Friday, March 30, 2007


Two more days!
First batch of 5 pages went out today. Tomorrow I'll be running errands before our weekend in Seattle. We'll be checking out the Emerald City Comic Con and toodling about. I'm excited about going to Kinokuniya for sketchbooks and supplies. Ian managed to get a spot at the Market Theatersports show on Saturday which should be fun.

Gail mentioned on her board how some uninsured idiot wrecked her new "Superman blue" car on 3rd Street today. I'm glad she and the family are safe. We'll need to figure out some cheering up strategies over the next few days.

We're staying through Monday to catch the Varsity's Hot Fuzz screening. Hopefully we'll actually get to see it this time. Vic is bringing folding chairs for the line-up. I'm bringing the portable Scrabble. Ian is bringing his infinite patience to sit through Bullitt beforehand. I love that man so much.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I'll need another day to get this batch in. I should have it done tonight.


Probably one of the funniest threads I've seen on the Bendis Board in a while: What would Shakespeare's message board look like back in the 1590's?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Almost there, I should have this first batch ready to go out on Wednesday.

Found a new sushi joint in town called Aoki Sushi with some pretty amazing (and reasonably priced!) food. It's a small establishment about a block west of Futureshop on Broadway, the staff are very pleasant (and very Japanese, the always smiling chef sports a cute plastic hat mimicking a bald head and topknot) and the dishes are creative as heck including beautiful appetizers like the Tuna Gomae-ai and Vegetarian Special, the Meditteranean Roll with sundried tomato and pine nuts and another roll featuring sauerkraut(!) but most perplexing of all was the Pink Godzilla Roll.

The picture made it look like the roll's pieces were topped with red salmon and avocado but when it arrived we were flabbergasted to see they were in fact giant strawberry halves laid on kiwi wedges on top of chicken katsu slices, all drizzled in mayo and home-made spicy sauce. It looked downright scary. And it tasted quite good! You couldn't eat these massive creations in one go of course but working down from the top and you went from cool, spicy sweet to warm and hearty. The overall evaluation: the not-so-attractive-fellow-who's-a-fabulous-lover, get past the looks and you're in for a treat. And when you exit a little recorded voice calls out 'arigato gozaimashta!' Love it.

Should we go to the Bristol Expo? It's been nagging on my mind more and more now. So tempting.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Three pages halfway there and issue 57 is off to a good start.

The other morning I had a dream I was watching comedian Maria Bamford doing stand up. I only caught one bit and it was funny enough to wake me up laughing. She held up a stick of "lake" which is a type of make-up used in cheap stage productions, deep purple and generally used for lip colour or bright bruises. After describing what the stuff was she turned away briefly, turning back to reveal half her face covered in this ghastly red/purple, and then she put on her neurotic mom voice and said "Well the reason I went back to your father was because sometimes you have to work extra hard to make a marriage work. That's just the way it is honey."

Okay, some of you probably don't find battered wife jokes all that funny but before you go judging my sanity check out these videos of Bamford's that Ian found today. Her stuff is great, way funnier than what my subconscious can imitate anyway: The Maria Bamford Show

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Last night I finished up the layouts and model refs list for Treehouse. Woo hoo!

Today was my day off so we decided to have some fun starting with a trip to Tojo's for dinner to check out their new location. Their old spot was a cozy room (read: kinda cramped) on the second floor of an office building in the Broadway medical district. It had 80's minimalist decor that wasn't too hard on the eyes along with a kickass patio and an incredible view of the city.

The walls were lined with dozens of autographs which made the place feel very friendly and comfortable despite sometimes being elbow to elbow with fellow patrons which isn't so bad when you look over and see Famke Jansen seated next to you.

Which was another neat highlight of the place, it attracted celebrities like crazy. Dinner and entertainment... and sometimes Hugh Jackman singing showtunes in a corner. Keen!

So the new place was a stunner when we walked in. For one, it's HUGE. Hypermodern, crazy tall ceilings and still quite cozy. The major difference is that smack dab in the middle of it all is the sushi bar and the star of the show, Hidekazu Tojo himself. There isn't a spot in the whole room where you can't see him working his magic. Adding to the emphasis on just who's house you're in is the placement of furniture, all directing the eye to the bar. It's like a giant stage production. We found out later the seemingly missing autographs were now running in a loop on a plasma screen in the back.

The food of course was excellent. During the meal we noticed a familiar face behind the bar, Hiro was a server we spoke with often at the old place and here he was now working on sushi! We asked our server if that was in fact him and it turned out the server was his brother who confirmed that he had just started at the job. He joked around about how Hiro's work was full of mistakes and warned us that he'd be making our Northern Light Roll.

When the roll arrived I have to say it was the best one I ever had there. Sweet and light, with a great balance of temperatures and a nice kick of wasabi at the end. Loved it! Yay Hiro!

Afterwards we went to the office where I decided to tackle a canvas I'd been planning for a while. It's a Doctor Who themed painting, uber-geeky I know, bordering on obsessed, yes, but something I wanted to do for SDCC's art auction. With the evening off it seemed like a good time to get started.

I'd almost forgotten how much I enjoyed painting. I thought I'd suck at it but I was getting down what was in my head okay. It's still a ways off from being done but so far I'm happy with the results.

When I got home I found the opening scenes of issue 57 waiting for me (and they're really fun scenes too!). Tomorrow I'm back at the board but first an early brunch with a good friend from out of town.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

This Film is Not Yet Rated, a documentary about the MPAA rating system is a must see if only to confirm why Jack Valenti is creativity's antichrist.


Richard sent me this great audio from a Bill Bailey stand up where he talks about the incidental music in Doctor Who. It was so funny and I wanted to share but all I could find online was this long-ish video on YouTube. The first half is a sketch on historical re-enactors (look closely and you'll spot Simon Pegg in armour) followed by the bit in question. It's defintely worth the ten minutes out of your day...

Monday, March 19, 2007

5 pages out today and issue 56 is done.

Page 18 made me all weepy.

The next script is probably en route but with a little luck I'll have a free day to get some Simpson's layouts done for the Treehouse of Horror story.

For now, it's time to get some sleep.

Friday, March 16, 2007

5 pages almost done, just backgrounds left to do.

Found this site on Neatorama called The Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique:

"For the propagation of an ideal where science communicators can meet firstly, for drinks; secondly, for communicating; and ultimately, for networking."

What I especially like about this organisation is their system of awarding badges for diligence in promoting scientific literacy. Badges like the Destroyer of Quackery badge "in which the recipient never ever backs down from an argument that pits sound science over quackery". Or the MacGyver badge "in which the recipient has demonstrated that his/her science communciation prowess was handy in simplifying a potentially challenging scenario."

But my favourite:

The "Dodger of Monkey Shit" badge. Love it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pages 18 and 19 are almost done.

Nominations were just announced for the 2007 Shuster Awards and both Ian and myself are listed! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My friend Drew McCreadie has submitted work to the new show On The Lot, Spielberg's reality venture to find America's next great director. The trailer Drew has posted is for a film he put together called The Valet, it's really excellent and I'd like to ask anyone who's got a moment to go over there, rate his submission and help get Drew on the show!

Monday, March 12, 2007

5 Pages out today.

Five more pages to go for issue 56. I wish I could do them all today because this scene is my favourite of the entire series.

Damn this thing called sleep!

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Only a couple more weeks! Eeek!

Oh, and one page done, four to go.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Five pages are laid out, two are nearly done. I should have them done over the weekend.

Good news from the mechanic today, they replaced the worn shoes and cylinders free of charge. Woo! That's a huge relief.

Finished listening to the Deja Vu audiobook and I have to say it was quite good. There were some jumps in the story that left me a bit confused making me think I had skipped a chapter by mistake but really I just wasn't paying enough attention when the scenes changed. I couldn't help but visualise it as a comic, but that's just me. Fun story and recommended.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Today started abruptly when I forgot to set the clock to meet up with Vic. I threw on some clothes and raced out the door so we could go to Richmond to get the car's power train check up. We also asked them to look at the e-brake because it wasn't grabbing road like it should.

While this was going on we went to a nearby diner for some lunch and when it came time to pay, my credit card was declined due to a note to call Visa's security department. I had forgotten they left a message the night before. Whoops.

We returned to the garage to bad news. All 4 brake shoes needed to be replaced as they had worn down to less than 15 percent. And there was brake fluid leaking in one of the cylinders. We were looking at a $550 bill. Wha-ha? We had just bought the thing two months ago! I called the dealer and demanded to know why they let a car off their lot in such a dangerous condition and after being directed to several departments we had an appointment to see their mechanic in the morning.

We had the repairs just starting at the garage cancelled and the wheels put back on so we could drive it out of there. We also ordered some cover-up paint for the mess left by some ass who decided to key the car while we were out of town this weekend.

Of course I would forget the keys to the apartment in another jacket and had to go to the office to get Ian to help us out.

Back home I called Visa and learned my card had been compromised ie. the cops found my number in the possession of some seedy types and now I'm left with a cancelled card and the enormous pain-in-the-ass task of changing all my accounts with that card. And this isn't the first time it's happened! Same time last year, same crap!

And I don't even want to go into the hour I spent on the phone not getting the new voice messaging system to work.

I should have stayed in bed today.
Two pages laid out. More tomorrow.

Telus announced over the weekend that they'd be upgrading their voice messaging service and as a result all old messages would be wiped by the 7th. We learned this while we were out of town, leaving us very little time to figure out how to copy some half dozen clips we'd saved, mostly from family, thank you notes from my godson, a birthday song fom mom, a few rambles from me to Ian.

I checked online for a way to forward them but no luck. All that could be done was to press a headset mic to the phone's earpiece and record it onto a mastering program on the laptop. A bit tinny but still there.

Unfortunately I couldn't record Ian's by midnight when they were all erased.

Telus sucks huge. Their service has been terrible for years, they outsource jobs and treat the workers that remain like crap and now this.

Time to look for an online phone service.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Looks like I shook one hand too many this weekend 'cause now I'm fighting a nasty lil' bug. It started with a really sore throat yesterday and has progressed to a stuffy head. Bleagh. I'm drawing at home today.

Found this great site on Brian's board, it perked me up huge: SOCKBABY

Monday, March 5, 2007

Saturday night went topsy turvey when it was decided that Brian and Ruth Vic, Ian and myself would meet up at Cafe Zoetrope for a quick meal before getting in line for the Hot Fuzz premiere. We split up in two cabs and was surprised to learn there was a MASSIVE Chinese New Year's parade right in front of the restaurant... and we were on the wrong side of the street. This was extra unexpected since in Vancouver New Year was celebrated two weeks ago during the new moon. Here it's the full moon. Weird.

Of course we forgot to exchange cell numbers or we would have coordinated things better. There were people flinging fireworks into the crowds and it just didn't seem like a good idea to stick around so we booted for the nearest hotel to find a cab out to the theatre. Our logic was that Brian and Ruth would end up there too. Maybe.

The line at the theatre was way too long to get a seat so after waiting a bit we headed back to the hotel. Hot Fuzz would have to wait until next month.

Sunday we met up with Gus (aka Moritat) and fellow Dr Who fantatic and therefore instant comrade, Richard Starkings for breakfast. After our lovely repast we got a tour of their hotel room before they checked out because we just had to see it apparently. The hotel known as the "W" has this wild conceptual design to it which basically screams "WE ARE SEX! IT'S DRIPPING OFF THE WALLS YO! SMELLLLLL IT!" And indeed, that's the first thing you notice when you enter the hyper lounge of their lobby, it smells like the sexiest cologne you can think of. When you step out of the elevator there's this ultra techno porn soundtrack piping through the cooly lit halls, practically escorting you to your room where you find a super duper, totally decked out bachelor pad of shagilicious delights, including trays of condoms and lotions and candies. There was a catalogue of expensive jewelry like something out of skymall, a guest services directory in the shape of a designer's colour swatch book. It could have been tacky but it was too James Bond cool to laugh at, only gawk in awe.

It was so bizarre. Giggling we left for the con across the street.

Right away we ran into Brian at the DC booth and I apologised profusely for the cock up and Brian told us how they did eventually get through the parade mess and had the most amazing meal and everything worked out great.

It was a very busy day. There were two panels, one with Vic and myself and the other about gender in genre with Amanda Sullivan from NOW and Jane Espenson, the writer on two of my absolute favourite shows, Buffy and BSG. It was a total blast and the room was packed.

Between panels I was at the booth signing books and sketching a kazillion ampersands. I did take a moment to buy a giant TARDIS playset (It's going to be fun trying to get that sucker home).

After the show we decided to get that Cafe Zoetrope fix after all and met up with Gus for the famous spaghetti and meatballs.

From there we zipped out to the Independent theatre to see the Comedians of Comedy show. It was so much fun and again, I had to toally geek out and get a poster signed by the guys and this pic for the blog:

Patton is so frickin' cool!

Tomorrow, packing all the swag safely and getting it home!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Didn't get nearly enough sleep this morning and spent the day feeling half zombified. Applying for the seller's permit was relatively painless. At the con I immediately loaded up on Dr Who swag: the sonic screwdriver, action figures of Rose, K-9 and the cyberman as well as the 12 inch doctor in the space suit (with removable helmet!). I'm a geek and I have no shame. Still considering the Tardis interior set.

We picked up promo tickets for the Hot Fuzz preview screening tomorrow night, I hope we can get in to see it because that would rock so hard.

I stopped by the Image table to chat with Gus and saw Brian Posehn signing. I then proceeded to gush about his comedy and he in turn said some really nice things about Y that made me gush some more. It was a whole geeky gushing thing, threatened the very laws of physics.

We took a break mid afternoon to go to Fisherman's wharf for lunch. I was feeling very messed up by then with the fatigue and the sore back from the fatigue. I was consumed by grumpiness and it kinda dampened Ian's enthusiasm which made me feel even worse.

Emotional feedback loops all around today.

Soon the Advil kicked in and with the second wind picking me up some we hopped over to the Golden Gate bridge to take some photos. It was nice to see all the spots I used for reference in the Ring of Truth arc.

After that we zipped back to the con to do a signing at the DC/Vertigo booth and from there back to the hotel to catch a brief nap before slogging out to the Cartoon Art Museum for the opening of the Worlds of Wonder show where some Y pages were on display.

At the show we ran into Steve Lieber and spent the rest of the evening talking about the salon in Gijon (where we all met for the first time), shop talk and family histories.

It's now 2:30 and I'm bagged. Tomorrow: PANEL MANIA!

Friday, March 2, 2007

We made it into San Francisco yesterday evening but not without a significant load of stress thanks to US customs.

I had called the border services of both the US and Canada the day before asking what paperwork I needed to cross with a few pages to sell. The Canadians were very helpful and the American gave me what sounded to be some good advice, keep the merch under two grand, inventory everything and mention that it's for a trade show and you should be okay.

I downloaded all the forms, put together a list of pages, everything neat and tidy. I get to the airport and head to the Canadian export office with my declarations, the man there was very pleasant, gave excellent advice and stamped my papers with a smile.

We stroll into customs about 90 minutes before our flight, the crowds are light and we're thinking "Whoo hoo, this is going really well".

Until we see That Guy.

That Guy was the same guy who ran our family through last May for the Hawaii wedding trip. He flagged mom for some oddities in her travel papers, whisking her off to immigration while we all waited on the other side being barked at by the guards to keep going, not knowing if mom will be cleared for her own daughter's wedding!

It turned out all right but it was quite stressful for no reason because mom's papers were all in order, just not in an order That Guy was used to.

We go up, hand over our papers, he looks at Vicky's US passport and our Canuck ones and tells her she needs to step back because suddenly she isn't traveling with us anymore. He types things into his screen for a long time then marks our customs forms and says "Follow me."

No chance to talk to Vic about what to do in case we miss our flight, zip. Off we go into customs land.

And the moment we sit down it looks bad. About a dozen people are sitting in chairs all looking very pissed. There are customs officers all over the place and none of them are talking to actual travellers. They're standing at their posts, chatting in their offices, having lunch basically. We sit there for some 20 minutes before we realise that no one's been called up yet.

The green door we're supposed to enter once our name is called has a rusty hinge that squeak/grinds with teeth rattling annoyance. Guards keep going in and out of this crazy door but no travellers.

There are signs everywhere blaring CELL PHONES ARE PROHIBITED IN THIS AREA and about ten minutes before our boarding time my phone starts to ring. And ring and ring. It was obvious that Vic was freaking out over what to do at the gate, stay or go, and I wanted very much to answer and let her know what was happening but the customs people were clearly not interested in that so I just had to sit there while my Sanford & Son ringtone chimed weakly in my shoulder bag, a chime I liked quite a bit until then as it landed us a point in the audio portion of the previous night's pub quiz down at the Anza.

Finally things start moving about a half hour into our wait, people get called up, most of them having their foreign sounding names completely butchered by these guys, it reminded me of that scene in Adams Family Values, the one in summer camp where all the non-waspy kids get the crappy bit parts in the Thanksgiving show.

About five minutes before our flight is set to leave I get called in and am thoroughly grilled about my citizenship which becomes more alarming when the woman steps aside and though whispering, very audibly asks her colleague if I should be considered a US citizen since my parent's weren't citizens themselves when I was born in Jersey. Holy crap. She returns and starts up again "Did your parent's have a Green Card? Was your father staying on a diplomatic visa since he was working at the UN?" and all I could answer was "No idea."

"Did you ever have a US passport?" and I answer "Yep, my last one I got when I was twelve, it's since expired. I was considered a US citizen until I naturalised in the early 90's." I would have added "and now I'm dual" but past experience with US customs agents has always led to near violent outbursts claiming "There's no such thing! Rahrahrahrr!" so I kept my mouth shut.

Finally she gives up on this line of questioning and starts on the pages themselves which leads to the working status of both myself and Ian. Yes, we live in Canada, work for companies in the US, pay Canadian taxes, yes it's a comic book convention, yeah that's like a tradeshow.

She frowns slightly then says "Follow me." and leads me back out to the main waiting area, over to the inspection counter where she hands me off to another guard, very Dick Butkiss this one, and we go through import/export laws.

Turns out, despite being under $2000 in goods, the Vancouver airport is not considered a commercial port and therefore commercial goods can't be processed through there. What I should have done is sent the pages ahead by FedEx and let their customs people deal with it. I would be let off this time but if I ever tried this stunt again it would be on my record where That Guy will probably see it and I'd be busted.


So nearly two hours later we're standing shoe-less in the security area waiting to get my folio case back because it got tagged for further inspection when the X-ray person didn't know what my roll of masking tape was all about.

Now boys and girls, do you see why I tend not to bring pages with me to US conventions? I can't wait to line up for the seller's permit today!

Luckily there was another flight available, this one direct so even better, and we only had an hour and a half wait.

Once up in the air the combined lack of sleep and crazy citizenship stress led to passing out halfway into chapter 16 of Deja Vu. I woke up in the middle of chapter 18 as we were making our final descent (I'm going to have a fun time trying to figure out how far back to go in the book).

There was some added amusement at the car rental place, a little semi-scam with the compact Vic ordered online. It turned out to be this little Aveo, BRIGHT YELLOW with a huge dent in the passenger side door. The guy tried to upsell us to a prettier Ford Taurus "for only 8 bucks more". Yeah, right. We took the clown car, turned down a lot of upselling on gas (only three bucks a gallon from our pumps!) and extra insurance we didn't need since ours covered things just fine, whereupon he proceeded to tell us a story about Canadians from "SOO-RAY " who had an accident just last year and their insurance didn't cover them. Uh huh, no thank you. The car is pretty good, the upside being you can spot it immediately in a parkade, the downside... you really need to lock the doors to make sure people don't jump in thinking you're a cab. So far we've had one woman try to hail us on Market street.

Time to face Friday.