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.