Isotope Virtual Lounge, A Request, and The Opposite of Sentimental Bullshit

Thursday, March 31, 2005

I want to give a shout-out to James Sime, proprietor of The Isotope, the premier Indy friendly comic book shop located in San Francisco. Whereas I never met the guy, he does a lot of great things for the industry and he’s a credit to retailers and comic pimps across the globe. The reason I’m bringing him up is because he recently launched the Isotope Virtual Lounge 2.0 where some of the most talented creators and enthusiastic fans hang out and chill. It’s a comic book related message board without a single “Batman vs _______” thread, which is a rarity. So, if you want to talk to some good people, do some networking or pimp your books, stop by the Lounge.

I think I might do a "greatest hits" link on the side so people can instantly read the good stuff on this site and get hooked. Any suggestions? Besides Hooker Hand and the one where I piss all over myself?
___________________

Yesterday’s story. Now Robin, on the other hand, was the complete opposite.

I was hanging out in the cafeteria towards the end of my junior year with my RA peeps. Amongst us were Joe, Guam, Sleazy Steve, MB and Kat, Robin’s RA. Robin comes up to our table and asks Kat some question; I was looking through the personals and cracking jokes. Robin jumped in at some point and made some sort of innuendo involving me not having to look through the personals, I really wasn’t paying attention. Then Sleazy Steve asked Robin if he could borrow her Rambo boxed setand my ears perked up a bit and I had a sudden interest in Robin.

We chatted for a bit, a bunch of us (including Kat) were going out for drinks and I invited her out. We were going to McCarthy’s, a place she used to work at and hated, and she politely declined. Later that night Kat told me that Robin has had a thing for me for some time, always asking about me etc. We leave the bar and go back to Kat’s house where her residents were coming down from a party. Kat wakes Robin up and tells her I came over to hang out, and Robin comes down to chill. We drink, we smoked (can you believe I actually won an outstanding RA award?) and we hung out and talked until 5 in the morning. I had to go to work at 8AM and I was pretty pissed but I didn’t blame her, I was having a good time.

A few nights later Robin calls me up and invited me to a party. I told her I had plans. She asked what my plans where and, being an honest fellow, I told her the truth.

“I’m gonna have a glass of wine, masturbate and then go to bed.” It’s an endearing trait, my honesty. Or so I’m told.

She told me I can do all of that after I come hang out for a bit. So I went over and once again hung out until around 5 in the morning, drinking, smoking and playing The Smiths' all night. Afterwards I went home, had a glass of wine, masturbated and pretty much decided that was the end of that, I just wasn’t interested.

Let’s back track a bit, junior year was a self-imposed dry spell. After R, I decided I needed a sabbatical from women and at first it was just going to be a few months but after getting back into theater, writing some of the best stuff I’ve ever written and making a shit-load of new friends, I kind of decided that women just hold me back. It turns out that asexuality is my muse. If I were going to get back into it, the woman had to be like Aphrodite or, you know, an actual muse. And Robin, or any women I met over that year, just didn’t cut it.

So I ignored her and she started ignoring me. About two months later it’s the summer and I’m living on campus. I find Robin outside of my apartment, cleaning my lawn. I instantly assumed she was stalking me but after an awkward conversation I learned that she was working for Buildings & Grounds over the summer and my apartment was within her zone. So, my assumption proved correct and now I knew she was stalking me.

Me and some friends were filming a movie I wrote entitled Sleaze and the girl we cast in the lead role was by far one of the hottest women I have ever known personally and I desperately wanted to hook up with her. She was over at my place, rehearsing, when we made tentative plans to hang out that night. As she was leaving, Robin came over and asked if we could talk. She invited me to her place to hang with her friends and I said no. But she was persistent. The hottest girl ever was supposed to call my cell so I finally caved and told Robin I’d hang but if this girl calls I’m going to have to bounce. She accepted my offer without batting an eye. Fucking. Stalker.

The night rolled on and the hottest girl ever didn’t call. And I kept drinking. At some point Robin’s friends left and it was me and her, Depeche Mode on the radio, and me laid out on the floor of her room. Once I got drunk enough she literally jumped on top of me and we started making out. I crashed at her place that night, the room was disgustingly hot, she hogged the bed and farted all night (she denies it).

The next night I had a blind date with someone else (a whole different story, worst blind date ever), followed by a party at my friend Joe's and the following day Robin and I were getting ice-cream together. Sleazy Steve, being the sleaziest guy in the world, told Robin to watch out for me because I’m “trouble”. Steve always does that, though, you gotta love the guy. We made it through the whole “Steve warning” thing and now, almost 6 years later, here we are.

So, whereas R and I had the movie-like romantic beginning and it eventually ended, Robin stalked me for four months, got me drunk me and then, THEN, after a failed date I decided to take a crack at it and now I’m going to spend the rest of my life with her.

If I need to tell you the moral to this story you’re an idiot.

face the facts, fanboy: Sylvester Stallone Will Kill You

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Elk's Run in Stores, Contest Reminder and Sentimental Bullshit (tough in the title, wuss in the post)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Elk’s Run is in stores today, harass your retailer. If he doesn’t have it, tell him to get it on reorders, order #FEB052900. And if you’re going to tell him that, you might as well remind him that issue 2 is soliciting in April, order #APR052944.

Also, I sort of launched a contest yesterday and Blogger’s comment thing-a-ma-bob went haywire, as it does 90% of the time. If it’s working again today, I’d like to once again call your attention to it. Already smoked out one lurker, who’s next?

I’ve been alluding to her several times, so let’s just get it out there. There are certain characters that I just feel weird talking about. I’ve treated them badly at times and right now our friendships just simply don’t exist anymore and they really should. So I kind of feel like I don’t want these people to stumble across this blog and see me talking about them, as if I had any right. But, they’re too big to not be in my story, I miss out on too much without including them. So, I’m going to start by introducing a girl that I’m just going to call R.

R was my first girlfriend. She wasn’t first at much of anything else but we spent two and a half years together, my folks loved her, she came to family functions and I went to hers (except one and I still feel bad about it), we each had draw space and bathroom space at our respective places. It was my first full-on, away from home girlfriend experience.

We met in high school and the circumstances around our meeting were kind of odd. She was cute, no doubt, and fun, but a completely different crowd than my dope smoking and ambitionless friends. I told my friend One Ball Paul that I wouldn’t mind going to the prom with her, hypothetically. Paul told her and she asked ME to the prom and I said yes.

There was a build up to romance. One day we ditched class and went to see James and the Giant Peach. We had the theater to ourselves and decided to spend the time practicing our dancing for the prom since she knew a couple of dances and I knew how to sway to the music. We waltzed around the theater to the soundtrack of James and the Giant Peach, laughing the whole time.

We both decided to go to BU, our decision uninfluenced by each other. I think at that point the progression of our relationship was inevitable. We had our first date a week later.

I’m a bit of a romantic when I meet the right person. With R, I sort of called on some of that charm. She came to my neighborhood, my home turf. We took a cab over to the Promenade which you’ve most likely seen in every movie that takes place in New York City, best view of the Manhattan skyline you will ever see for free. We ate at La Traviata, on Montague Street, my favorite Italian Restaurant back then, and then walked down to Promenade and sat on a bench for a while. We held hands for the first time. Came back to my place, this was high school so my parents where home, which was fine because I always cover my bases. We went to my roof, which has an amazing view of Manhattan and is a prime vantage point for sunsets over the skyline. I had a radio up there waiting and a dozen sunflowers, her favorite flower, which I had to special order from California because they were out of season on the East Coast. We waltzed as the sun set, Manhattan behind us, and we kissed for the first time. And it was one of those great kisses, too. The kind you work for, the culmination of all your efforts and all of the waiting.

It’s sort of fitting that our relationship ended at my parents’ house, two and a half years later, while we were home from college. This time the parents weren’t home. I was clueless, I set up this cheesy sequence of clues written on tiny pieces of papers and hid them all over the apartment. At the end of the sequence there was some present, I don’t know what it was and it really didn’t matter. She went through the motions, me following her every step of the way, smiling my ass off, thinking I was king shit.

When she was done, she turned and her reaction was not what I expected. The tears, the shaking lip, the nervous look…so I asked her, “You’re breaking up with me?” It was really that obvious. She did and I protested, rather pathetically, with a combination of crying, begging, pleading and requests for last kisses. I got my last kiss and I tried to make it count, I tried to make it the kind of kiss that changes peoples’ minds. But in the end it was really just a kiss, just like they all are.

It’s the circumstance that makes a kiss.

She left. I walked her halfway to the Carroll Street train station. I was going to go the full way but I turned back, I couldn’t stomach it. This was the summer between Sophomore and Junior year, right in the middle of the complete 423 story. I just got off of a horrible semester academically. Is till thought aliens might kill me. I had no job; most of my friends stayed at their colleges. Junior year I was taking an RA position on campus and all my friends were moving off campus. Josh, one of my better friends, was going to try to get back on track with his faith (Mormon) and was going on a two year mission. My other good friend, Mickey, was transferring schools. At this point, I honestly felt like R was my whole life and it just fell apart.

I think I was so dependant on her that I didn’t see any of the signs. I mean, I almost ass fucked a hooker for Christ sakes and I thought it was all perfect between us. The thing is, R was supposed to leave me, I think. It just sort of fit, it fit the whole story in the end. I’ve been talking about this 423 story from day one and some of you probably think it’s going to be this ultra cool, absolutely incredible story that’s going to blow minds. It’s not, this is what it is. It’s a series of things like this that, in the end, just sort of fit.

Sometimes, if you look hard enough, you can see life.

read a book, fanboy: James and the Giant Peach

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Frayed Ends, Free Comics, Social Commentary and Uncomfortable Chris, the Potential Sexual Deviant

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I was neatening up my comic stacks this weekend when I came across a four-issue mini-series of note that I purchased at SPX and decided it need some front-pageage action. Jason Brightman’s Frayed Ends, probably one of the best stories you never read. It’s an amazing story that really sucks you in with simple yet beautiful illustrations and lovable characters. The plot has a fun, whimsical feel to it, an adult Paul’s imaginary friend, Edward, returns when Paul is most vulnerable and needs Paul’s help; Edward has lost his heart. What unfolds is a tale of love, friendship and finding your youth. It’s really worth checking out.

And speaking of great comics, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez is giving out two copies of Elk’s Run #1 on his blog; all you need to do is leave a comment about your LCS or favorite indie book. A free comic just for typing your opinion! Most of you people give it out for free, no matter how irreverent! I meant important. To match Guy’s altruistic contest I am going to be giving out three “Get to Know H&B” gift packs featuring Western Tales of Terror 1-3 and Elk’s Run #1. Except, we’re going to do this Jason Rodriguez style. To keep with the spirit of my blog, I want you to tell me a short story about YOUR past. Doesn’t have to be long, doesn’t have to be funny, just has to be honest. Of course, I have a bunch of people that supposedly read this blog and about five that post consistently and those five all have the books I’m giving out. So here’s a good chance for lurkers to get involved. Don’t make me look like a loser.

And finally, before my story, I have something I need to say. I generally shy away from social commentary, I just try to put life out there and let you come to your own conclusions. But, something occurred to me today that I feel needs to be addressed. I was at the grocery store when I realized that no-one makes barbeque ranch salad dressing. Doesn’t it just fucking make sense to combine the cool taste of creamy ranch with the sweet hickory flavor of barbeque? I think so. But apparently Newman, Ken’s Steak House, Harris Teeter, Wishbone, etc don’t share my belief that barbeque and ranch where meant to be together. I had to get Balsamic Blue Cheese, whatever the fuck that is. Ok, story time.

Continuing with the improv story from yesterday, I think I should talk about Chris. Chris was insane. And I don’t mean insane in a Steve Martin “wild and crazy guy” kind of way, I mean that he is quite possibly insane. His comedy was unique in that he was this 6’-6’’ doofy white guy that had this wide-eyed stare that he coupled with off-color and random comments that usually, USUALLY, were funny and not at all awkward. The thing that made him funnier to the people within the troupe was the fact that this was the way he actually was. 24 hours a day Chris would lurch around campus with those wide, shifty eyes and say really weird things that sometimes just had nothing to do with what was happening within reality.

He would occasionally bomb on stage, I remember one time in particular he played dead and then hijacked someone that was playing the paramedic by shouting out “There is no spoon” while being body-bagged. I mean, seriously, what the fuck do you do with that?

Let me tell you about improv “dick moves”. You never ask someone a question that’s meant to drive the plot (i.e., “What do you think we should do?”); it always leads to an awkward pause usually resulting in the askee asking the asker, “I don’t know, what do you think we should do?” Also, you never change the direction of a scene for no apparent reason, especially when a group of performers have already adjusted to your role, as in, you decided to die in a skit. If you decide to come back to life, do it as a zombie or something that makes sense, don’t randomly shout out, “There is no spoon.”

With Chris, we got a lot of the second dick-move, mainly because that’s just the way he was in real life. Observe:

We had a show once where we just killed, it was awesome. The cast party was therefore stuffed with ladies (and mens) that believed they could have a good time hanging out with a bunch of funny guys and gals. We were having a blast, drinking a lot, playing Twister, dancing, just a good, rowdy, cast party. We were all fucking wasted.

Quick side story about this party, not worthy of its own post: At one point, I stuffed about 3 or 4 of those big-ass pretzel sticks in my mouth, chewed them up and stood over Guam, who was making out with some girl on the couch, and opened my mouth wide and said “Ahh”. The three of us started laughing, which resulting in the chewed up pretzel mass falling from my mouth and onto Guam’s crotch, causing the three of us to laugh even harder until we were crying, hardly able to talk, but Guam managing to force out a, “Dude, you’re spitting pretzels on my crotch.” Anyway…

At one point, as the party was winding down, Chris enters the main room drunk as fuck and starts doing improv while people all over the room were making out. He was asking for suggestions and at first we would humor him but eventually we ignored him and you can tell he was getting frustrated. At which points, he motions to our friend, Annie, passed out on the couch and says, “Hey, Annie’s passed out, let’s rape her!”

Well, nothing clears out a party faster than threats of rape. None of us got ass that night but nothing was more awkward than telling Chris why rape jokes weren’t funny, especially when they’re told while a bunch of people are about to get their fuck-on.

Chris got married recently. I didn’t go but I heard it was, well, odd.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: Kids

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Big Toe, Preview Art and The Worst Way to Spend Fifteen Minutes (Not Including Sympathy Sex, Although I Should Have Got Some For It)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Jorge Vega is a good friend of mine. He has a book deal with Arcana studios for his book Zoo with Darrin Stevens and he’s sitting on one of the coolest pitches I’ve ever seen called “The Coat” that he did with Thorsten Ebert. He’s been doing his thing over at Everyday Cosmic, first with the Everyday Cosmic comic itself (illustrated by Grant Perkins), followed by Gunplay (illustrated by Nicolas Meylaender) and now, the reason why I’m repimping him, he’s launching his third webcomic with his Zoo counterpart Darrn Stevens, Big Toe (Only on the main page, for now). So, go check him out is you have some time, drop him a line if you like what you see.

Secondly, a little sneak peak of my Elk’s Run #2 back-up, three of the six pages (pages 1, 4, and 6), co-written by Chris Fabulous and illustrated by Paul Maybury. Click the thumbs to see the full pages (and don’t forget to preorder Elk’s Run #2 in April’s previews, order #APR052944):
All the wrong choices page 1All the wrong choices page 4All the wrong choices page 6

I can’t stand improv. I can’t stand the faces the performers make, the big movements, or the stupid voices. I can’t stand the big smiles or the phony enthusiasm. I can’t stand how the audience suggestions get twisted into a players “schtick” and how when a scene falls apart performers resort to gimmicks, lame pop culture references or bring-backs of a joke that was funny the fist time around, forced the second time around.

And this is coming from a guy that spent two years doing improv in college.

I’m not being fair to all forms of improv. There is good improv out there, but it usually depends on the mood of your audience. You can have the best performers in the world and if the audience doesn’t give a fuck (and if they’re like me, which the usually are, they don’t give a fuck) you will stop seeing these people as comedic performers and instead see them as big expression, big movement, obnoxious, loud, unfunny assholes that are totally ruining your buzz. We had some good audiences and we had some bad with my troupe and the worst of all time was one that I myself booked (the last performance I booked): some Clairol make-up festival.

I was helping a friend out that was organizing this rather large promotional thing for Clairol. They had people getting makeovers, bands, product information booths, this whole big thing and she asked me if my troupe, Liquid Fun (oh, yeah, and I hate improv troupe names, as well), would come down and do a fifteen minute show. We agree.

It was outdoors. With no microphones. No stage. Across from the live bands. About fifteen people came to see us perform and they just didn’t give a fuck. It was the BIGGEST bomb ever, fucking painful. Every minute one of us was looking at our watch. We had to scream so people can hear us. We were on grass and the field was wet. In order to get our points across we had to make HUGE motions with our bodies, everything was exaggerated times ten.

The show just wouldn’t end; we deteriorated to caricatures of the improv performers I described in the opening paragraph. At one point I was pretending to be Eminem giving Guam a Stone Cold Stunner, the WWE’s Stone Cold Steve Austin’s trademark finishing move, in order to amp up the pop-culture references. We were slumming for jokes. Someone fucking mooned the audience. It was that fucking bad.

At the end I apologized to my friend, Duh-Diesel (I’ll tell that story in a minute); blaming the lousy performance on every possible factor except for the fact that improv inherently sucks. She claimed we were actually pretty funny, which was bullshit, but we were doing it for free. We were doing it “for the publicity” but I guarantee you we didn’t pick up any fans.

Ok, Duh-Diesel. This story should have been told last week cause it happened during senior trip. Maribelle went to high school with me and college. She was a great girl, loved her to death. She was also extremely well endowed. On the senior trip, I actually asked her what size she was rocking and she told me double-d.

Barring in mind that I was stoned, I asked her, “Do you know what double-d stands for?”

“What’s that?”

“Duh-Diesel,” the nickname sort of stuck, it was a nice inside joke. And the “Duh” is the short “Duh” sound, not the moron “Duh”.

To bring it back to the improv performance, our horrible show got me no closer to Duh-Diesels’ Duh-Diesels. That is one fantasy that I never got to live out. One of the several thousand fantasies, being that I fantasized having sex with every girl that I ever looked at.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: Scarface - Watched it yesterday, no better way to spend Easter.

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ER2 and WTOT4 in Previews & Prelude to 423

Friday, March 25, 2005

Elk’s Run #2 and Western Tales of Terror #4 will be in April’s Previews which should be in your Local Comic Shops’ hands right now. Problem is, most comic shops won’t know to order it unless you tell them to. Hoarse & Buggy has made it easy for you by making this little order form here. Print it out, fill it out and give it to your local comic shop to let them know you would like a copy of these books. And, to make it even more exciting, Elk’s Run # 2 will feature my FIRST PUBLISHED COMIC STORY! A six-page back-up called “All the Wrong Choices” cowritten by my friend Chris Fabulous (who also did the layouts) and illustrated by Paul Maybury. So, as if you needed extra incentive, there it is. And when you read it, right us and tell us how much you loved Elk’s Run #2 but also say how much you sweated “All the Wrong Choices” and how you feel Jason, Chris and Paul should be the regular back-up team. Because, if you don’t do that, I’ll hunt you down and fucking kill you. You should get it anyway, because it’s the best book on the stands right now. And for all my family and friends that read this blog and gives me the “I don’t read comics” line, that’s bullshit right now, that line is expired, I’m calling you out. Ok, enjoy the story:

So I managed to establish myself as a dope smoking, heavy drinking, irresponsible son of a bitch, but it all changed the summer after sophomore year in college. I still drank, occasionally, but I rarely did any drugs. I became a responsible (and award winning RA) junior year. I made a ton of new friends. I got into improv the first semester, comedy acting the second. Senior year I was directing plays, and by the second semester I cowrote a full length musical comedy that actually made money thanks to CD sales. I spent an entire year single and couldn’t care less; I was having the time of my life.

I started writing a book about that summer; outlined the whole thing and put away about 200 pages. The novel started on April 23rd and went up until September 4th; quite possibly the most eventful and life changing months of my life.

I’m sort of bringing this up now because it all started with a dream that I had around this time, about a month before the 23rd. This is the story. I’m not going to tell it all in one sitting; I’m going to spread it out. It’s too big. It involves love lost, death, friendships, circumstance, chance and perfect moments. It involves the events that cause someone to completely tear their life down and rebuild it. I wasn’t a complete asshole yet, I was just doing some stupid stuff. But I was becoming a complete asshole. Last semester sophomore year I finished with a C-. I was a straight A student my entire life and out of the five classes I took, not one of them passed a C. It was really falling apart.

But, for now, the dream.

I’m walking through a burning city, fire all around me. The buildings are charred and falling apart, the sky is red and mixed with black smoke. I can hardly see through the fire, my eyes are burning. And I say that literally, in a sense, this is one of those dreams where you feel the heat, you feel your eyes burning. It’s so unbelievably real. I’m walking through the fire, scared, not knowing where to go. I can’t breathe; I’m choking on the smoke.

The fire parts in front of me and I see this woman with long black hair, a long black dress, no eyes, a red rose in her right hand and piece of paper in her left hand. I get closer to the woman, look at the paper and see the numbers “423” scratched into it. I wake up in a cold sweat and out of breath, just another nightmare.


No big deal, just a dream. I start seeing the number everywhere, license plates, phone numbers, random glances at the clock. I tell R, my lady at the time, and she tells me that I’m seeing it because I’m looking for it and the dream is just a dream. And she’s right, people do that all the time. How often do you recognize the numbers 911 since September 11th? I look at the clock probably a hundred times a day, quick glances at most, and whenever I see it’s 9:11 I get freaked out. But in a way, I'm looking for it, not the hundreds of other numbers I see when I look at the clock. No big deal.

But I keep noticing it and, chance or not, it’s freaking me out. I was talking to my friend Max (college Max) one day, just shooting the shit. While talking, I say to him, “I’ve been seeing this one number all over the place lately.”

“Is it 23?” He asks me. Now, granted, 23 isn’t 423 but when you’re already paranoid as is, it’s fucking freaky. And like I said in the intro, circumstance and chance play huge into this story.

I just turn white. Max asks me what’s wrong. “Why would you say 23?” Max, a bit of a hippy stoner, begins to tell me that 23 is a big number for alien conspirators. Apparently most abductions happen on the 23rd day of the month or something. He tells me more but at this point I’m hardly even listening. I was fully convinced that something really bad was going to happen to me on April 23rd and it was less than a month away.

Now I’m seeing the number more. Math problems, addresses, TV shows. I’m seeing it fucking everywhere and I’m getting seriously paranoid. It’s putting a strain on me and my relationships, most notably with R.

By the time April 22nd roles around I’m a fucking mess. I don’t want to do anything, don’t want to leave. I want to stay in my room and wait for whatever is going to happen. R can’t take it anymore, she thinks I’m acting like a loon. Blame starts being placed on alcohol and other paraphernalia. We get into a fight and she leaves. Now I’m alone in my dorm room, waiting for whatever (I admit, I thought “whatever” was aliens).

I had a bench I use to sit on at night on the Esplanade where I would do my writing. It was overlooking the Charles River, a solitary street light hovering over it. I would go there almost every night and rarely be disturbed, my bench was always empty.

At around midnight I decide to go down to my bench. I had a thing for it, you know? It was my spot, I felt comfortable there, creative. If anything was going to happen to me, I wanted to be on my bench. So I grabbed my notebook, threw it in my book bag and went down to my bench on the Charles River.

As far as what happens next, well, you’ll have to wait until April 23rd. Circumstance and chance, that’s all I’ll say for now. And starting next week, back to the funny filler material involving me being an idiot.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: Magnolia

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The CBLDF and Gordon Lee & Coming Clean And Not At All

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Pulse needed some help covering some panels for WWLA and I volunteered. I originally did the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) panel, I’m a big fan of the organization and try to go to their auctions and buy stuff whenever I’m around one.

Most recently, in fact, I went to Mid-Ohio Con CBLDF auction and had one of those cool “auction moments”. They were auctioning off an original Archie poster and it looked like it was going to go for 40 bucks. Being pissed that it would go for so cheap, especially for a charity I care about, I raised my paddle and, instead of bidding the 45 it would have take to win it, yelled out, “One hundred bucks”. Everyone turns, I take a little bow. Stan Goldberg, the artist, ended up drawing a sketch on it for me and personalizing it. And that was my “auction moment”.

Anyway, I covered that panel and got suckered into covering the FF panel as well, causing me to miss meeting up with Ait/Planet Lar’s publisher and self proclaimed fan of this blog:Larry Young (but the point of this little blurb has nothing to do with not being able to meet the man behind one of the best indy publishing shops, producer of some of the finest material on the shelves today). The point is, I fucked up in my article when talking about Gordon Lee’s case, he was arrested in Rome, GA recently for “distribution of obscene material” and “unsolicited distribution of nudity and sexual content”. In my article, I said that the case was won and Mr. Lee was in the clear when, in fact, it’s not over yet. So I just wanted to throw a little awareness out there to Mr. Lee, for those of you not familiar with the case, and let him know that the comic community (despite our occasional ignorance and laziness when it comes to fact checking) is pulling for him. More details on his case can be seen here.

Senior year in high-school, post Ski Trip, went from the occasional dope smoking to absolutely obscene amounts of slacking, smoking and drinking.

Let me put it into perspective, how bad it got. A bunch of us had history class together. I don’t remember everyone, I know Cooch was one of us and I’m pretty sure I remember Squee, Tal and Max being there as well. We use to cut history, since it was before lunch, go to the bodega and buy 40’s of Colt 45 (there was also some upstart malt liquer we tried for a while…Black Thunder, maybe?) go to the roof of Brooklyn College (across from our High School, one building had this run down atrium on the roof, smoke a phatty, drink a forty and then I went to physics.

TO PHYSICS.

Drunk. And High.

And I would sit in physics and giggle and talk and get reprimanded every ten minutes by Mr. Elert (consequently, one of the coolest teachers I ever had). On the days we didn’t ditch history; we would still stick with tradition and just go after school, before we went to play ultimate Frisbee and hackee sack with the Asians (one of which ended up becoming my lady for two years).

Other times we would be sitting in the auditorium, before classes started. Someone would stand up, make the “announcement” that first period was cancelled on account of ________ (some creative excuse) and we’d go get some breakfast and smoke a joint.

And the weekends where just retarded.

It was fun, but at times it was more trouble than it was worth. Like, this one time…

My friends Joe was having his girl Hillary over and Hillary was bringing her friend Tamara and Joe invited me over to keep Tamara busy. I got to Joe’s house, he was marinating some steaks in the fridge and we got the grill going. The girls came ad we grilled some steaks and started smoking up.

I was an ok smoker/drinker but occasionally we all have problems. This was one of those times. I got so fucked up I could hardly move. Tamara carried me up to Joes room, laid me out on the bed, and started making out with me. I was fucking nothing, I was hardly moving. I attempted to reciprocate the kissing at most. For the most part, I had no interest in doing anything with her and I know I told that to her multiple times.

So, I’m drunk, stoned, sick, uninterested and tired…what do you think happens when she reaches down my pants.

Well, the next day she goes around school telling everyone that I have no dick. It was like a horrible after school special. My whole life, when I told this story, I always told people that “nothing happened” and Tamara was just pissed cause I told her no. I know some of you read this blog. Surprise, I really was dickless. I had an excuse, but dickless none-the-less.

support your passion, fanboy: CBLDF donations

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On Writing and The Skiless Ski Trip

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Someone recently asked me what I thought made a good writer, primarily wondering if writing is a skill that can be learned. Being that I’m lazy tonight and have other shit to do, I think I’ll post my reply as my daily “comic portion” of this blog (keep in mind that I don’t know if I’m a good writer yet, so my opinion could be bullshit):

I honestly feel the actual talent required to write is something that develops since childhood. You have to read to your kids, every day, from when they're in the womb straight through until they can read themselves. And not the same book over and over but a wide variety of books. Writing is 95% imagination and you have to jump start it early on. I also feel that writers need to read a lot in their teen->adult years, in order to hone their skills. And whereas reading fiction is fine, every writer should alternate fiction and non-fiction, they should have access to the source material and not just someone's interpretation of it. The purer the non-fiction the better. Teaching materials, text books, research papers and essays all make for great reading.

And then I think there's a good deal of life experience. You have to know how people act and talk. I don't know, I like to read psychology texts and papers to get a better understanding for what motivates certain personalities. I do a lot of writing from food courts and coffee shops to get some influence by passer-by conversations. I tend to act out my dialog on a tape recorder, play it back and make sure it sounds natural, get people's opinion.

And the fact is, with the exception of my father reading to me when I was a kid every night, I got every single one of these tips from several different mentors, of sorts. I think mentoring is crucial to developing good writing skills. There's someone out there that does it better than you and sometimes they'll teach you some great stuff. So, yeah, education of a sort is required to write, in my opinion, but I don't see it as much as a formal education unless you can't find a good mentor.


Feel free to discuss, argue, or print it out and wipe your ass with it. Now, onto the story. I kind of want to introduce you guys to the high school cast and the best way to get 90% of the important ones out of the way is to talk about our senior trip. By doing so, I only miss out on some of the major high school players.

Every year my high school had a trip. The trip was open to the entire grade but usually only the Med/Sci and Humanities programs signed up for them, not sure why. It generally translated to two bus loads on kids going somewhere. Freshman year we went to Killington for a Ski Trip, sophomore year we went to Virginia Beach. Junior year our trip was cancelled.

Those trips were fine, freshman year was pretty tame, the only story I remember well was when a theoretically (at the time) gay biology teacher rode the ski lift with G, put his arm around him jokingly and sang Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last”. I say theoretically gay because a year later we caught him making out with another bio-teacher, a moderately hot female.

The Virginia Beach trip I pretty much spent jocking Jessica, like I did my entire sophomore year. Two memorable stories, one of them was Ron (from the party) waking up Alex (plenty of stories) by whacking his dick across Alex’s face. The other one was waking up in a bed after a drunken night with a body in bed under the covers. Thinking it was Jessica, I put my arm around the mass of flesh and sheets to discover that it was, in fact, Ron (we were both clothed, it wasn’t like that…I don’t think). That trip was most likely the most homoerotic weekend of my life, like Luke being tempted to the dark side by the Emperor except, being gay isn’t really a “dark side” but I challenge you to come up with a better analogy that a 90% male comic-book reading audience will get. No offense, but you guys are dorks (me included).

So that brings us to senior year and a return to Killington that was almost canceled on account of rain. This trip was destined to be fucked up right from the start, when my boy Cooch and I chipped in for an ounce of dope, began smoking it in the school bathroom while waiting for the bus, smoked some more of it at the first rest stop, smoked more the minute we got off the bus and continued to smoke it until that night when we finished off the bag (granted, some of our friends helped).

To make the drug-fest worse, the slopes were closed on Saturday due to the rain. So we woke up early and started smoking other people’s dope. There was so much dope on this trip and we were constantly smoking blunts. We brought bongs, pipes, papers; making pipes out of beer cans and apples. We smoked so much that if you were to slit my wrists I would have bled resin.

Some guys weren’t into the constant doping, like Brian who never smoked, Jeromeo who was always with Brian, Collin who was busy trying to get with the ladies and others. A bunch of guys found an all girl school in the same hotel as us and tried to bring them over to our side of the hotel. Picture the scene. Brian, G, Cash and Jeromeo enter THEIR room with about five girls. Joe, Tal, Squee, Oli, Max, Ron and I are sitting around the room, high as fuck. De La Sol is playing on the radio and Cooch is standing at the table, a blunt in his mouth, a bag of dope and about ten joints in front of him as he rolls another one. He looks up at the no-where-near as fucked up posse and screams, “Close the fucking door, bitches!” They left; us dope-heads took over their room.

We didn’t sleep, either. We went tubing that night when the rain stopped. Tubing high is the best fun you’ll ever have (don’t do drugs, kids. Drugs are bad). We were doing demolition derby style tubing, taking breaks at the bottom of the hill to smoke a joint. We would prank call people late at night. One of my favorites pranks was when Andrew actually signed up to go skiing on Sunday (none of us did, Andrew was a “good kid”) and he requested a 7AM wake up call. We called him at 3AM and pretended to be his wake up call. Twenty minutes later he leaves his room, full gear and heads to the lobby. Ten minutes later he comes back, doesn’t say a word.

Saturday night the teachers tried to control us, they asked for five male volunteers. I volunteered because I was, you know, stoned. Chris, Alex and Jeromeo volunteered as well. It was for a beauty pageant, a team of girls had to dress us up like women. I lost to Chris. Immediately after the pageant it was back to smoking dope. We gave this kid Luis an oregano stuffed joint and watched him pretend to get high, never asking why his blunt smelled like an Italian restaurant.

I smoked my first cigar with Anne. I was a Philly blunt. I inhaled the whole fucking thing, not knowing what to do (I’m a bit of an aficionado know). We got Jansen stoned for the first time. A year later he gets arrested in Ithaca for dealing Acid. Don’t know if the two are correlated but I’m proud to be part of his development. Frank got stoned and “trew umps” the whole trip.

Even Jackie and Mary, probably my two closest friends in high-school (and through college), smoked a little. I don’t have a lot to say about them in terms of this story but they’re coming.

Things got a little weird when some friends’ of some of the girls showed up. They brought drugs none of my friends were into, llallo and H from what I understood. At this point the girls took over, doing heavy drugs while us guys continued to smoke dope. One of the girls, Jamie, wanted to hook up with me but I didn’t. I don’t know, I didn’t like the fact that she was doing the lla, as if the guy that smoked weed 24 hours straight for two days had any right to judge. But I did, and I didn’t even give her a reason, just sort of left her hanging. She didn’t really talk to me much after that, which was too bad because she was a cool chick. I think I felt like my intentions where in the right place, nothing wrong with morals, it was the way I handled it that wasn’t dead on, a mistake that I make quite often.

We all slept on the bus ride home, got home and slept some more. I would call it the best weekend ever, but I haven’t talked about Moosestock or Poconos II yet. Maybe tomorrow.

menthols are for high school, fanboy: Ashton Cigars

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Craig Thompson and The Party

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I love Craig Thompson. Admittedly, I’m getting into him a little late, but I get into most comics a little late (reading Sandman for the first time). I cried with Goodbye, Chunky Rice, I related to Blankets on a very personal level (a good chunk of the subject manner feels ripped out of one of my relationships, one that I really haven’t talked about yet) and The Conversation really established him (and Kochalka) as groundbreaking cartoonists, modern day art theorists with visuals intricately tied to the narration. I purchased Carnet de Voyage at WWLA, only book I bought, despite so-so reviews and a lack of recommendation. It’s Craig’s travel journal from a trip he took to Morocco, France and the Alps. There’s really no story, just notes and sketches. I loved it; I read it in one sitting. It was honest, you know? Many comic creators have this need to establish themselves as hip, cool and without flaw. In Carnet de Voyage, Craig shows no qualms with presenting his fears, emotions, desires and, most notably, acknowledging the “ugly American” within him. The best segments from the book, in my opinion, are when he’s in Fez, at first loving it and making friends but beginning to feel paranoid over their perception of him, afraid that they all want his money and frown upon his lack of religion. It was just nice reflection of what most of us are like, fighting for a cause from afar, not being able to cope with the realties of a truly impoverished neighborhood. The difference with Craig is, he is not ashamed to show these feelings to the world. This isn’t a review site, just read Craig Thompson.

First semester sophomore year in high school, we all pretty much found our bearings and established 90% of the friendships that we will keep throughout the next four years. A lot of the students, having done the lunch room thing freshman year, found out how much better it was to be an office assistant. I realize that sounds dorky, but in reality the office assistants just sort of hung out in an office during lunch, anywhere between 5-10 people per office, while the teachers ate lunch. Some of us where in the English office, some in the bio-office…there was about ten offices to choose from. And now we had access to radios, cards and most importantly a closed door and no supervision. We would usually sign up for office duty at the beginning of the semester and just hop from office to office as the semester moved on.

One day I was in the English office with Ron Ekhardt and several other students. Ron was the type of friend everyone wanted in high school. Friendly, cool but most importantly, divorced parents and a big house he lived in with his father who was liberal as all hell and rarely home. We were discussing how sweet his set-up was when the obvious occurred to us, Ron’s father was going out of town, let’s throw a party.

Ron agrees to throw a party but says he doesn’t want to fill it. He gives that responsibility to me. We decide to do it on a Saturday night since all of his surrounding neighbors were Jewish and wouldn’t call the police on us if it got of hand. Tasked with inviting people I immediately go about my business. I tell everybody I know and tell them to tell everybody they know.

Less than a week later, Saturday rolls around and I show up at Ron’s house to find a party so packed he can no longer fit people in his house and there are probably close to fifty people on his lawn, with a keg and a radio, as people “stage dived” off of cars and got passed around before getting dropped on the grass. Inside was packed, people dancing and making out and drinking and puking and smoking dope and just going fucking nuts. His basement was packed. His second floor was packed. His backyard was packed, our friend Tal was barbequing for everyone, pouring Budweiser all over the food and freestyling like a drunken fool. One rhyme, in particular, will always be etched in my head:
“My boy Mike is chilling, under the thermometer.
Oh shit, nothing rhymes with thermometer.”

The point is, the place was fucking nuts. Ron’s living room had low ceilings with a wooden ceiling fan. “Jump Around” came on we all started getting rowdy; a blades from a ceiling fan was ripped off. We broke his plant pots, glass, people started dry humping and grabbing on the couches amongst a sea of people.

Now, I know most people have been to a party like this, but this was Sophomore year in high school. We were all 15-16 years old. Some freshmen even showed up, most notable this girl Jillian that had business cards introducing herself as “Da’ Girl”. This party was crazier than the craziest frat party most people have ever went to and we were barely teenagers.

Towards the end of the night it got worse. Fights, fires and people going from dry humping in plain site to humping in plain site. We absolutely wrecked that house. By the time the early morning rolled around most people split. I stayed the night along with several other guys and helped Ron clean up, which basically consisted of throwing out all the shit we broke. We would roam the halls and go into rooms to find naked people passed out on the floor, sick people piled up in the bathroom and a few people passed out in his backyard.

To this day it was most likely the best party I’ve ever went to, and I was only 15 years old. We were fucking legends after that, we coasted through school with celebrity status. It didn’t do me that much good, however. I spent all of sophomore year jocking this girl Jessica and she was even at the party, apparently not impressed enough to win her over. I never was able to, and I was one persistent fuck for a full year. But, there will be plenty of those stories later. In case you’re keeping track, I’m pretty sure this is my first high school story. High School was fucking nuts, and I got some good ones. I think the reason I’ve been avoiding it is because I’m kind of embarrassed about how things ended with some of these people, and I feel bad talking about them. But, I wouldn’t have a story without them, and there’s no point of writing this blovel without a story.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: 3 Feet High and Rising

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WWLA Shout-Outs and The Piss Drunk Piss

Monday, March 21, 2005

Back from Wizard World LA and I have a ton of emails to get to and I will get back to all of you but first I must sleep, the Red Eye Flight is only a good idea when you are not sitting next to an obese women that let’s out sighs of boredom every five minutes. I’m working on zero sleep and I smell like a camel’s ass. But I had a great time, thanks to everyone who stopped by and checked us out and bought copies of Elk’s Run and Western Tales of Terror (we even got one in Jos Whedon’s hands!). I also want to give props to Ape Entertainment and SSS Comics, the two tables that flanked ours and a major fuck you to Lion’s Gate Films who was across from us. Nothing wrong with your movies (I actually love your guys' stuff) and your booth babe was HOT but I can’t get that death metal version of Superstar out of my head because you guys played it every five minutes. And not the whole song, just the memorable “Don’t you remember you told me you loved me baby” clip. I also want to give thanks to everyone who signed at our booth including Steve Niles, Dan Wickline, Todd Livingston and Marco Magallanes. Tomorrow I’ll throw up some pictures from the show, including one of Marco sitting on Todd’s lap.

Early on in this blog I told some of my drunken stories. By no means are those the only ones I have, and some of the ones I saved, well, they’re pretty special.

One night, back in college, a bunch of my buddies and I are out drinking. This is the second half of my Junior Year, an extremely drunken, post-21 where we probably spent 5 nights a week drinking heavy (7 nights a week during finals). On one such night out we were at P.J. Kilroys, the dirtiest bar in all of Boston, situated near Fenway Park. Kilroys’ was our favorite dive, it was within stumbling distance of all my friends’ places, had 9 dollar pitchers of Killians, three tables with no stools, a juke-box that played Metallica before midnight and Johnny Cash after midnight, a horribly out of date Megatouch machine, a torn-up pool table, a dart board that couldn’t hold onto the darts that hit it and a pin-ball machine that ate your quarters. It was the kind of place you went to if you wanted to drink with no distractions; you can go in, hit it hard and fast and puke on the floor.

So we were there, drunk, when I excuse myself from the bar to go take a piss, probably with a combination of stumbling, cursing and grabbing somebody’s ass (Junior year = single year and I was quite the ladies man). I get to the bathroom and somebody must have been shitting out dead animals because the place reeks so bad that the guy on the bowl actually apologizes when he hears the door open. When you’re drunk, you’re determined to complete your goal, so I hot-boxed myself in the bathroom with the ass-of-death and unzipped.

Nothing. I might have been thrown off my game because of the shitter but I was forced to Jedi Mind Piss, a technique that is extremely difficult to pull off when drunk. But I go through the motions, the easy breathing, the thoughts of running water, the straight ahead, blank stare. But like I said, when you’re drunk it’s hard to concentrate and when you’re drunk and in a Zen-like trance you notice things, like boogars, and I had a rather large one.

I rip it out as the stream starts and try to flick it off my finger several times. The persistent bastard just won’t budge, it clings to my finger as if its very boogar-essence depends on it. Now, were I sober, I would have either wiped on the wall (provided it wasn’t one of those weird, inexplicitly wet bathroom walls) or waited until I was done pissing and grabbed some toilet paper.

But I was drunk off my ass.

And my GREAT idea, the most logical thing I was able to think up, was to PISS the boogar off of my finger. Without a second thought I implement my plan and begin to piss all over my hand, probably hitting every square inch of it except the area where the boogar resided. And to make matters worse, the stream is splashing off of my hand and going all over my pants, shirt…everything within splash distance.

I finally stop pissing and go to wash my hands, as if at this point it even fucking matters. I walk out of the bathroom, clothes soaked with piss, stinky hand and, for all I know, still with a boogar on my finger. I sit at my bar stool take a drink of my beer, turn to my friends and told them, “Aye – I’m gonna go after this, I just pissed all over myself.”

I don’t think I will ever live that line down.

A quick story that goes great with this but doesn't involve me has to do with my friend Max's sister, Sylka (which I probably spelled wrong). She was driving home a bit intoxicated when her cigarette fell from her mouth and onto her crotch. Not knowing what to do, she began spitting on the cigarette, tying to extinguish it. By the time she got home her crotch was drenched with her own spit and the cigarette burned a hole in her seat.

Read a book, fanboy: Jesus of Nazareth - King of the Jews - College Prof of mine wrote it, great book. Started rereading it last week.

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Iron Men, Rich and Guy and The Day Omar Becomes O-Dog

Friday, March 18, 2005

First things first, I’ve been following the Daily Grind Iron Man challenge and I have to give them some front page pimpage, these guys are awesome. The premise is simple, a cartoonist posts a new comic every Monday to Friday, and if he or she misses a day they are out of the competition. Every cartoonist pays a twenty dollar entry fee and the last cartoonist standing takes the pot. All of these guys have been doing amazing stuff but I wanted to give a little extra shout out to the DCC’s own Jeff Skinner, Joseph Bergin the III who illustrated Saul Colt’s story in Western Tales of Terror 4 and Jamie Dee Galey who has been muchos helpful in all thing Hoarse & Buggy related. I also recommend checking out Jeff Bent, he’s being doing some super funny stuff.

I also want to give a shout out to Rich Aidley, who just sent me this beautiful page. Click the thumbnail for a full-up look:
The Wind pg. 1

And lastly, a little pimpage over toe Guy LeCharles over at Comic Book Commentary that gave WTOT good marks, interviewed Josh, and bought some shit linked off my site. Thanks much, Guy.

Omar lived across the hall from me freshman year in college. Nice guy, big into hip-hop and highly intellectual. His father was a professor at MIT. We would always get together late at night and just talk philosophy and religion. Omar was Muslim, Josh was Mormon, Eric was Jewish and I was your run of the mill Catholic. Many heated but good discussions.

One day a couple of us were all going to go out. It was my, my college friend Max (not to be confused with Max the twin), this guy Mike, Eric, Nico from Rico and several other people whose names I don’t remember, the random friends you hang out with in college because they can get you weed. This was my dope-smoking crew, but this particular day, Omar asked if he can go out with us.

Omar never smoked dope, it just wasn’t him. Despite his hip-hop mentality he was very Muslim, very into keeping the body clean and all that kind of stuff. But he insisted so we let him come.

Mike took us to this guys house who gave us weed. Now, I don’t remember why it went down like this although I’m sure it was a pretty funny story but for some reason we smoked the dope inside this guys wall. It was like this weird secret passageway, a little room with a light bulb that didn’t look like it was supposed to be there. In retrospect, the guy was probably doing some illegal shit in that house (besides selling dope, that is) and need a hide away to store the kids he was kidnapping or something. At the time, however, it was perfectly normal, and we lit up and passed it around.

We all got pretty toked up, some of us believed the dope might have been dusted, we were feeling it pretty strong. We stumbled out of the wall and began walking to Newbury Street.

Something happened to Omar. He changed. It started innocent enough, he just began freestyling some funny lyrics. But then the lyrics started getting violent. He started grabbing his dick and rapping about bitches, drugs and guns really, really loud. We were all high as shit so we were laughing our asses off; this was intellectual Omar, son of an MIT professor, proud Muslim. And he rhymed about shooting people and taking women by force if they don’t comply with his sexual advances.

And then he stopped freestyling and began dropping Method Man's “P.L.O. Style”. He kept turning back to us, telling us how he should join the P.L.O. because it would be dope to blow shit up. We were still laughing, this was pre-September 11th, mind you, and we were stoned and so was Omar.

Then he started getting a little aggressive to people passing by and we had to take him home, it was still funny, but he was throwing rocks at frat houses and yelling how he’ll pop a cap in their asses and he didn’t have the steal to back up his mouth, never a good idea. While dragging him away from the frat house I told him, “You gotta chill out, O-Dog,” and the name just sort of stuck. He was no longer Omar, he was O-dog.

The next day he apologized for his behavior, told me that he didn’t really want to join the P.L.O. When you’re friend needs to tell you the next morning that he really isn’t going to join the P.L.O., you know you had a wild night.

O-Dog smoked with us a few times after that with us and he was much calmer. He was supposed to room with Eric Sophomore year but the kid just disappeared. We never heard from him again, he didn’t return out emails or our calls.

And that’s the end of the story. Sorry, no big reveal with O-Dog being a terrorist. None of us know what happened to him. If anything, the revelation here is sometimes your friends just leave, and you have no idea where they went. O-Dog was the type of guy I could have chilled with for the rest of my life, some of the most intelligent conversation I ever had. And I’ll probably never see him again and I’ll never know why.

read a book, fanboy: Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays - Steve Martin

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David Lapham, Props to my Sugar-Daddy and Dick Trumps Deaf

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I am so happy for David Lapham because the dude is tearing up Detective Comics right now. For those of you just being exposed to David I think you need to shuffle around your reading list and put Stray Bullets on it. Stray Bullets is written and drawn by Lapham on his own label, El Capitan. It is hands down one of the best comic series ever printed, is Eisner winning and features some of the best written characters in seemingly unrelated plots at first that converge as the series builds. Every single issue has a moment that just grabs you; either repulses you, makes you laugh or cry. It’s the kind of book that sparks hours of discussion, heated arguments and philosophical musings on the seemingly random events that make up your life. So pick them up and I promise you that you will not be disappointed. So far we have: Stray Bullets Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5, Volume 6, Volume 7, and Volume 8.

After two months of linking someone purchased something from Amazon from my site. And not only that, said person used the search box button and bought some speakers and a copy of Goodbye, Chunky RIce. Whoever you are, thank you. I now have half the money I need to purchase Fables & Reflections.

Ben lived on our floor Sophomore year in college. He was deaf his entire life but got some cochlear implants put in which succeeded in one thing, at least, and that was lowering my faith in cochlear implant technology. The kid still couldn’t hear shit.

He was a bit of a sorry case at first, we all kind of felt bad for him and gave him the super special treatment. He was rooming with our friend Eric and Eric didn’t seem to mind at first. It was difficult at times but he dealt with it. I mean, the kid was deaf, you know? And being deaf (in the non RUN-DMC way) was not cool.

He was a die-hard Pats fan which conflicted a bit my whole “heart bleeding green J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets thing”. Whenever the Pats were playing, especially when they played the Jets, he would hoot and holler quite loud, deaf person loud, with every play in the Pats’ favor. It was LOUD. And he couldn’t really speak that well, so instead of saying “Patriots” he would say “Payna”. Payna at the top of his lungs, while jumping up and down and clapping, right in your face. But we dealt with it. I mean, the kid was deaf, you know? And being deaf (in the non Ladies Love Cool J Bigger and Deafer way) was not cool.

Then Eric started hearing weird noises in the middle of the night coming from Ben’s bed. Heavy breathing coupled with subdued bed squeaking, leading to a crescendo of hard pounding and raspy breathing. Ben would occasionally masturbate in bed, with Eric there. I guess cause he was deaf, he didn’t realize how loud he was. And Eric dealt with it. I mean, the kid was deaf, you know? And being deaf (in the non Rhyming and Stealing way) was not cool.

Then he picked up a habit of standing behind you while you sat in the study, doing homework, looking at what you were writing despite not being in the class, breathing heavy and rubbing his penis through his army green sweatpants.

Then he started getting violent towards Eric, yelling at him and throwing stuff.

Then he picked up some unhealthy obsession with Third Rock from the Sun and a half hour before it came on he would skip around the hall, clapping, chanting “Tir Rah!” over and over and over and over again.

Then he started sort of yelling at everyone on the floor and leaving messes in the bathroom and throwing trash all over the floor…

Well, deaf or not, being a dick trumped being deaf and something had to be done.

He had a vibrating bed that his alarm clock attached to, his bed would shake when it was time to wake. Well, his doorbell also attached to it. His wireless, battery powered doorbell attached by Velcro to the frame of his door.

One night, before he had a test, and after he went to bed, we stole his wireless doorbell, went into Nico from Rico’s room, turned off the lights and just started ringing his bell.

“AGHH! AGH!!! Who ha ma beh?”

Banging on the door.

“Gi me mah beh!”

After banging on the door for five minutes he went back to his room. Ten minutes later we’d press it again and start the whole thing over again. He didn’t sleep that night.

That pretty much started our pranking of Ben. It’s probably one of the things I will go to hell for but I honestly think I have a good case. The kid was a dick. A huge fucking dick. We couldn’t work on the floor because he was always skipping around, clapping and screaming the names to his favorite TV shows. And that was when he wasn’t masturbating on your shoulder. He was dirty and had no respect for other people. And he was a Pats fan, to boot.

Fuck that, he deserved what he got. But of course, the RA and resident director always came down hard on us when we fucked with him. But whenever we went to them with his problems they told us to be patient with him, he’s deaf. It sucks to have a disability but I just don’t think it gives you a free pass to do whatever the fuck you want.

Unless you’re in bubble. Bubble trumps dick.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: Freshest Kids - A History of the B-Boy

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Phil Hester, The Plan and The Fight

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Let’s face it, 95% of comic fans know Phil Hester as the guy that drew Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow story. Whereas that’s probably a good place to get introduced to Phil Hester, not many people realize that he is without a doubt one of the most talented and prolific writers in comics today and not just a guy that draws really pretty pictures. Do yourself a favor; get acquainted with the writings of Phil Hester. For past material, I suggest picking up The Coffin, The Wretch Volume I and Volume II and Firebreather Volume 1. Then tell your LCS to order up some copies of The Atheist from Image Comics and Desperado Publishing. And finally, when you’re done reading all these great Phil Hester stories, pick up a copy of Western Tales of Terror #2, featuring a great story by Phil (one of my three favorite stories we published so far).

I realized that I never mentioned the intention of this blog when a friend the other day told me I was going to run out of stories eventually. So, in case you’re interested, my plan is to do this for a little over a year (until Feb ’06) and then assess if I have enough stories left to do another year. It was my original intention to sort of use the blog format to effectively write a book. I post 1-2 pages a day for 260 days we’re looking at a 300-and-change page novel. Not bad for a year. After a year I’m probably going to change the pace a bit. I’ve been in DC for almost six years, dating Robin for almost seven years and trying to break into the comics industry for almost a year and a half and I really haven’t told any of those stories yet. I think it’s a great challenge though, to blog a novel of sorts. But that’s the way I’m approaching it. Believe it or not, there is a plotline that’s running through this, there’s an ultimate point to all these stories and what they’re leading up to. So, thanks for sticking with it this far and I hope some of the faithful stick with it further. And, when I hire an editor to clean it up, I add some new content and sell it in book form, thanks, in advance, for buying it.

Yesterday’s story sort of got me thinking about what I consider to be the greatest fight of all time. The fight wasn’t particularly exciting but when you look at the circumstances behind it, it’s the kind of fight you just would have never expected to see.

I talked a bit about PS 58, a predominantly Italian elementary school. Back when I went there, it was close to 99.9% white. There were a few Latinos, a few African Americans and a couple of Asians. My grade had one black guy, Charles Jeray Barr (He went by Charles in elementary school and Jeray in Junior High School). Since this story takes place in elementary school, we’ll call him Charles.

Charles was one of my better friends growing up. I was in his class from Kindergarten straight through to the sixth grade. He was just a friendly guy, always smiling, always laughing, just inviting as all hell. He was in one corner of the fight, one of the only black kids in our school and the only black kid in my grade (to put it into perspective, each grade had about 120 kids).

I talked about Xam a few times. Xam was my good friend since the second grade and he even lives in DC now, we’ve remained friends throughout our years. Xam had a twin brother, Ayli. They were the only twins in the whole school and most likely the only Germans and laid claim to a last name no one could pronounce, Scharrenbroich.

As if the twin/German thing wasn’t enough to set them apart at my school, they were also freaks of a sort. In the fourth grade Xam came into school with the left side of his head completely shaved and Ayli came in with the right side of his head completely shaved. This was probably one of their tamer stunts but easily their most memorable. They were in the other corner, the only twins in our school with opposite sides of their heads completely shaved.

I don’t even know how the fight started. I think Charles tripped one of them or something, I’m pretty sure it started with Xam. But Charles and Xam started going at it and the small and frail Xam was no problem for the genetically muscular and much larger Charles. Charles was literally tossing Xam around.

And then we heard this screech. Ayli has the tendency to do this high pitched screech as a joke but he apparently lets it out when he fight as well. In one swift motion we see Ayli fly through the air and grapple onto Charles’ back. Xam takes his brother’s lead and starts working Charles face and body.

But Charles didn’t give up. He tossed Ayli off his back and once again threw Xam. One brother at a time lunged at Charles and one brother at a time they were tossed across the school yard. Charles held his own, warding off his twin attackers until the fight was broken up by Mrs. Gambino (aka Torpedo Tits).

The fight will always be amazing to me. Any other combination of combatants would have been nothing more than your typical school yard fight. But two people so distinctly different to the rest of the school's population - that was something memorable.

To sort of give an example of the mentality of the school kids, however, I have to add that the many of the white kids gathered around the fight and began chanting the well known school yard poem:

A fight, a fight, a nigger and a white,
The white turns red and the nigger drops dead!


I have so much respect for Charles. I tell stories about the people I had to deal with and the relationship between thugs and non-thugs and friends choosing sides and turning against you, robbing you at gunpoint. Red Hook/Carroll Gardens was a fucking jungle at times in the 80s-90s (pre-Clinton years, pre-economic recovery) but I never had to put up with the things Charles had to put up with. I had my friends and my friends all looked like me. Charles had his friends but no-one looked like him.

Until Junior high school that is. In Junior High we all got a taste of Charles struggles (never as bad, however, being a group of white kids isn't as bad as being the lone black kid)). And my Latino last name didn’t mean shit either. I was a white dude with white friends and a smart white dude to boot which separated me from the dumb white dude crowd. But you know what? Through it all Charles hung with us and occasionally defended us, much the same way we hung and occasionally defended him in elementary school (and occasionally means when shit got out of control, name-calling usually not the best use of a friend save). There’s racism everywhere on all sides directed at all people and you get it no matter where you reside, even "super-liberal" New York. It’s actually sad how few people can seemingly be immune to its pull but at the same time it’s nice to know that not everyone harbors those feelings.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Straight out the Jungle

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posted by Jason at 3 Comments


Drawn!, Family Fun and Pirate Cakes and Your Mother F*ckin' Roots

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

My daily pimp goes out to the guys over at Drawn!. Ever since they linked to the DCC’s very own Deborah Orgel I’ve been checking them out routinely and these guys find some of the most talented cartoonist in the game today and spotlight them. A truly excellent site from extremely dedicated individuals.

This makes me chuckle, as of March 15th, 2005, I’m the number two destination for “family fun and pirate cake” on MSN. So if you’re looking for family fun and pirates cakes, check out my site. You can also get great information on hookers, drugs and gang fights.

This is one of my favorite stories. Not the best, not the funniest, not the deepest, but one of my personal favorites.

We all went to PS 58 for elementary school, situated nicely in the middle of Carroll Gardens, a 95% Italian neighborhood at the time. A lot of the kids in the neighborhood were punks, claiming that their fathers where in the mafia and resorting to a mentality reminiscent of Hollywood stereotypical mafiosa children – they really didn’t give a shit about much of anything.

There was one family in our neighborhood that was just synonymous with trouble – the Russos. I sort of learned that Russo families where always bad news, not just in my neighborhood. There’s just something about that name, but most kids I talked to that were in Italian neighborhoods had a Russo family causing trouble. So, take that for what it is.

Anyway, elementary school was my skating days and this was before everyone was skating. This was when skating was what “freaks” did and there was nothing cool about it unless you yourself were a skater. This was when our only pop-culture representations where "Gleaming the Cube" and “Skate or Die”, Tony Hawk was some punk kid (with a cameo in "Gleaming the Cube", I might add), and Jason Lee was skating on the banks and not staring in Kevin Smith movies. It was underground.

The Russos didn’t like us skaters and they gave us shit on a daily basis until one of us realized that a skate-truck planted to the back of the head can down a gumba in one shot (but that’s another story). One day we were walking down Court Street, skateboards in hand, when a pack of Russos started yelling over to us, calling us pussies. We just sort of ignore them, not in the mood to get chased on this particular day, and continue to our destination.

That is, until Max (the super genius) yells out one of the best comebacks I’ve ever heard:

“If we’re a bunch of pussies, why don’t you dicks come over here and fuck us!”

Homosexual connotations aside, that was so dope in retrospect.

In retrospect.

In real-time, my friends and the Russos just sort of paused, having no idea what to do and how to respond. This never really happened before. We turn around, to see what Max’s reaction was and he’s fucking gone. He booked it so fast. Naturally we all start running and the Russos come after us as well.

This was your classic through the alley chase, dodging obstacles, hopping fences, cutting through private property. At one point our friend Ross got his pant leg caught on the top of a fence, dropped his board. We kept running, he was on his own. Ross ended up leaving his board behind and that was enough of an offering to get the Russos to stop chasing us.

None of us got caught that day but we lost a skateboard, Ross complained for weeks after that. Losing skateboards really fucking sucks so I think that’s why we started experimenting with using them as weapons. I don’t know, I see these kids skating now and I get so pissed. They don’t know their roots. Skate parks, significant pop-culture representation, the fucking X-Games. We had to avoid the cops, crazy-ass Italians and make ramps out of discarded pieces of plywood and rusty nails.

We paved the way, bitches. Mother fucking roots. Until a Russo steals your skateboard you’re nothing but a Linkin' Park listening poser. Go put on your Vans and get all angst, pussy.

Just be careful that a couple of dicks don’t come over and fuck you.

read a book, fanboy: The Godfather

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posted by Jason at 10 Comments


A Call for Help, DCC Get Together, This Thing in My Apartment and Swallowing Quarters

Monday, March 14, 2005

"Damn Fine Comics Work." - Brian Michael Bendis

"Elk's Run represents what we need more of in comics today, new ideas, great writing and art that pulls you in." - Steve Niles

Warren Ellis says.

We’ve displayed similar quotes from Stuart Moore, Phil Hester and B. Clay Moore in the past, as well. And the reason I’m bring this up is because our orders numbers were well below what we expected. Due to some wheeling and dealing and an intent to hustle the books, Chris Arundle has agreed to print through issue 4 of Elk’s Run with no guarantee we’ll make it to 8. And here’s where you come in. Tell your shop about the book; tell them to take a chance on it (Order #FEB052900). If you are one of the 500 people that have received promo copies, give them to a friends and if your friends like them have them request an issue from their shop. Look for us in LA and purchase some books. Or, buy some books from our store (they make great presents). If you like the book and you like what we’re doing, we’re asking for a little extra support. Not begging, mind you, but asking nicely. We appreciate the support you’ve given us so far. Thanks for hearing me out.

Also, DC Conspiracy had our first get together yesterday and we got drunk so fast we forgot to take pictures until people were leaving. We have three. You can see them here (I'm the guy in the first picture with the Cubano shirt). And finally, I got this thing living in my house now that Robin says is a dog. What do you think?

Today is my sister’s birthday, she turns 16. We got a special kind of relationship, the 11 year difference in age (combined with her being my only sibling) puts me into a hybrid brother/father/friend mode. And out of that came my unusual enthusiasm to help out with Elizabeth, and when you’re younger, helping out means babysitting.

I watched Elizabeth quite a bit, especially in the summers. I was always the corrupter, teaching her funny phrases, play fighting…stuff like that. I still take that roll with my younger cousins. All my cousins love to hang with me but their parents hate it when they hang with me.

Well, at one point I was trying out magic, every kid comes to that moment where they thing it’s a really good idea to get a magic kit. I don’t even know what tricks I learned, but they all sucked. Either way, one day I was trying the tricks out on Elizabeth, she was probably about two years old, and I was bombing. She couldn’t care less about what I was seemingly pulling out thin air or what card she had and how I found it in the deck. I was getting nervous, so I decided to pull out a “trick” that I thought she would seriously enjoy.

For some fucked up reason, I thought she would be fascinated if I threw a quarter up in the air and made it “disappear” by catching it with my mouth. Even if I pulled this trick off it would have been the lamest trick ever. If I pulled it off.

If I didn’t get the quarter lodged in my throat.

So now here I am, choking on a quarter, freaking out. It truly would have been the worst way to die. I don’t know what to do, I remember some video where this guy is doing the self-Heimlich, pushing up against a table edge. I run to the table and try it out, not working (being a wuss, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t jamming the table hard enough).

Now, here I am, running around the apartment freaking out like a chicken without a head. Elizabeth can’t stop laughing. She doesn’t know her brother is dying and to her, I’m doing something more entertaining than turning a magic wand into a bouquet of flowers. SO not only am I running around, freaking out because I’m dying, but I have my sister chasing me and laughing.

And then, jut like that, I swallow it. The quarter must have pivoted just enough or something but it went down hard, hurt all the way, but it was down. I was relieved, to say the least, and I pretty much swore off magic, as if magic was the reason I got a quarter lodged in my throat. I should have sworn off stupidity, instead.

My parents came home and I told them the story. My father told me to make sure I shit it out or else my appendix would burst, I told him I would let him know. There was no way I was going to thumb through my shit everyday, however, so I just took my chances. Can’t say I remember it coming out, but 14 years later and my appendix didn’t rupture so I’m doing OK.

Happy Birthday, Bits.

read a book, fanboy: Elk’s Run - I had to do it, I fully realize putting a comic in the "read a book, fanboy" section defies all logic. Sorry. Now buy the book, fanboy.

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posted by Jason at 7 Comments


Some People You Should Know and Having it Made (With Bonus Illegal MP3!)

Friday, March 11, 2005

I’m want to pimp out some people that I feel should be well known but aren’t yet, too much time on these blogs are focused on people that are already there. In my time editing for Hoarse & Buggy (and some side stuff) I’ve come across several people that are destined to become big names in comics. For writers, these guys are Chris Fabulous, Jorge Vega and Jay Busbee. For artists, we have Paul Maybury, Jason Copland and Jared Bivens. If these guys got together and put together some sort of jam-book, it would rock your ass harder than an ass-rocking machine. There are more people I’ve come across, too, that every time I see something from them I just hope that they make it. You know what? I’m also going to throw writer and web designer Randal Rozzel onto the list. Good guy, good stories, great web design. Drop them an email, check out there shit, hire them if you have an opening (and, provided that opening can’t be filled by me). And also, a quick reminder that I roll with the DC Conspiracy crowd and those are some talented cats as well. All right, on with the fun.

Ok, admittedly, I am so shallow that I did a Yahoo! search on my name yesterday. Don’t judge me, we all do it. About three pages in I find this article that my boy Guam wrote concerning why people should be mean to me back when he was an editorial writer for BU’s Daily Free Press. Got me all reminiscent and shit, and combine it with my “turn off the metallica, fanboy” selection from yesterday, Special Ed’s Legal, I think my story for today became clear. Let’s talk about the best day ever.

Guam and I have the tendency to have insane amounts of fun doing absolutely nothing. One Saturday, with nothing in particular to do, Guam and I decided to get an early head start and “do something.” We first went to Newbury Street with our boy Tom where we purchased our first cell phones (three months later mine was disconnected since I never paid a single bill). The girl working at the Motorola store was pretty cute, so I was hitting on her. As we were leaving, Tom and Guam made funny of me because the cute girl I was hitting on was reading an R.L. Stine book called Beach House, a sure sign that she was either 13 years old or a retard (needless to say, I’ve received multiple copies of Beach House as a gift since then).

After purchasing cell phones we stopped off at F.A.O. Schwartz and purchased Super Sock 'Em Boppers and nerf guns. We ran through the streets of Boston, causing a ruckus. By the time we were through, it was almost noon.

“What should we do now?” Tom asks.

“Lets get some sandwiches, a boom box and my Special Ed tape and go to the Esplanade.” Guam instantly saw the fun potential, Tom, on the other hand, backed out. Now, Special Ed was big in 1988/1989. This was 1999. He didn’t sound cool anymore, and the idea of blasting him from a boom box doesn’t sound attractive to most normal people. But it sounded like fun to Guam and I.

So we went to the Esplanade to go through with our plans. We brought Uno, a deck of regular cards and a notebook so we can plan the production of Mr. Sandman (our feature “film”).

Now I’m going to fast forward to about 6 hours later because for those six hours we laid out on the Esplanade, playing Special Ed’s Legal on repeat over and over and over and over and DID NOTHING. We made some phone calls, talked to people as they walked by but for the most part, we just sort of sat, trying to look mock-cool and occasionally cracked some jokes.

At one point, about 5 hours into our sitting, side B of Legal came to its 10th (or so) stop. I go to flip to the tape and look at Guam, lying on the ground, laughing hysterically for no reason except for the fact that he’s delirious as fuck.

“One more time?” I ask him.

To which he screams, “This is the best day ever!”

We laugh in delirium for the next half hour, while Special Ed reminds us for the 11th time that he has it made (oh yes, that link is indeed an illegal mp3, feel free to bask in the genius that is Special Ed - don’t tell the RIAA).

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Youngest in Charge - Special Ed, of course

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posted by Jason at 5 Comments


Bendis Likes Elk’s Run and Citronella Fire Pit of Death

Thursday, March 10, 2005

You know, there’s been tons of good press, good reviews, good buzz, etc and we’ve been grinning like pimps with each one. But when Brian Michael Bendis posted at thumbs up for Elk’s Run on his message board, we were smiling like a pimp that got to turn out Evangeline Lilly (what a lucky pimp that would be). I want to say thank you to Brian, I’m glad you enjoyed it; we all worked so hard on it. If you haven’t ordered Elk’s Run, we’ll have it for sale at WWLA and we also have some issue for sale over at our online store.

A bit hung over, Robin's brother and girlfriend are visiting, I hope I tell this story to it's full potential.

All right, what have we got today? G and I go way back, I knew him since pre-K. If it wasn’t against the rules of society for a guy to call someone “best friend” I think I would label G with the title. Even if we don’t see each other as much or talk as much, he just gets it by fucking default.

So one day we were home from college, sitting in my backyard, talking…just sort of catching up. It’s summer time, mosquitoes are swarming Brooklyn, and we light up this huge citronella candle my mom keeps in the yard. This thing was in a metal pot, probably a foot and a half in diameter and a foot and a half tall, I would imagine. We have it on a table, situated between us and a little off to the left. As we talk, we’re ripping pieces of a paper plate and throwing them into the candle, the pyromaniac in both of us.

Well, we continue to do this for about an hour, never really paying mind to the candle. The fire is growing, however. And I mean growing. The flame is rising high above the pot, a mixture of paper plate and citronella oil has now caught fire and the entire surface of the candle is aflame. It’s a torch now, no longer a candle by any means. And for some reason, we found nothing wrong with this.

My mom has this uncanny ability to smell smoke from about 38 miles away. Our trance is interrupted by my mother, at 2 O’clock in the morning, hanging out of our second floor apartment window, screaming, “What are you doing! You’re setting the yard on fire!”

We really looked at the pot for the first time and realized that it was pretty much burning brighter than the sun. We kind of jump out of our seats and stare at the flame, unsure what to do. It was at this time that my questionably sane mom took actions into her own hand.

She threw a bucket of water out the window, onto the candle.

Let me tell you about citronella, it’s an oil. Let me tell you about oil, it doesn’t mix with water. Let me tell you about oil on fire mixed with water. Fucking fireball. Like I’ve never seen in my life.

The whole thing just erupted, fire spilled over the edge, into the air. The flame came up so high I’m surprised it didn’t singe my mom’s eyeballs. The entire neighborhood got woken up, I would imagine, by a huge flash and three people yelling, “Holy shit!”

Before things got anymore out of hand I went to the basement and grabbed two shovels. I started throwing dirt on some of the fire that was hanging out outside of the pot (astonishingly, there wasn’t a lot) while G dug a hole in the yard. I hooked the handle of the candle with my shovel and we threw it in the hole, buried it and never dug it up.

My parents are selling the house now, after living there for 29 years. Whoever buys the house, might someday find a citronella candle buried in the yard and wonder how the hell it got there.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Legal

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posted by Jason at 2 Comments


Wizard World LA and Nick

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

For starters, I’ll be at Wizard World LA, working the Hoarse & Buggy booth and selling advance copies of Elk’s Run. I’ll be there on the 19th and the 20th; I’ll also be covering two panels for Comicon. Come by; say “hi” if you get the chance. Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you a story. Now, this is my first con since Ohio and, more importantly, since starting this blog. I get a pretty decent readership, and when I tell people I’ll be in LA I get a lot of, “I can’t wait to meet you. I feel like I know so much about you.” Now this really, really freaks me out; I didn’t think far enough ahead it seems. People will be meeting me that know about my hooker hand, bucket shit and self wedgy. Meanwhile, all I know about them is that they have an email address and enjoy comics. Sure, I can infer they’re antisocial and watch Buffy but beyond that, what do I have? So people, please, if you plan on saying hi to me at WWLA at least do me a favor and email me an embarrassing story about yourself or post it below. Even ground is such a nice place to be.

Ok, not going for the funny as much today, yesterday sucked harder than...well...really hard. So I'm going to use that suckage and instead deliver a good story. I’m going to talk about Nick, as promised. I talked briefly about the kid in my gang fight story, which you can read up on for a refresher, but I’ll give an overview. Nick was a smart kid that made a couple of bad choices. He was sort of like me, except where I made choices that sacrificed my personal safety in exchange for my personal growth; he sacrificed his growth in exchange for his safety.

Nick went to JHS 142 with the lot of us but never really hung out too much. I saw him occasionally and we were always civil to each other but it never really went beyond that. To put this into timeframe, 142 came after the gang fight, so as I said in that story, relations between and my neighborhood friends went sour somewhat.

There was one day that really set the new course for our friendship, which was always a sort of friend by proxy anyway. I went to talk to him in the school yard and he pretty much laid it out for me. Paraphrasing here:

“It’s not like I got anything against you, I just have to do my thing. I’m really smart, you know, like you guys, but at the same time these people don’t respect smart. So, I just gotta do what I gotta do and then I get to high school.”

Basically, his point was that he really can’t be seen with me, he was aware of the decision he made and why he made it and in high school he can go back to being more of a student.

But, you see, that wasn’t a good call. Nick ended up going to John Jay, arguably the worst school in Brooklyn, because he didn’t do good school. From what I last heard, he isn’t doing too good now, either. But I’m getting ahead of the story.

It was a gradual change, I still hung with him occasionally in the neighborhood but never at school. The frequency declined as time went on, his interests shifted. One summer day (and this is at the age of 12, mind you), he showed up with a stolen car, told us all to get in, we were going to the Red Hook pool. I wanted nothing to do with it. The car was hot (it was a piece of shit, but it was still hot), he couldn’t drive, and the Red Hook pool was like a prison pool and frankly, I couldn’t trust Nick or the other neighborhood kids to watch my back. So I turned down the invite and the civility in our friendship went away.

I was tagging “Maze” back then, despite my decision to not be a thug I still loved my graffiti. Nick came at me one day in the Powerhouse’s handball-court and just started shoving. He claimed that he’s always tagged Mazed and if I keep tagging it up he’ll kill me. My friends stood around at first, in complete shock. Finally he got pulled off and told to calm down. He warned me one final time before running off.

One day I was leaving the movies with my girlfriend at the time (whatever girlfriend meant in Junior High). As I was leaving, Nick, B (info on B here), and several other guys mugged me at gunpoint. Nick or B weren’t holding the gun, but they were offering protection. I’ve gotten mugged before this but this one hurt. They couldn’t even look me in the eye. I think the guy taken lead just decided to go for me, they didn’t say no. And it fucking hurt so bad.

It’s moments like that where you question your decisions. If I decided to run with the thug crowd, my school-book crowd wouldn’t have turned around and mugged me. Maybe Nick had it right, maybe Junior High was just a two year phase, you can get your shit back together after it’s all said and done.

I know now that he wasn’t right and he made the wrong decisions. B was part of another one of my muggings; he actually initiated it this time. Nick, on the other hand, after that day I can’t say I ever crossed paths with Nick again. I think he saw it, I think he saw what I believed. That everyone makes a choice that determines where they will end up. I think Nick realized, at that moment, that we both made different choices and there won’t be any turning back for him. He still ran with the particular crew that made my life pretty bad in JHS but he never came close to me again, even when they did.

read a book, fanboy: A Prayer for Owen Meany

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On Rumors, Top Shelf Sale and Homerian Ethics

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

In response to my pimping of Ait/Planet Lar, Larry Young has repimped my blog (March 7th posting). This has people talking all over the internets and from what my sources have told me, Rich Johnston even said in his last Lying in the Gutters column that there is a torrid affair going on between Larry and I (I never read it myself, just too damn long and I have the attention span of sperm…which actually might be pretty good, not sure). Let me set the record straight, there is no affair between Larry and I, but I have been getting heavy with John Romita Jr. Now the secret is out, I’m pretty sure my girlfriend, Robin, will leave me, John will deny our love and I will be damaged comic book goods, forced to slum with Rob Liefeld, man-whoring myself to the likes of Orson Scott Card. Thanks Rich. Thanks for ruining my fucking life. (Just kidding, Rich, loved your column, it will be missed. Congratulations you crazy rumor monger. And in case you, the reader is, you know, stupid, the above rumor gets a red light, it's simply a homage to Rich.)

My comic pimp for the day goes out to Top Shelf Productions and their fantastic graphic novel sale currently going on. Do yourself a favor and buy whatever you can; Top Shelf is the fucking bomb!

BU was winding down and I was in desperate need of some electives. By the time I got to senior year, I pretty much took every single requirement and I just had to pad my schedule with fun classes that I can get an easy A in. I took two religion classes (I love religion, my friend Guam was a religion major and our drunken ramblings are what you would expect from two priests hitting the sacramental wine), an archeology class, a couple of creative writing classes and one class that really didn’t work out: Ethics.

I don’t know why I decided to take an Ethics class, it just sort of sounded like a good idea. We read some Homer, some Plato and after two weeks it was time for our first quiz. I went to the study group, led by our pretentious T.A., and sat in a stupid circle with the rest of my class (I think circles are the dumbest formation a class can sit in, it just feels very “humanities”).

My T.A. told us a bit about himself. One bit of information interested me quite a bit – he was currently getting a PHD in philosophy. Now, I may be wrong here, but there are certain degrees that you just sort of get a Bachelors in and then go to Law or Medical school or go back to living in your families basement. You never get a Masters unless you have money and time to spare and you never get a PHD. You could become a professor but that’s really your only option at that point. These majors are: history, religion, any of the dead languages and there are more but, on top of the list, is most likely philosophy.

So, I called him on it.

“Why would you get a PHD in philosophy?” I’m a straightforward dude, I don’t fuck around. I just asked it. You can tell the class was thinking the same thing.

I’m paraphrasing his reply, but it was along the lines of, “I am doing this so I can learn to think better.”

Now, on top of being straightforward I am also a bit of an asshole. “Well, I think you made a bad call. But I don’t have a PHD in philosophy so I could be wrong.” It really wasn’t meant to be blatantly mean; I just thought he left an opening so I went for the funny. The rest of the class started chuckling but the T.A. sort of fumed, ignored my comment and went back to the review. I pretty much realized that I just swung twice at a change-up, two strikes against me and I haven’t even taken a test yet.

I left the study group early, it was retarded, and I figured I would do fine on the quiz without any help. I didn’t even study for the quiz. Well, I get to class and I knew shit about shit and I couldn’t answer half of the questions. Knowing I had the Mad Thinker against me from the start, I couldn’t afford to take a hit on my first quiz.

So I cheated. I fucking cheated on an ETHICS QUIZ.

I got home and dropped the class. Even if I passed it, I really didn’t learn shit.

read a book, fanboy: America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

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Ait/Planet Lar, An Elk's Run Review and The Jacking of Strings

Monday, March 07, 2005

Well, I think my pimp for today goes out to Larry Young and Ait/Planet Lar. Now, I’m a fan of Larry’s books and Larry as a person, I’ve always seen him as an amazing publisher. Some people can write, some can illustrate, some can do both. Few people can publish really well, and Larry is exceptional in that respect. So check him out, buy his books and say hey to him. The reason why I’m pimping him today is because he digs my blog enough to give me a front page pimp (check his March 4th posting) and I’m returning the favor, although I think it’s safe to say I’ll send fewer people his way than he sends mine. Also, check out the great review fellow blogger Sean Maher wrote for Elk’s Run, just to sort of add to the anticipation.

So, now I have an increase of people coming. This is sweeps week for me, time to bust out some of my A-material. I think this week I’ll sprinkle some Junior High in the mix, starting with today’s story.

I gave a primer to Junior High a couple of weeks ago, gives some good insight the whole thing. But, just as a refresher, my Junior High was nestled between an all-white neighborhood and an all-Hispanic/black neighborhood and I was a white kid with a Hispanic last name that was in the smart class to boot.

Back in the early 90s NYC was feeling the first Bush’s deficit pretty hard. Nobody had money. Now, at the same time, hip-hop was evolving, the culture becoming more violent and obsessing more on material status and respect. It was a dangerous, dangerous combination.

People at my school stole EVERYTHING. My friends and I were easy targets for theft, and one of us got jacked up at least once a week. Throughout my two years in Junior High I had two Starter hats, a Jansport and a pair of Jordans jacked. In addition I got mugged for money several times and my locker was broken into many a time as well. But these are all stories in and of themselves, Monday’s are lighthearted so I want to talk about the most ridiculous trend growing up and how it resulted in some of the stupidest jacks in jacking history.

Not the Jansport. Jansport strings, the colorful strings that hang from the zippers.

You see, you really only need one Jansport. So once they steal your Jansport, there really isn’t any point to steal another one. Jansport strings became a symbol of power, whoever had the most strings was king shit. The thing is, we didn’t give a fuck if someone took our stings, we were happy to give them up. IT’S A FUCKING STRING. But, no, it wouldn’t be a jacking with a good ole fashioned punch to the face or a nice throw against the wall.

This may not sound funny, but it is. If you’re not laughing and if instead you’re saying, “how cruel” you’re really not getting the joke. You see, here’s the joke.

IT WAS A FUCKING STRING.

We used to stand on the bus and someone would be sitting behind us, taking the strings off our back packs. We wouldn’t care. At all. It was a fucking string. We would just keep talking as if nothing was happening. Once our string were stripped, the snickering behind us dying down, they would always follow it up with the ever-funny, “Yo, son, I was gonna jack your strings but you ain’t got none. Give me some loot so I can go buy some.” That’s my favorite logic, by the way. We can’t steal something off you so give me money to buy it. Like I was a fucking birthday card. “We don’t know what game you wanted so buy one for yourself. Love, Grandma.” I should have gotten a handful of twenty-five cent gift cards from Modell's and handed them out to every thug that pulled the “You ain’t got no strings” routine. I have to imagine they would have at least laughed.

Anyway, one day my friend actually decided to make a stand for his Jansport strings. We all make stands at least once. My nose was broken when I refused to run my San Antonio Spurs Starter hat; I know first hand that we each had that moment. But this guy was the first (and only) to ever do it for Jansport strings.

Anyway, he refused to give them up. I sort of whispered to him “they’re just strings” and took a few steps back; the crazy fuck was on his own.

I wish I had this one tape.

There was an “ohhh” that ran through the audience. The thug kind of look at my friend (down, I should say, because there was about a foot and a half height distance), winds up, and delivers a KARATE CHOP TO THE FUCKING THROAT.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a karate chop in my life aside from kung-fu movies. Honestly, I don’t even know if it was a bonafide karate chop, I wouldn’t know the proper technique. But up until that point, I always thought a slap was the most disrespect one man can bestow upon another. I changed my mind that day; there is nothing more embarrassing than a karate chop to the throat. My friend dropped to his knees instantly, they took the strings and left.

And here’s the punch line: IT WAS FOR A FUCKING STRING.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: F.U. Don't Take it Personal

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All the Wrong Choices Preview Art (UPDATE! IN COLOR!) and Bunny Drug Sex

Friday, March 04, 2005

Got a little sneak peek, page one panel one of a six page short called All the Wrong Choices slated as a back up in Elk’s Run #2. All the Wrong Choices is written by me and the incredibly talented Chris Fabulous (who also did the layouts) and is illustrated by Paul Maybury, a god amongst illustrating mortals. It will be in full color but, like I said, this is a tease. Maybe I’ll post the first page when it’s finished.
(Click for full picture)



Drugs. College and drugs just seem to go hand in hand. I was pretty tame, I enjoyed my occasional dope (and by occasional it was about 5-7 days a week sophomore year, my dope-pinnacle), shrooms once and X once. So, honestly, my experimental phase wasn’t that experimental. No llallo, no H, no crank, no K…just wasn’t my speed. Oh yeah, and no speed either. Wait, is speed and crank the same thing?

Anyway, my sophomore year roommate was the studious, straight edge type. Amazingly, we got along quite well.

For the first few months.

Before I get into the brunt of this story, I need to say that it was so funny after the “shit the bucket” incident, my roommate was fucking fuming, saying he can’t believe an animal like that lives on this floor. I was trying not to laugh, because I was said animal, and I had sex on his bed a couple of nights beforehand to boot.

Ok, back to the story. I ordered up my X from this kid I know. Don’t remember his name, don’t care. I bought three things off of this kid. X (once), dope (many times) and Magic cards. He was like an all purpose dealer and yes; I had a 6 month stint with Magic.

Now, my roommate had a study group over, all Asians, ubernerd style. They were sitting on the floor, in a circle, when their was a knock on the door. My dealer came in, showed me the X, told me the price, commented how it even has pretty butterflies, reminded me that me and my lady where going to “fuck like bunnies” that night, I paid him and he left. Now, for some reason, I thought this was totally cool. The silence hanging over the study group proved otherwise.

My roommate pulled me out into the hall and told me, “Don’t you ever fucking do that again.” Now, I’m generally a tolerable person and I can own up to mistakes. I hate being cursed at, tho, and I hate someone telling me what to do.

“Ok. I’m gonna go now. I’ll be back around 8, make sure you’re out of the room because I’m gonna fuck ______ all over that goddamn place.” And I left.

He was the last roommate I ever had. People like me can’t have roommates, we don’t work well. A month later my RA quit. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I got the position when he left. My roommate was so pissed, because he knew that I didn’t deserve the position. My friends and floor mates were ecstatic, because everyone likes to smoke dope with their RA.

Fuck it, one quick related story. My buildings director warned me that some cops were coming by to search one of my resident’s rooms because they were suspected of dealing drugs. I didn’t suspect them I knew they were dealing drugs because I was buying them off of them. Anyway, I went up to my resident’s room, banged on their door and said, “Cops are going to be here soon, whatever the fuck you got, get rid of it.” Their search turned up nothing.

I want to go on record as saying I haven’t done drugs since college. I don’t know why that matters, I’m just kind of proud of it. Of course, I drink way too much, but no drugs. I’m a model citizen.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Tical

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Jon Wye (again) and Joe Sacco (Not the Comic Guy)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Not entirely comic related, and I pimped him two weeks ago, but my buddy Jon Wye’s new store front just went live, complete with t-shirts, intimates and the belt buckles he’s been selling (plus a new Underpants buckle!). His belt buckle was featured in this month’s Rolling Stone, in their “cool products” section or something, so we’re all pretty proud of him. And when you check out the site, give a look at the kick ass comic he wrote with art by Graham Annable. Jon will be putting up an Indy comic promotion mini-site soon, linked from his comic buckle page. If you decide to buy, tell him you sent me. He's been known to give discounts because of it.

I’m actually a little on the drunk side. This is the first time I’m writing a drunken post. Could be gold, could suck.

Let me tell you about Joe Sacco. Joe Sacco was a friend of mine in college, probably one of my better friends. He had muscular dystrophy and he always had such a positive outlook on life. I met him because I became an RA my Junior year and he was an RA as well, which really is a testament to his determination and drive. He couldn’t walk, you know? He had a scooter and a walker but he never really let that get him down. He was always smiling, always joking. Even about his own problems, he always managed to attack his MD with humor.

He had someone that helped him out at night, shower and get to bed and stuff. He even joked about that. About 25 people went out for my 21st birthday, Joe was one of them. As he was leaving he called his helper and told her to be ready for him because he’s coming back fucked up. That was just the kind of guy he was.

We were both bog X-Files fans. We went to some X-File convention together out in western Mass, we took the T all the way to the end of the line and then we traveled an additional three miles or so, on the shoulder of a major road/highway, him in his electric scooter and me hitching on the back with my roller blades. When we got to the convention he kept using his disability to our advantage. We went back stage, hung out with the Cigarette Smoking Man (who treated Joe like a 5 year old kid – it was kind of funny), got autographs and free shit, just good times.

That’s what Joe was, good times. There was rarely a bad time. And I was there for him too, you know? One day he was riding home in his scooter in a thunderstorm and tried to cut through a huge puddle. His scooter shorted out. Someone pushed him home and I took a look at his scooter, found the problem, ordered a new part and fixed it up for him. Joe as practically crying he was so grateful. And that’s just the kind of guy he was.

There really isn’t a sad part to this story, as I’m writing it I feel like I’m building to it but it really isn’t there. This feels like the kind of story that has a “Joe died on…” but that’s not the case.

It’s sad in the fact that Joe represents one of the things I always do wrong. There are some friends I keep in touch with, without a doubt. G, Guam, Max…amongst others. But Joe sort of represents this lazy trend I have where I just sort of give up. I always had this leaving complex, I always felt like people left me at some point. I dealt with a lot of death, I’ll be getting to them. And not old age and shit like that, I watched people die….I saw death many times. And I always thought this fear of people leaving me came out of it.

But Joe is proof that it’s me that does it; it’s more of a push than someone leaving. Joe wrote me a Christmas card the year after he left college. I never responded. I never talked to him after he graduated. I just cut him off like he never existed. The thing is, for every friend I kept in touch with, I can account for ten or fifteen people I didn’t even bother with.

Eh, I don’t know, this is what you get when I drink. I’ve just been thinking about Joe quite a bit. I’ve been thinking about a lot of my friends that I lost tough with. Jackie, Mary, Andy, Chris, Rany…there would be so many more if it wasn’t for the friends I did keep I touch with keeping in touch with the people I should be keeping in touch with.

This isn’t me bitching. This is my unfurling my life, piece by piece, like I’ve been doing for the past month. Ebb and Flow, Jorge called it; all my stories don’t involve hookers and alcohol. But, stories like this only come out with the help of alcohol.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: I, Phantom

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Scott Mills and The End of Pranks

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I want to take a quick moment to pimp out the genius that is Scott Mills. He’s going to be doing a short story for Western Tales of Terror (the art for it, wait till you see who’s WRITING it) and through our conversations I got directed to his EBay store. He has all these little illustrations he does and starts them at 5 bucks. I snagged a Fantastic Four and a Senor Muerte. I paid shipping on both of them and Scott was nice enough to throw in a free one of Senor Meurte kicking Captain America’s ass. So now I have three pieces of original Scott Mills art for the low, low price of 14 bucks. And believe me, I plan on getting more. I will go toe to toe with anyone for that Watchmen one he is currently selling. Anyway, check out Scott’s books, he’s a Top Shelf go-to guy and check out his EBay store. Buy everything except for the Watchmen one.

Ok, daily pimp is done. I need to keep up the appearance that this is a comic related blog, know what I mean?

I’m sort of college reminiscent this week, the past two stories being about Boston University. I want to drop another one on you guys, one that will probably make me look a lot nastier than the hooker hand story but is so funny, to me at least, that it just transcends being a low moment.

I was on an all male floor my freshman and sophomore year in college and we were epitome of dope-smoking, heavy drinking slackers. We never slept, we took hardly anything serious, and we just always found ways to piss everyone in our building off that didn’t live on our floor. We were the fourth floor, damn it.

At first our pranks were somewhat harmless. We switched around all the buttons in the elevator, for instance. If you press the second floor you go to the eleventh. If you press door open it actually closed. We would also spend an entire night first taping a sheet of newspaper to the outside of someone’s door (the doors swung inward) so they couldn’t see out and then stacked a couple of hundred cans from the recycling room in front of it. When they broke through the paper cans went every which way. When people caught onto to that we replaced the cans with giant metal garbage pails so they stubbed their toes while kicking through the paper. One of my favorite “innocent” pranks was when we took the clothes out of some girl’s washing machine and replaced it with about 40 cinnamon-raisin bagels we stole from the cafeteria. We left her clothes in a different washer and paid for the load, with a note saying “Sorry, too good to pass up”.

But then there was the prank war with the 6th floor. They had a poster of some chick on the wall of their communal area that we defaced with graffiti one night. Standard prank, but they couldn’t just leave it at that. The defaced our bulletin board, hung pictures of gay porn and tagged up all over it.

Up until that moment I don’t think we even noticed we had a bulletin board, but that was still a sign of war damn it.

So during peak class hours we put Vaseline on all of their doorknobs so they couldn’t open their doors when they got back. They tied our doorknobs together while we slept so we couldn’t leave our rooms (swing in, remember). We put cellophane on their toilet bowls so their piss splashed and they crap lingered on their ass cheeks.

It went back and forth for a couple of weeks. And then, one fateful day, we were pretty toked up and I decided to end this war once and for all. The prank we pulled the whole building in an uproar, but goddamn it was worth it.

We got one of those McDonalds plastic Halloween buckets, the ghost one to be exact. They give these out every year around Halloween time; kids are to use them for trick-or-treating. I took this bucket into the bathroom and dropped a hybrid piss/shit into it, wiped my ass and threw the toilet paper in the bucket for good measure. We then put the lid on the bucket, cut some air holes into it, put a note on it that said “Game Over” and left it in the desk they had in their common room.

Now, I wasn’t there for the big moment, but I heard about it. Apparently, the 6th floor started gradually smelling like shit and it got worse, a lot worse. We hid the pail behind some trash and books, I don’t know if they ever even thought to open the drawer but they really just didn’t localize the source for around 4 or 5 days.

Then, one afternoon, our RA called an emergency meeting. We all gathered in our common area, he explained to us that the pranks have gone too far. No one wants to know who did it, they don’t want to drag this out, but this better not ever happen again “or else”. Our RA was raging. He was so pissed. He called us “animals” and lectured us for an hour on the concepts of respect and hygiene. Afterwards, the resident director came and talked to us. Everyone’s face had this classic “What THE FUCK is wrong with you people” look to it. Our RA quit at the end of the semester, didn’t even finish the year.

Most of the guys from the 6th floor found it funny as hell. They admitted that we did win and the game was, indeed, over. They said that their RA warned them to no longer socialize with our floor; he was actually afraid of us, and we apparently have no sense of morality or decency and people like us are capable of horrible things.

Looking back at it now, all I did was shit in a bucket.

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The New H&B, DCC Blog Pimp and a Shout-Out to Snow

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I have a lot of stuff that I want to pimp this week, found a lot of great stuff. But I’ll start with the one that I’m actually involved with, the new Hoarse and Buggy website. Look nice, no? Check out the sexy banner for this sight down at the bottom. I made that myself. MASSIVE TALENT. I also want to give a quick shout out to the DC Conspiracy blog, good people there (including me). I’m not sure what I want to do yet, but I’m working on some ideas for a weekly feature. Stop by, say hi, tell people you like their art. They'd like to hear it and besides, if you don't, I'll fucking kill you.

So, I was supposed to have my test yesterday. Canceled on account of snow. Sometimes, I love this city and its pussy mentality. In Brooklyn we rarely got a snow day and when I was in college in Boston it just didn’t happen. Except this one day: April 1st, 1997.

This blizzard came out of left field and for the most part it was a very calm winter. There was no accumulation, which is weird for Boston, and whatever was getting built up came down on that day. The whole city shut down, it was awesome.

I was working in the Late Night Café at the time which was noting like a café, they simply put out some yogurt and salads in the cafeteria and called it a café. The cafeteria was in the basement, so word of the snow started trickling down slowly. My friend Nico from Rico was working that night as well and he was giddy, in a word – he never really saw snow before. We had some dusting this winter but it was pretty much a bust and Nico was so pissed off that his first winter in the northeast would be snowless.

We couldn’t control him, he was jumping with excitement, dancing around the cafeteria. Our boss at the time, Joe, was a bit of a hard ass and told us that we needed to finish cleaning the joint before we could bolt. We closed at midnight. Nico started cleaning about 2 hours late and the place was spotless by 12:15. It was insane. My friend Dan went to take the trash out and came back with a surprise for Nico – a tightly packed snowball.

He was like a little kid. He just held it and stared at it, examining it from all angles. AT one point he looked up at us, smile stretched across his face, and told us it was cold. It was the definition of innocence.

And then he threw the snowball at the ground.

And just sort of stared at it.

Now, there’s a point where innocence breaks down, somewhat, and stupidity takes over. “Nico, why’d you do that?” I asked as Dan went back to the storage closet to get the mop.

“It don’t bounce?”

Nico’s first experience in the snow was delayed for ten minutes because he thought snow would bounce when packed into a ball. We cleaned up the water, put the mop back away and went outside. We woke up our entire floor first, they were all excited to partake in Nico’s first snow experience. We played until the sun came up – snow ball fights, football and made snowmen. We obviously made the snow men with penis’ and breasts but our designs were thrashed by the 6-foot penis the frat down the street made. It was a work of perfection, it was circumcised, slightly slanted and even had veins running down it. It took about ten minutes before someone knocked it over. Not because it was offensive but because they were fucking frat boys. School was canceled, we all took power naps and then went sledding.

There’s just something about that snow, you know? Brings it out in us. And postpones tests, which is good, because I was so gonna fucking fail that damn thing.

Feel free to tell of your love (or hatred) of snow. Share with me a snow story. Or I'll fucking kill you.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: The Thing - Snow does bring it out, know what I mean?

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