Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Okay, I'm back from a frustrating couple of weeks.

After that month-long flu in February, extended no doubt by the intense LA trip, followed by a nuclear stress bomb of a tour through Europe only to get sick again on the return home from London, I'd had it with everything and was very lucky to get through customs in both Seattle and Vancouver without attacking someone in a sleep-deprived, fever-ridden, back-spasming, asthma-triggered panic. The virus itself burned off pretty fast but it was still a huge, mucous-y pain in the ass. Damn near drowned in bodily fluids. And poor Vic! She caught it with lightening speed and ended up with Bronchitis! She's doing much better, antibiotics really helped.

So after a week in bed I was faced with even more stress in the form of that stubborn CBT story still not being done. Never have I found 7 pages to be so fraught with problems, made more difficult by the Doctor Who gig I was trying to start. When I worked on the short story all I wanted to do was work on Doctor Who, when I worked on Doctor Who I felt guilty for not clearing away old business and couldn't focus my energies properly. With the CBT deadline looming I took this last weekend to finish the bloody thing once and for all, and sure enough, Kinkos had to turn it into an outright nightmare...

Once the pencils were complete my plan was to scan the pages and fiddle with the levels in Photoshop thereby avoiding the hassle of inking in the smaller format. Naturally, my scanner decided to quit working and the used wide-format one I found on e-Bay last week was still en route. I called Kinkos, asked them if they had a wide-format scanner and if they could do the job that afternoon, they said sure on both counts. I had been up all night finishing the pages so I handed the set to Ian with the necessary instructions attached and went to bed at 3pm (Saturday).

I got up a couple of hours later (5pm), because, wow, my brain doesn't know when to stay asleep sometimes, Ian was back and let me know the scanning job wouldn't be done until 8am the next morning (Sunday). No idea why it takes over 12 hours to push a few buttons but okay, we'll deal with it. At around 2am I called Kinkos to see if the job can be pushed up, the best they can do is 5am. Okay, great, I'm off for a nap.

5am, I wake up to find Ian and Vic have gone to pick up the scans. I jump in the shower to get ready for a morning at the office getting the files finished.

The scans arrive and they're not TIFF files (as requested on the order) but PDFs. And oh yeah, they don't have a wide-format scanner, only a regular one so the scans had to be stitched. That's why it took them so long.

Looking at the scans in Photoshop something didn't seem right, after consulting books on colouring comics (because I'm a total noob to digital comics formats), waiting for the editor and Mark the colourist to wake up so I can ask what they think, I also learn the scans were bitmapped, in other words, they're completely useless.

Sweet Jeezus!

Lucky us, as we're working through options (it's now noon Sunday) I find out Mark is in Surrey! I arrange to drop them off after some sleep.

They're out of my hands, and on their way. Here's hoping it turns out okay.


Eisners are announced and how stunned am I to read Jose and myself are nominated for inking/pencilling team?! We've never gotten this before! Holy shit! And how was Frank Quitely not in there? Or John Cassaday?! Regardless, there's no way in hell Chris Ware doesn't walk away with it. And yes, I'm so happy just to be nominated. Again I say "Holy Shit!"

Adding to the euphoria is the news of both Ian and myself being nominated for Shusters! Double whammy!

On my first fully devoted Doctor Who day, 6 pages laid out and feeling so damn excited, it's interesting to see how the Universe decides to toss in some humility...

On the way home, 5am, happy and eager to get back to the table, I hear something in the bushes by the front door. A lot of scrambling in the branches, clearly a raccoon, possibly two. I'm about to leave when I hear something else, a tiny, steady, distressed chirping. I carefully looked around the bushes, trying to locate the disturbing noise without running into the raccoons. Just as I'm about to give up, there it is, a yard from my foot, an injured bird, small like a chickadee only brown with a dart of bright red on her head and it's chirping in rhythm with it's fast breathing.

Oh dear.

I reach out and it has no problem with perching on my fingers. It settles into my palm, wheezing/chirping non-stop, peep-peep-peep-peep, it's head tilted heavily to one side. I bring it inside and show her to Ian. Remembering what happened the last time I tried to rescue a bird Ian tells me not to touch my face unless I want another eye infection to deal with. We decide to try for the all night animal hospital and I call Vic (she also barks at me to not touch my face). We meet up in the car, the bird seems to gain a little strength, lifting her head, fluttering slightly in my hand, still chirping in rhythm. I think maybe the heat of my hand has helped. She might make it. We drive two blocks, the bird flutters once again... and stops chirping.

I ask Vic to stop the car and turn on the light.

"She's gone."

We turn back and after parking, we all say goodbye and I find a spot in the underbrush to lay the still warm bird down.

Well fuck.


Charlie Kirchoff said...

Wow Pia, Thats some crazy stuff. I personally hate Kinkos because they always seem to be able to F' up a job. They will often redo it for free but that doesn't do you much good if you're in a time crunch.

FYI, Brian Miller's new book, "Hi-Fi Color for Comics", has a great section on stitching scanned art.

Well, good luck with everything. I look forward to seeing your Who stuff. :)

George Moorer said...

welcome back from the ninth level of h-e-double hockey sticks Pia, the last month seemed like it was really trying for you, but i'm glad you've healed nicely. the story about the bird is so 'y', i can't even put it into words.

as for your Kinko's story, my sympathies, as that's not an unusual occurence, at least in my experience. they seem to be at their worst in a timepinch, and explanations are as rare as they are worthless. but unfortuantely for us, even in big city such as Phoenix, AZ, they're the only game in town, and they know it.

well, as i said, welcome back and have a better week!