA Vibe headphones on Amazon for $24. I had purchased several of these before because they short out after 2 or 3 months. Even though they only last a short time I kept buying them because they have a great sound for the price. Actually the order was for 2 pair, a pair of gunmetal phones for me and the pink ones for Janet. The gunmetal set was $38.
Fast forward 2 months later, my phones short out as usual so I borrow Janet’s pair. She hardly used them and mine were in use all the time when I work, at the gym, even overnight I wear them so I can use the sleep machine app and listen to old time radio to help me sleep. I never gave them back.
This morning, the forever headphones (which is what I named them after they just kept going) finally shorted out in one ear. It was the end of an era. By some fluke, some miracle of modern manufacturing, I had been able to use a product that is surely created to fail in a short period of time, for almost 5 years.
Just looked on Amazon and the few remaining sets of this model are now $39. I’m reluctant to buy them because the odds are so against the next pair being anything like the last pair. They will never surpass the forever headphones. A moment of silence please.
Yesterday we lost our dog Lily. I can’t believe I’m saying that because she was our youngest dog. The Doctor thinks it was acute kidney failure brought on by bacteria, virus, cancer or whatever. Point is they shut down.
We just survived a trip over mountains, rivers and through dark of night. Then we get here and our youngest dog gets sick. Just an intestinal drama, nothing we haven’t seen before. Nothing some chicken & rice won’t fix. Not this time.
If you don’t know Lily’s story here’s a summary. She was literally thrown to the wolves by her chickenshit puppy mill owners because an inspection was coming. Only her and her sister survived and they were taken in by a rescue and we adopted Lily from them. When we picked her up her fur was so thick she almost looked like a sheep and was a little smelly. It didn’t matter, we were already in love with her.
The four years and four months we had Lily were the best of times and the worst of times. Puppy mill survivors have serious PTSD. She would freak out at the slightest movement or sound. Even after she got to know us she still would not let us stand behind her. She’d always find a way to circle behind you. Because of this skill I nicknamed her Nightcrawler. Cockers are known for having weak bladders but we ended up taking her out every hour because being raised in a cage she was still new to the whole housebroken thing. Only in the last two years or so have we been able to leave home for three or four hours without wondering if there will be a puddle. She made huge strides in the last few years. She would actually wag her tail and be playful with her brothers when it was just us hanging out.
The rescue told us she was 2-3 years old back in 2012 so that would make her 6-7 now, but our new vet thinks shes more like 8-9 based on her teeth, which we did a dental on in 2012 but now she was in need of another. The things this dog went through were horrendous. In addition to the puppy mill she had heartworm. They gave her two rounds of that heartworm medication because the first round didn’t kill all the heartworms. That medicine is toxic as hell. I wouldn’t be surprised if it had something to do with damaging her kidneys.
Even though this is a stunning and tragic event in our lives, we had a moment of clarity as we sat in the backyard having a kombucha toast in Lily’s honor. For Lily every day was a good day. She escaped a prison and landed in a place where she had both human and animal companionship as well as unconditional love. She learned what is is to play, receive treats and frolic in the snow for the first time.
We had 4 years and 4 months with Lily which isn’t as long as we imagined we would have with her, but I know she appreciated every day she had with us. She worshiped Janet and would often wait by the door when she was gone. When there were thunderstorms or fireworks then she would come and hide near me or jump on my lap. A day that I will always treasure is the day we spent in Billings Montana at the Motel 6 on our trip to Washington. We didn’t arrive until 6:30 am and were just beat to shit. We decided to push everything back a day and just spend the whole day sleeping. Janet, me, Odie, Herbie and Lily all piled into a queen size bed. Best sleep of my life.
Sometimes I think I’m done, all cried out. Then I’ll think about her or mention her name and it starts all over again. That’s when I remind myself that we gave her a great life. I think a lot of people would have returned her to the shelter given all the baggage that came with her. They would never have gotten to see the beautiful dog she became over the years. Her sweet kind spirit will always be with us.
There are many organizations that oppose puppy mills, here are a few.
Sometimes you just get stuck. For whatever reasons we have a hard time doing things we know need to get done. That was the case when it came to updating my website. My site was built back in 06 and looked like it was even older. The look was cluttered and was hard to navigate. I knew it needed updating but the task seemed insurmountable so it just kept getting kicked down the road.
About a year ago Janet & I bought RapidWeaver a WYSIWYG software that’s pretty affordable compared to the Adobe CC monthly subscription commitment. Jan built her site and it came out great, but for some reason I had the impression that it was hard and confusing so I made excuses to not use it. Finally, about a month ago I started playing around with it just to see how it worked. It couldn’t have been easier. There are a lot of third party add-ons you can get but my site was finished using a third party theme but nothing else.
It did take me a while to finish the new site but a lot of it was spent preparing content. Once all content is prepared assembling the site itself was a breeze. I fell behind on the Ninja Bunny webcomic but ended up finally creating the YouTube channel I’d been putting off making and along with the motion comic you see here. Man, feels good to be un-stuck!
Yesterday I registered for this year’s Motor City Comicon in Novi, MI. Didn’t make the 2015 show because of farting around on my part thinking there was plenty of time then I looked up and it was sold out. That’s a good show and it’s getting better. People tell me it was packed last year. Since this is likely our last year in the Midwest, we decided one last MCCC was a good idea. It will also be the only con we plan on doing this year.
Last year’s con season left a bad taste in my mouth. The Chicago Wizard show was a big letdown not just financially but it seemed to portend a bleak outlook for cons in general. At the 2015 show we had the best table we’d ever had in all the years of being in artist’s alley. We were surrounded by talented creators, the famous and the not yet famous, in the front, against the wall. We ended up not covering table costs for the first time in three years and it wasn’t just us. I talked to several other artists and vendors and they said the same thing.
This is my theory. First of all it just plain costs too much. If $75 just get’s you in the door for one day and that’s it? There’s not much left to spend so you have to be very discerning when it comes to your purchases. I can’t tell you how many times I watched parents dragging their kids quickly in another direction as soon as they looked at our booth.
So I’m feeling kinda bummed about the whole idea of working conventions as a form of self promotion. On one hand you have the big corporate beast squeezing the life out of the small creator and the fan, on the other there are heavily curated shows that decide who gets a table and who does not. Then I saw this.
They only have 20 days left and they’re a long way off but if everybody who bitches about Wizard gives 5 or 10 bucks they could make it happen. I gave what I could and I really hope they’re successful. The best part for us is that the 2015 show was in Salem, Oregon. Where we’re planning to move. Looking forward to doing that one.
Last night I went to the opening night of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Props to Terry Gant of Third Coast Comics who puts together a bunch of movie premiere parties as well as monthly meetups & Karaoke events that are awesome. Usually I’m the kind of person who waits a week or two then catches a matinee when a movie I like comes out, but this time I decided to be “among the first” to see this mega blockbuster.
I had been to one of Terry’s premieres before (Guardians of the Galaxy) and had a good time but I remember having to get up during the flick to use the washroom because I’d had too many cocktails from our private bartender. I still don’t know how they escaped the prison! This time the plan was get there just before the movie starts, have one drink and nurse it through the movie. Turns out that wasn’t such a good idea because every seat was either taken or being “held” for folks who weren’t there. Luckily I was able to squeeze in between two middle aged ladies, one of whom was already half in the bag.
The movie itself was everything I had hoped it would be. I don’t have the same attachment many Star Wars fans have with the franchise since I was 20 when the first movie came out so even though I really liked it, it didn’t influence my childhood the way it does some of the die-hard fans. JJ Abrams is one of those fans and he has made a movie that is a love letter to the other fans who have been sadly and in some cases angrily disappointed by the films made since Return of the Jedi. Even tho this movie introduces the next generation of Star Wars characters, it has the advantage of having the original cast included thus giving their blessing, if you will to the youngbloods. As every beloved original cast member made their first screen appearance they were greeted by thunderous applause, like we were attending a live performance. I’m not going to give any spoilers because I HATE people who do that, but I can say that if the hardcore fans don’t like this one, just hang up your robe and lay down your light sabre.
It’s been just over a week since I got back from SPACE so I’ve had time to rest and reflect on the experience. In case you’ve never heard of SPACE the small press & alternative comics expo, it’s been an annual event for the last 16 years held in Columbus, Ohio. It was the first comic show that I worked as a creator.
Back in ’06 Janet & I rented a car and drove through the desolate wasteland that is Indiana to the buckeye state and spent two nights there for the one day show on Saturday. It was held at some masonic hall with really creepy photos of past members on the walls. Cerebus creator Dave Sim was there. My first book, Complicated Hair #1 was all I had literally on the table. No cloth, signage or promotional items, just a lot of excitement and determination. We ended up selling probably less than ten books but we did meet some really cool people. Moreover, now I felt like a professional comics creator because not only have I written & drawn a book and had it printed but I finally get to be on the other side of the table something I’ve wanted to do my entire life.
The next SPACE trip was 2013 and that was my first road trip to a con since the “06 show. I didn’t have really high expectations but expected to do much better this time simply because I had four other books and other things like sketch cards & magnets. To my surprise my sales were similar to the first trip!
So now to the latest trip. I decided to give SPACE one more chance. Plus my friend Michael who accompanied me on the last trip wanted to see the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum. We did see the museum and I’ll recount that experience in a future entry. I was worried that we couldn’t set up the day before but setup went smoothly Saturday morning. There seemed to be decent attendance but it was well after noon before I got a single sale. By the end of the day I was ready to slit my wrists. In my limited experience doing comic shows this was one of the worst days ever.
Sunday we roll in about half an hour late full of a good Bob Evans breakfast. Since I’m selling next to nothing I took a few minutes to look around and check out the other artists. By the time I finally got to my table I’d accepted the reality that it was all a loss and was having a conversation with one of my neighbors that had a table literally in a dark corner when Bob Corby the show’s organizer appeared at my table.
Bob is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. This show is a labor of love for him. So Bob tells me that a spot just opened up in the main room. Apparently somebody got sick and left early and the spot that was open was the first table on the right as soon as you walk in. This has to be what they had in mind when somebody came up with the saying”closing the barn door after the horse is gone”. I kindly accepted Bob’s offer and moved. At the very least the energy was better at the new table since for the first time I got some not so friendly neighbors. The new spot was prime and right next to the front door which made for easy load out.
Without knowing I had booked the room at the same Best Western Janet & I stayed in my first time in Columbus. How fitting to come full circle with this SPACE experience. This will be my last SPACE experience. Even though it’s a wonderful idea and the people are awesome, for whatever reasons it’s never been a good show for me. Maybe it’s a regional thing. The cartoonists and fans of Columbus are very lucky to have a show like SPACE. There is no show that is equivalent to it in Chicago which really sucks when you consider the size of this city and the talent here. Sure there’s CAKE but that’s a curated show that’s difficult to get in for some people whereas SPACE is first come first in. I wish everyone involved well but I shall not return.