Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm Just Here For The Beer!

That's the saying on Layne's shirt, if you can't read it ... though I think it is large enough to be seen. This is the second to last strip for a bit, mostly because I'm getting married and will be on my honeymoon for two weeks.

If you're wondering what strip I'm talking about, you can check it out here: www.room19comics.com

I'm not in a writing mood tonight (I am absolutely exhausted), so I'm mostly going to let the artwork do the talking. There are a few things that I think that you should really take a look at though:

1. I think I did a good job of drawing Layne's expressions when it came to being
"wasted" in the first two panels and then his realization that he isn't fooling anyone in the last two. Everyone has had a friend who acted sort of wasted at parties to further the image that this is a "rocking good bash". It was always fun to bust that person.

2. Which leads me to my next point, look at the expressions on Eddie's face. He knows Layne isn't wasted and is bemused by the whole ruse ... especially after Layne gives him the "cool" line about boys counting and men drinking. I think in this instance, the one panel of silence works well. It builds up a bit of tension.

3. When I first decided to draw a comic strip about college life, one of the things that I worried about was drawing crowds. I knew that eventually I was going to have a party setting and wanted to convey the appearance that there were a lot of people at the party, but I didn't want to make it so detailed that it would take away from the main action of the piece.

I've used the silhouette mode before and I think it works quite well. Like all gatherings, each group of party goers in the background have their own little dramas going on. This was a lot of fun to draw and I think are more interesting than the main joke.

I think that the Layne character is going to be somewhat of a dopey party-animal type dude. Someone you would like to hang with, but not one of your closest friends. What you see is what you get.

Also, check out the new logo. I think it's pretty chill.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Same Old, Same New

As you can tell by now, Eddie and Kurt are back in the fold. Hanging at the bus stop and pontificating on the world like they normally do. I got some feedback on my last strip, September 14 that was a Random Memories and people said to keep going with it, because it has more heart than my Eddie strips.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. On one hand I have a bunch of dopey stories from my childhood that I can turn into strips, but I feel that's completely arrogant and has a sort of "Look at me and the funny things I do" quality to it. That's the one hurdle I have to get over. Plus, I think that the Eddie chronicles are pretty funny.

Are they always spot on? No, but I think that there is a certain pathos (Jesus, just say charm, Brainiac) to the characters that I am only scratching. In any event, I'm going to continue with the Eddie stuff and keep my Random Memories to a once every five week type of schedule.

BTW, if you're reading this in my Blog and have no clue what I'm talking about, go to www.room19comics.com and see what all the fuss is about.

This week's strip is a further continuation of old hockey logos on Eddie's shirt. The logo is from the long departed Minnesota North Stars. Good team, great sweaters, evil owner. He moved them to Dallas where there was rumor that they were going to be called the Lone Stars (not a bad name) but decided to stick with the lame Stars.

In any event, Eddie is lamenting to Kurt about a vision of beauty that he saw in his English class. Sort of biographical to me as there were a lot of nice looking chicks in my English class. And I would often tell my buddies about the new girl that I was digging that week.

Inevitably, they would ask me if asked her out or put the moves on her. Nine out of ten times the answer was no. While it was quite as pathetic as eddies, I just had no game in that kind of situation. In this strip, Kurt is playing a more aggressive role than he has in past strips. As he's the one that moves the strip along and brings out the ultimate punchline.

BTW, Kurt is wearing a Pearl Jam shirt that I thought would've looked cool around last year's elections. I designed it myself.

Also, you may have noticed the new logo on the top of the page. I think it's way snappier than the old logo and really brightens up the site a bit. I actually did two of them and the other one will be making its appearance next week. To find all of the "juicy dirt" on how it was made, check Monday's Blog entry, which is right under this one.

There's actually lots of good stuff in there about the Sox, my classes and something sort of embarrassing.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Broken Promises

I know that I was supposed to update the Blog on Thursday, but stuff got in the way and here it is Monday and you get to hear about my last TWO weekends. Aren’t you the lucky ducks? So, you can all stop emailing me about when I'm going to update the site (actually, I did get an email about the Blog, very happy about it). In any event, I’m going to do some quick bullet type things and if you don’t like something, go to the next bullet.

* Went to the Sox game on Thursday night with Ryan, Skaus and Eddie. Nick couldn’t go and Brownie was vacationing in North Carolina. Quick aside, Brownie supposedly was evacuated from his vacation house because it was getting hit hard by Hurricane Ophelia. This is the second year in a row that he’s gone to NC in the midst of hurricane season. Sure, it’s cheaper, but it’s fucking hurricane season. I don’t think this is good planning, but what do I know?

Anyway, the game sucked. It was a match-up of Curt Schilling and Athletics rookie Joe Blanton. Seems like a pretty easy win for the Sox, huh? I think you’re forgetting that the Sox can’t hit shit unless they’ve seen a pitcher a minimum of four times. After a 35 minute rain delay, Schilling got cuffed around in the first two innings until he settled down and pitched reasonably well.

Blanton, on the other hand, pitched pretty damn well from start to finish and the Sox lost 6-2. While this was going on, the Yankees were beating the crap out of the Devil Rays and cut the division lead to 1.5 games.

As far as losses go, this one was simply terrible. The defense sucked, the hitting sucked, Schilling sucked and the weather sucked. All in all, a crappy night at the ball park that was made less crappy by the fact that it was over quickly. We have one more game, a week from Saturday against the Yankees.

* Which brings me to my next point: as of right now, the Sox still hold a slim 1.5 game lead in the division (one game in the loss column). This was after a six game lead in August. How the hell did this happen? Seriously? The Sox were rolling along beating up everyone from the Devil Rays and Royals to the Angels and White Sox, then they hit September and everything falls apart.

There are a few reasons for their fall:

1. They’re in the midst of 30 games in 30 days. It doesn’t matter if you’re a baseball player, a fry cook or a CEO of a multi-million dollar company, working for 30 days in a row sucks and will sap you of your energy. It just will.

2. There are three guys that are hitting: Johnny Damon, David Ortiz and Tony Graffinino. And Ortiz hasn’t been just hitting, he’s been Christ-like in the way the he can bring this team back from the dead. If he doesn’t get the MVP this year, than something is seriously wrong. Manny looks like he’s back on track with a good weekend against the A’s, but Varitek, Trot, Mueller, Millar and Renteria look hopeless at the dish. Hopefully, this slump lasts for a game or two longer, anything over than that and this team is done in the playoffs, if they make it.

3. Injuries have begun to take a toll on this team. In the last week alone, Gabe Kapler, Kevin Youkilis and Wade Miller have been completely lost for the season. Granted Kapler and Youks are just back ups, but they make up the bulk of the Sox bench. Who would you rather see hit in a key situation, Gabe Kapler or Adam Hyzdu? Besides the pitching rotation, the biggest strength of the 2004 Red Sox was its bench. This year, they’re going with the best nine guys and riding them.

4. Matt Clement sucks. There. I said it. He’s won two games since the All-Star break, is in the midst of a three-game losing streak and during that time, his ERA is over 10.00. Yesterday he gave up seven runs in a little over an inning against Oakland. When it comes to crunch time pitching, he makes Matt Young look like Roger Clemens. He has to find his old form if the Sox are going to succeed. That’s the bottom line.

* All year I look forward to September Sundays so I can easily flip between the Sox and the Pats on those afternoons when they’re playing a double dip. Despite both of the teams playing, yesterday, was a crap day. The Sox game was over by the second inning and the Patriots couldn’t get out of their own way in Carolina. It’s going to be a long ride home as I listen to the radio and hear all of New England whine about their two favorite teams.

And can I just give Carolina a hearty “Fuck You”? I haven’t been swearing a lot in this Blog, but seriously, the Panthers have managed to really piss me off. Last week I picked them in my suicide pool against the New Orleans Saints at home. This is the same Saints team that hasn’t been at their homes in over a month and have been wandering around the country looking for a place to play and practice.

The Panthers have been the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year with an awesome defense, a tremendous offense and a great coach. So what do they do? They lay a huge egg and for the third time in four weeks, I’m out of the suicide pool in the first week. Let that be a lesson to me, gambling sucks.

* Speaking of me, last weekend was the old birthday weekend. Aly took me to an awesome steak house in Boston on Friday, Smith and Wolensky’s and then my parents took us to Jimmy’s Steer House on Sunday. My mother thought that an appropriate gift for her oldest son (31 years old, BTW) would be to buy him two sets of every day utensils. So I got four forks, two spoons and two knives. Whopeee for me. I really don’t care about presents that much, honestly I’m too old to give a shit, but I was a bit disappointed (no, too strong of a word, maybe dejected?) about this. Actually, I’m not sure how I feel, but I wasn’t really thrilled.

Even my grandmother said it was a shitty gift and my father felt so bad, he made my mom give me another gift.

* This weekend, we didn’t do too much, Friday we stuck around the house and Saturday we hung out with some of Aly’s friends. Sunday (I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I am) we had a dance lesson. To be honest, it wasn’t half bad. Aly and I went to Newton for this wedding crash course, where for two and a half hours they show you a couple of steps and a few other moves and you actually look pretty good.

There are a few things about the wedding that I’m nervous about, one of them is the first dance. I have zero coordination for these sort of things and during my life when I’m forced by a circumstance to dance, I just act really goofy and get through it. Unfortunately, this is one of those times where acting goofy isn’t going to cut it. The instructors were really nice, they showed us how to work together, how to lead, where to put my hands (they are NOT, as I was instructed in junior high, to be placed on the girl’s ass) and other crap.

All in all, not a bad way to warm up and now I’m not so freaked out about that.

* Aly’s dog Murphy passed away last Saturday, so it has been a pretty somber week at the Magrane house. Murphy was more than Aly’s pet, she was her best friend. When her brother went to college and her sister at school, Aly was all alone, so her parents got her a puppy. This dog and Aly became really close because for a while they were the only thing that each of them had.

Murphy just visited us in Brookline during the Labor Day weekend and was looking pretty good, so although she was 15, it was a bit of a surprise when she passed on. She was a great dog and a good friend. She will be missed.

* Two things about school, beginning in October, I’m taking two classes a week as my web design course start up. That should be a freaking blast as now I will have to go to school on Mondays and Tuesdays, get ready for the wedding, do my strip, work and find time to sleep. The one good thing is that at least I’ll be done with the course two months early.

The class that I’m in now is a design theory course and it’s pretty good. Very light on the computer, but heavy on theory. I love it, I enjoy talking about why a piece looks good and how it can be improved. Last week, our project was to design a logo for a company and I chose to design a few logos for If you go to the site now you can see one of them and in a few weeks I’ll be rotating the other one in. Both came out really well and I had a focus group to show my ideas.

* The last thing that I’m going to talk about is television, this fall looks like a banner year for the boob tube as a bunch of shows are coming on that I’m going to be watching and TiVoing. You should check them out: www.room19comics.com

Sunday night is going to be awesome with “the Simpsons”, “Family Guy”, “Rome” (on HBO) and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Monday is going to be killer as “Arrested Development” moves from Sunday to there. Hopefully that show will find an audience there.

There’s a few more other shows that I will be catching regularly, the Jason Lee show, “My Name is Earl” (I think that’s what its called), “The Office”, “Survivor”, “Everyone Hates Chris” and maybe I’ll try to get into “Scrubs” and “Lost”. So the 2005 fall TV season looks like it’s going to be a winner, and with the usual stuff that I watch and the Sox and the Pats … the old TiVo is going to be filled with stuff.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Three Stages of Byron (in pictures)

Yup, I posted another random memories. This one is more of an observation, rather than a joke. That's what these sort of strips are for, mostly observations of things that I noticed as I grew up. Whether they make you laugh or make you think, or both or neither, it's mostly something that I just have to get of my chest.

Don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about? Click here www.room19comics.com and see what all the cool kids are talking about these days.

I like Eddie and the guys, but every five or six weeks, I need a break from him. In these instances, I journey back to when I was a kid and illustrate my thoughts. Though the names of the shows have been changed, the fact remains, each year summer got shorter and shorter. It had nothing to do with the weather, global warming (which should've made it longer) or changes in the calendar. It was the quest for the almighty buck.

When the department stores started advertising their "Back-to-School" wares, I wanted to throw my sneaker through the TV. And those bastards would push the sales up a week earlier every year. When I was young, it would start around the end of August. As I grew a bit older, they'd move it to mid-August and while they haven't been so brazen to do it around the Fourth of July, that day will come.

When drawing a comic, it's sort of hard to show aging (of just ten years)in the drawing of the character. I mean, it can be hard ... especially when you have him or her in a seditary position. Normally, you can make the person taller, more developed, etc. But here, I was in a bit of a pickle, because all I was doing was watching TV. Height, development and other tricks of the trade aren't as applicable.

So, I had to do the next best thing ... I had to change the environment. This also distinguishes this strip from the latest Garfield.

In the first panel, I'm playing with Star Wars figures, the TV gigantic (we actually had a TV like this and was one of the last sets around that were actual pieces of furniture), there's an Atari on the TV and there's the typical bowl haircut. Plus the zeitgeist hosting the show is the popular dude of the day, Gary Coleman.

In the second panel, everything is different: He-Man is the toy, the TV is a bit smaller, there's a Colecovision under the TV and I have a spiky mullet. I couldn't think of a really interesting star to host the show, so I thought of the funniest person. Good old Jackee Harvey. You might remember her as the sassy upstairs neighbor from "227". Just writing that line made me laugh.

By the way, and I don't mean to pat myself on the back, but I really think I did a good job on the jams and the OP shirt in this panel. Especially the shorts. I own a pair like that now, but I thought it fits the whole 1987 vibe I had going there.

In the last panel, I had to keep the pattern going, even though realistically, I didn't collect baseball cards at the time. I did have the Nintendo Entertainment System and I tried to grow a high top fade. Too bad, no one told me that I was white as hell with a misshapen head and already receding hairline. And I grabbed the star of stars in the early 90s ... Jaleel "Steve Urkel" White.

If you were wondering what shirt I was wearing in this panel, it's a 1992 USA Olympic team Michael Jordan shirt. The Dream Team was the best thing that I'd ever seen. Just awesome games, pure dominance. Even though Christian Laetner was on it instead of Shaq or Isiah Thomas, there will never be another team like that, ever. It was the perfect team (11 of those guys were part of the 50 best NBA players of all time) at the perfect time (basketball was becoming the king team sport). It was probably all down hill from there, but what a mountain top. Just stunning.

I added the tag line at the bottom because I thought that the strip needed it. Does it? I'm not sure. I bet it could stand on it's own, but the final tag line is sort of my kiss off to the advertising powers that be. Yes, it's not very forceful, but it does serve it's purpose.

On Thursday, I plan on writing a pretty lengthy Blog entry, so come on back for that. Some interesting crap has happened in the last few weeks.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

A New Character Arrives

First off, I'm not feeling too well, so this is probably going to be a very short entry. But there's a new member of the gang to go along with Eddie and Kurt. He's the guy with the spikey hair and his name is Layne. And yes, there is a pattern emerging with the character names.

If you have no idea what the heck I'm talking about, go to www.room19comics.com and you can meet the new character, as well as get reacquainted with the old.

Today's strip has the boys chilling out at a bar watching Thursday's big game between the Patriots and the Raiders. I really think I led with my best foot in this strip as the first panel is very strong. The characters are leaning back a little bit to show their emotions and I like Kurt's fist pump.

The second panel is ok, but I think when taken together it shows how football can bring a person to dizzying highs and tragic lows. Check out the dude at the bar with his head down. I don't think I got all of it, but from high fiving in the first panel to his head down in the second ... that's the NFL experience right there.

The third panel makes me laugh a bit because of the facial of the three characters. I know I haven't drawn Kurt pissed off yet (also this is the first time he's been facing the right side of the page) and I don't think I've drawn Eddie mad yet either. So this was a first for both.

Also, Layne's experession is pretty good. I modeled him after a certain picture that's been floating around the Internet of yours truly. I'll show you what it looks like sometime if you have the inclanation. I don't think that Layne actually needs to be saying "What?" in this panel, but I think that is something this particular character would say in this situation.

The final panel is a weak explanation by Layne and two storm clouds over the heads of Eddie and Kurt.

The one thing that I like about this strip is that only one person talks, but there's a lot being said. Yes, my arm hurts from patting myself on the back, but what can I say? =)

Ok, I'm going to bed now ... I feel like dog crap.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Those of you that haven't been reading 19Thoughts for very long may be surprised to realize that I actually have an underwater correspondent. Actually, he's a famous underwater correspondent. Everyone knows him, but let me start off with an actual email I received from the guy (there is some salty language here, which is appropriate, because he lives under the sea):

Dear Ass-Face:

Now that you're "drawing" crappy cartoons about douchebags, all of a sudden you're too important to answer my emails, faxes and phone calls? Well, screw you pal, I've got a million better things to do with my time than to waste my time on the owner of third-rate Blog. Consider this the last correspondence that I'll ever send you, unless you let me write a column. Up yours.

Yours in Christ,


With such a forceful message like that, how could I ignore the guy? Plus, it's nice to have a celebrity around, it really classes the place up. So without further adieu, I present Aquaman and his Summer Tale. (BTW stick around for my latest book review.)

Thanks cockpunch, I'm serious about this though ... you better give me my forum or you're going to get your balls ripped off by a tuna. Hey everyone, wow what a summer, huh? I did a lot of cool stuff and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

As you can tell from the above picture, I spent most of the early part of the season working on my pitching form. My agent thought that she heard that the Red Sox were looking for a submariner for their bullpen, but they ended up getting these two scrubs:

Look at that those two jerks, they couldn't get anyone out ... it's obvious that they throw like chicks. Yeah, I said it, chicks. Women. Dames. Broads. Anyway you slice it, Aquaman could throw better than those two jerks. And I can prove it, for most of June I spent at least 20 minutes every day throwing to Tusky, Aqualad and my wife Mera nothing but heat.

And guess what, none of them got a hit off me ... well, that's not true, Mera hit a lot of dingers off me, but she was always wasted, so that really shouldn't count. Anyway, I had my heater all ready to go, but no one ever called. You figure that the Marlins or the Mariners would call, I'm a nautical dude and all, but they didn't. I don't care, they can all rot in hell. Baseball sucks.

After my major league dreams died, I started to focus on more important things, like drinking. I don't know why, I just enjoy doing it, so stay the fuck out of my face. Sorry, I didn't mean that ... sometimes when I have a few too many Fuzzy Navels, my dander gets up. Where was I? Oh yeah, drinking.

Even though we live in Atlantis and have been independent forever, we still have the fourth of July. Sure, no one except me celebrates it, but we still have it. I woke up early that morning and started to get my drinking groove on. I invited the guys (Aqualad and Tusky) over and they brought over a case of Zimas.

I don't drink that fag shit, so I walked to the store and picked up some Fuzz-ay Navel (that's what I call it) mix and some booze. On the way over, I picked up some fireworks, I'm talking a buttload of them. We were going to have some fun and really celebrate the Fourth of July correctly.

The Fuzzy Navels were going down smoothly, as were the Zimas and after about 15 minutes we were all properly oiled up and I pulled out my stash. I aimed a bottle rocket at Tusky, and he completely freaked out! Even though we were miles beneath the ocean, I was able to light it and it shot right at him. Being a walrus, he has great reflexes and just missed him, but guess who it hit? That's right Aqualad, right in the eye! Literally, a bullseye!

I've got game, man ... way better than Green Arrow. For the next 45 minutes, I shot bottle rockets, Roman candles at them as well as throwing sparklers. Instead of leaving, these two dudes stuck around and took it like men. That gets all of Aquaman's respect. Much respect to those two guys, but I still shot fireworks at them until they were bloody or until I passed out. I can't remember what happened next.

For a few weeks, I was really bored and nothing was going on at the Hall of Justice, so I was pulling some of my trademark Aquaman Punks with the surface dwellers. I have a couple of fish buddies that happen to be sharks, so what I did was telepathically tell them that there was a lot of fat tourists off the waters of Florida. Well, you don't have to tell these guys that twice and they were up there two or three days a week for the next three weeks.

Apparently they got a couple of kids and it was on the news for a little while ... the story du jour, if you will. I'm not sure if I spelled that word correctly, I'm not good with Romanian words. So, that sea disaster was all my doing. But, it was wicked funny, so you have to give me a pass.

Towards the end of August, I thought it would be a riot to ruin a major American metropolis, so I chose ... no, not New Orleans, what are you on crack, but Pierre, South Dakota. Unfortunately, that city was a bit more landlocked than I remembered, so not much happened. I think a couple of toilets backed up, but that's enough for old AM. You should've seen the people who owned that house though. They had to buy a plunger and everything!

You've been PUNKED! My friend ... say adios to your $5. Again, I'm not sure if I spelled that foreign word right. Romanian ain't my bag, but that's how the kids of today talk. I wish everyone would just talk American.

Well, that's enough from me today. I'm going to think up some more maritime pranks. Until then, go eat a shit stapler.

Thanks, Aquaman for that fine report on all of your summer hijinks. Speaking of hijinks, I finally read Mark Twain's "Pudd'nhead Wilson" last week. I was originally supposed to read this for one of my college courses, but I blew it off and only read the first 30 pages.

That was a pretty stupid move on my part because this was a really interesting book, probably one of the better books that I was supposed to read. As usual, Twain does a great job of setting the scene and painting the picture of a small town on the Mississippi River and the events of a few weeks that changed the began with a pretty innocuous event that eventually changed the lives of the entire town.

The Reader's Digest version is that a slave freaks out and thinks that her master is going to sell her down the river, so she decides that if this happens to her, that's cool, but it's not going to happen to her newborn son ... who also happens to be the same age and looks a bit like the newborn of her master. She switches the kids and the kid who is supposed to be white eventually becomes a slave and the black kid (Tom Driscoll) lives the prevailed life.

Twenty years pass and the black kid has become somewhat of a prick, as he has a gambling problem which causes him to burglar homes from neighborhood towns. As this crime spree happens, two Italian twins come into town, which instantly makes them celebrities. One of the twins ends up kicking Driscoll in the ass, which pisses him off. But since he's a wuss, he won't fight the Italian twin. So his uncle, who is now Tom's guardian because his "father" died earlier, takes it upon himself to defend the family honor.

He ends up wounding the Italian and all is forgotten. In the mean time, Tom ends up gambling more than he should and to pay his debtors he tries to rob his uncle, but ends up killing him. The twins happen to be there and they get framed for the murder. Pudd'nhead Wilson (who was named that because he said something stupid the first day he came to town) has to defend the twins in court and it all works out at the end.

There's a ton more detail in this story, and it's a pretty decent story. Mark Twain really understands both the common man and the clever man, as well as the thoughts of a scoundrel and a righteous person. Each character may be an archetype, but the way that he writes each character and he moves the plot along is flawless. While not on par with his masterpiece, "The Adventures of Huck Finn", this is truly a lost classic that is a breezy and fun read.

Also included in this book is a story called "Those Extraordinary Twins" that Twain said was buried in the Pudd'nhead Wilson book. He wrote that he had to extract this story from the book in order to make both of them better. TET was based on the Italian Twins who come to town in Pudd'nhead Wilson, but they were Siamese twins.

It's a very cool read on the dichotomy of two completely different people living in the same body and how they handle it.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Wedding crap and other stuff

Everyone told me it was a chore, but I didn’t listen.

“It will be different for me,” I said. They just smiled.

“You will be glad when this whole this over,” they warned. I didn’t believe.

Now I believe.

Planning for a wedding just sucks. Here’s the deal, I don’t have to make plans for much of the day, but it still stinks. As Rick Pitino once opined, “It stinks and it sucks.” The minutia of the details are enough to make the guy from “A Beautiful Mind” take a step back and say, “Jesus, calm down a bit.”

I mistakenly thought that the hard part were the big parts: the church, the reception hall, the band, what we are going to eat. Man, was I wrong. The hard parts are the little things, the stuff that shouldn’t make much of a difference, but do. To whom, I have no idea. But they matter.

It’s easy to say that the blame falls on the shoulders of the usual suspects: me or Aly or my parents or Aly’s parents, but that’s not the truth. The truth is that there is some unseen gremlin that gets inside everyone’s head and just rips their logic circuits out. Things that shouldn’t be a huge deal become monster deals. Simple chores, like picking out song listings or finding a babysitter become Herculean tasks.

And then you find out so much about the people you invite: one person is bringing a guest even though she wasn’t invited with one, close friends say no (which is cool) or just don’t return their invites (not cool), one person even asked if there was another menu choice … even though we’re offering three different dishes. It never ends.

The one piece of veteran advice that I am listening to is to picture myself on a beach in Hawaii in mid-October: seas quietly crashing on the beach, a warm air goes by, a cold beer is in my hand and the horizon runs for ever. That’s the tranquility that has been getting me through these long dog days.

The one good thing is that I’m only doing this once … maybe twice. (Just a joke)

* The destruction in New Orleans is so vast that two of our big conferences have been cancelled. The National Association of Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) and the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) both axed their shows yesterday. While I’m indifferent to AAHAM, I’m actually really pumped about NAHQ because this was a gigantic show and has been causing me a lot of sleepless nights.

Down in the Big Easy, water is rising to an unprecedented level. The entire city is under Marshall Law and people are looting like crazy. It’s unlike anything that I have ever seen. The streets have turned into river ways, people are standing on their roofs hoping to get the attention of rescuers, other people are breaking into nursing homes and hospitals looking for drugs and food.

This tragedy has brought out the best and worst in folks. People from around the country are helping as best they can with their time, their money, even their blood. Some of the people in the city are not doing themselves very proud with the looting though.

It’s easy for me to be in Boston and wag my finger and say, “Looting is wrong, eat your own food and medicine.” The fact is this, they don’t have their own food and medicine. Everything has been washed out to sea. I understand that and do not hold it against the folks that legitimately need food and medicine, but the people who are stealing guns, electronics, video games … these are the people that aren’t wrapping themselves in glory or pity.

In 2001 when the twin towers were struck, people banded together, they didn’t lash out and loot. Where is that spirit?

* I’ve been getting a lot of compliments for my last strip and I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been reading along. I reread my first Blog entry done on the day that I put up my first strip. In it I asked for readers to be patient, I will get better and better as the weeks go by and I think that I have. Sure there are a few bumps here and there, but I’m glad that you all have stuck with me. Thank you.

* Next Friday is my birthday. I’m going to be 31-years-old. I don’t know how I feel about it, I guess I’m just ambivalent about the day. It’s going to come and when it does, big deal. It’s not like time is going to stop and I’m going to be 30 forever and that’s ok. I don’t want to be this age for the rest of my life.

At one point I wanted to forever live in my late teens and early 20s. I raged against aging and it was a useless battle. But after thinking about why I was so mad about growing up I realized that I wasn’t pissed at getting old, I was pissed at getting responsibilities. I have since learned that this isn’t the worst thing in the world.

* The one thing that I’ve always loved about my birthday is that we’re getting into the fall season for television. Monday September 19th begins the new season of “Arrested Development” and I can’t wait. During August FOX ran three mini marathons on consecutive Fridays and I TiVoed them all.

Since FOX isn’t big on reruns, I forgot how funny all of these shows were. They were tremendous. I can’t wait until the next season starts. Charlize Theron is going to be guest starring in five episodes. If that isn’t a reason to watch, then I don’t know what is.

Also starting up in September is a new season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. I think that the last time a new episode was on was back in March 2004. That’s 18 months. Though it was once my favorite, AD has taken over. But a solid number two show.
Add that to the new seasons of “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy”, plus the Patriots and the Sox and it’s going to be a very busy month.

This weekend, probably on Sunday I’m going to try and post a new Aquaman Blog. He’s been bugging me lately, so I figured I’d give him his say. Peace.