Bigger cities & greater adventures


In March of this year, we moved to Philadelphia.  Eight months in, we absolutely adore it. There’s always something to do and almost* always an easy way to get to it. NY and DC are a couple of express trains away. Going to concerts within a mile of home, having food delivered well after midnight, doing grocery shopping online, having Amazon couriers deliver things the same day we order them…

Yeah. Philadelphia was a move in the right direction. I love love love cities.

There’s pages more to say and dozens of posts worth of life updates to make, but suffice it to say that Katt and I are probably happier and more fulfilled than ever. (And speaking of Katt and I–nine years in November! Wooooo!) This summer and fall consisted of a list of adventures in our new city, in our kitchen, and on the road.

More soon…but with NaNoWriMo coming up, time will be limited! I did it last year and hit the 50,000 mark somehow, so now I’m going for the repeat win starting at the end of this week. I’m still divided on two or three ideas, but I’ll be forced into a decision in about 120 hours…

Halloween’s coming up, and we were looking for something different to do…so we’re going to hit this party at the end of the week. Should be fun!

Ten years later…

Ten years ago this week, I was doing nothing more than waiting for my graduation day. I was dual enrolled my senior year, so my college-term classes had ended and I no longer had any high-school requirements left.

Mostly I would just go into school and bother my old design and drawing teacher, Mr. Leogrande, and my chemistry teacher Mr. Dermody. I was one of those kids that hung around after school in favorite teacher’s classrooms for a few hours–and, you know, this was back in the day when your teenage-self could exist on school grounds for no reason without the faculty thinking you were some kind of criminal.

When I was in school, I regarded school as a neat place to be–spending free time looking up books and old periodicals in the library, going to one of the tech rooms and work at a drawing desk outside of regular class time, talking to one of my science or math teachers about something I thought was interesting (but was told to ask about it outside of class so that we could cover the material that needed to be covered). Continue reading “Ten years later…”

“You have the life I wanted,” he says.

As a kid I had this idea of success in measurements of fame and wealth, which are understandable measurements–even for an adult. I had no shortage of plans for my adult-self, which included being an author, making movies, being a microbiologist, being an architect, playing music, and being a theoretical physicist.

There was also no shortage of faith that I would become whatever I had in mind. Though I was raised poor–though I spent a few formative years on welfare–there was no despair, no expectation that the success I was planning for myself would not come.

Then came the end of my Junior year in high school. After applying to about a dozen colleges, I was either rejected or wait-listed from each and every one. Continue reading ““You have the life I wanted,” he says.”

Wisdom (Teeth), Education (Loans), and the Greatness of Great-grandpa Dave.

Well, the insurance company paid for about $30 of my triple wisdom tooth extraction ($1080), leaving me with a $1050 bill. No, this isn’t an argument for the public option or for HC reform. Instead of commiserating with me about how evil and dastardly my insurer is, let’s look at exactly what I did wrong in my rush to get the procedure done. Continue reading “Wisdom (Teeth), Education (Loans), and the Greatness of Great-grandpa Dave.”

Twenty Ten

Welcome to the new year. There’s a lot of news going on right now that I really don’t care to respond to. Maybe Wax and his buddies will take up the late night thing over at…I don’t think they’ve posted since Disney bought Marvel.

I’ve been doing almost NO drawing, and every time I sit down to continue particular written works I get really sluggish and start wondering if it’s worth continuing them. I’m not really here to beat myself up over that, though. I’m here to ask why.

A big part of the reason is self-confidence, I think, and an unreasonable expectation to draft a work that needs no editing. What I REALLY need to get over is this: as a self described jack-of-all-trades, nothing I produce is going to be dazzling without a hell of a lot of sweat.

As I admit I’m no master at anything in particular, I have to admit that no master stroke will fall onto the canvas, whether my palette is words and paragraphs, digital ink, layout, graphic design, etc.

I’m not really a master at any particular media skillset, old or new. I’m more of a…media survivalist, maybe? Finding out enough to know how to complete the task and finding out enough to know how that task fits into the whole process.

And yet…you’re not making anything! All this crap about not being a “master” is all fine and well, but it’s sure as hell not an excuse for sitting in front of a blank screen.

The excuse comes in telling myself–right before I’m about to draw or write–that whatever I’m about to draw or write is not going to meet my expectations. Then I sit for a while, ponder that thought, close the window and watch TV or click blindly through news that pisses me off again.

Well, master-of-none, that’s bullshit. You use twitter despite the fact that you aren’t the MOST clever. You design a magazine knowing you’re wicked far from being the BEST at it. You code webpages with sparse knowledge (and any web-design student’s expertise would blow you out of the water), but that doesn’t bug you a bit.

So tell me, Mr. Crybaby Hack, why would it be any different with writing or drawing?

I suppose that’s right. It shouldn’t be any different. I do things like tweet and design and code because I like doing and learning about those things, not because I’m trying to be the best at them.

Calling oneself a “jack-of-all-trades” pretty much infers that you’ve given up the die-hard quest to be the BEST at one thing in a trade for knowledge in all things.

And if I might call you a hypocrite for a moment–I’d like to remind you how proud you are of your non-traditional education, and that you consistently recite the source of your knowledge as “anyone with more expertise than myself.” This means, in contrast to your attitude as of late, that you’re paying lip service to those who improve you while moping about because you perceive those same people to be more skilled than you.

Well, they are. Stop singing their praises while simultaneously acting like a brat. Learn from them–like you always say you do.


Stop moping, jackass! CREATE! It’s the only f—ing thing that has ever, ever made you happy. And no moping about wasting time from having been a jackass, either. Now get to work!

I guess this serves as proof  that my brutal honesty doesn’t even end at myself.

Twitter References and an IM to Dr. Jack

Edited for continuity. Also, more praise for humanity in general. It wasn’t long ago that I was bashing Twitter for being really lame. I think this post can quickly explain why I was wrong.

Also, a shout out to my friend Carissa, who nobly attempted to get me into Twitter months before I did so. You were right, Carissa–and my admission will be on the and Google servers for all time. 😛

(9:07:34 PM) JC: but whereas Facebook is for talking to people you once knew (whether you’re both interested in talking to each other or not), Twitter is for doing your thing and organically finding people who share your humor/interests/politics
(9:08:31 PM) JC: I joke about trying to attain a “Mendelian ratio” between following:followers
(9:08:33 PM) JC: 1:3
(9:08:49 PM) JC: it’s never exact, but it seems to regularly work out that way: for every three people following me, I generally follow one.
(9:09:03 PM) JC: not as a rule or anything…it just seems to be the rate at which I reciprocate interest in the people who follow me
(9:09:42 PM) JC: so like 1/3 is easily a bot or a marketer using API to sniff keywords…
(9:09:48 PM) JC: 1/3 might be a company, a dull person, or a perfectly nice person I don’t care to follow…
(9:10:04 PM) JC: but at my rate of active interaction, the last third are–if my numbers are any kind of evidence–the cool people I never would have talked to if I wasn’t on Twitter.
(9:10:25 PM) JC: Now from a social standpoint, that’s a phenomenal success rate. Kinda restores your faith in humanity when you realize how many cool people you don’t know yet.

Yeah. Yeah, it kinda does.

Program crash blues; Buffalo’s redemption

Tonight, Photoshop crashed on me and I lost the progress I’d made on my 4th page. It was a lot of under drawing and framing that I was really happy with.  🙁

That’s okay. The attitude I should take is that if I did the work once, I can do it again without a problem. Also, I was working on about 4 other documents at the time that–thanks to my usual vigilance–were already saved and lost no new changes. So it could have been a lot worse. Continue reading “Program crash blues; Buffalo’s redemption”

What was I thinking

So much work on that tiny little frame.
So much work on that tiny little frame.

Dude, it’s way too late at night for me to be up. I forced myself to finish the second page of my comic attempts and have been starting on the third one in the last hour. It’s really time for me to go to sleep. So #002 focused a lot on backgrounds, which is why it took me the better part of the evening (morning now).

I like the poster in the second frame, I think, more than I like the whole rest of the picture. The note in the first frame is kind of endearing too…and look–another hand that’s almost passable.

Link in the picture leads to my deviantArt account and a full-size version.

If I don’t go to sleep now, I won’t be going to sleep tonight. Arghleblarb.

You’re too old to start drawing.

Probably, but I don’t care. I like all things art, and it doesn’t bother me that I’m trying my hand at stupid little cartoons in the back half of my 20s. I started a new deviantArt account to display my progress.

I always had an interest in drawing, but I’m so awful with my free-time as far as holding my attention in one place that I’ve never actually done anything. Well, behold.

Behind you...
Behind you...

It’s really not the product that’s important here, it’s the four hours of drawing, inking, and correcting that I did to make it look half-decent.

Yes, I corrected AFTER I inked. One of the reasons that this took four hours was that I had really no knowledge of the workflow. I needed to work on a couple layers of underdrawing until it was the way I wanted it to be, but I got all excited and started playing with digital crayons.

Now that I have a 17-layer template file to make everything I need, things should go more efficiently.

So yes, it’s quite a disadvantage to start this nonsense in your 20s when you should be worrying about career moves and home ownership and all that adult stuff. The thing is, I believe I can get better at this–noticably better–if I’m patient enough with myself to stick to it.  I’m to the point now where I can be happy enough with what I’m drawing to keep going; though I’ve got a long way to go in every aspect of the discipline (proportion, shade, presense, the list never ends), I can see how that progress could be made with practice.

On that note, I’ve done some underdrawing for the second page. Another couple of evenings and it should be ready. Whee.

EditorialJoe – Sports Edition

Well, I started a sports Twitter last night to avoid over-tweeting my “EditorialJoe” followers with my constant updates/comments about the sports games I’m watching. As you’ve never heard anything of the sort before, yes, I am a sports fan. Like so many other things in this world, I don’t obsess over it and it’s usually out of sight, out of mind. I don’t tend to watch baseball unless it’s the post-season. Hockey gets a little more viewing, though again most of my actual TV time is matchups I REALLY want to see, and post-season. (It’s been a long while since I paid attention to hockey. Think Patrick Roy on the Avalanche. Yep–that long.)

Follow EdtrlJoe_Sports

But I can watch football every week. Last night I started my new EdtrlJoe_Sports twitter account off with the Packers vs. Bears game, which was a real treat. GB’s defense was on FIRE, picking off no less than four passes from Jay Cutler (one int. return getting them all the way upfield to the 5). The Bears defense played well, managing a safety on Rodgers in the first half, but Cutler and the offense just couldn’t keep their rhythm against the wide-eyed Packers. Rodgers and his offense did manage to make some moves in the second half, but it was a back-and-forth game right up until the end, finishing 21-15 in favor of the Packers.

Tonight, Brady is back from his injury playing at home against the Bills. I’ll be watching this one closely, being more tuned to the AFC’s dynamics. Later it’s Raiders and the Chargers, a game I’ll probably catch the highlights of the next morning.

Give the sports twitter a follow if you’re interested in constant and persistent NFL game highlights on Sundays and Mondays. Outside that I’ll be tweeting whatever I find interesting in the other leagues throughout the week.