Sunday, December 31, 2006

Today was a nice day for a drive so we headed across the border to do some shopping at Bellis Fair. While wandering through the toy aisle at Target we came across a very unusual action figure:
Spider-Man, threat, menace or FAAAABULOUS!?

Does MJ know about this?

Happy New Year's y'all!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wednesday was a fun day. Ian, Vic and I met up with Diana, Drew and Joanne for a dinner at FigMint. The menu had some new items we wanted to try out. The food was, of course, fantastic. The chef, Lee Humphries came out for a quick hello and later he sent up these deep fried shrimp appetizers in shooters of dip for us to sample. Mouth watering!

Afterwards we headed over to the ANZA Club for quiz night. It was a packed room and everyone was psyched up for the game. This was my first time at this event and I was surprised at how many people I knew. Riel's brother Jesse was there with friends, my sister's roommate Susan and her boyfriend, cartoonist James Lloyd (who didn't hear me when I called out to him as he arrived and then at some point got this weird notion into his head that I was snubbing him! James!). The clerk from the local bookstore was there, some regulars from RX Comics, and many improv and comedy folks, including Eric who we thanked profusely for burning us a copy of the Doctor Who season 2 finale episodes. And Diana brought her dog Pender along who was a total hit with everyone. It was so cool being in that environment, everyone hanging out, having pitchers, playing pool or darts... and that distinct feeling of "this is my neighborhood, I'm not just visiting here". I've never experienced that before and it was so darned neat.

And then a group came in decked out in matching outfits: bright orange hard-hats and matching safety vests with the name of some construction crew or something like that on them. They were already pretty buzzed, very vocal and... well, annoying as hell.

We were very patient with these folks, we all wanted to have a good time and they seemed to have their team spirit locked and loaded but it was a challenge ignoring some of their more blatant ploys with ladies who were clearly spoken for, their heckling during the quiz (including a few declarations of their Surrey pride) and finally a couple of incidents that, as expected, quickly escalated into unpleasant territory.

After feasting on the pizza they had ordered in, their eyes glued to the silenced TV screen in the corner playing the Canucks/Calgary game (occasionally breaking their thousand yard stares to yell "FOUR DEUCE!"), one of the guys shambled up to the mic during the round break and attempted a hip hop riff. A few people asked him to stop and he became angry that he didn't get to use the "communal microphone" like the Quiz master got to.

As this argument snowballed into something greater involving the hairstyle of one of Diana's friends, another guy decided to "crop dust" near and around our tables (this after he offered Pender an unlit cigarette as a joke prompting me to call out a loud warning he didn't hear). The table over commented on the stench and then another argument started up. This one resulted in said farter smacking a guy who was seated in the back of the head.

People in the immediate area started standing (I noticed James practically bolt across the room ready to defend) and those seated all groaned at these asshole's antics spoiling everyone's fun. Pender, the sweetest, most gentle Lab you'll ever hope to meet let out a little bark and stood ready to protect his charges which shocked Diana and Drew.

The wrecking crew were ready for this to become an out and out brawl but thankfully the crowd were way more level headed than that. They started calling out for them to go home, the standees herded the offenders out the door without a punch, a lot of yelling but no punches. Their remaining buddies, a stocky guy in a toque and his leathery, forty-something friend with a THRASHER t-shirt under his faded hoodie and safety vest, a skateboard held defensively in one hand, tried to argue against the eviction. They seemed to hold the position that since their friend got dissed it was perfectly okay to deliver a physical response.

They exited leaving one member of their team, a woman who seemed indifferent to it all, to answer the rest of the quiz. A few minutes went by and everything seemed back to normal when Skater Boi and Toque Head returned to argue again. It was like coming back from an argument twenty minutes later saying "and another thing!" Again, the room was on their feet.

Our table was closest to the entrance staircase and my sister was right at the edge of it all so I got up along with Ian and the other herders there and stood in the way of them coming back in. We didn't fight, Ian and I focused on Toque Head while the others dealt with the mid-life crisis that was the thrasher, telling him that their actions were disruptive and they needed to go home and sleep it off, try again another night. We only wanted to have a good time and they were perfectly welcome to come back when they were ready to do the same.

And it actually worked. It took a while but they gave it up and left.

When we were all finally settled down to continue the game I saw Marjorie looking at me stunned. "I can't believe you stood up to that guy! Holy cow!" and then I saw Vic give me a similar look.

"What? The guy was being a dick."

"You did the mom thing again" and Vic put her hands on her hips and made an indignant mom face "'Now you listen here!'"

"I did, didn't I?"

Our mom was notorious for standing down a 6 foot giant of a drunk with a knife in the hospital she worked in many years back. The man had become violent and holed himself up in the women's washroom. There were police outside waiting for backup trying to evacuate the area of patients and mom, fed up with the fuss just walked in there and literally mom-guilted the guy into submission by telling him he was being a big selfish ninny for creating all this chaos and that he should put down his knife and go and get treated for the cut he was brought in for. And he did.

Runs in the family I guess.

And it wasn't like there wasn't a room full of people ready to help out. It was that kind of room.

We finally got back to the quiz, and when the night was done our team walked away with a cute lil' trophy for first place. Woooo!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dylan Moran's accent is...very... VERY...CONTAGIOUS!

Which is only appropriate for when you've stayed up all night so you could go to Ikea with family early in the morning.

Sleep deprivation and drunkeness aren't too disimilar states of mind it seems.

That is all.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Watching a new series on DVD from the BBC called Black Books and I'm really enjoying it. It's about an alarmingly alcoholic book store owner named Bernard, his new employee, and stress refugee, Manny and Fran who works next door in a modern decor shop. Bernard is played by Dylan Moran who played the straight laced lecturer Davs in Shaun of the Dead, and here he's barely recognizable, looking more like a younger John Cusack decked out in a black suit and trench coat, his hair terminally mussed, blearily appraising his surroundings with utter bewilderment. Bill Bailey plays Manny who some may remember from Spaced as Bilbo. And his hair is amazing.

The pacing is very similar to Spaced with quick cuts and a very sardonic style but shot on a set in video. It's kind of weird at first but gets funnier as it goes. Not bad.

Getting ready for Christmas. Working with the Simpsons model sheets and getting a good feel for the characters.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Want to help a dairy farmer in Kenya buy a cow? A shopkeeper in Ecuador expand her business? Go to!

This organization works with financial institutions around the world giving micro loans to small businesses. You can give through Paypal (at no charge!) or your credit card in small or large increments, in most cases you get the money back which you can then re-invest in other businesses.

Go create some real change in people's lives this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The definition of frustration:

The CBC has been showing the new season of Doctor Who and last week was the first part of The Impossible Planet. So so episode, The Doctor lands in the live action version of DOOM before all the marines show up (even the doors have the same sound effect as those in the game!) interesting predicament, nice cliffhanger, on to part two... and I tune in last night to find Christmas shows. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer etc.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

The break continues and I'm very content. After finishing the doll I jumped into sashiko quilting, first making my sister a potholder and now making pieces for a blanket. It's very relaxing work, geometric patterns, even stitching, bold symbols and very specific techniques resulting in dramatic effects.

I haven't been overly social, mostly spending time on these solitary projects, watching movies, playing video games, making myself slow down while still giving my fingers, unaccustomed to idleness, something to do. I'll start drawing again soon but right now I'm enjoying staying away from the table. And I need to enjoy this time away in order to get charged up for going back.

In January I start six to seven issues straight and that worries me a bit. Four was hard, five would have been harder, but six to seven? Yikes.

When I first started on the book it was 15 issues until a break. It was supposed to be 12 but by the time I got to 10 I learned the arc needed to be stretched out a bit and I needed to stay on. I was already slowing down, probably because the end was nearing, weird psychological response to stress I guess, pushing the limits like that, and whatever wriggle room I started out with shrank and disappeared until I was running far behind. I was getting calls every other day, I was snappy and grumpy, it wasn't a good time. I was looking forward to my two issues off.

Somewhere in the middle of all that I went blind.

We came home from Ian's birthday dinner and one of my eyes were itchy and seeping. It wouldn't stop and by 2am I was in the hospital. They said it was a minor infection, gave me some drops and told me it would clear up in a couple of days. I had an experience with pink-eye when I was younger but nothing like this and instead of getting better it got worse. Two days later I was an absolute mess. I had this icky stuff building up under my eyelids that had to be peeled off every few hours or it would ball up and feel like sand everytime I moved my eyes. I couldn't sleep because every time I would start dreaming I'd wake up hurting. All light was too bright and uncomfortable. I was finishing up the last few pages of the Astronaut arc, one hand drawing, the other holding a damp cloth to my eye. And then the strain of it all made my eyes unable to focus. When I could pry my eye open from all the muck I couldn't see.

I went to my doctor who became quite alarmed and sent me to a specialist that afternoon. The specialist took one look and left the room. He returned with a group of students who whispered about my case from the doorway. Past experience has told me this was bad. They all left and then the doctor returned a few moments later, this time with a whole new group of students, none came in, they all whispered. Okay, this was really bad.

Finally the doctor entered and sat down, wrote on his scrip paper the words "EKC" and "10% bleach solution" and handed it to me. I had contracted a severe form of pink eye, there was nothing I could take for it except to get into bed with some cold compresses and not come out for ten days so no one else would catch it. The bleach was for everything in my apartment that I had touched.

When I got up to leave he told me to keep the tissue box I was holding and to not touch the door on my way out.

I spent the next few days not seeing anything, just lying in the dark, occasionally getting up to debride my eyelids.


After a week I was fine again. When the white returned to my eyes it was a genuine and much welcomed surprise.

So why did I ramble on about that very gross time? I think because I know it was the stress of pushing myself so hard that left me wide open to that insidious little bug. A bug I had eventually figured out was probably caught from a bird that died in our living room a few days before it all began, a bird that my lovely and sweet lil' Augie decided to ruthlessly torture by not killing it right away, causing a lot of flapping and feather flying near my tear-filled eyes. Yep, gotta love that Augie of mine.

I had worked two years straight, long hours, constant deadline pressures, phone calls, and always the feeling of just not being up to the task, and had managed to scrape out a week's vacation. That's how much of my spare two months I had eaten up, not just during the blindness episode but all of it, the family emergencies, the bouts with a cold or flu, and just extra needed time with the people I love.

Fortunately I was able to arrange for shorter arcs after that and it got easier. I found ways to be more efficient with my time, relax more, though it's still a tough job and I know I don't want to do anything this huge in the future. I like my sleep after all.

Soon it starts up again, it won't be as hard but it's still scary. Six issues with the last one being double sized.

And the story is just fabulous.

Which will no doubt make the time fly right by.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

It's been a week since the snow came blowing in but despite the warmer, rainier weather there's still lots of it on the ground, especially in the residential areas that aren't on the city worker's list of places to salt and plow. What's worse is that much of the snow-turned-slush is now slick and icy. Even worse than that are the scads of inconsiderate twits who can't be bothered to pitch a few bucks worth of salt on the sidewalks in front of their homes to make it safe to traverse.

A few days ago a postie fell on some ice in front of a business in town. He hit his head but didn't think much of it, bit of a bruise, he filed a report and went home. The next day he wasn't feeling well and agreed to see a doctor but not in time. He died shortly afterward from a brain hemorrhage.

Some ass decided to be cheap about salting the walk and now a man is dead. And this was days after the snow stopped falling and everything in town was business as usual. Plenty of time to run over to the corner store or the Canadian Tire to pick some up.

Walking to a meeting yesterday was so frustrating. Most of the paths were clear except for sections that just couldn't be avoided, some on hills. We struggled to find the crushed footfalls and avoid the chunks of ice that would threaten to bring us down. A 10 minute stroll became a 30 minute pain in the neck as the muscles in my back tensed with every slip.

Yes, the snow was a surprise but it's not totally unheard of here. We get snow every year, a little but snow all the same and every year there's the lingering accidents-waiting-to-happen from people who just refuse to believe that dusting of the white stuff out front will ice up and become dangerous. "But we have daffodils in February! Whatever will we gloat about to the easterners if we have snow?! Nope, I'm going to ignore it and it will quickly go away!"

I'm sorry but if you have a home you should have a bag of salt in your closet, a shovel wouldn't hurt either. There are elderly people trying to get to the store, kids off to school, adults going to work and disabled folks who have enough crap to deal with as it is without cheap fuckers making it worse for them.


Makes me so mad.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Had a very fun, semi-quiet birthday. We got up in the afternoon (I spent most of the morning working on a doll for a friend's daughter), we got into a cab and visited Lee Valley to load up on goodies. I found a very nice set of safety glasses that actually fit, watering globes for the garden, a spider trap on a stick and a book on chip carving which was a hobby I took up some years back but want to try again. Got some great advice on rotary tool heads capable of cutting a new door into the dollhouse I'm fixing up.

We brought our swag home and then met up with Vic for dinner at 1215 on Davie (kobe beef menchi katsu!) followed by some heavy slackage at home in front of the TV, including viewing the Donner cut of Superman II. There were some neat scenes but wow, am I glad they went the other way. That original ending was atrocious. I mean come on! How hard is it to write a good Superman story?

Finished the doll this morning, quite lovely, and this week I will be making some clothes for it before packing it off to Edmonton. The really nice thing about having time off is being able to make toys for friends' kids. I have a couple of crocheted dolls lined up and will be planning more once I get out to Dressew for some fabric.

Even cooler! Vic gave me a great present of a book on Sashiko quilting and some sewing materials! I'm so pysched to make something with these patterns and techniques!

Gosh but I'm domestic!

My brain won't let me sleep without doing something creative.

Friday, December 1, 2006

In the bank line a man was holding a tiny black and brown chihuahua that looked like a miniscule Doberman. It was wearing a bright orange rain jacket and when set down on the ground it delicately avoided puddles of melted slush.

At the A&W a young security guard entered with a homeless guy and bought him a coffee and a sandwich and listened to him tell his story, occasionally patting him on the shoulder with a patient grin. It didn't matter that the guy was drunk and a little loud in his ramblings, he was cold and needed a cuppa joe.

On the bus I saw a woman I knew from the SCA I hadn't talked to years. I complemented her on her picture in a recent Province article. I didn't want to bring up the fact that it was also a result of that article that I learned her husband had passed away three years earlier. He was a cool guy who taught me sword fighting techniques ("Always root your heel to the ground!"), who played chess with me once ("damn you're a kamikaze player aren't you?") and told great stories to everyone during lulls in court events ("Now here's a story about a bunny and a duck!"). I was irked that none of my old household buds told me about it so I could attend the service but I wasn't about to mention it, so instead I smiled and told her how great it was to see her again. And it was.

At the Zellers a woman saw my basket full of yarn skeins and we got into a lengthy conversation about scarves and the right colours for different relatives.

On X-Box live I got my ass kicked in F.E.A.R.

That was my day.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What the hell do I do now!?

I had put off planning for my time off thinking I wouldn't have any for another month. There are a few projects I can work on, I just wasn't mentally ready to start them this week. They are:

Treehouse of Horror 2007
This was originally planned for 2006 but the wedding bumped it up. Ian and I wrote this story for the Simpsons comic, a really fun story that I was looking forward to drawing. If you like Evil Dead, X-Men, Buffy and Friday the 13th... The Series, then you should pick this up next Halloween! I'm waiting on some model sheets so I can begin learning the likenesses.

GQ Magazine
I got a call last week from the editor asking me if I'd like to draw an illustration for their Critic Column. Woo! At first it looked like I wouldn't be able to do something for them until the issue after next but hey, maybe not. I hope to have this one figured out this week.

Thank You Cards
Technically I have a year from the wedding reception to get to these! But it's probably best to just get them out of the way before they become Christmas cards, or worse, next year's Christmas cards. I'm on it!

Swordplay: Treasure of the Island of Treasure!
Next week Ian and Nick Harrison are getting together to start planning the sequel to their cultish hit play Swordplay. As the designer, and overhead improv artist backstage of the last production I'll be involved in creating a whole new nautical look for the upcoming show.

Space Arm: The Comic!
Some of you may have seen this Canadian sci-fi pilot I helped design and construct (if not go watch the episodes on the Official MySpace site). We've been talking about making a comic of the rest of the series' episodes. Work on this will probably begin after I'm off Y.

Various Back-Burnered Writing Projects
Hey, I don't just draw perty pictures! I have a slate of stories I'm developing here, and when I'm done on Y I hope to finally get some of them off the ground. I got an e-mail earlier this evening from a well known publisher complimenting my posts over at the anarchy-fest that can be the Bendis Board, and based on my well composed posts there he wanted to know if I wrote as well. Wow! A potential gig from bitching with 14 year olds all night! If that isn't a kick in the butt to start thinking of some pitches I don't know what is.

Add to that the dollhouse, cleaning up the apartment and the office, banging out some sewing projects and after this week's weather, crocheting myself a new hat, sorting through the jumble doesn't seem so difficult.

Oh, and Gears of War.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

And here I thought I was just superhuman.

That break I was having between scripts wasn't the result of me being faster than Brian but from being sorely misinformed. Last summer when I started on the Motherland arc I was told I'd be doing 5 issues, #49-53 followed by two off and then five on to the finish (that last one being double-sized).

I called Brian the other night to check in and learned the schedule had been re-worked a few months back and I was accidentally left out of the loop.

I've been on vacation for over a week!

There are pros and cons to this of course. Pro: yay, time off! Con: nuts! Our January trip to NYC is bumped to later in the year. Pro: Yay! We're not going to be in NYC in (frigid) January! Con: I have to figure out something to do in frigid Vancouver.

And speaking of this frigid berg...

Found this hippie snowman yesterday.

His mouth is made of those poisonous red berries you find on bushes and he has a giant mushroom for a hat. Cute.

Today a new round of snow hit town causing even more havoc on the roads. Ice underneath powder, and dry slush like sand. It made for a challenging hike out to Figmint, this time for lunch with friends who were getting tired of us raving about the place.

They really dug it.

And then we headed over to Futureshop where Ian finally broke down and bought an X-Box 360.

Gears of War, huh? Looks like I have something to do on my break after all.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Holy crap there's a lot of snow outside! In November!

We may be in Canada but Vancouver is notorious for not getting all that much of the white stuff. Heck, last Christmas it was 15 degrees out (that's about 60 degrees fahrenheit for you yanks).

December we usually get a few cold spots, dipping below freezing for a week or so, then it warms up. In January and February, if it's not raining non-stop, we get a couple of days of snow (barely enough to make a snowman because it turns to slush so quickly) and then more rain until June.

Naturally the entire city is in chaos. Cars are skidding all over the roads as their wheels spin stupidly, trees are down, there are pockets of blackouts all over the lower mainland, whiteouts on the number one, schools are closed, restaurants, already hit hard by the boil water advisory (yeah that's still going) have thrown up their hands in frustration and shut their doors, and home and building owners in denial are refusing to salt the sidewalks, if they even shovel them, making a walk through the neighbourhood damn near treacherous.

But walk we did.

We went for sushi, threw snowballs at icicles, and listened to how quiet the world was.

And then we found this adorable little guy,

With the forecast calling for more cold he may stick around for a while.

Back home now, waiting for the heat to kick in and watching the awful trainwreck that is Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It's not funny! Why can't anyone see that!? And since when do studio execs care what the misanthropes at AICN think?! Jeesus!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ian's literary agency, Lucas Talent, held their annual Christmas party last night. Every year there's a theme to dress to, the first one I went to was Moulin Rouge (very fun), then Chicago (didn't like the movie, the party was a good time), last year was burlesque (nice!) and this year was a giant pajama party at the newly restored Commodore ballroom. The giant windows made an exquisite frame for the first snowfall of the year outside making the venue all the cozier inside.

There was flannel, lingerie, lots of bunny slippers, drag queens and plates piled high with yummy grilled cheese sandwiches. And really loud music that made it hard to hear what anyone was chatting about. Good, thumpy music, but loud. It was nice to see all our friends, couldn't hear them very well, but we got to see them and that was fun.

And then the actors who portray Apollo and Baltar walked in. I couldn't bring myself to say hi... Okay, this is incorrect, Baltar walked by at one point to get a drink at the bar and I called out to him so I could say how much I enjoyed BSG, but he couldn't hear me and kept going.

Yep. Good music at that party.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Augie is back home, a little high but wandering about like her old self. She lost quite a few teeth and will have to be on a wet food diet from now on but the vet said he's seen worse. It's a rough thing to go through but once her gums have healed up she'll be feeling a lot better than she has been. The trick now will be administering the antibiotics.

Charlie and Kinsey seem to be happy she's back too. There was a definite anxiety running through the two of them this morning as they paced around and over the bed with this almost accusing look. The balance had been upset and they were not happy about it.

When we picked her up from the vet the staff had nothing but nice things to say about her. That lil' munchkin can sure make an impression.

I stayed in this evening to keep her company which allowed me some time to work on Caitlin's dollhouse. I removed the roof, the top floor and one of the walls which made it a lot easier to strip and sand down. I can start wallpapering soon!

Ian is back from the office and is now cooking a delicious smelling meal. It's a cozy friday night in with my husband and the cats.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone.
It's almost 6am and I'm still up worrying about my lil' cat. Allow me to introduce her,

This is August, also known as Augie or Aug-Bog. It's usually a challenge to get a shot of her when she's not running and hiding under somewhere, hence the blurry-ness of the pic.

She got her name from the month we both became homeless back in 2000. It started at 4am when some asshole in my apartment building decided to get drunk and leave a pot cooking on the stove while he napped on the couch. As I typed away on my computer a little feral Calico living her own nocturnal life in the underground parking garage was probably hunting for food. I'd seen several cats living in a boat parked down there so I'm guessing she was one of them. A few hours later a hundred or so tenants stood outside the building in absolute shock at the destructive power of mac and cheese, and downstairs a very damp firefighter plucked this terrified calico out of her hiding spot and tossed her in a cage.

Days later, as I was settling in a new apartment downtown, trying to get the smoke out of my salvaged belongings, the phone rang. It was my mom calling to tell me about this cat from the fire. She had either read about it or someone had called her to see if she knew anyone who could take one of the many cats pulled from the building. Mom, who already had four cats and two dogs, laid down the guilt trip hard, the way only moms can do, telling me the cats were un-adoptable because they were either too traumatized or feral or whatever and that I should give one a home "so we could both get through this together" or something like that.

I was eager to finally get a cat, that old building didn't allow pets officially but my neighbours had cats and I had been planning ways to sneak one in. The new place didn't care (just like they didn't care about leaving the heat on at night) so I agreed.

We drove out to Queensboro to this semi-rural house on the edge of the industrial park there, where lived a woman who took in problem cats. She showed us a few outdoor kennels where one of the fire cats was housed, a very pretty black cat who hissed and scratched when I tried to go near her. Not the typical "Oh, I don't know you so I'm gonnna hiss until we understand each other" swat and hiss but a "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE BEFORE I EAT YOUR FACE!" kind of hiss. She reeeeally didn't like me. The owner, seeing that I was looking for a more gentle-minded kitty then directed me back to the house, up to the dusty attic, where in the middle of the room stood a large cage with a little orange, white and black bundle in it. A terrified, wide-eyed, shaking little bundle named 'Sparks' by the firefighters.

And I instantly fell in love.

Sparks had been in that cage since the fire, she could not be picked up, could not be petted because she would just flee in terror. She couldn't be adopted out at the SPCA or PetsCo because the comings and goings of all the people eager to touch a feel a new potential companion would go badly, if not give her a heart attack. I asked what would happen to her if she couldn't be adopted and the woman said that she'd do her best to rehab the cat but if it didn't work out Sparks would be let loose to live in the surrounding fields, with food provided near the kennels if she wanted.

All I could see was the eventual run-in with a coyote or a dump truck. I decided to give it a go and then was the very long process of coaxing her into a carrier. I had to climb into the cage to pry her from the corner, jumping at every twitch she made. I wasn't used to the reactions of a feral animal, so unlike those of a regular cat. She didn't show any aggression at all, no swatting or meowing, just hisses. Not angry hisses, just "this is all I have to tell you to leave me alone so please go away" kind of hisses. Finally she leapt into the carrier and we went back downstairs to take care of the paperwork. I asked if it was okay to change her name because Sparks just didn't fit her. It would be a while before I came up with August, maybe because it sounded gentler and nobler at the same time. Plus the whole fateful date that brought us together thing... but anyway, continuing with the story.

Back at the apartment her first move was to take up shop behind the TV cabinet. She squished herself in there good and tight, balancing on her back legs on the heat register in that tiny space and wouldn't move. She peed on the register she was so scared. I was already wondering if this was a good idea. I didn't care about the floor so much as putting her through crazy amounts of stress. Did she really deserve this?

This became even more of a concern when one day she crammed herself into the miniscule space behind the stove. Ian and I had to move the fridge and maneuver open the pot drawer to free her and it freaked the hell out of me thinking of how she could have hurt herself back there.

At one point I herded her into the bathroom so she could have some privacy and space. It seemed to work for an hour or so. That is until I tried to feed her. She had dry food but I wanted to give her a treat to set up a truce of some sort so I grabbed a can of tuna and walked into the bathroom with the can opener. I showed her the can, talked to her gently about how yummy it was and started to crank the thing open.

And then my hand slipped.

And the opener crashed into the tub near where she was tucked into the corner.

In the craziest matrix-like move I'd ever seen, she leaped straight up about four feet, launched herself from the wall and sailed right over my head where I was kneeling by the tub. Right clean over my head! And then she raced out the open door into the bedroom and parked herself under the bed.

Where she remained for the next 5 months.

Every day I'd slide a dish of food and water under the bed into the little crawl space under the headboard. At night, when I went to sleep she would rush out to use the litter box and then rush right back to safety. On nights I was up late I would have to take time to get into bed, turn out the light and pretend I was asleep so she could use the box, and after she was back under the headboard I'd get back up and finish whatever it was I was doing.

Around month two I started leaving the bowls next to the bed and when it was safe, she would come out and eat. Eventually I had the bowls by the door in the hallway. Each time she saw me, she would hiss, but again, not in an angry defensive way but as if she were meowing.

At month 6, as I was setting down food in the hall, Augie walked up to me and hissed. Only this hiss ended in a strangled squeak. It shocked the hell out of me. She did it again, this time drawing out her squeak into a very weird sounding meow. More like an "Aaaoowp!" I couldn't believe it, I e-mailed Ian next door right away "SHE MEOWED! HOLY SHIT SHE MEOWED!" And she wouldn't stop, she seemed downright pleased with her discovery and squeaked up a storm after that.

There were so many milestones like this. It wasn't long until Charlie came into our lives (more about him later) and then things really got interesting as he started to pull Augie even more out of her shell.

It was two years later, in a whole new apartment, on a new bed that Augie climbed up while I was reading and stepped, voluntarily, onto my lap. I tell you, I burst into tears at that moment. It was a brief visit but more would follow to the point today where I can pat the armrest on the couch and she'll hop up onto my lap and promptly drool all over my clothes, curl up and nap. I can pick her up for short spells and listen to her purr, and when we go to the vet she'll stuff her head into the crook of my arm and pretend she's somewhere else.

I love my little Aug-Bog.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Last week I noticed Augie was missing a fang and today I took her to the vet to get her checked out. Turns out she's got some major decay on one side and will have to get some surgery in the morning. She's pretty much feral (she's comfortable with me but is still very skittish around others) and it's always been difficult to get a look at her mouth but she seemed fine. I should have had her in sooner.


Stressful day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm in one those very rare interregnums where I finish an issue before Brian has the next script ready to start. These are times I can be a complete guilt-free slug or go into a hyperactive do-everything-I've-been-putting-off phase, relishing my freedom like a kid who just got the Snow Day call from school. So far it's been a bit of both.

Saturday was slug day, sitting in the lounger, surfing online, contemplating loud projects like sanding the dollhouse some more but not quite getting the energy up. When Vic called to go see Borat I was reluctant, wanting instead to just sit and stare at the TV. When we got to the theater I was grumpy and wanted nothing more than to go out into the lobby and play Area 51. Fortunately a bear hung out of an ice cream truck window scaring little kids and that kept me in there long enough to see an unforgetable scene involving two naked men fighting in a hotel room.

Sunday I thought was going to be a repeat of Saturday. Ian, Riel and I were scheduled for a cooking class at FigMint (that fabulous restaurant we ate at last week) and I didn't get enough sleep but when Riel called seeking motivation for her own inability to get out of bed I got a second wind and we all agreed to get our butts in gear.

And I'm glad we did. Chef Humphries and Anderson were there to teach preparation techniques including how to properly filet a trout, cut fruits and vegetables, prepare pasta, and make ganache topped banana and peanut butter torts.

My trout was a disaster but I had a great time slicing wedges out of a pink grapefruit and whipping pasta through a hand cranker. Ian had been wanting to learn cutting techniques for ages and he got to try his hand on a mass of eggplant. It was so cool seeing his eyes light up at the results.

When we were finished the staff went off with all the prepped foods, taking them to the kitchen to finish cooking and plating while we had cocktails.

The restaurant was busy with the brunch crowd so it would have been too busy in the kitchen to have us in there (not to mention the liability issues involved, especially with the boil water advisory still going on). Instead we watched a video on the bar TV detailing the final process.

And then we got to eat our goatcheese stuffed tortellini...

Followed by dessert

Afterwards we walked back to the office where I worked on the stack of sketch requests that had been piling up. I was quite satisfied with the outcome, an armful of envelopes ready to hit the post office in the morning.

A good day. Here's hoping Brian will take his time proofing issue 53 *wink*.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Finished the last two pages this morning, just in time to join Ian on his visit to the Urban Rush studio where he was participating in a roundtable discussion on current events. The hot topic being of course, the boil water advisory going on throughout the city.

Afterwards we walked up Burrard, saw that Imperial Dim Sum was open and had a quick lunch. From there we walked up to the FedEx office where the extended hours finally caught up with me and I started to fade over the forms.

Stumbled into a cab, shuffled home, shambled into bed and crashed 'till ten.

And just now I realise I forgot to take the leftover dumplings out of my purse.


Here's a really funny video...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

These last two pages are laid out and I should have them done by tonight.

Neck is feeling better.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tuesday I woke up after only 4 hours of sleep and I was in a crazy amount of pain. My body wanted to turn over and try a different position but I couldn't even lift my head without stabbing shocks. I was a big moany baby about it and the sleep deprivation wasn't helping. Ian wanted desperately to help so I went with the last resort: Robaxacet. I've taken in before and though effective it left me very stupid and walking into walls. Whatever, I needed to get rid of this thing. Ian (God bless him I love him so much) ran out and bought a package. When he handed it to me he said, "the Pharmacist said you should take two" to which I replied that I should probably only take one in case of any weird interactions.

This led to a 'discussion' about my annoying habit of undermedicating myself which led to me throwing up my arms in tired frustration and popping two tablets in my mouth "There, two, fine!"

And then I read the indications on the box. Well, I tried to, the writing was so tiny and my eyes were all bleary, and I couldn't find a section about side effects. Giving up I turned the box over and read the front, there in bright yellow letters: CONTAINS CODEINE.

"Oh shit" I say.

"What?" says Ian, fuming a bit in the other room.

"There's Codeine in this."

"Is that bad?"

"I'm allergic to Codeine."


Quick backstory. I had some back strain about 7 years ago and was prescribed T-3s or T-4s for a few days and developed an itchy spot on my forearm. The indications said to call a doctor in case this happened which I did, a nurse I spoke to said that I was allergic and should stop taking it. I insisted that I didn't mind having an itchy arm and she said that it could lead to a more severe reaction so stop taking it. This of course led to an interesting experience a few years later when I went in for day surgery to remove a lump on my cervix. The standard painkiller for the achiness afterward was Codeine but because of the "itchy arm incident" the surgeon gave me Oxycontin, the sledgehammer of painkillers, a sledgehammer with a great big Cadillac logo on it, which on top of being a day long high made a trip to the UBC campus A&W very memorable ("Dude! This is the BEST burger I ever HAD!").

So my first thought looking at the Codeine label was "Well, do I stuff my fingers down my throat or just wait and see what happens?"

The pain in my neck answered that. On one hand, I really wanted the ache to end and on the other, throwing up with a neck in this much pain just seemed so much worse than a trip to the hospital.

And fortunately it turned out fine. A little itchy arm, a little itchy leg and whole lot of goofy wooziness. I could also move my head.

Ian had to do a show at Yuk Yuk's so Vic came over to keep an eye on me "so I wouldn't die or anything". We watched House and had ice cream.

I crashed at midnight and again I woke up after only 4 hours feeling stiff. I could try the meds again but I'm not comfortable going to sleep while using it. Right now I've got a rice-filled sock nuked warm on my neck. If anyone wants to make one of these for aches and pains I would recommend Jasmine rice, smells great.

The rain is pounding outside. We've got a huge storm front over us at present and people all over the mainland are freaking out over flooding (the brief tsunami watch this morning certainly spiced up the anxiety for a while there).

I'm going to try and sleep some more. Hopefully the rain will do it's rhythmic job of knocking me out. This afternoon, if the office is still there, I'll be doing some work.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yesterday I woke up feeling good and ready to work. I got dressed and checked my e-mails and noticed a little stiffness in my neck. I must've pulled something in my sleep but no biggie, it was minor. I went to meet Ian for lunch and started noticing it more. Annoying but not bad. Got to the office and started to work... and then my neck was almost immobile with pain. Jeez but it was bad. Little movements resulted in knife-like spasms all through my back! Ian picked up a thermal patch for me to try and though pleasant, it didn't do much to solve the problem. As soon as I took it off, the muscles would hurt even more. After several hours trying to draw I decided to chuck it all in a case and go home.

I figured I'd have a lie down and try heating it up under a blanket but that didn't work either. Finally crankiness got the better of me and it seemed best to just distract myself with work.

I set up in the living room and finished 5 pages. I thought I'd only get to 4. I may have overworked a couple of panels on one page, the script called for a lot of emotion and I was having trouble finding the right layout. I'm still not totally sure of the transition but the feeling is there so I'll leave it at that.

Two more left for this issue. I should have it done by Thursday, Friday at the latest if this neck keeps up. Now to try some sleep.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Went out for dinner with friends this evening at a new restaurant called Figmint and holy cow how great was the food there!

There's a hotel on the corner of 12th and Cambie, kitty corner to City Hall, (the same hotel that hosted V-Con a few years ago, yeah the one I thought was hosting it this year but wasn't blah blah blah). It's an okay hotel with some dated Laura Ashley-ish decor, and the restaurant there, formerly a tropical rattan and sail canvas nightmare recently underwent a complete overhaul. Now it's a gorgeous lounge with clean lines, open space, subdued music, great lighting, really cute waiters and an eating experience thoroughly contemporary, adventurous and downright giggle-worthy on the enjoyability scale.

I started with one of their crafted drinks (that's right, I had some booze) a lovely concoction called Mint, a mojito-like drink with an infusion of concord grapes and 'gunpowder' mint which led Vic to claim "It's like an insurrection in your mouth!" Subtle, gentle flavours flowed in quick succession with the rum barely perceptible save for the numbing sensation in my arms shortly afterward. Great drink.

There were five of us and we each decided to try a different appetizer so we could sample amongst ourselves: beef tartar, prawn with pork scratchings and greens, double baked Gruyere with port roasted pears, scallops and oysters. Once the waiter saw that we were seriously into the meal he got the chef to come out and chat as the main dishes were brought in (a wonderful beef and onion tart tatin dish, lamb, veal cheeks and goat cheese and sweet pepper tortelini). He was surprisingly young (also cute) and very pleasant. The waiter recommended a wine with Riel's veal that we all tried, Caymus's Conundrum that smacked the tongue with a prickly opener, dissolving into pretty fruity-ness.

After an incredibly satisfying meal we moved onto dessert where once again we were stunned by the spread. Vic and I had the Chocolate Tasting that included a tiny tart, mousse brulee and a kahlua/chocloate drink served in a shooter topped by a handmade and hand-toasted marshmallow with a side of homemade concord raisins and rich port with a kick. Riel had a beautiful Pavlova and Ian went with an incredible layout called the Cheese Progression: four cheeses, four accompaniments (from roasted nuts to a sweet honeycomb) and four types of scotch including an 18 year old Glenlivet. Wow.

There's a dessert called Grape described as jelly and peanut butter milk, something the waiter said was created by the chef because the flavours of peanut butter and jelly were his favourite. I'd really like to see what that is sometime because it sounds neat.

And surprisingly, not as expensive as you might think. Sure it's a special occasion kind of place but the prices are pretty reasonable for what you get: excellent food and a very comfortable atmosphere, perfect for dinner with friends.

So the food critic in me highly recommends it.

Tomorrow is a civic holiday and I plan to spend it in the office getting caught up on these pages.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I've got 5 pages coming along here and with the extra two I should have this batch out by Tuesday.

Lulu is visiting again while a window is being replaced at her home following a burglary. She's handling it okay, there's a lot of hissing and territorial posturing going on but then it settles down and all the cats end up napping in the same room.

Great quote from Ian tonight: "That guy has been at death's door for so long he should be paying rent."

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Added to my list of the greatest things you'll hear from your partner upon waking are the words "Rumsfeld resigned."

It kinda feels like Christmas this morning. I won't go into a ranting ramble about how the republicans are evil or any crap like that but I will say that I am so very heartened by the turnout of yesterday's elections. Seeing line-ups down the street, hearing about huge jumps in absentee ballot requests (from thirty thousand to over a hundred thousand? wow!) and it just gives me hope that people are caring enough to get up and change things when change is needed.

Here's to change.

And hopefully to dumping those hideous Diebold machines!

Monday, November 6, 2006

On the eve of the midterm elections, a lovely parable narrated by Orson Welles, Freedom River.

We found this today among some old cartoons, it's very inspiring.
Don't forget to get out there and vote tomorrow. There are issues that need to be addressed and corrupt assholes who need to be tossed out and it is your responsibility as a citizen to make sure the checks and balances remain strong.

And if I hear you stayed home because "voting don't mean nothing no more" well trust me when I tell you that if it's within earshot you will get pinched. Hard.
This batch is done and going out on Monday's run.

I'm still a bit congested but otherwise I'm back to scratch and ready to tear through these last 7 pages. Yay!

And just to make my sister feel a little extra guilty (she opted for sushi with relatives tonight), Ian cooked up the most AMAZING steak and risoto dinner. Wowee wow wow! I loooove my husband's cooking! Not to worry though, there are some very delicious leftovers in the fridge.

Right now we are going through a crazy amount of rain, I think the forecast is for two inches overnight. That's November for you. In case anyone out there is thinking of a relocate to Vancouver, please consider this little factoid first: the chances of getting three dry days in a row in the month of November are only 15%.

Sure the summers are becomming more and more sun drenched in recent years but fall and winters here are still a giant sponge.

The rain is nice to sleep to.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Finally got my head clear enough to do some drawing today. Almost there. Another couple of days should do it for this batch.

The scratchy throat may be gone but now there's a lot of messy sneezing. Ick.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

I decided to give this cold a name, Atanarjuat because it's a fast runner and it makes you feel like you're stranded on an iceberg without any clothes on.

So after my last entry I was back in bed, sleeping, sweating, tossing and turning with furious dreams. We both woke up at around 4pm, feeling a bit better. My throat was less scratchy anyway. Right now I'm getting my energy back, having some food and watching Lost.
After not seeing Ian for a few days it was highly unlikely that he would be quarantined in another room due to his cold and as expected, I am now hit hard by this beastly bug. I managed a few hours in the office yesterday, coming home early for our annual Halloween stroll through the neighbourhood. The weather was clear and crisp and the old houses in the area made for just the right amount of spookiness. We got in by 7pm and I passed out until this morning. My throat feels like it's been scratched up by razor blades. Ugh.

I'll be getting a little more sleep and then tackle some pages I brought home this evening.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ian got back on Sunday and he was completely wiped out by a cold. I spent the evening giving him lots of needed attention. Today I'm back in the office making up for time. It'll be a few days 'till I'm done yet.

Vic and I went to the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday to see an exhibition called PAINT! More like "I've got some old acrylics left here, I should paint something. Hmm, Teal." It was okay I suppose, but not my cuppa.

There was a show in the 3rd floor called 75 Years of Collecting that was more interesting, including one piece that knocked my socks off...primarily because I was in it. I think.

In a small room was a rather large photograph with some wood paneling incorporated into it. The picture was of a group of people carrying protest signs in the woods and it all looked awfully familiar. Holy shit! It was the Kennedy Lake protest in Clayquot sound! I was there! I looked all through the shot to see if I was in it and right there in the center, towards the back of the group there's a little triangle of forehead sticking out from behind someone's shoulder that I'm pretty certain is mine. Nearby is a guy wearing a rainbow coloured wool hat and I remember that hat!

How weird is that?

In the next room was a cool video installation with three TV's running shots of the same guy (who just happened to be one of Vic's professors at the University) reciting in a monotone the lyrics to a Beastie Boys song, each head standing in for each singer and singing in the order of the song. I really liked it.

In another room were photos of portable homeless shelters set up around Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. In the center of the room was one of the shelters, neat and well constructed, complete with a solar panel for electricity. I picked up the book from that artist called Zero Yen Houses.

Good weekend.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The next time you're walking in downtown Vancouver and see one of Translink's new hybrid buses, you must do this: Hum the Emperor's Theme from Star Wars.

Trust me.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Crappity crap crap! I had an hour left to do on these pages at 15 minutes before the FedEx drop. Ugh. I'll finish these up after I've had some sleep and have them out for Friday's run.

While I was working today OLN was playing an episode of Long Way Round, the show about Ewan MacGregor and Charlie Boorman's motorcycle tour around the world. We picked up the DVD last spring so I had already seen the series but the episode playing this afternoon was the one that had struck a chord the most in regards to how I've felt about work. The two stars (and their camera guy) were literally bogged down in Mongolia, struggling through mud and rocky terrain, yelling at their bikes, swamped in depression over the delays in their schedule, overwhelmed by the thousands of miles left to go.

It's kinda been like that at the drawing board. Granted, my Ulaan Baatar was last year where I was seriously questioning whether I should continue at all. My health was suffering, my relationships were suffering and there were more than a few mornings where I was crying at the board in frustration over not being fast enough or constantly missing details that had to then be 'fixed in the trade'. It was bad but I got through it, thanks largely due to getting married and having a couple of weeks to just sit on a beach and not think about work (it gave my hand time to get better too). But a small bit of thanks also goes to watching this series, seeing others go through so much crap and suceed was an inspirational boost I really needed then.

So today I was frustrated at having missed another target and then this show comes on and things fell back into perspective. It's really not that far to the end now, the road's still rough in places but the potholes are much smaller. Soon it will be tarmac, soon the city skyline will appear and there will be friends and champagne pops and that great feeling of accomplishment, of setting out to do this crazy huge thing and actually getting it done.

It's going to be good.

(God, I miss Ian right now)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ian has gone to London Ontario for the Comedy Awards. We spent most of the night getting ready, doing laundry, packing, last minute errands. I made him a hat. Now he's on a plane and I miss him already. And I'm still not done with the pages. Almost there. I should have them out tomorrow.

And before I forget...

Space Arm is a sci-fi comedy pilot we did for the CBC back in 2001 and now it's online for your viewing pleasure:

Space Arm part one

Space Arm part two

Space Arm part three

Monday, October 23, 2006

Plugging away. I hope to have these pages ready for Wednesday's run. A little irritated about a pencil problem. I usually order in 2.5F Mirados from Staples but now they're only available through special order and that will take 10 days. Right now I'm using the HBs which are just ugly, smudgey buggers. Grr.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Auction was fun. Picked up a really nice kaleidoscope and telescope lot as well as a set of maps and posters. The selection was interesting but not a lot of spectacular.

We got out early and headed to New West to check out the hobby shop there. Bought some more supplies for Caitlin's dollhouse and from there we headed over to Emma's birthday party. Here's a tip for long lasting friendships: Never buy your friend's toddler a large drum for her birthday. Every lost morning of sleep will forever be attributed to you as your face fades in and out of their mind's eye with every plastic thump.

Cake was good.

The other night Vic and I were hanging out when we saw the movie channel had King Kong playing. We had missed the first half and it was at the part where Kong is tied up on stage in New York, the musical act depicting his capture playing out while Adrian Brody watches from the audience. Vicky had seen the movie before, I hadn't. What the heck, we'd continue from there.

By the end we were bawling our eyes out. According to Vic, the movie was better without the island scenes, they overwhelmed the viewer so much that by the time the story moved to Manhattan it was hard to stay focused. I was impressed. And the limited amount of dialogue made it so eerie. One day I'll watch the whole thing but for now, I'm pretty happy with the movie I saw.

And damn if this week's Battlestar Gallactica didn't kick so much ass.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My sleep schedule is royally screwed.

I've been falling back to old habits and crashing around 7 or 8am after that brief spell of early rising last week. It happens, usually when an all nighter busts in to meet a deadline, and it's not a big deal really. I work better through the night and don't mind waking up mid afternoon when my days are limited to 'wake up, get some food, go to the office, work, go home and sleep'.

And then there are days like today. For starters we have a birthday party to attend for our niece Emma, she's turning a year old today. The barbecue is at her family's home in New West at 3:30-ish which is very reasonable for us. Get up, shower, jump in a cab.

Now to complicate things, there's a cool auction in nearby Coquitlam. Blade: The Series was recently cancelled and now all their props are on the block. It's not that I'm a fan of the show looking for a memento, props auctions are good to check out for a couple of reasons. First, we do shows all the time. Ian has Canadian Content and Urban Improv and shows like Swordplay and we're always looking for decent props to use on stage so this (along with Halloween's abundance of cheap wigs) is a good time to stock up on cheap and useful treasures. Second, set designers tend to have a good eye for cool looking things. Unique furniture, a flashy area rug, fabrics and accessories that you wish were at the thrift store instead of the multitudes of macrame owls and chipped knick knacks.

The auction is at noon and I really want to go so I got to bed at 4am instead of the usual 8 o'clock. Now here's a thing about the human brain, or heck, my brain, when it comes to suddenly adjusting sleep cycles: going to bed a few hours earlier than expected will be taken as a cue to nap instead of sleeping straight through.

I woke up at 7:30 from some dream and then I couldn't get back to sleep. In fact, my brain went into overdrive and started coming up with ideas for art projects, story ideas, a letter to Brian, a comment on a friend's blog, route plans for the trip to the auction followed by how to word directions to the party after that, how to get any bought objects home, how to explain why you've brought a 'lot of bones', some breakaway glass and a rolled up persian rug to a birthday party in the sticks and Jesus, what if a neighbour's kid went and crashed into the breakaway glass and then ambulances got involved...

You get the idea. So I got up and read the paper. It's really all I could do. Time to get the day started. It'll probably be a rough one.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pages 6 through 9 are underway.

Not much to report. Just working. Anecdotes are forthcoming

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

5 pages out today. Too sleepy for sushi with friends.

Saaaad Pia.

Monday, October 16, 2006

This first batch is almost done, I should have it ready for Tuesday.

Saw the best episode of Mythbusters yesterday wherein they showed how a person could beat fingerprint scanners, glass relock safes, motion and heat detection security systems. Having worked in security and watched the hype over biometrics rise to a crazy height over the past few years, I found the irony delicious.

The rain has been going steady since yesterday. Right now it's settled to a lovely drizzle. I love this weather.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

And the comedy continues. I was supposed to go to a stagette this evening that included tapas and rock wall climbing but I just couldn't muster up the energy for it. The weather was turning, I was tired, the whole day was really blah. And then Ian suggested I go along with him, Roger and Riel to another comedy show, this time Gilbert Gottfried at the Edgewater Casino.

We made our way through the rain, across the Plaza of Nations which was packed for a Nazareth concert (ugh) and then stood in line for the show (met some Y fans there too, yay!)

There were two great comedians opening the show, one I had seen a couple of weeks ago at Tinkle and he was even better this time. Gottfried himself was fabulous. It was weird because he does this really old school, very Jewish, Pocono's-style humour with a large chunk of rapid fire impersonations... Of mid 20th century celebrities including Bela Lugosi, Chico Marx, Burl Ives and Warner Brothers cartoons. A good majority of the audience were twenty somethings struggling to figure out who most of these characters were while two smaller groups, one on each side of the half filled auditorium, one group being us, laughed our asses off to the point of tears. A little awkward, very funny.

His bit of a conversation between Marlee Matlin and Kirk Douglas was amazingly entertaining and oh so wrong. I loved it.

When the show was over we went to buy his CD and Gottfried was there signing autographs. I guess I was expecting the gruff character he uses on stage, instead he was this pleasant, soft spoken, silky voiced gentleman. He sounded like Bing Crosby! Okay, I know I shouldn't be surprised by this but it was nice.

Afterwards we each blew five bucks on the slots and left for a burger.

I'm sorry I didn't go to the stagette, I'm sure I missed out on goodness. I'll make up for it.

And now the rain is pelting down which is perfect for sleeping to.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Pages 2, 3 and 4 are started up.

We decided to go and see a movie this evening and oddly enough it was Alex Rider: Stormbreaker. It's a kiddie spy movie, not the kind of fare we usually see but it had two actors in it that made it tempting, Ewan McGregor and Bill Nighy. Ewan is barely in it, maybe five minutes in the beginning (but oh what a cute five minutes it is), Nighy on the other hand is the main reason to see this film. Every scene he's in is damn entertaining making the swiss cheesy plot, choppy editing and so-so acting going on everywhere else less noticeable. I guffawed whenever his pale, twitchy visage graced the screen ("You can- meet him- at the airport- tomorrow. Take- him- out- for some- ice- creeeeam.").

A scene involving a dead pigeon probably made me laugh the most however. And that's all I'll say about that.

Back at the office we did some more laughing to a couple of new comedy cds, one a series of sketches by Norm MacDonald (with guest Will Ferell on some hilarious tracks) the other a live stand up of Russel Peters. Good stuff.

In keeping with this week's comedy theme we're planning to see a show at UBC tonight. Riel is performing and I've been wanting to see her stand up for ages. I have to remember to call Vic about it(starts at 8pm if she's reading this today *g*).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My friend Jeromie related a story recently where he was walking down a street in Toronto and saw Ben Mulroney walk out of building ahead of him. If you don't know who the guy is, yes he is indeed the son of former PM Brian Mulroney and despite having a dad who is regarded as quite the dick in some circles, it's certainly no reason to dislike his son. Except Ben is a dork. He hosts Canadian Idol and is a correspondent for E Talk basically going to LA for red carpet events like the Emmys and shoving a mic in celebrities faces shouting "Say hello to Canada! Say hello to Canada!" in a really un-endearing, overly metrosexual, Celine Dione-esque way. You see him, his fake tan and blindingly white teeth and your first reaction is to groan.

So Jeromie passes him and halfway down the block he stops. His thinking was "I can't waste this opportunity." He turns around and yells "Hey Ben Mulroney! You suck!"

That's it, no big confrontation, just stating what in many people's minds is a well deserved opinion and walking away. Was I proud of him for doing it? Hell yes. And I know he was proud of having the guts to say what was on his mind. That's part of living in a democracy.

I bring this little incident up after reading an article posted on the Bendis Board today:

Man arrested for criticizing Cheney

If you wanted a reason to get your ass into a voting booth next month, please let this be it.

Yeah, I could rattle off a laundry list of far more relevant and more horrible things this administration has gotten away with but Americans, this is your basic right to bitch, you deserve it, you should in no way be intimidated from it.

Let 'em know how you feel. If you want to tell someone they suck then you should be able to do so. There may be a response, a retort, maybe even a physical reaction (yes there are risks to free speech), but this shouldn't be one of those consequences.
Not only is it October already but it's mid October. Jesus, time is running at full tilt and it only feels like last week that I started the Last Year theme on this blog. Page one is started up on issue 52.

Ian did his first stand up gig in about 8 years last night. He didn't want me to be there for it and I totally understand why. As it turned out, he did a great job and I look forward to seeing his next set.

If I did stand up here's a bit I'd do, thought of it a little while ago:

So what do you do with a drunken sailor? Y'know, early in the morning? I'm sure it doesn't involve shivering any timbers because after a bottle of rum you might as well have fifteen men on that dead man's chest. Aaarr!

I can be a little goofy before bed.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The last three pages of #51 are done and ready to go out.

I was glad to have a little extra time to work on these, in particular an action sequence that turned out just how I wanted it. I haven't been this satisfied with a page probably since Safeword.

The script for #52 is in. Eight more issues left.

Monday, October 9, 2006

After the con yesterday I came home and had a nap to make up for the early wake up. After about a half hour of that I was back up and ready to hit the office. We stopped by HMV to pick up some media: A movie magazine with an Indiana Jones retrospective, a Beatles cd on sale, some comedy cds including the new Weird Al album and a blast from the past, Run DMC's Tougher Than Leather just 'cause I was feeling a little old school.

We took our swag to the office to get us through our long night of work. By 3am I had gotten most of the remaining 3 pages done with only some finishes left. I packed everything up to take home where I set up in front of the tv for the final stretch. We watched a couple of Battlestar Gallactica episodes while I drew.

I was having trouble with the foreshortening on an arm in the splash page, I was trying and re-trying to get it right, the larger scale of the page throwing off my perspective. Ian retired and I told him I'd join him once I'd finished. I put on the morning news to catch up on the world and what's the first thing I hear? Not "North Korea's got the bomb!", but this:

"And a happy Thanksgiving on this lovely Monday morning!"

I blink. And then I throw my hands up, "OH FUCK!"

I quickly call FedEx and sure enough there's a recording saying they will be closed for the holiday. I have this Charlie Brown "Aagh!" in my head. Holidays are always creeping up unnoticed here, especially Canadian ones. When these days close up important businesses it can be damn inconvenient.

Well, I'll get to bed a little earlier this morning so that's at least nice. I'll finish up the work this evening.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

I was wondering what is was about sci-fi conventions that were so different from comic cons when I figured it out today in between panels.

You know those episodes of Star Trek where the away team shows up on some planet and the inhabitants are all really pleasant and then one member of the team looks up from his purple food and says "Heeeyy, where are all the children?"

No kids at these things. At comic-con? infants in Darth Maul and Spider-man ouftits. Part of me couldn't help but wonder if there was a reverse Carousel going on behind the scenes.

Off to the office to finish these last three pages.

Friday, October 6, 2006

I checked into the V-Con schedule for this weekend and was a little irked to find that it's being held in Richmond this year. We did a panel at V-Con a couple of years ago when it was held in a hotel a few blocks from here and I just assumed it would be in the neighbourhood this year.

Not to worry, I'm still attending and for those of you stopping by here's my schedule:

Saturday, 1pm
Executive Boardroom
Art of the Graphic Story 1 hour
SF and Fantasy in the graphic story from movies like Little Nemo, and Robotech to Manga and Comics. With Roberta Gregory, myself, Julie McGalliard, Rene Walling and Michael Walsh.

Sunday, Noon
Executive Boardroom
Pencils @ High Noon 1 hour
Quick Draw artists compete for audience approval. With moderator Lynne Fahnestalk, Chilam, Toren Atkinson, Jim Beveridge, myself and Tarol Hunt.

Sunday, 1PM
Boardroom A
Self-Promotion & Publicity For Artists and
1 hour
You can't sell anything if people don't know you have it. How can artists tell people "they got it"? How can they get into the cover business, or make a hit in the fan world? What are the secrets? The mistakes? With myself and Tarol Hunt.

For more information on how to get there and costs and all the other panels you can check out, go here.

Come on, if not for the comic chat, go for the filking!

Thursday, October 5, 2006

5 pages done, three more to go. I should have those last pages done this weekend.

Last night a couple of racoons decided to have a territorial spat in the branches above our balcony... as in three storeys up. I shone a flashlight up there to see but all I could catch a glimpse of were flashes of their yellow eyes through the thrashing leaves. They purred and tittered and yelped loud enough to get the neighbours to poke their heads out of windows. The eerie swaying of the branches reminded me of the final sword fight in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and there were moments we worried that a bundle of fur might fly into our faces.

These little buggers and the local skunk (we call him Ralphie) sure make this an entertaining block to live on sometimes.

Off to bed.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Another all nighter. I have 5 pages almost there and my hand doesn't want to cooperate until it's had some sleep. Blah. I'll finish this batch tonight while settled in for the Lost premier.

I should also mention that V-Con is this weekend and I'll be doing panels on Saturday and Sunday (I believe both are at 1pm, I'll check tonight). Gonna be fun so I hope to see you there. I don't think there's time for sketches but I don't mind hanging around to sign books in the hallway afterwards so feel free to bring your copies.

Speaking of which, Y #50 hits the stands today so go grab one. This one is a real kicker and a must read for those wanting some mysteries answered. I had fun drawing this one and I had to be extra careful to not let anyone see spoilers while at the copy machine (yeah, that means no skimming ahead in the shop!).

Oh, yesterday Ian picked up season three of Penn & Teller's Bullshit and I'm really digging it. There's an episode on Conspiracy Theories that made me absolutely furious. Those of you who hang out on the Bendis Board may have seen my many tirades against 9/11 conspiracy nutjobs, with particular ire aimed at that Loose Change douchebag, and seeing some of these insensitive pricks rail on their ridiculous ideas about passengers being spirited off and living incognito somewhere... God I wanted to punch them. And don't even think about sending me that shit to try and convince me otherwise, at least not before checking out the following:

Loose Change Guide

Loose Change on Wiki

Pointless Waste of Time

Popular Mechanics debunks the 9/11 conspiracies

Why the Towers Fell

Okay, end of ranty rant.

I liked the Bullshit episode on Mother Theresa and Ghandi as well, though I'm still iffy on their opinions about the Dalai Lama.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Today was Diana's birthday and we all went out to New West for...


I wasn't too crazy about the idea this morning because of the work I had piled up at the office but was eventually convinced that it would be a good idea. And I could go to the office afterwards.

I had done paintball years back and figured it would be a less gooey, less painful version of that. What I hadn't planned for were all the kids. Adults do paintball you see, while kids do lazer tag (less bruising and other adrenaline related injuries). The atmosphere in the lobby was that of a darker, cheaper, grungier Chuck E. Cheese's with low lighting, old video games, staff consisting of bored teenagers, and tables draped in black vinyl, topped with red plastic cups. Kids ranging from minimally supervised hyperactive 7 year olds to mean spirited 15 year olds ran around screaming at the top of their lungs waiting for the next game to start.

Soon our group arrived, about 15 improv and comedy geeks all in our 30s looking very out of place. We piled into the arena with only a few of the more ornery teenagers tossed in (the smaller kids were off having their pizza break). The first game was a solo match, every man for himself. Two floors of dark mazes lit with UV lights, pounding with music, we all ran around with our lazer guns shooting at one another.

I wasn't really prepared to have as much fun as I did (paintball was fun but also incredibly aggressive) nor did I expect such a work out. After ten minutes racing around, giggling my ass off I reached up to my forehead and found myself dripping with sweat. Sure it was warm in there, and the thick sensor vest didn't actually breathe, but hurrying around corners, along corridors, up and down ramps really got the heart going.

The second game was team vs team. This one I enjoyed more because we could pair up to watch each other's backs and defend sniping positions. It was enormously entertaining with the added shadenfreude of knowing the screaming crowd of kids waiting to use the room after us would have to deal with a stack of soaked vests from some very sweaty adults. Yeah, ew. Heh.

We then had our pizza and birthday cake, chatted excitedly about the games and talked about possibly doing it again in the future. I hope so. It's so much more fun than going to the gym. I wish PE were that fun in high school.

We got home and all the aches started up. We were too beat to get into the office so instead we're making it an early night so we can get in early to catch up on work. I should have a batch ready in a couple of days.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Roughed out pages 18 and 19 on Friday, fleshed out some more panels on Saturday night.

Was able to get to some sketch requests as well, I'll have them in the mail this week.

Too sleepy to think of anything else. More later.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Halfway through pages 16 and 17.

Picked up a CD the other day called She wants Revenge based on the recommendation of a third party. After listening to it I've decided I should stick with a two party system in the future.

Yeah, I'm up late again.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Another frustrating week. I was up early this morning and hit the board to get the 11-15 batch done. There's an action sequence in there that needed more attention than I could give today and was only able to get 4 pages into the FedEx pack this afternoon.


I've had to adjust to the new sleep schedule where I've been getting up at 8 and 9 in the morning. I'll probably be back to staying up 'till dawn before long but right now it's just one of those weird flip floppy phases I go through, and the work schedule has had to follow along.

The upside being that we've been able to check out more stores open during their business hours. Picked up the Spike Jonze collection on DVD (awesome!), Loco Roco for the PSP (Wowie!), and the new Barenaked Ladies CD (ehn). Also walked around in a lot of sunshine (nice!).

No comics yet because some wimp-a-licious border guards decided to walk off the job the other day in protest for not being able to carry guns thereby backing up customs a whole day. And here I thought Quebecor shipped books out of... well, Quebec. Huh.

Another project for this week (besides hauling ass to get the last batch done) is to find Vic a car. She needs one for school and work and I need to learn how to drive and get my damn licence already. Do a lot of 34 year olds take Young Drivers of Canada courses these days?

Monday, September 25, 2006

The auction went well. Didn't place but the can nabbed $125 for the charity. Afterwards we grabbed some dinner, checked out some art supplies on the Island and then headed home. I was surprised how beat I was. The spot I worked in under the tent was chilly and it just went right into my bones. I suppose with all the Canwest events of last week and the Fringe the week before that, it was probably inevitable that at some point I would turn into a total zombie. I passed out early and now here I am at 9am, awake and ready to hit the office.


I'd like to get this batch done by tomorrow, I have 4 pages in process and I'm waiting on some paper for the 5th page (the paper order didn't come in Friday but it's probably there now). It's more realistic that I'll be done on Wednesday and then have the remainder of this issue done next week.

We'll see what today brings.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

On Friday I got into the office early and started pages 13 and 14. Afterwards I met up with Vic and we headed over to the Cultch for more Canwest shows, the first was the Best of Canadian Content followed by Tinkle with David Cross and a whole bunch of other stand-ups. I was fighting the urge to doze off through most of the evening mostly due to weird sleep and not the fine talents of the performers.

Today I'll be back in the office but first I'm off to get some paint for Sunday's Garbage Can Art Contest and Auction on Granville Island. This is a charity event I've participated in over the last few years to raise funds for BC's Children's Hospital.

20 Artists are given a standard garbage can and have 4 hours to transform it into art to be auctioned off for children's art therapy programs. This year I plan to keep it simple with a Spider-man theme so if anyone wants something quirky and iconic for their kitchen or garage, come on down to the Island and help out the kids. Artists start at 11am, judging at 3pm and auction at 3:30pm in the market courtyard.

See you there!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pages 11 and 12 are started up.

Going to a Canwest show tonight, Brian Posehn is one of the stand-ups! His cd was kickass!

Finally got caught up on all the episodes of LOST we missed last year. Nice cliffhanger too. I have so many theories but I'll save that for another time.

Exceeeept... anyone else notice the Peter Gabriel song Hurley wanted to play for Libby (In Your Eyes) is on the same album as the song titled We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37) about the infamous pyschological experiment?

Pretty eerie, huh?

I love this show!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

5 pages done and away.

Got to sleep at noon on Sunday. Up at 7:30pm and out the door a couple of hours later to see the last Canadian Content show for the festival. Afterwards we went to the Fringe club for some unexpected dancing. I should do more of that, lots of fun. So by 2am we went to the office where I set up at the desk and worked through the morning to get this ugly batch out the door.

The panels that were driving me nuts continued to do so until a few hours before the 3:30pm FedEx deadline when I stopped trying to rework them and just grabbed the eraser.

It worked out okay in the end. Hopefully I won't be giving Jose too much grief with some of the rougher patches.

Met up with Ian for a spot of lunch (breakfast? Dinner?), took advantage of being up when everything was open and did some banking, got home at around 6pm and crashed.

Up again at midnight and spent time with Ian watching episodes of Lost we missed last spring. I really love this show. Amazing pacing, good teases and excellent characters. Haven't got to the end of the season yet but we can't help but come up with theories.

Oh and really great news from DC. A poster of the cover to Y #23 hits the shops this week. This one is a beauty and I can't wait to get one up in the office.

Now if we can convince the folks in PR to put together some action figures...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

After spending the night drawing and re-drawing the same shit over and over again I can't help but hear those words running through my head: I suck. I suck. I suck.

I know I don't really suck. There are batches that go smoothly and there are those, like this goddamn little batch right here, that make my life miserable for a spell. And it has nothing to do with the writing, the writing is spot on as always, it's me drawing myself into a corner or not plotting out space properly or a crappy sleep schedule or restlessness and wanderlust or who knows what the hell it is. It just is.

I'm sure there's so much more I can learn to make this job go easier, techniques that can keep me from being needlessly complex or whatever... But here's where I am right now. The harsh reality of the 'dream gig', the sucky bits and the struggle and the parts that make you want to throw heavy objects out of windows.

And sure, I Could Byrne it up, cut corners and backgrounds and character, suck the very life out of the script but I'm just a stickler for good storytelling I guess.

Christ I'm a cranky Pia this morning.

Off to bed.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Having a slow week here. 5 pages are still rough but they're coming along. Saturday? I hope so.

Found this link on the bendis Board to a lovely YouTube mash-up: Tron vs Depeche Mode

Finally received a response from the Omni Hotel: I'll be getting my money reimbursed. Woo!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Great quote from Touring Cassandra about a recent trip to the Vancouver Aquarium:

We found Cassandra's soulmate there. When we were looking at the crocodiles (which were terrifying by the way) we suddenly heard this voice over our shoulder saying something like, "he approaches the glass cautiously, ready to jump in and overtake the silent beast" in a bit of an Australian accent. And then we turn around and it's this 9 or 10 year old little boy who then smiles at us, and as he strikes a fist to his chest says, "Tribute to Steve Irwin" and walks away. It was so funny.

No matter how dickish some people (*cough*Byrne*cough*) will be about Irwin's death, It's heartening to see those words will never really affect those most impacted by the conservationist.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pages 8 and 9 are underway. I should have this batch done by Friday.

Addicted to MySpace.

Just got word that the first Y trade, Unmanned has gone into its 6th printing (Wowie Zowie!).

Vancouverites! There are two Fringe shows you absolutely must see this week: A Little Life presented by the Stretched Mouth'd Rascals and of course, Canadian Mounties vs Atomic Invaders presented by Canadian Content. Go see them!

More info at

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pages 6 and 7 gotten started.

After coming home this morning I decided to finally get a MySpace page set up. Friends have been pestering me to get one and if Brubaker can do it... The address is so go on over and check it out. You may have to hit refresh a few times, MySpace is all wonky today but the page is there. To make things extra weird, Blogger won't let me hyperlink the address (yeahbuwhaa?!) so you'll have to cut and paste. Code drama!

Civility has gone out the window in our neighbourhood. It's 7:45 am and the house across the street has a roofing torch blaring as well as a radio with some crappy morning show and the house next to us is hammering and oh yeah, that dog from the house over is barking again.

God, I live in a damn zoo.

And that reminds me... Still no response from the Omni Hotel for their total douchebaggery. I'll be e-mailing them again soon.

On a very cool note, I found a copy of Making Comics by Scott McCloud at Chapters the other day and completely forgot that I had a quote in it! Scott e-mailed me several months ago for advice about tools. On page 209 you'll find a little paragraph about favourite pencils! Woo hoo!

Oh and it's an amazing book too! Anyone wanting to work in comics needs to read this. An absolutely priceless reference.

Monday, September 11, 2006

5 years ago this hour (4:30-ish am PST) I was sitting at my computer and I was happy.

We had spent several months getting Y ready to go; sketches, character designs, plotting and an ad campaign that would include a poster of Yorick standing on a veritable mountain of dead men. Early buzz was starting to generate and we were so damn excited. On Monday, September 10th I had finally gotten the okay to get started. I spent the whole day scouring books and magazines and googling all over the internet for reference images: Brooklyn apartments, streets, cars, a straight jacket, capuchin monkeys, Australian landscapes, a satellite cell phone, cages, guns, ambulances, cop cars and uniforms.

A few hours earlier I was on the phone with Brian going over some notes. I remember mentioning that I was having trouble finding reference for NYPD police uniforms and I wasn't sure which ones to go with; light blue short sleeve shirts or the dark navy ones. He said he'd do some digging since he had done some work as an auxiliary officer.

At around 5am (nowish, I'm a slow typist), I was wrapping up. I took all my printed refs and script and set it by my drawing table. I was listening to the new Bif Naked CD and digging it. I should have turned in earlier but I was too awake. I went online to the Bronze message board to see what the Buffy fans were chatting about. A few friends were on so I posted about the CD I was enjoying, that I was feeling pretty darn good and not wanting to turn away, I shut it all down and went to bed.

Later, when I went back to the board to check on east coast Bronzers I noted that just as I was putting in my ear plugs and turning out the light a post reading "Something's going on at the World Trade Center" directed everyone to check the news.

The earplugs were to cover up the noise of the Mountain Equipment Co-Op's very busy parking lot right outside my window. In recent weeks the racket had become unbearable, lots of SUVS and car alarms and I was losing a lot of sleep. The plugs were working nicely.

That morning my sleep was restless with dreams of urgency and noise. I awoke at around 10:30am to the cats jumping on my legs. I was used to Charlie being a spaz but there was something weird about this. I looked down to see both cats at my feet staring at me wide-eyed and pacing in agitation and there was a faint ringing going on.

I pulled out my ear plugs to hear the phone ringing by my bed. I answered to the sound of my mom sobbing on the phone. My first thought was that someone died.

"Mom, what happened?"

"The Twin Towers are gone. They hit them with planes and thousands of people are dead, they said twenty-five thousand people were in there."


"The US is going to war Pia and I can't get through to the family there"

"Slow down, I don't understand-"

"Are you watching this? I've been trying to call you for hours."

"I've been asleep, I had earplugs in. What do you mean there's a war?"

"They hit the towers with planes and now they're gone and they're saying we're at war and I can't call Helen from here. Her husband is a cop remember?"

"Holy shit. I'll go and see."

"Call Helen, my long distance is out and I can't call them."

"Okay, give me their number and I'll call from here. I'll call you right back."

I wrote down the number and hung up. I just sat there in bed stunned. I looked out the window and was struck by what I saw. The Co-Op parking lot was empty. It was totally quiet. The sun shone on the city and the north shore mountains and it was absolutely spectacular. I considered turning on the TV but felt a powerful urge instead to find Ian. I threw on a sweater and sandals and ran out the door.

It was a short run to the neighbouring apartment building. The weather was beautiful, cool and warm at the same time the thick trees casting perfect shadows. And no one was on the street. Totally quiet. My mind was in a panic like I hadn't been since I was a kid when things like war and nuclear annihilation were very real fears. Holy crap, who could have done this? Not the Chinese? Does that mean missiles are going to be flying? No, wait, that's nuts, it has to be that guy, the terrorist who blew up the Cole and that embassy. What was his name?

A part of me was hoping mom was just exaggerating like she did when Seattle was hit by an earthquake a few months earlier. She had called me then to tell me buildings had collapsed downtown and she was so glad I wasn't living there anymore. It turned out to be only some minor damage, a few facades shaken loose but far from the major disaster she made it sound to be. Maybe it's not that bad. I started worrying about the relatives, my cousin who got me into comics and of course his sister's husband, the cop.

I leaned on the buzzer knowing Ian usually ignored it in the mornings. When he answered I yelled for him to open the door.

I ran up the stairs and hurried into Ian's apartment, telling him to turn on the TV because something terrible had happened. When he picked up the remote I remember feeling a rush of panic over what we might see so I asked Ian to put it on the CBC instead of CNN because the American networks would probably be crazy and we wouldn't get a clear idea of what was going on.

CBC had live feeds of the Canadian ambassador and several other representatives at a press conference announcing they will be sending whatever support required. I told Ian what my mom had told me while we waited for images. When the press conference started focusing on military action we had gotten really frustrated not knowing the facts so we braced ourselves for the CNN feed.

The first sight was that of the towers, still standing with gaping holes in their sides, smoke billowing out. Our shock spiked sharply as the images cut from that to the giant blooms of pulverized concrete falling to the street below. The jagged spire of the North Tower tilting in the smoke was a like a knife in the heart. We both burst into tears.

I remembered that I had to call Helen and grabbed the phone. All I got was a busy signal and would continue to get it for several hours when I finally got through to Queens. Helen's husband actually answered. It turned out he was home sick with pneumonia. I chatted with Helen who I hadn't spoken with in a few years. She told me that everyone was okay. Cousin Pat worked in midtown and walked over to her house when the city cleared out. One of our other cousins who worked around the corner from the towers was out of the country on vacation so she was okay. The grand aunts who lived uptown were also out of the country. Uncle Lou had a friend from work who was missing though. I passed all the information on to mom.

We spent the day in front of the TV, in shock. At one point we decided to quit the carnage and went to Future Shop to pick up a digital cable box so we could watch something other than the endless coverage. The employees were making a point, kindly, to keep their channels off the news and it was a welcome break.

Later that night I visited a friend's place nearby and talked over everything we saw. At one point I recalled the last time we were in New York and visited the towers. It was late, just before closing, the city lights were beautiful and the observation area was empty. I bought some goofy souvenirs from the gift shop. An old guy was polishing the floor with a buffer machine, singing as he worked. He laughed about how the outside deck was closed because of wind and if we went out there we'd be blown clear off. And then he continued singing. At the tall windows there was a bar you could stand on for an amazing view straight down. I remember standing there and thinking how terrible it would be to fall from such a height. And then I remembered the brass grout on the floor tiles in the lobby, this little detail, and I just lost it. All of sudden it had become real and I was a big puddly mess.

It would be a few days until I heard from Brian who had been called in to direct traffic in the auxiliary. He watched the towers go from his rooftop in Brooklyn. I talked to Heidi who lived in the medical district of Manhattan. She told me how she saw all the hospitals prepare for casualties, gurneys on the sidewalk, staff prepped at the docks only no one was really coming in.

When it was clear that the Taliban was involved we had to take the first issue into re-writes because of a scene set in Afghanistan involving a shoot out at a Taliban roadblock. No one was sure if the firefighter scenes would work or even if the book would still go ahead because it was just so dark a subject for so sad a time.

We've come a long way since then and man does it seem like so much longer sometimes.

Right now there's live coverage on CNN of the NYC memorial services and Marsallis is playing on a trumpet. When he stood up to play I thought it would be yet another round of taps or some patriotic bullshit but instead this wonderful jazz. Down By the Riverside.

As it should be.