Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Invite Me to a Party for Minty-Fresh Breath

Yes. This week’s cartoon is a true story. If you know me at all, you’re probably aware that I’m a passive guy and I try not to let things bug me too much. However, if I get angry enough or feel that I’ve been wronged in some way, and I feel motivated (big part of the equation), I do a pretty good job of getting people back.

Anyhow, by the time I was midway through my sophomore year in college, I was pretty much done with the whole fraternity scene. For the most part, the dudes that joined these things were complete dorks and while the parties were ok, there was always an underlying tension between the guys in the frat and the guys who weren’t in the fraternity. Full disclosure, I can’t really blame them. I used to hate it when we’d have bashes and random dudes would show up unannounced drink our beers and go for our women.

The difference is, we never used to advertise our fiestas, while these clowns usually did. In order to get a majority of the guys out of their house, they would often call the cops on themselves and the police would send everyone home. A half hour later, a select group would come back (mostly chicks) and they would spend the rest of the night drinking. Oh yeah, I forgot the most important thing, we had to pay to get in the place. So essentially, we were paying $10 a cup for three beers and an hour’s worth of “fun”.

Not all of the fraternities did that, but there was one that pulled this trick on a regular basis. After about three straight weeks, I got fed up and pulled the trick that I depicted in my strip.

Want to see the strip? Check it out here at: www.room19comics.com

Ninety nine times out of one hundred, I wouldn’t have the balls to pull this off, but I was a bit tipsy, but not too wasted, so I tried it. I’m not even sure where I got the idea from, maybe from the urban legend about the honeymoon couple who went away and had all of their shit stolen except their toothbrush and their cameras. After the vacation they got their pictures developed and found that the thieves had shoved the toothbrushes up their asses and took pictures of it. I wasn’t about to shove a tooth brush up the butt, but I could do the next best thing.

I’ve never checked a locked door so much in my life. You’ve been to enough parties to know that a bathroom door is never safe, no matter if it’s locked or not. With one eye on the toilet and another glued to the entrance, I grabbed the brushes off of the sink and left them under my yellow stream. After I was done pissing, I dunked both brushes in the toilet for good measure and actually scrubbed a bit of the porcelain.

When I left the bathroom, I made sure to cover my tracks and put the brushes back exactly where they were when I originally found them. One of the brothers was pissed that I was still in the house (he probably forgot that I asked to take a leak) and told me to get lost. I just smiled and told him thanks for letting me come to your party.

Of all of the things that I’ve ever done, this was the meanest and most satisfying. As Eddie Haskell once said, “Nothing is mean if it’s funny enough” and laughed the entire way back to school. My friends were asking me what was so funny and I managed to tell them and I think that they thought it was funny too, but probably not as much as I did.

There aren’t many opportunities in life where you get to be a dick and be proud of it. Did I overreact? Shit yeah. In the long run, it was their party, they could invite whom they wanted and can kick out who they don’t want there. But at the time, I thought that a huge injustice had been foisted upon me and my brethren and wanted to strike back at the yoke of opposition. Did it work? Who knows, but all I know is that it made me feel better.

BTW the letters on the frat guy's chest isn't from a real fraternity at Merrimack College. They actually stand for DIK or dick, get it? It's a shout out to "Can't Hardly Wait" and is the frat that Jerry O'Connell belongs to. So, I am very unoriginal.

Yesterday wasn’t the best day at this address, it wasn’t one gigantic thing that made it crappy, but a bunch of stuff that combined together made up for a less-than-fun 24 hours. BTW, if you don’t want to read a bunch of random bitching then you can skip this part of the Blog. It’s just a lot of wah-wah-wahing and “feel bad for me” bullshit.

It all started back on January 8 of this year, Aly and I were driving down Route 9 to see about some furniture when a cop in Wellesley pulled me over. He was standing in front of the fire station on Route 9 and I was stopped at a red light. I knew exactly why he did so, I had an inspection sticker that expired at the end of December and he was being a ball-buster.

I figured I’d get a $25 fine, or at best a warning, but he hit me with a $50 citation. I was beyond bullshit, and the guy was a real fucking dick about it too. I decided that I’d fight the ticket and maybe see if I could get the fine knocked down or something. Well, yesterday was my day in court. I had to be in Dedham at 10:30 for a hearing in front of a judge, I wish I could remember the guy’s name because he was a dick too.

He gave me a half a minute to explain my side of the story, which I did. Then he said that I have a “serious” problem with inspection stickers and I asked what he was talking about. He pointed to a ticket I got in 2000 and a warning that I received in 2004. I have no idea what the 2000 one was for, but the 2004 one was one in which I was in Aly’s car. It happened in Brookline and like I said, I was given a warning.

The judge said, “They may go easy on you in Brookline, but not here. Fine stands.” Didn’t even give me a chance to explain. I was in and out of there in less than two minutes. Thanks, dickhead. Really. The reason why Brookline gives out warnings is because they actually have things that go on in their city. The only thing that Wellesley cops do is give out tickets and slam black guys to the ground as a way of making sure that they aren’t bank robbers.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about do a Google search for former Celtics star Dee Brown and Wellesley. Great little town you have there. Big fuck you to them.

The other sucky thing that happened yesterday is while I was paying my bills in the morning I happen to notice that the restaurant we went to for Roy’s birthday on Saturday, Pane E Vino in Providence, charged me $300 for the dinner. The meal did cost $300, but I only put $120 on my card and the remainder was paid in cash.

I called the restaurant, but it wasn’t open yet, so the manager called me in the afternoon. She apologized for the mix-up, but said there was nothing that she could do. I was like, “What do you mean?” She told me that that is just the way things go in the restaurant biz and that I should see an adjustment in two to five days. I said, “What?”

She then said that the waitress messed up. Then she said I only put down $249, which was completely wrong. Just totally wrong. Then she came up with another excuse, this literally all happened within two minutes. Personally, I think that she was just throwing excuses at me and hoping that I’d let her off the hook. Unfortunately, $180 is $180 and I don’t have the extra scratch to throw around.

I told her that if I didn’t see a change on my statement by Wednesday, I’m disputing the bill. This pissed her off a bit, but you know what who cares? I have the customer receipt and it says $120 on the sheet. I have no idea where our waitress got $300 from, especially after there were nine $20 bills in the little after-dinner binder they give you. Even if she did completely fuck up, how come I was given a bill for $120? If she wasn’t trying to screw us, wouldn’t common sense tell you that you were not going to get a $180 tip on a $300 meal?

Seriously? What the fuck is wrong with people now a days? Everyone is always looking to pull a fast one and if you call them on it, they get pissed. Now add this with the new microwave we bought on Saturday that when I pulled it out of the box on Sunday, it looked as if someone hit the thing with a sledge hammer, me losing my student ID and getting the proofs back from our wedding album (the photographer, who has been moving about on this as fast a snail on valium, completely decided to do the opposite of what we are paying him to do.) and yesterday pretty much fucking blew.

Oh yeah, “Arrested Development” is officially cancelled. That was the cherry on top of the shit sundae that was March 27, 2006. RIP AD

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Popping Off About Television

Here's a special edition of the Pop Culture report. Why is it a special edition, because I'm doing it on a Sunday. For the next two weeks, I'm going to write a bit about the prime time shows that I watch religiously. And since, we're talking about religion, let's start on Sunday nights.

Like most people my age, I begin the TV week with an old-standby, the Simpsons. Now in it's 17th season, the Simpsons have been on television since 1989. Nineteen fucking eighty-nine. Think about that for a second. There are a generation of kids in high school who have never known a time where new episodes of the Simpsons weren't on. I was a sophomore at Amesbury High School in 1989. I couldn't drive a car, I never had a sip of booze, sex? that was something that adults had. So much shit has happened to every person since 1989.

But the one consistent is that the Simpsons keep rolling on and on and on and on. Year in and year out, they keep producing episodes. Are they still the best show on television? No, if you do something for 17 years, you're going to ebb and flow. That's just the way things go. For a fan to even try and hold them to the seasons 3-8 is completely insane. That was pinnacle television. The satire was sharp, the plots were both plausible and interesting, the character development was second to none.

Now, well, things are a bit slower. They aren't as bad as it used to be and I think that, aside from the beaten to death episodes where Homer takes a different job or Homer and Marge's marriage is in trouble, the show is experiencing a renaissance. The last two weeks, the writing has been top notch and things aren't happening just to happen. What does that mean? Well, the writers aren't just throwing shit against the wall and hoping that it will stick. It seems that each episode is more thought out as to how it will affect the Simpsons lore.

Tonight's episode, the BBC Office creator, Ricky Gervais has crafted an episode, so it should be a sarcastically biting episode. This is one that I am really looking forward to.

At 8:30, I watch nothing. FOX has the dreadful, "The War at Home" which is like a dumbed-down version of "Married ... With Children". And while I used to really enjoy MWC, it wasn't exactly the Algonquin Round Table. Usually I just flip around for the half hour or watch part of a game. Beginning next week, Sunday Night Baseball is back, so that will be cool ... although that means Joe Morgan also comes back.

Why can't there be Death Cage matches between announcers. Would anyone be pissed if Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver fought to the death? How would anyone lose in that?

Anyway, at 9:00 I watch "The Sopranos". This is the first season that I've actually watched the show, which begs the question, "What rock have you been hiding under?" Actually, I watched the first two episodes when it first came on, thought that no one would ever watch the series (because it was so slow) and dropped it. Of course, it completely blows up and I'm on the outside looking in as Soprano mania runs wild.

Aly is a die-hard though and has gotten me into it and I have to say, it is a decent show. Very well written and as one blogger put it this week, "(the show) is more about words than about guns." Last week's episode seemed to plod along, but there was definitely a few layers to the hour that you don't get in most television shows. And the weird thing was, even though I am not familiar with the intracies of the characters, I was thinking about the episode all week. Just trying to figure out what Tony's dream meant, whether any of his guys are going to make a power play, what's going to happen with Uncle Junior.

There aren't many shows on television where you can do that.

And the last show I watch on Sundays, and it's because it's usually TiVoed is "The Family Guy". I have to admit, this show grew on me. A lot of people, namely most of "the Simpsons", "Ren and Stimpy" and "South Park" writers, hate this show because they feel it's lazy television. And to be honest, they're correct. Creator Seth MacFarlane seems to create a rudimentary plot around short sequences that usually have nothing to do with the story. The other shows actually construct plots that have a traditional beginning, middle and end.

In other words, you can walk into a Family Guy episode not seeing the first 10 minutes and being ok with the last 20. Not so on the other shows listed above. Does that make for lazy writing? I'm not sure. But it makes it easier. If you have 15 good ideas that don't need to have a common thread, that's a bit less tougher than having the same 15 good ideas and trying to weave them through a plot and making each of those ideas relevant to the story at hand.

Keeping on this idea, I've noticed that a majority of people, when talking about FG cite scenes as their favorites. On other shows, it's usuaally the episode.

That being said, it's still a pretty damn funny show no matter how they write or produce the show. Yes, it's different, but that doesn't necessarily make it bad. Peter is an obvious copy of Homer Simpson, except much dumber, but in my view he's not the star of the show. Most shows are based around him, but the rest of his family, notably Stewie and Bryan have the better lines and better subplots. Not coincidentally, they are the most fleshed out and strongest characters.

One note, it has been cancelled twice, hopefully FOX won't make that mistake again.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Presenting the STARfish of the show … Aquaman!

We interrupt the normal flow of 19 Thoughts to bring you a very important message from our exiled King of the Deep, Aquaman. BTW, if you’re looking for the article about this week’s strip, it’s under this one and if you’re looking for the pop culture article, it won’t be up until Sunday.

For fuck’s sake, it’s been a long-ass time since I last spoke to all y’all, but the twerp that runs this site has kept me on a very short leash. Each week, I write out a brand new Blog entry and each week that jerkoff doesn’t put it on his precious site. Something about “too many curses” and “no sentence or paragraph or entry structure”.


What I have to tell you guys today is way more important than any beef I have with a mouthbreather like Magrane. I was just “surfing” (get it?) the Internet the other day and I “found” a tidbit of information that surprised me and will shock the shit out of your bowels. Guess who the WB (or CW or whatever they’re calling it these days) is making a TV show about?

ME! That’s right. The King of the Deep is about to become the King of the Silver Screen.

You can check out the announcement in Variety right here:


I am so pumped up, I can hardly breathe, which is good because I’m underwater as I type this. But, can you believe it? I’m going to be a TV star. I wonder if they want me to do all of the acting? I can act you know as I’ve had at least three different cartoons on television already.

And I do a perfect James Cagney … mostly because I call everyone a “Mug”, just like Cagney. Check it out, “Yeah … yeah. See hear you mugs, I’m in charge of this city now. Yeah. Yeah.” Perfect. Just perfect.

I wonder if they contacted my agent? They had to have, right? I mean, I checked when they wrote this story and it was in November of last year. So the phone should be ringing off da hook (that’s how they talk in California, which is where Hollywood is). Check out this part of the article:

“As with "Smallville," their successful reinvention of the "Superman" saga, producers Al Gough and Miles Millar plan to focus on character rather than cheese. (The show) won't be called "Aquaman" -- indeed, the "A" word won't even be mentioned -- and Curry "won't be talking to fish or riding a seahorse," Gough said.”

For all you that don’t know, Arthur Curry is my surface name, Aquaman is my real name. I wonder what they’re talking about the “A” word. I bet it means assface or asshole or something. I say those words a lot, but if I’m going to be on TV, I won’t be able to. Standards and practices (not to mention the FCC) is something that I have to get used to!

And I’m glad that they’re going to focus on characters and not cheese. Maybe I can see if Aqualad and Tusky, my trusty walrus buddy, will be able to join the show. As much shit as I give these two clowns, they could use some extra cash. As long as they realize that I’m the show, not them. Maybe I can see if they can hangout in the background. That seems like a cool thing to do.

The one thing I don’t like is the not riding of seahorses or talking to fish. For one thing, fish are about the smartest creatures in the world. You know why? Because they’re always in school! Ha! I hope they let me do some jokes on the show like that. I am really fucking funny, especially when I’m drinking. Drunk or sober though, I bet that I’ll get some awesome bad guys to fight. Like tuna poachers or Black Manta or dudes that swim less than an hour after eating.

This is going to be the tits. Speaking of which, can you imagine all of the tail I’ll pull? Dude, when the Flash had his own shitty show on CBS in the early 90s, he used to get a ton of the poon. I mean, he was swimming in it, but the problem is he’s not called the Flash because he can run fast. There was a line of chicks a mile long who were disappointed in Wally West.

Good thing that the Big A knows how to treat the ladies. I know what you’re thinking, “Aquaman, you’re already super hot looking and have a wife, what’s up with her?” First off, thanks for thinking of that and second, Mera is just going to have to understand that whatever happens in Hollywood is done to further my career. You wouldn’t believe how many chicks there are out there and I figure if I nail enough of them, at least one of them has to be a head of a studio somewhere.

The Big Picture, amigos, keep your eyes on the prize.

And don’t worry true-believers, I am going to be bringing you all with me on this little adventure? How? I will send a shout out in secret code every week to this little forum. Maybe I’ll talk about the 19 girls that I had sex with or the 19 times that I won the ultimate jackpot in Vegas. Who knows, but when you hear the number 19, remember, I’m thinking of you.

Ok, I gotta go, I’ll have my people call your people (another Hollywoodism) and hopefully I can come back to this place and write a bit more. Until then, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the STARS, fish that is!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ooooooh Dream (Sequence) Weaver …

Who says that I don’t go all out for my readers? Saturday, as I was plotting out this week’s strip the second panel was a typical, boring panel of Layne explaining to Eddie about his dream. I looked at it, thought that it was rubbish and erased the entire thing and replaced it with a first at Room 19 Comics … a dream sequence.

You can tell that it’s a dream sequence by the funky outline where the box should be and also the little bubbles that are in the corners. I thought that if anyone deserved a dream sequence of big breasted women, it’s you … the dear reader of Room 19 Comics. So there you go, don’t say that I never gave you anything.

You want to see cartoons of big boobed woman? Check it out here, my friend at:

This strip actually is grounded in something that happened to me last week. If you’re a regular reader of my Blog (and shame on you if you’re not, especially considering that I’m updating it a guaranteed TWICE every week) you would know that last week I was a traveling man. Monday I was in DC and Wednesday I was in New York City. For some reason, I had a rotten night of sleep on Wednesday night, but I had some very lucid dreams.

One of which was about how I drew the greatest comic strip that has ever been drawn. In my dream it propelled me to fame and fortune and countless people were telling me how great it is. For some reason, I realized that this was a dream (maybe it’s because of all of the wealth that I got from a web comic), but I told myself to write down the strip as soon as I woke up, so I wouldn’t forget. The problem was that I woke up at 4:00 am and I had no idea where the pen and pad was. I convinced myself that I’d remember and fell back to sleep.

Problem was, when I woke up, the only thing that I remembered was a general description of the dream, but not the specifics. I spent a good 15 or 20 minutes in bed trying valiantly to remember the dream, but it wouldn’t come back to me. Eventually, I gave up and took a shower, but since then every once in a while I’ll try to recall it. I think I’m SOL on this one though.

So instead of the greatest comic strip ever, you get a story about forgetting the greatest pick up line ever. That sort of evens out, eh? And you get to see your old buddy Layne, who has been sort of MIA in the past few months. Like I say every time I draw him, I love this character. To me, he’s better than Eddie and Kurt, because he’s very inhibited and does what he feels. I feel free when I write for him, because he’s a goof ball, but a good-natured one.

That being said, I can see why Eddie gets pissed at him in the last panel. Aside from my riveting yarn that I just spun about my dream, don’t you hate it when people tell you about their dreams? Most of the time they don’t make sense and you have no idea whether their motivations for telling you this story is to just tell you or they want you to analyze their nighttime insanities. When you do put on your Freudian hat, more likely than not, they begin to get pissed; “No. Just because I had a dream where I took a leak on my mother, does not mean that I have issues with her … I just had to pee really bad, can’t you see that?”

Or if you say nothing, they say, “Well, what do you think?” and you’re back to that last paragraph. I guess if you’re going to tell someone about a dream you had, you better have a point, which is what Eddie thought that Layne had. If you don’t, be prepared for a bitter dis.

I’m running out of old-school logos that have resonated with me, so I had to use that lame Cleveland Indian one from the 70s. You remember those uniforms, they were freaking terrible. Check it out here:

Boog Powell said that he felt like a giant blood clot in them. So, today I am honoring those shitty Indians teams of the 70s. You may have had a couple of stars; Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, a young Dennis Eckersley and Rick Manning, but your uniforms sucked and so didn’t most of your teams.

Speaking of sucking, I’m not too wild about Layne’s final statement. I mean it’s ok, and I wanted to take the sting out of Eddie’s insult, mostly because I don’t want to portray him as a dick, but Layne sort of sounds like a wimp here. That’s not what I wanted. Next time I’ll know to leave well enough alone.

BTW, if you have any ideas on what old-school logos I should use next, email me at byronm19@yahoo.com

The one wise ass remark I liked was Eddie’s calling Layne, Martin Luther. Since a lot of people still don’t know the characters’ names, I made sure that the chicks were calling him Layne in the next panel. Hopefully, people won’t be confused.

BTW, the Sox traded Bronson Arroyo to the Reds for Wily Mo Pena. I think that this is a terrific deal for a number of reasons, one the guy is a young stud (he’s 24) and he hits absolute bombs. According to some numbers that I’ve looked up in his last 650 at bats, he has 45 dingers. In the same number of abs, Manny has 45 homers and Ortiz has 47. I’m not saying that he’s going to be the next Manny Ortiz, but a right handed slugger coming into his prime—in Fenway—is not the worst thing in the world.

But this being Boston, the talk radio shows are already in a lather about losing Arroyo. Listen, I like Arroyo, he was one of the 24, yadda, yadda, yadda. But the fact is, he’s no more than a number three guy at the very best and this year he was going to be a swing man. He’s also older than most people think (he’s 29) and despite Curt Schilling telling everyone that he has “nuts the size of Saturn”, I think we’ve seen the absolute best of him.

The old axiom is that you never trade pitching for hitting, but in this case, this was a no-brainer. The Sox have gotten pretty lucky this winter (getting Loretta for Mirabelli and now Pena for Arroyo), but like that sage of the dugout Jimy Williams was so fond of saying, “We have a problem in Boston.” Not this time though, we actually have a solution.

Here’s hoping that Tito uses Pena right and remember this day all you Trot Nixon fans, as this could be the day that your boy got his ticket out of town punched. Nixon is going to be a free agent at the end of the year and this pretty much clinches it that he isn’t coming back.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Snap, Crackle, Pop ... Culture

Wednesday afternoon, I was flying to New York City on JetBlue and was watching a great “Leave it to Beaver” episode on TVLand. It was one of my all-time favorite episodes where Wally dates a chick who dropped out of school, lies to Ward and June, smokes, drinks beer ... at beer joints, and just wants to make out all the time. At first Wally is too dumb to notice that she is a tramp, but after she instructs him to pull his car over so she can stick her tongue down his throat (causing them to miss a movie) and takes him to Hank’s (the only bar AND grill in Mayfield) and orders him a couple of brews, he figures out that Marlene ain’t the right girl for him.

She also told him to go home, which cemented it in Wally’s dense dome.

Anyhow, as I was 18,000 feet above Connecticut or Rhode Island or where ever the hell I was, it occurred to me that when this episode of LTB was written, I would say that less than half of the American people had gone on a plane and there was no color television. Now, plane travel is about as common as jumping on a bus and there is even small color TVs in the back of all the headrests.

Ok, so with more than 40 years of technology you are going to see a large jump in stuff that never were imagined to things that are commonplace, that’s a given. But another thing that struck me was the number of channels that Jet Blue offered, 37. When I was younger and we first got cable, 36 was the maximum amount of channels that we could get. We had this gigantic box connected to the television and it had 12 buttons across and a switch that had three different settings.

I wish that I could find a picture of it, but Google isn’t being much of a help, so I’ll have to explain it. It was about 10 inches in length, brown and black, with about a seven foot wire that connected to the television. On the top row of channels it was numbered 2-13, the middle 14-25 and the bottom was 26-37 and you had to actually press down on the channel number to watch the show. The only good thing about this thing was, if someone had the box and you wanted it you can just tug on the wire real quick ... and you’re in control. It was also fun to hit my brother over the head with the thing.

In any event, that was the apex of technology 20 years ago and stayed that way (at least in my house) until about 1988 or so. Now you get more channels in the air. What’s my point? Shit changes pretty fucking quick, my man ... if you aren’t with it, you’re going to end up being like Wally. Stuck in a beer joint with some floozy as she makes time with another dude, wondering how the hell you got stuck in this mess anyway.

Speaking of changes, on the way home from NYC, VH1 had their retrospective on hip hop and I was watching that. They broke it up into hour-long pieces on the evolution of the medium from New York B-boys to what it is now. I caught some of the pieces on the mid 80s to the early 90s, and it was pretty damn dope. The one thing that caught my eye was Ice Cube.

Fifteen years ago, there wasn’t a bigger, tougher dude than this guy. From his constant scowl, to his gheri curl to his all-black garb, this was one motherfucker that you didn’t want to meet on a bad day. The guy wrote “Fuck the Police” and “Straight Outta Compton” for God’s sake. Even if Nelson George is right, and he probably is, that early gangsta rap was wrestling, Ice Cube was an intimidating person.

Now? This guy is starring in family comedies like, “Are We There Yet?” and is going to be Mr. Kotter in the movie version of “Welcome Back Kotter”. Seriously. What the hell is up with that? When did the baddest guy on the planet turn into the softest guy? Was he always like this? As a kid, NWA was a tape that you could pop in and scare the shit out of your parents, now I find out that all of the rhymes were written by a third-rate Bill Cosby?

This got me thinking, we accept Ice Cube’s transformation from pissed-off, angry black man to hard on the outside, soft on the inside movie star without question. It actually happens a lot with tough guys, see Schwarzenegger in “Kindergarten Cop”, Stallone in a variety of movies, Vin Diesel in “The Pacifier”, however it never goes the other way. An example, when Hammer remade himself into the Funky Headhunter, everyone laughed.

I think this says something about our selves. What exactly that is, I have no idea … maybe it has something to do with our world view that the only “real” person is a “hard” person. Though I would say that first impressions do count for a lot, if you show up tough, you’re going to be pegged as a tough guy, but there’s always room for redemption. However if you show up nice and friendly, there’s no going back.

Ok. I can’t write anymore, because I think I’m starting to get a cold. Until next week.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Good Rant Stopped

Yup, this comic could’ve been about me during the last 10 or 15 years. If it wasn’t “Arrested Development” then it was “Undeclared” or “Action” or “Get A Life” or “The Family Guy” (which they brought back). Basically, I have a love/hate relationship with FOX. They put up a show that I love, do a crappy job promoting it, move it around the schedule and then premempt it and then they cancel it. That’s the part I hate.

Hey tough guy, you’re going after FOX? This is something I have to see. Check it out here: www.room19comics.com

Today’s Blog is coming to you directly from our nation’s capital, Washington DC. I’m here on a business trip for a Disaster Recovery seminar. On Wednesday, I’m going to be in New York City. The city so nice, they named it twice. The other name is Manhattan. Ok, I swiped that joke, word for word from “The Office”.

Anyhow, back to the strip, I can’t remember if I wrote about this last week, but I’m getting to the point where I’m running low on Eddie Verde stories and I’m going to have to make a decision as to whether to keep going with them or turn the strip into a bunch of Random Memories.

Like I said in the first paragraph, this easily could’ve been an RM with me waxing about shows that were on FOX, but I decided to make it an Eddie because I felt that I had just done an RM and didn’t want to do another one. I’m not sure. The good thing is that for the next few days, I’m going to be on my own, so hopefully, I’ll be able to come up with some new ideas.

I have a ton of Random Memories, but I just have to come up with some more Eddie ones. By the way, Kurt’s shirt is in memoriam of one of the greatest characters to ever grace the small screen, Edgar from “24”. He was your typical IT guy; slovenly, great with computers, crappy with real life social skills, sort of an every-man with a gigantic gut. In last week’s episode they killed him and people are as upset is if he really died.

He and Kirby Puckett died 24 hours apart and I think some are more sad that the fictional character passed away.

I tried a couple of things differently with this week’s strip. For one thing I did the silhouette in the second panel. And yes, I purposely made Eddie look like Bart Simpson, with the whole FOX thing. I think that that panel came out pretty well.

The third panel is sort of flat to me, sure Kurt is saying a lot and is pretty much the meat of the strip, but there’s not a lot of action going on. And the way that he is in the right hand side of the panel with not much going on in the left only exacerbates that point. I’ve been trying to do the lettering before I draw the characters and while the words are more legible, I think that I’m losing something in the way the action is laid out.

There has to be some sort of happy medium.

This weekend, I’m going to go on a couple of comic message boards and really try to get my strip noticed. I really would like a lot of feedback, but I haven’t really been getting it from the usual places that I link the strip to.

Of course, most of those places are sports sites, but still cartoonists like sports too. Hopefully something will shake out. Even if a bunch of people told me my strip sucks, it’s better than not hearing anything. It’s like my friend Barry said, “The enemy of the artist is silence.” I’d rather have my work hated instead of ignored … that means that they at least noticed it.

The plane ride into DC sucked today, BTW. I was bumped an hour early, which was good, but after that everything went down hill; the plane was cramped and hot, the pilot couldn’t fly the thing worth a shit, the drinks were warm, the snack was terrible and some guy in front of me was ripping ass. If my ears popped, all five of my senses would’ve been punished. Just a rotten flight from start to finish, hopefully tomorrow’s will be better.

Ok. I’m getting tired. Maybe I’ll try writing a bit on Wednesday, but for now I’m going to bed.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Poop on Pop Culture

Like I said on Wednesday, I’m going to try and make this a weekly feature, showing up on Friday nights or Saturday mornings. Basically it’s going to be a quick hit, Larry King-like thoughts column where I write about anything that pops into my gulliver. Hopefully, I’ll be less incoherent than King, but part of the fun of Larry King is his insanity.

With American Idol on Thursday nights against Survivor, I’m probably one of the only people watching this season of the CBS show. And, while they are trying their damnedest to mix things up, this is a pretty flat cast. Last night, they voted out the astronaut. Oh crap, I forgot to put a spoiler warning in front of that, but no matter … it was really anticlimactic.

Aside from the astronaut and the fighter pilot on the losing team, the only other interesting cast member is Shane and that’s because he is completely and totally bat-shit insane. Courtney is a complete bitch, bordering on being a psychopath and then there’s the old guy who does karate and makes rock gardens on the beach. That’s about it.

Everyone else is interchangeable and this might go down as the most boring season ever. Though in three weeks (the show is being preempted by March Madness for two weeks) someone gets taken off the island on a stretcher. That might be interesting, but unless the person dies … I don’t think it’s going to matter much in terms of rememberability. Ok, that’s not even a word.

Speaking of shows that no one is watching, about a month ago FOX aired the last four episodes of “Arrested Development” and of course, they were awesome. The bad news was they ran them during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, which meant they got zero ratings. However, the good news is that it looks like Showtime is picking up two years (26 episodes in all) of the show. You know what that means?

I’m getting Showtime. Definitely.

I know what you’re thinking, this is a pop culture entry, where is the stuff about the Oscars? I don’t really give a shit about awards shows so I didn’t watch the Oscars. Sorry about that. The thing is, I didn’t see any of the movies that were nominated either. I wanted to check out “Capote”, “Syriana”, “Crash” and “Good Night and Good Luck”, but I never got around to it.

In fact, my whole going to the movies thing has ground to a complete halt. The last movie that I saw in the theater was the “Fantastic Four”. How pathetic is that? Not that I saw FF, I’m a comic geek at heart and wanted to see it on the big screen, but I haven’t been to the movies since July. And it’s not like I have a kid or anything. Aly and I have just been too damn busy and we’re really turned off by the whole movie experience.

The last couple of times we’ve gone it’s the same thing; people loudly talking to each other, cell phones ringing, people eating three-course meals, yelling at the movie. It doesn’t matter if we go to a city theater or a suburb theater. It’s the same damn thing. People work so hard to get themselves to be a part of the movie, that they ruin the experience for everyone around them.

Am I going to pay $25 to be frustrated by a bunch of jackasses that weren’t given any attention as kids? I guess it depends on how badly I want to see a particular movie.

You’re not going to find a bigger “Leave it to Beaver” fan than me. God, I sound like a fucking dork in that last sentence, but there were a couple of things that bugged me about that show. For one thing, Ward and June claim that they don’t like Eddie at all. They think he’s a liar, a cheat and a sneak. Why do they permit Wally to hang out with him? Why doesn’t Ward grab him by the collar and say, “Listen Eddie, quit pulling that crap around here … I’m wise to you.”?

The most obvious answer is because it’s a television show, but putting that aside for a moment … Wally does everything his parents want, he’s almost like a robot. You mean to tell me that if they sit Wally down and explain to him that Eddie sucks, that he’d still hang out with him? Doubtful.

And that was the weird thing about Wally and Beaver. Left to their own devices, these kids constantly and consistently made the wrong decisions. Every single time. Can you imagine how frustrating that was to Ward? Forget the no sex thing for a second, Ward seemed like a pretty smart dude with a good grasp of how the world works. Wally and Beaver have zero clue, and had to be led by the hand to do the right thing.

That’s ok when you’re in grammar school, but Wally was a senior at Mayfield High by the end of the show and shouldn’t have had his father holding his hand on every decision the guy made. Maybe that’s why they kept Eddie around. Perhaps they thought that if Wally saw that Eddie completely screwed everything up by being sneaky and shifty, Wally would realize that he should act the opposite.

Of course, in the real world, Eddie is probably the head of a company like Enron right now, making eight figures and throwing parties that Caligula would find offensive. Wally is probably some hack accountant, playing by the letter of the law and struggling to get by on $35,000 a year.

I’ll be back next week with more stuff, hopefully it won’t be an admission that I haven’t watched any of the year’s Oscar nominated films, bits about two shows no one watches and an essay about a show that hasn’t had a new episode in 40 years.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Woman. Woe! Man!

Or is it, "Whoa. Man."?

Remember that pre-Austin Powers, post-Wayne’s World Michael Myers movie, “So I Married An Axe Murderer”? That’s where this week’s title comes from. If you think about it, Mike Myers (not the serial killer, or the Sox situational lefty from 2003 and 2004) was pretty much one movie away from taking up residence as the center square.

“Wayne’s World” was an unmitigated success but “Wayne’s World 2”, “SIMAAM” and “54” were absolute stinkfests. Until “The Spy Who Shagged Me” took the world by storm (thank you production tie-ins and DVDs--many people forget that AP was a minor cult hit in the theaters), Myers was looking down the barrel of a Dana Carvey-esque career.

Sure they both made us laugh together and on Saturday Night Live, but they seemed to suck when it came to box office success. So what the hell does have to do with anything, well there are two things: one, I am going to start writing a once-a-week pop culture entry, sort of like a Larry King type thing where I am a bit more lucid. I’ll post those either on Friday night or Saturday mornings.

Two, since I didn’t think that a lot of people would get the Def Leppard anagram for W.O.M.A.N. (worship our master’s every needs—seen on a friend’s DL concert t-shirt), I thought I’d go with the somewhat more recognizable quote from a decent, bordering on good, movie that came out in 1994. I actually saw this movie with my dad when he and I took a trip to Toronto that year.

In this week’s strip, we have Eddie lamenting about the same old stuff, chicks to his best bud, Kurt. BTW, you can check it out the lamentations here: www.room19comics.com

I’m a married man now, but I remember back in my swingin’ singles days the stupid plans I’d come up with to get some alone time with a woman. This was one of them, the old homework trick. Nothing like trying to outsmart a chick with the illusion of trying to smarten them up. Unless the girl likes you, it never works.

This strip sort of wrote itself, and actually it had to, as I’m down to the last of my original Room 19 Comics ideas. As the norm for most of the strips, Kurt is playing the straight man, sympathizing with his friend, but at the same time showing him that the trick does work, you just have to be smooth enough to make it work.

The one thing that I’m not particularly wild about in this strip is the last panel. I’m not too crazy about the perspective, where Kurt is shown in the foreground and Eddie in the back. It almost looks as if Eddie is more pissed at Kurt than the situation. That is not meant to be the case. Kurt’s way of rubbing it in wasn’t appreciated, but the ultimate “indignity” of being “forced” to study for five hours with no payoff is supposed to be the slight.

On further review, I probably should have had Eddie pissed off and saying something like, “I got an A- on the test though” as if he would rather flunk and get a piece of ass than get a good grade but nothing. Actually, most guys I knew were like that. Ahhh well, such is life.

This is the third strip where Eddie is wearing his weird-ass, Charlie Brown inspired shirt. Ever since I saw Urban Dance Squad’s “A Deeper Shade of Soul” and the DJ was wearing the Charlie Brown shirt, I’ve wanted one. That thing kicked ass, just a yellow shirt and a black wrap-around zig zag. Very simple, yet so iconic. That’s how you get into the subconscious of this country, you make something so simple that folks can identify with. Nobody likes complex, which is why “Arrested Development” isn’t on free television anymore.

Speaking of which, AD is heavily rumored to be going to Showtime for another 26 episodes (13 a year), which is excellent news. Now I just have to get Showtime, which is a small price to pay for the best show ever.

BTW, you have to check out the Winnipeg Jets shirt on Kurt. That was a fucking hockey team, from their collection of anonymous Europeans to the gigantic portrait of Queen Victoria, that is a hockey team that I miss. Tomas Steen, I salute you.

Also check out the newest links on the Blog roll, one is about a former lawyer who walked into work one day and quit so that he can hike the Appalachian Trial, the other is about a dude who likes music. The one thing in common, they love the Red Sox.