Wednesday, February 18, 2009

25 random things about me

And another thing...

This is a meme that was making the rounds on facebook wherein you would, you know, write 25 random things about yourself and post it for all your facebook friends to read. But I figured that everyone who visits this blog may not be my friend on facebook (and why not?) and I thought I should post here, too. Because I know how much folks like random facts about me. Here goes:

1. In real life, I curse. A lot. Really, sometimes I'm embarrassed by my mouth. However, I rarely curse in my writing.

2. I write comic books for money. Not a lot of it, but still. Three titles have been published and/or collected. 100 Girls, Gear School, and Star Wars: Infinities--Return of the Jedi. All of these are available at

3. At least one of those titles exists because I abused my authority while working at a comics publishing company.

4. I was accepted into the graduate film program at Columbia University but couldn't attend for personal reasons.

5. I never expected to get married or have any children. Ever. That was until I met my wife and knew I'd been a jerk most of my life.

6. I am now a stay-at-home dad, taking care of my six-month old son, Oscar. It is the best job I've ever had.

7. I grew up in Boise, Idaho, but was born in San Jose, California.

8. My family, consisting of two adults and five children, once lived in the mountains in a trailer with no electricity or running water. For the better part of a year. I still remember it fondly.

9. I have a bad memory. Anything that happened prior to, say, 2000, exists mostly in a fog. When I went to my 20th high school reunion this Summer, I spent a lot time asking people their names. I'd grown up with some of these folks, gone to school with some of them for twelve years. I think I hurt some people's feelings.

10. I appreciate music more now than I have at any other point in my life.

11. I buy too many books. More than I will ever be able to read.

12. Prior to meeting my wife, I mostly fell for women who were unattainable or just plain not interested in me. Being with someone who is attainable (hey, I got her, right?) and interested in me is a much better alternative.

13. I'd like to go back to school and get an MFA in writing.

14. I want to one day write a YA novel and have it published by Candlewick Press.

15. I want to travel more. I've only been out of the country once.

16. I acted in a play once in college. I didn't care much for it, though I think I did an okay job.

17. I do the majority of the cooking in my house. I'm good at it and I like it.

18. Enchiladas, albondigas, mole; these are my best dishes.

19. It took three colleges and ten years to finish my degree. Though I did not go to college each of those ten years.

20. I met my wife through a hook-up. Hooked up by a person whom I did not know in the slightest.

21. I used to go to three or four movies every week. Now I see a movie every couple of months. I'd like to find a happy medium.

22. I am a terrible correspondent and, I suspect, friend.

23. I wish there were a way to make money answering Jeopardy questions from the comfort of my couch.

24. I call what I do comics, not graphic novels.

25. I became an orphan at the age of 30.

Don't mind me

I feel caught up in this vortex of late-Winter malaise and I'm unable to escape it. It doesn't help that I'm sick, either.

At least my productivity hasn't suffered. That's usually the first thing that goes out the window when I have emotional barnacles hanging off my hull, you know. But following the Doctorow method, I've actually written a script, made notes about a project, finished my year-end CD (the choosing, writing, design--I still have to get it printed and then throw it together), and today I reformatted a 150-page document that had been obliterated in the great laptop meltdown of '07. Now I can move forward with that. Listing everything I've accomplished lately almost makes me feel good about things.

I'm trying to figure out what it will take to get me out of this funk. I've occasionally wished that I was one of those folks who drank to forget their problems (not that I have any specific problems other than my brain malfunctions in cold weather), but drinking for me only intensifies those feelings.

Experience tells me that the only thing to be done is to ride it out and, once the sun makes a permanent reappearance in the Spring, everything'll be fine. I suppose I should feel lucky because this feeling usually strikes in, say, October, and this season it held off until February.

Just six more weeks until April, right?

Friday, February 13, 2009

My advice

rows and rows by Steve Jurvetson (jurvetson)

Not advice for everyone, but advice for freelance writers. In reference to getting work, an editor and buddy of mine told me when I first started writing comics, "You can be better than everyone else, faster than everyone, or nicer than everyone else. No one can be all three, but if you can be any two of those, you'll never lack work." I always liked this because it admits that raw talent is not the end-all-be-all. And it reminds me of what Hemmingway said about his own writing: "I'm better than the guys that are faster than me and I'm faster than the guys that are better than me."

A real-life The guy who doesn't get the girl

I remember as a kid watching these movies in the theater or on HBO for the first time, I could never fully enjoy them. They were funny and all, but there was always that one character. If only he would say the right thing at the right moment, or not act so desperate, or pick up on the girl's signals. I wanted to jump up out of my seat and yell at the screen, tell the guy to wake the hell up and get with the program!

I realize now, of course, that I wanted to yell at that guy so much because he was me. Or I was him. Either way.

And it was no consolation that the film makers often made sure this character got a girl, but I wasn't going to be placated in such a way. Getting some faceless chick was in no way the same as getting Molly Ringwald, okay?

Thank God I grew up to be a guy who could get the girl. Or she got me. Either way.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Adventures in parenting

Oscar's development really seems to be accelerating at a pretty amazing clip. I think it's my job not not to be distracted by those changes from my main job. You know, making sure he doesn't hurt himself. Or, even better, actively hurting him.

Something Oscar started doing just today is sitting up with his legs folded underneath him. Please see the accompanying illustration. I decided I wanted to get a photo of Oscar doing thisd new thing and send it to Melissa. Documenting his development and sending the photographic evidence to Melissa at work. I was so concerned with lining up the shot that I didn't really notice Oscar tipping over backward until I heard the huge thump. I actually felt the shock wave travel through the floor. And then Oscar was wailing.

I picked him up and cradled him and did my best to comfort him, and I managed to curse myself while I did it. He stopped crying and struggling to get out of my arms-- a sure sign he was okay. I set him on the floor and picked up his favorite toy (a toy video camera that makes a whole plethora of electronic noises -- thanks, Stephanie!) intending to give it to Oscar. What I did, however, was drop the toy and hit Oscar square in the mouth. Renewed wailing ensued as did the self-recriminations.

It felt like forever before I could soothe Oscar again. So I had lots of time to kick myself over this. I know that I can't always stop every accident that Oscar has, but, man, it really killed me to be the cause of two of them in one day. In the space of ten minutes.

Not to worry, however. Oscar was just fine. As seen in photo #2: We played safely the rest of the day. Tomorrow, helmet shopping!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Writing update

Long story short: Good progress, then crushing setback.

Long story long: Using what I have come to think of as "the Doctorow method" I'd been making pretty good progress writing-wise. In a week-and-half or so, I'd written 17 pages of script. Considering that I generally got 45-minutes a day to write, I felt good about this. That's probably a page-and-a-half or two pages a day.

And then tragedy strikes.

I use a piece of freeware for my word processing for two reasons. 1) Because I'm cheap and 2) because I'd rather not give my money to Microsoft. I may need to rethink both of those reasons. The software has always been a little glitchy and slow, but on Friday evening the software closed out of nowhere as I was finishing up a three-page sequence. And, of course, as is my wont, I hadn't saved any of that work. As I was coming to grips with this (I swear these two things happened one after the other) I saw that I had received a new email. It was Todd Demong, my collaborator on 100 Girls who was just getting around to reading the script for chapter eight and two pages seemed to be missing for the script. I opened up the script I'd sent him and, sure enough, there was a gaping hole exactly two-pages big. Two pages I'd written and saved prior to send them off to Todd.

This really was a blow to me. To feel like I'd gone from 17 pages down to 12. And, even worse, having to recreate work I'd already done just left me deflated.

Deflated enough that I took most of the weekend off from writing. But I figure that I should jump back on that horse and recreate the pages I need and then finish the current script. I'm also in the market for good cheap word processing software if folks have a suggestions.

That is all.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Creative Conference Redux

Ugh. I am a bad blogger. I received this a couple of weeks ago and meant to post it then, but then things got in the way. Things like watching Cash Cab, commenting on my friends' status updates on Facebook, etc. You know, important stuff.

Anyway, This is a nice write-up of the Portland Creative Conference at which I spoke back in September. You can live virtually what I experienced corporeally. It was fun, you should check it out. And when next year's Conference rolls around, you should think about attending. There's also a photo gallery which contains proof that I look damned good in a suit.

Monday, February 2, 2009

If you buy me enough drinks, I'll sing these songs at a karaoke bar

Life During Wartime by Talking Heads

Because it's in my range and I know all the lyrics.

Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

Because it's in my range and I know all the lyrics.

Touch Myself by The Divinyls

I have had a strong desire to sing this song in public for years now; maybe ever since I first heard about this thing called "karaoke," but I've never had the courage to do it. I might have had to have lived a different life to make my singing this possible. One day, I hope to be brave, or drunk, enough.