WToT5 Preview Pages and Death Says "Hi"

Friday, April 29, 2005

Got some previews for my readers but you have to keep these to yourself. It’s a little Western Tales of Terror #5 action, the first three are from my story (sans letters) illustrated by Marco Magallanes (I’ll be making Marco a new website starting next week since he's been so good to us). Marco was also in WToT #3; he collaborated with Greg Thompson of Image’s Hero Camp (art by Robbi Rodriguez). And, he’ll also be lending his talents to a brand-spanking new H&B project (the second I've hinted at in three days - somebody's growing). I’m also sharing the cover to WToT #5, so plop your peepers on that and awe at the genius that is Kieron Dwyer.
Six Shots Page 1Six Shots Page 2Six Shots Page 3Western Tales of Terror #5 Cover

And now onto the stuff you really came for.

I learned to cut class at a very early age. Our elementary school, P.S.58 (or simply 58s for the locals) had a required music class from Kindergarten straight through to the sixth grade. Some people got cellos, a few got violas; one lucky bastard got the xylophone. The rest of us, the ones that had no grasp of music and no rhythm whatsoever, we got violins.

I know it sounds all fancy shmancy but these violins were about a hundred years old and not a hundred years old as in antique and classical but a hundred years old as in falling apart and sounding like shit.

The people that were really good got to be in a separate orchestra class and performed at assemblies. The rest of us, we played “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” up until the second grade, watched “Peter and the Wolf” everyday during the third grade and then learned a new song in the fourth that we played up until the 5th grade. Why not the sixth grade? Because they sixth grade they offered an opera class and I was happy to sign up.

In the second grade we discovered that, instead of going to music, it was a lot more fun to cut class and play hide-and-go-seek in the hallways. Second graders generally don’t cut classes, so no one really thought to defend against it. When our class went from our standard classroom to the music room, we’d simply duck out. No one thought to look for us. I mean, sure, we got caught occasionally but we just say something like, “No, I was in the bathroom. I had diarrhea.” And the whole thing basically goes away. Because second graders don’t cut class.

The cutting music tradition continued through the years. In the fourth grade we started skipping out at lunch as well, going to Mola’s Pizza on Court Street and getting cardboard inspired slices and processed mozzarella sticks. Again, playing football or basketball in Carroll Park was a lot more fun then sitting next to a flagpole and making fun of Torpedo Tits, the school-yard Gestapo.

Now Ross, whom I’ve mentioned in the past, was always sort of the tragic friend. Everything bad that could happen to any of us, happened to Ross. Guess which of my friends accidentally got Lysol sprayed in his eyes: Ross. Guess which of my friends got flipped 180-degrees in a wrestling demonstration and dropped on his head on the hard concrete: Ross. It goes on like that.

So when I tell you that during one of our lunch skips in the fifth grade, some kid decided he wanted our nerf ball, grabbed one of my friends and put a gun to his head and demanded we give him the ball, you can probably guess who the kid was with the gun to his head.

For bonus points, can you guess which one of us pissed his pants?

That’s right, all of us.

There’s something amazing about seeing your first gun, about dealing with the whole issue of mortality for the first time in such a blatant matter. This was the 5th grade; we were probably ten years old. Maybe we were eleven. And here’s one of our friends with an arm around his neck and a pistol to his temple and what the fuck are you supposed to do but stand there, freeze and say, “Holy fuck. Ross is going to die.”

I’ve dealt with two deaths before that. The first one was in Kindergarten, this kid Martin died, but we were told that he moved back to Morocco. It wasn’t until later on we discovered the truth. It was done in such a way that, honestly, I can’t even remember how he died anymore; I think it had something to do with stomach, a disease or something. We were shielded. And I remember when we graduated and this kid Frank got up and read something he wrote about Martin, Frank always knew the truth, they were good friends, and some people in the audience didn’t even know Martin died. Most of us didn’t even remember him.

The second time was my Uncle Joe and he was in bad shape from as long as I could remember. It was my mother’s uncle, he lived upstate, and the only memory I really have of him is this old man, dying, wearing bunny slippers. I remember his house, everything about the layout. I remember his property, I remember sledding there. The only image I have of him is on his couch, hooked up to machines, and wearing those slippers. After that, all I got is his funeral and I wasn’t allowed into the viewing room.

But this. This is like death slapping you in the face and telling you to wake the fuck up. There’s a reason 10 years old aren’t allowed to roam the streets of New York unsupervised, especially not in neighborhoods where shit like this could happen. This is why they keep us in a schoolyard and Torpedo Tits guards the exit and makes sure no-one sneaks out.

Ross didn’t die. Eventually one of us managed to shake off the shock and toss the kid the football. Ross was crying, we didn’t know what to do. I don’t even know what we did, I can’t remember. We didn’t tell anybody, I don’t know why, the whole thing just sort of got dropped. Eventually we even started cutting out for lunch again but we were a lot wearier of our surroundings and a lot more vigilant. Maybe we didn’t learn the complete lesson, but we toughened up a bit, that’s for sure.

I think that’s the first lesson in street smarts we received: If a kid in a hood is walking towards you, by himself, hands in his pocket, start walking away. If he speeds up, fucking run.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Psychoanalysis: What is it?

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Squiddies and Molotovs

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Here’s a letter I sent to a bunch of people and now I’m sharing it with you. If you can help us out, that would be awesome And, while you’re at it. Include me for best editor. Please. I entertain your asses everyday and this is how you can pay me back. I know you’re laughing, I know you like this blog. Jason Rodriguez. Editor of the year.

Hello H&B friends and creators –
Hoarse & Buggy is trying to get a little more awareness, some attention from the main-stream comics reader, and we kind of thought that the Squiddies would be a nice place to start. Every year a bunch of fans, creators and ballot box stuffers place votes in numerous comic-related categories. We’re asking you to be a ballot-stuffer this year.

Below is a list of all the categories, we were nominated for anthology of the year. In addition to WToT for anthology, we'd also like to push for Phil Hester and Nick Stakal’s “The Gallows’ Builder” for best comic short of the year (write-ins are welcomed). And on top of that, we’re looking at the nominated Sean Maher for comic reviewer of the year because he’s a huge supporter and a great guy and he promised that if he wins he'll buy us a beer. We’d like you to help make that happen, so, if you can spare a few moments, please copy and paste everything below the line and email it to votes2004@squiddies.org . We filled in the categories we were interested in and, if you wanted to, feel free to fill in the other categories with whatever creator, book, etc you fancy. Or don’t! If you’d rather just be a ballot stuffer that’s fine with us. Thanks a lot.

Jason Rodriguez

____________________________

BEST COMICS WRITER
BEST COMICS PENCILLER
BEST COMICS CARTOONIST
BEST COMICS INKER
BEST COMICS PAINTER
BEST COMICS LETTERER - Jason Hanley (Western Tales of Terror)
BEST COMICS COLORIST
BEST COMICS CREATIVE TEAM
BEST COMICS COVER ARTIST
BEST COMICS EDITOR – Jason Rodriguez (Western Tales of Terror)
BEST POLITICAL CARTOONIST
BEST COMICS SHORT STORY – “The Gallows’ Builder” by: Phil Hester and Nick Stakal (Western Tales of Terror #2)
BEST COMICS NOVELLA
BEST ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL
BEST COMICS MULTI-PART STORY
BEST COMICS ONGOING SERIES
BEST MANGA SERIES
BEST NEW COMICS SERIES
BEST COMICS LIMITED SERIES
BEST COMICS REPRINT COLLECTION
BEST COMICS ANTHOLOGY – Western Tales of Terror
BEST COMIC STRIP
BEST WEB COMIC
BEST COMICS COMPANY/IMPRINT
BEST COMICS CHARACTER
BEST COMICS CHARACTER TEAM
BEST COMICS-RELATED ADAPTATION
BEST COMICS-RELATED MERCHANDISE
BEST COMICS PUBLICATION
BEST FOCUSED COMICS WEBSITE
BEST GENERAL COMICS WEBSITE
BEST COMICS BLOG
BEST COMICS JOURNALIST
BEST COMICS REVIEWER - Sean Maher
FAVORITE RAC'ER (NON-CREATOR)
FAVORITE RAC'ER (CREATOR)

___________________________

Story time.

We were pretty destructive kids growing up. I’m talking about the pre-Junior High years, when you still have no respect for things like personal property or the law, we were pretty bad. I have plenty of stories involving firecrackers (and I’m talking the big boys, M80s, Blockbusters, Cantaloupes and Watermelon bombs), crowbars and switchblades being used to cause maximum damage to cars, windows, and oh man oh man oh man condemned buildings were our destructive playgrounds and we had plenty of those in our poor ass neighborhood.

But today, I want to really get to the heart of exactly how destructive we were and how inner city destructiveness is way different than putting a baseball bat to a mailbox.

One day we decided to make Molotov Cocktails. We were ten years old.

Now, I know what you may be thinking. Ten year olds know how to make Molotov Cocktails? No. No, we didn’t. And that was the problem.

We took a bottle and stuffed it with rocks, first. The thought was, when the cocktail exploded, the rocks will go all over the place for maximum damage; right off the bat showing that we had no idea what the fuck we were talking about.

After the rocks we added rubbing alcohol, because something had to catch fire and eventually explode, sending the rocks all over the place. This thought process made sense back then.

Now, how to get the flame into the bottle. Well, in the movies, they used rags. So we got a rag, put one end in the bottle, let the other end hang loose and tried to light it up (of course, since I engineered the cocktail, I was the lighter). Nothing happened, rag wouldn’t catch fire. We kept trying and trying and trying.

“I know,” some genius from the peanut gallery says, “let’s put rubbing alcohol on the rag.”

Sounded like a great idea at the time so that’s what we did, soaking the rag nicely in rubbing alcohol, putting the rag back in a bottle filled with alcohol and rocks and then bending over the bottle to put a match to the rag.

It was like a fucking cannon, the flame shot straight up in the air and basically singed my face. Luckily I backed away from it enough, quickly enough, so as to not catch on fire. Also, luckily this wasn’t when I was 11 years old and in my Teen Wolf phase which consisted of stupid amounts of hairspray holding my hair down.

We all booked it and left the flaming bottle of rubbing alcohol and rocks to burn out or explode, which ever came first.

So what were we going to doing with the cocktail, you ask?

We were going to throw it through the window of the spice factory, of course.

turn of the metallica, fanboy: No Categories, Vol 1: Ubiquity Compilation

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24-Minute Comic, Free Zen and Greeks Gone Wild

24-Hour comic day came and went and I started to see a couple of the comics that were created as a result of it. Well, two comics, because I really haven’t been looking too hard for the others. But Scott Keating, the colorist for Elk’s Run (as well as the artist for Phinea’s Gold in Western Tales of Terror as well as the artist for…well…and upcoming H&B project) did this one which I found to be amazing for a 24 hour comic. He was working with Paul Tucker who did this one, another incredible accomplishment. Both of these were found on the Isotope Lounge which, again, you really should be going to.

I was inspired, to say the least, and I decided to make my own 24-minute comic since I don’t have a lot of time. The rules were simple, start making a comic and stop after 24 minutes and see what I got. Well, here’s what I got (6 Pages total):




And while I’m throwing up free comics, Saul Colt of SSS Comics was kind enough to put up 52 free pages of Zen Bounty Hunter and I highly suggest you take advantage of it.

Speaking of Saul Colt, During Wizard World LA I was sitting with him at a bar. He made a comment about my “life experiences” and how unique they are, drawing from this blog as his proof. I disagreed, like I always do, because I honestly don’t believe that anything really spectacular happens to me.

And then, I remember stories like this one.

My Aunt Sophie moved to Virginia some time ago and my family would drive down to Virginia to visit them. Occasionally, we’d take an extra day or two and stop at Virginia Beach. Growing up in New York we had Rockaway or Coney Island within a reasonable distance and they filled our beach need. So, whereas we had a beach, the concept behind a beach town, a city that relied fully on a beach economy, was sort of a magical idea to us and trips to Virginia Beach where about as exciting as trips to Disney World.

Well, on time we went were having our usual great time. We swam, boogey boarded, mini-golfed, haunted housed, freak showed and ice-creamed. The usual things you do at a beach town.

There was something a bit different this weekend, however, Virginia Beach was having their annual Greek Fest. Once a year all of the black fraternities would come to Virginia Beach and party their asses off.

I remember standing on the corner of Atlantic Avenue with my father and I pointed at a frat-members branded epsilon symbol on his bicep and asked what it was. My father started telling me and the guy looked over at us and asked what we were looking at. My father told him and he chilled out and explained to me how he got branded, fraternities, etc. It was really cool. What I didn’t pick up on, as a kid, was that initial tension.

There were some problems the night before, apparently. People getting harassed a bit by cops, a couple of fights at local bars, stuff like that.

No big deal, you get a bunch of people together like that and there are bound to be problems.

That night, I went to bed, slept like a rock. I woke up the next morning and my mother and father looked like shit. They looked like they hadn’t slept all night. And then they explained to me what happened the night before.

THE FUCKING GREEK FEST RIOTS.

AND! I SLEPT THROUGH THEM!

Does anyone remember this? I’m amazed at how many people don’t know what I’m talking about until I mention the Public Enemy song. Apparently, I wouldn’t know except for second hand sources, it was some scary shit.

We packed up our stuff and left Virginia Beach. The streets were locked down; I seem to remember the National Guard being there or at least my father telling me they were. Our hotel was fucked, the glass in the lobby shattered and shit turned over and broken. There were fucking helicopters.

We were driving down the street and a cop pulled us over, asked where we were going. My father told him we were going home and they let us through. Everything was torn the fuck up.

I mean, it was a riot, plain and simple. A bunch of angry college kids that were harassed and pushed too far fucking snapped and destroyed Virginia Beach. Public Enemy made a song about it. And I was there. And I slept through it.

So, I guess, even when I have an opportunity for one of these “life experiences” as Saul Colt would say, I miss the whole fucking thing.

I told my friends this story in college and one of them made me a shirt that said “I Slept Through the Greek Fest Riots” on the front and “Learn How to Riot, Greeks” on the back. I wish I still had that fucking shirt.

turn of the metallica, fanboy: Fear of a Black Planet - The track is "Welcome to the Terrordrome"

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Bergin's Strips, Solo, Baseball Take II and Two Greeks

Monday, April 25, 2005

Joseph Bergin III continues to fucking house me. He's doing a couple of Western Tales of Terror webstrips for us, the prequel to Phinea’s Gold, Joshua Hale Fialkov’s feature story in issues 1-3. Check them out over at Uncle Comics: Strip 1, Strip 2 and Strip 3. There’re two more to go and he’s throwing them up every Sunday in addition to his Monday through Friday Daily Grind fucking masterpiece.

Darwyn Cooke’s Solo comes out this week, are you fuckers prepared for it?

I rewrote my baseball script – much better, me thinks, and so does some of the people that are supposed to think it’s much better. Hopefully I’ll have some things to say in the near future, who the fuck knows? And speaking of baseball, I scored two tickets for the July 4th Mets vs. Nats game, in DC, eight rows behind the plate. Even if you're not a Mets (or Nats) fan, 4th of July in DC during the first baseball season in DC in over thirty years - fucking money.

The following story is done in playful fun.

For some weird reason, my first two attempts at High School relationships were both with Greek women. I don’t know what was going on there; I'm really not attracted to Greek women. And this is nothing against the Greek, they’re a good people.

Effy was the first of my Greek crushes and we actually even made out a few times. The first time we hung out was at some teen club, freshman year of high school. My friend Dave and I went out with Effy and her friend and we started dancing. Effy found me to be a good dancer, she told me this herself, but I knew the truth – she was a horrible dancer.

But we had a good time and we made out a bit, her Greek femme-stache tickling my upper lip.

A couple of weeks later she starts pulling out talk about her ex-boyfriend threatening to beat me up if he ever caught me with her, you know, the usual bullshit excuse to break up with someone when you don’t want to make it seem like you’re actually breaking up with them. I was persistent though, kept saying I didn’t care. Finally she broke up with me. On a bus. And as I write this, for the first time in my life, I’m realizing two girls broke up with on a NYC public bus. Is that just a NYC thing or do I have some weird bus thing?

And embarrassing fact #3245. I sang to her, on the bus, in an attempt to get her back.

Embarrassing fact #3246. The song I sang was “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men.

It didn’t work, obviously.

Once she broke up with me I noticed her hairy back and how her femme-stache had a bit more machismo than I originally realized. Good riddance, you hairy man-beast.

Having not learned my lesson I pursued this girl named Anna, another Greek girl that looking remarkably like a toucan. She had the complete package: femme-stache, hairy back, toucan nose and bad eyesight, highlighted by her coke-bottle glasses.

In retrospect, this girl really had nothing going for her. She had a shitty personality and she wasn’t at all attractive. I really think I was just trying to get into my High School groove and was setting the bar as low as I possibly can.

The sad part is that this girl rejected me without much of an excuse. Just sort of, “no”. I seem to remember an “I don’t want to ruin the friendship” thing in there, as well, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense because I really didn’t know her. It’s funnier that way, however, so let’s just say she did say that.

After my failed attempt at Greek women I went back to my bread and butter through the years, Italians. I finally landed my first high-school girlfriend in a lady called MM (not Martian Manhunter, fanboy). MM – the first girl I rounded third with (before getting thrown out at the plate). Another story, another day but I will say this: She broke up with me in a McDonalds. I’m a fucking winner.

publish your book, fanboy: True Facts - Seriously, if you want to publish your own comic, you have to read it. And order it through here, so I can put my 6% commission towards the 4th Fables trade.

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H&B Creator Pimping, Stutter Stepping and The Almost Greatest Accomplishment

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I pimped out Jason Hanley before, letterer for both Western Tales and Elk’s Run. Well, he finally got his blog up and he’ll be updating it regularly. Speaking of Jason Hanley, he did a fantastic job of lettering “All the Wrong Choices”, using a nice combination of hand-drawn balloons and digital lettering to really match the artwork. I’m even going to share one of the pages, click on it to blow it up:
All the wrong choices page 3

And speaking of creators getting serious with their dailies, Joshua Hale Fialkov, the Hoarse & Buggy editor in chief and writer of Elk’s Run and the feature Western Tales of Terror stories has finally decided to give his blog and honest-to-God shot and start updating regularly. So check him out as well. He’s previewing some new H&B projects and undertaking some cool exercises.

And one more comic thing, I finished the first draft of my baseball story and it really fucking sucked. Luckily, I have people willing to read it, recognize that and tell me why. Embarrassing me but at the same time minimizing the embarrassment. I suck so hard at self-editing and I should have tuned it down to issues before going to script, my own fault. I was too jazzed. Let that be a lesson, no matter how excited you get about writing something, stick to your method. I’m generally an anal retentive writer; I have four steps I take before going to script. I skipped three of them. If you have a method that works, stick with it.

And with that, I continue my own year long exercise. Today’s story is a bit of a long one but I shot beer out of my nose writing it, I think you’ll like it.

As high school moved on our crew began to take shape. By the time senior year came around a bunch of us moved in and out of various groups and finally settled in our core group. This group was made up of G, Max, B, Jeromeo, Jimmy and I. Occasionally other people would chill with us and occasionally we’d chill with other people but we pretty much solidified ourselves as Crew Proper.

It didn’t last long.

The summer after freshman year in college things got a bit weird. This really breaks down to three parts with little dramas thrown in between them, the first being the day Mike got shot. The second part takes place at a different party, at Jimmy’s house, one where B went home early, a lot of alcohol was consumed, and B’s hot ex-girlfriend and her hot best friend showed up and got a little toasty.

We were playing beer pong, it was G and I verses B’s ex and her friend. We were beating them, and they were getting a bit playful, and declared they weren’t having any fun.

“Let’s play something else,” they ask.

Now, my boy G is a fucking genius. You see, when faced with two hot girls, most guys would sort of back down, get shy. If I was the one to respond to these girls’ desire to do something else, I would have recommend basketball, because I’m awkward like that. These girls are out of my league, I know it, they know it, so I don’t even for a second think to actually try something with them. But not G.

“Let’s play strip poker.”

And they giggle and they agree. And just like that I looked up at God, smiled and mouthed “thank you.” And God replied, “Don’t thank me, G is the fucking man.”

So we find some cards, grab a bunch of beers, and make our way upstairs to Jimmy’s mom’s bedroom – Me, G and two of the sexiest women I’ve ever known up to that point.

G and I aren’t very drunk by any means but we’re sure as hell pretending. B’s ex, who we’ll call A, and her friend are actually drunk and that works to our advantage because, well, G and I cheated in every fucking hand.

About fifteen minutes into the game the two girls are down to their bra and panties and G and I have, like, a sneaker off each. Whereas our plan was genius, the girls start to get a little uncomfortable, despite how many beers we’re handing off to them.

And we win again and worst hand goes to A’s friend and she has to lose something. She looks at G and I and says, “You guys haven’t taken anything off yet." So, without hesitation, knowing we got too greedy, G and I strip down to boxers and t-shirts to even it out at two items of clothing each.

And A’s friend stands up and takes off her panties. Not her bra, like one would expect, but her panties. And at that point we knew this is going to be the best night of our lives.

About five minutes later the two girls are buck-naked and G and I are still in boxers and t-shirts. Again, we got too greedy. A says it’s really not fair, we saw them and they didn’t see us. Being the extrovert that I am, I take the plunge, strip down to nothing and to really loosen up the crowd I start jumping on the bed.

It got some laughs.

G stripped next and revealed what is known in my circles as The Brajole. The Brajole is legend amongst us, let’s just say, without getting too gay, it’s really fucking big. And what we’ve heard from his lady friends, he knows how to use it as well. Now, I know it’s kind of weird to have a dude talking about it, but the knowledge has become so commonplace amongst our friends that none of us really have any qualms when it comes to talking about The Brajole. We’ve been talking to girls about G, with G right there, and told them about The Brajole. We basically stud him out and it’s perfectly fine. We’re proud of him.

Anyway, two girls are naked, I’m jumping on the bed and flapping around, The Brajole is revealed and we’re all loose and drinking. A’s friend, at one point, laid out on the bed naked and says that she’s never had an orgasm unless she’s giving one to herself. Now, G and I have always been about the ladies getting an orgasm. We’re unique in that the two of us firmly believe in going down whenever possible and I at least know I’m really fucking good at it. So G looks at that statement as a challenge and asks if she’s ever had a guy go down on her.

“No. My boyfriend doesn’t like to do it.” We didn’t know she had a boyfriend before that but we didn’t even fucking flinch. The gauntlet was thrown.

And it was at this moment that the unexpected happened.

Nothing.

Nothing at all.

I don’t remember who the fuck initiated what but next thing I know we’re all clothed. I swear, I must have blocked the details out of my mind. We exit Jimmy’s parent’s room and no-one is partying anymore. People are passed out, lights are out. G and I give A and her friend a ride home.

They say good night, give us kisses and get out of the car. G and I drive home in absolute silence, trying to figure out what the fuck went wrong.

We get back to Jimmy’s house, pull into the driveway and make our way inside. G walks towards the downstairs bathroom, I turn to go to the upstairs bathroom.

I ask G, “Who are you gonna think about?”

G responds, “[the friend], you?”

“Both of them.”

“Nice. Me too.”

We take care of our business and go to bed. About a week later Brian stops talking to us. I wish we would have at least gotten laid, it would have made losing a friend worthwhile.

impress the ladies, fanboy: Poker? Hardly Knew Her

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423

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Before you read this I recommend the prelude. If you haven’t read the prelude this wouldn’t make sense. If you have read it, you’re going to think I made this part up, which most people do believe. People who know me better think that I might not have been 100% right in my head that night, that’s fine, I’m not sure if I was all there either.

You see, I went to my bench down by the river on April 23rd fully expecting to die. My dream was so vivid, I kept seeing the numbers, people were telling me the significance of the numbers with aliens, I was having more nightmares, I hardly slept. I was paranoid. After getting into a fight with R because she thought I was nuts, I just kind of calmed and realized I don’t want to be in my room.

So I sit on my bench, writing. Writing, back then, for me, was lazy. Up until college I wrote short stories and plays and I was really trying to hone my craft, I was trying to put life down on paper. Once I got to college I became kind of lazy and ambitionless. Poetry was easy, it’s the kind of thing where, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you put down some alliterations, add some angst and you call it a poem. In reality, it was a waste of ten minutes (and sometimes less). You didn’t grow at all, you didn’t learn anything new.

But that sort of defined me at that point. Working on a C- second semester sophomore year, in danger of losing my scholarships, fucking up all my relationships, drinking and smoking everyday and my writing, the one thing I always stuck with since I was literally six or seven years old, the one thing I always loved to do, was completely turning to shit. Poetry, in my rationale, was a means to get my feelings on paper without needing a story. I couldn’t find my story; I was too lazy to look for one.

What I didn’t realize is that life gives you a story, everyday.

So I’m on bench and nothing happens. I sit there for over an hour and I write crap and I wait and I say, “Fuck it.” I get up to go back to the dorm, turn around and see a woman walking towards me.

A woman with long black hair, in a black dress, carrying a red rose. Just like the woman in my dream. The one that was holding up a piece of paper that said “423”.

And I jumped and stared at her in horror, thinking this was it.

And she laughed as she got closer and asked me if I was all right.

“I thought you were going to kill me.”

She laughs again and assures me she won’t. I opt not to tell her about the dream, because I’m smart like that. She was a beautiful Columbian girl, Carolina, with a smile that, now almost seven years later, still gets me nostalgic and sad. Robin is the love of my life but Carolina was literally the girl of my dreams; how many guys can say they actually met the girl of their dreams?

And then we had one of those nights. We had a storybook kind of night.

Turns out she was out with her boyfriend, having dinner, nice restaurant and they got into a fight and she left. I told her I got into a fight with my girlfriend and came here, to my bench.

“This is my bench,” she tells me. I call her a liar; I sit here almost every night and I’ve never seen her. She tells me she sits here every morning, after she jogs. Sometimes she comes in the afternoon and draws. But she’s there almost everyday, just like me.

We talk. She tells me about crew, she’s a coxswain, which is something I made fun of my whole life but now I found it really cool. We sit in the grass and she yells out “stroke” to see if I can keep up with the pace of a crew team. I can’t.

We talk about life, the deep stuff, the stuff you don’t talk to strangers about. We talk about our families and our friends and our lives away from college and our lives in college. We both feel like two people out of touch, like everything’s going to shit and we’re helpless to stop it.

She also a dancer and I remembered a few things; we waltz under the moon to no music. The whole time laughing, joking and stepping on each others feet.

We talk about love, about our partners. Their shortfalls, our shortfalls. What we expect and what we get. Both of our relationships are over, we both realize it, but we hang on. Carolina has a belief it can get better, I have a belief that I need R in my life.

We lay in the grass, looking up at the sky. I’m pointing out constellations to here, making most of them up. For a moment we turn to each other and are about to kiss.

“I have a girlfriend,” I tell her and we pull away. It was a perfect moment and I let a dying remnant of my soon to be past stop it. We decide to go home. I don’t see Carolina again until the next semester.

This isn’t the whole story; this is just the beginning of it. I already touched upon other things that happened in between April 23rd and the start of the next school year. R and I broke up; my Uncle Alex died of AIDS and my own shortfalls and hypocritical, selfish outlooks on life became painfully obvious. But a lot happened in between those events as well. I don’t want to go into clichés like deconstruction and reconstruction but I definitely hit my bottom and came back with a vengeance. And for the first time in two years, I found a story. And I’ve been looking back at life since, and seeing the story in everything, and that’s what this website has become.

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Picture This

Thursday, April 21, 2005

No comic pimp today. Too much time wasted on damn pictorial adventure. Eat it.

As I’ve mentioned earlier in the week, I am updating tomorrow. That’s right, a Saturday update. You may be asking yourself why. Why is Jason updating on a Saturday? Does that not defeat the purpose of this blog? This M-F year long iron-man challenge? Well, Saturday is April 23rd, a very significant date in the overarching story. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the prelude before reading it.

But I will not be telling a story today. I get email requests from voyeuristic perverts asking for pictures of the people I’m talking about. I put up a warning earlier in the week saying, “If you don’t want your pictures up due to embarrassing stories, tell me now.” I got one response and it was from someone I didn’t know, being a wise ass.

Luckily, for some of you, I discovered that my collection of pictures I have down here in DC is quite weak. My next time up to Brooklyn I’m going to have to ransack our boxes of pictures. But I have enough to put up some pictures and most of them tie into stories I’ve told.

I might as well start with the family. Starting from left to right we have: 1) My father and his siblings (minus Alex, of course) 2) The cousins 3) My immediate family and 4) Elizabeth and I, happy it’s Christmas.


Here’s Luis and I through the years.


Three more family pictures, the first one is my dad getting ready to wash the dishes, the second one is RJ, Luis and I and the third one is my Uncle Alex and I:


Ok, a couple of Robin and I over our six year together follows: 1) Niagra Falls 2) London 3) Disney 4) Miami 5) St. Lucia 6) Cruisin’ 7) Camden Yards:



Here we got 1) Guam and I rocking our 1980s Salvation Army bought suits 2) Tom, EJ, Guam and I 3) Sleazy Steve :


1) Joe Sacco (not the cartoonist) 2) Eric, Elly and Nico from Rico on Tequila Night 4) Ben:


1) First piece of furniture we bought in DC (and yes, I blew the whole thing up) 2) Covered in gold body paint trying to look like The Oscar 3) On our way to the ski trip (from left to right is B, Chris, Cooch, Da-Diesel, Squee and G) 4) rehearsal for Jesus Christ Megastar:


1) Four-Deuce Bishop Crips invade a birthday party (Dave on the left, sans broken nose) 2) Me with my residents, Junior year, looking like a gay cancer patient 3) Arghhh (it was actually clever, I had bootleg CDs, Movies and Video Games hanging from my belt, making me a Music/Software/Movie Pirate) 4) Just me, having a cigar, which is exactly what I’m going to do right now:


Well, I hope that satisifies some of you. I’m going to find the good ones when I get home and do another pictorial adventure in the future. Maybe I’ll do these quarterly, I am at the three month mark. Tomorrow! 423 story part II! Be there!

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Finding an Artist and Thrashin'

Ah, the quest for an artist. You can network your ass off and meet tons of writers, artists and publishers but selling one on your idea and finding time in their schedule usually has you compiling a wish list that you send emails out to, one person at a time, saying, “Hey, you don’t know me but...” I begun the wish list process yesterday after testing out the waters with some of the people I’ve worked with in the past. So, where do I find the people that I want to work with? I generally see a lot of the new up and coming artists in the pages of anthologies, for starters. Digital Webbing Presents, Shooting Star and Ape being a good source for artists that are staring out. There are also websites where you can network or email artists, Digital Webbing, Pencil Jack and Deviant Art being my favorites (but you have to pay to search Deviant Art). Once you compile your wish list you contact them, one at a time, and generally give a day for the person to answer.

And here’s where writers generally make a fool of themselves. As you know, I meet with monthly with the DC Conspiracy which is basically, as of right now, about 14 cartoonists and me. One of the first questions I asked was, “How do you feel about writers?” Not surprisingly, they didn’t mind the concept of a writer but felt as if their methods were questionable. Number one complaint, a writer sends an email saying, “I have this kick-ass script and I want you to draw it,” as if it’s an honor to draw someone with no previous publishing experience’s story that’s already laid out and leaves no room for artistic expression. I never really got that. I keep two versions of a script, the loose version with no layouts (which is what I have right now for the first issue of this project) and then I tighten it into layouts for display purposes if I’m going to display it or give it to someone for early feedback. But I redo all the layouts with the artist in mind and even give the artist the option of doing the layouts fully from the loose script because, and here’s a big shocker, he or she knows how to tell a story sequentially better than I do.

Granted, it comes down to the artist. Some artist will ask for layouts. One guy I worked with even asked me to draw the layouts myself (that project never got picked up, obviously). But still, you’re starting off on the wrong foot if you attack it with the “draw my script” angle. Anyway, storytime.

If I had a filing system and some categories I would file this one in the “What the fuck was wrong with us” category.

I’ve mentioned my skating days in a previous post. I probably skated for about three years but didn’t get good until, well, I never really got good. But, back when I was really bad and couldn’t even ollie, I’d find ways to make skating fun while keeping both feet on the ground and I dragged my friends into as well.

Demolition Derbies.

Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “How cute, these younguns used to skate around and bump into each other.” FUCK THAT. This was like that NES Skate or Die demolition derby challenge. We were each allowed one weapon. Either something that can whip or hit like a thin tree branch or a bat. And not only that, we would sprinkle additional obstacles across the course like large rocks and pipes. And then we’d go through it, first one to the end gets five points.

So, why didn’t we just take off, not fight and get to the end? Because each fresh cut or bruise you received was worth two points. We we’re trying to get hit with rocks and bats.

Every derby was three rounds, if three different people won you had a three way tie. If one of those people finished the course with a cut above their eye, they had seven points and won the tournament.

We were sacrificing our bodies for “points”.

I used to come home with cuts, scrapes and gashes all over my body and my mom would ask what happened to me. “Fell off my skateboard, mom.”

“Oh! Those things are so dangerous! You’re going to get hit by a car one day!”

Anyway, we stopped playing one day. You see, when you’re on a skateboard and you swing a pipe, you don’t do much damage to the person you hit because the momentum throws you back and off your board, I think, Jorge knows physics he’ll chime in if I’m wrong. But the thing is, you don’t get a good swing.

Now, what I discovered, is if I’m beating my friend Dave in a demolition derby and I get tripped up on a rock and fall off my board and then pick up a pipe and, while standing, crack Dave in the face with it as he rolls past me, that does A LOT of damage.

Like, broken nose and glasses kind of damage.

I have to say that’s the first and last time I’ve hit someone in the face with a pipe. I swung a bat at someone once but he ducked out and, besides, he deserved it. Dave didn’t deserve it.

I’ll never forget seeing him, eleven years old, lying on the ground, clutching his nose as blood poured out, crying while I thought to myself, “Damn. That’s the best two points ever.”

read a book, fanboy: Comics and Sequential Art

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Pop Thought, Props to Pops and Back to the Swords

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Check out the folks of Pop Thought. Alex Ness recently interviewed my man Jason Copland (pronounced “Cop-land”, despite what he says) and there are even a couple of WToT4 preview pages up in case you want to take a sneak peak. Pop Thought has some great writers contributing for them, I’m particularly fond of Joe Hilliard’s stuff; the guy is all right.

My pops comes out of hiding to drop some wisdom. Preach on pops. Preach on. We're using the haloscan comments link now, though.

Well, hot on my new story idea I went ahead and wrote it. Now I need to get some input, find an artist collaborator and start working on layouts with him/her. This story is going to house you, I’m crazy jazzed about it. Now the bad news is that it’s 1AM and I haven’t done my story for my blog yet. So guess what? You’re getting a story from the reserves. Yes, the reserves, where I keep about ten stories that are good but better served as an “in case I need a story”. Enjoy, suckers.

When the Wu came on the scene in the 90s New York City was ready for them. There was an insane amount of buzz around these guys, bootleg copies of the “Protect Ya Neck” single started making its way in the cassette players of every hip-hop fan in the five boroughs. I remember circling around a boombox with several friends, playing the scuffed-up black Memorex cassette my copy of the single was on, each of us taking turns rapping over the Wu. The second wave of bootleg cassettes had the Method Man b-side, minus the Torture intro but amazing none the less. Then we saw the video popping up on The Box, people would phone it in constantly, the Box soon became the Protect Ya Neck channel (for those that don’t know, The Box was a phone in video channel where you pay a buck to watch the video you want, supposedly, I never called).

There was a teen club in Bay Ridge at the time called the Catilion (or something like that). Word started coming around down the Method Man himself was going to make an appearance there one Friday night. We all snatched up tickets to see the Method, and come that Friday the Catilion was probably the number one destination for car services all over Brooklyn.

I’ve been to the Catilion once before this and got into a bit of shoving match and never went back. The time I was there, it was maybe 25% capacity. It was packed this Friday, a sea of 16 year old white kids spread across the sprawling dance floor, holding glasses of Orange Juice and Coke-a-Cola.

The Method showed up at around 10PM and did a whole lotta “Yo, yo, yos” and a few “Is Brooklyn in da house? I cant hear you! Is Brooklyn in the mother fuckin’ house?” He then went into his lone track, Method Man (obviously) and that was about it. He did, however, say he was going to jump off the stage and he wanted us “mother fuckers” to catch him. But he laughed and decided not to, saying he didn’t trust us “mother fuckers”. And that was it; about 5 or 6 minutes.

“Back to the Swords” is a phrase the Gza uses in Liquid Swords:

See sometimes, Ya gotta flash ‘em back. See, niggaz don’t know where this shit started, Ya’ll know where it came from, I’m sayin’ we gonna take ya’ll back to the swords. We bounce.

I’m sort of using it here, because I find it funny how you can sometimes see these acts early on, before they're larger than life, and see them go through their growing pains. I mean, the fucking Method Man did a song in a teen club on a Friday night in one of the whitest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. That’s going back to the mother fucking swords.

For rock bands it’s one thing, they’re supposed to be raw and unrehearsed and sloppy. It’s part of that “fuck you image”. For hip-hop groups, you’re supposed to be cool, and there is nothing cool about asking a bunch of teenagers if “Brooklyn is in the mother fuckin’ house”. That’s a step above a Bar Mitzvah.

I saw Eminem early on as well. He opened for a G-Love and the Special Sauce with Oukast concert up at Boston College. He got on stage, did that one song, and then said “They told me I can’t take my pants off. Fuck them, I’m out.” He then walked off, which was fine with the audience, we weren’t there for that white boy. We were there for G-Love, a much more talented white boy.

If I went back to my swords, nothing would really be different. I’m still as awkward as I was back then; only difference is I get laid a lot more now. Granted, it’s usually awkward sex, but awkward sex is better than no sex. And no sex is better than doing a hip-hop show at the Catilion. It’s all relative, really.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Liquid Swords

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California Dreamin’ and My Father’s Persistence

Got my tickets for my West Coast road trip, even timed it to SDCC. Here’s the deal, Robin and I are flying into San Francisco on July 6th. I’ll be there until Saturday or Sunday. We then rent a car and drive down to LA. We catch a taping of Price is Right, hang out on the beach, and then Thursday go down to San Diego. While I do the comic-con during the day, working the Hoarse & Buggy table and pitching some project ideas to artists, Robin will be driving around San Diego, seeing the city and most likely visiting the zoo. I’ll probably cut out a little earlier from the con to meet up with her. We’ll probably go to some casino on Friday, as well. So, if anyone will be at SDCC and wants to pop-in, go for it but be warned, I will probably try to get you to buy me a beer. I don’t know if you have figured this out from these posts yet but I can but down four or five pints an hour for a few hours before calling it a night.

While going through my stash of pictures in preparation of Friday’s pictorial adventure, I found what had to be the worse laid out program ever:

Worse lay out

I was directing in a one-act festival and I did a play about baseball. It was natural for me to dedicate a play like that to my father. But placing my blunt dedication right below Katie’s dedication to her dead father, it almost made me look like an asshole rubbing in the fact that my father isn’t dead.

Anyway, the play was a success, my directorial debut, and people in the other shows as well as the other directors commented on how they want to be in one of my plays, I had the performance tight. Fact is, with an all male cast I found it easier to work with them. Incorporating beer, porn and movies into rehearsal just makes the whole thing come together better.

I dedicated it to my father because my father taught me about baseball. And let me tell you, that wasn’t any easy task by any means; I fought it for years.

I was in little league at five years old. I would pick flowers in the outfield, the kind you blow on and make a wish. Line drives would come my way, people would yell “Jason!” and I’d drop my flower and chase down the ball. It must have killed my father inside a little bit each day, but he stuck with it.

I joined a new league when I turned ten, Gil Hodges. We were the green team. I played Catcher, pitcher, first base and outfield; not because I was so good but because they had no idea where to put me. I couldn’t hit for shit, I struck out every at bat and would usually dive out of the way of a ball placed right over the strike zone. But my father stuck with it.

I would occasionally watch Mets games, when they were winning. My father would take me to ten or twenty games a year which is amazing because baseball games were expensive. And I’d get ice-cream and hotdogs and soda and cotton candy and occasionally ask what’s happening in the game. If the game had a high score I’d get into it more. But I’d never go and watch a game straight through. But still, my father stuck with it.

In 1986 it looked as if he converted me. I went ape shit for the Mets, we all did. The following year I actually asked to go to Cooperstown and we had a blast there. We took a picture with me in Mets’ gear and my father in Red Sox’ catcher gear (which must have broke his heart), watching the home run I just hit go out of the park. But as 1987 dwindled on my interest waned again, I was a fair weather fan.

In high school I played football and I think my father said, “Good enough.”

It wasn’t until college that I got into baseball for real, Boston is a baseball town. We had a connection, Boston and I, because the Mets destroyed them in 1986, one of my fondest moments. I started going to games, watching them on TV.

Now, I’m fanatical. I watch games for the sake of watching games. I order the MLB cable package and, if I’m home, a game is on. Don’t care who it is, I just love me some baseball. But, I’m a fanatical Mets fan. So much so that, despite being a huge baseball fan, I’m so upset that the Nationals are in DC now.

Generally, when I go to bars during baseball season I have at least one Mets’ item on. Hat, sweatshirt, t-shirt, boxer shorts, whatever. I used to be able to go into a bar like this with no problem. But now, I walk in and I’m greeting by 500 National’s hats, people who never liked baseball before and became a fan yesterday start screaming at me, “Mets! Nats are gonna kick your ass, baby! We’re in first place!” I have an instant rivalry I didn’t ask for.

And such is the plight of the Mets fan. We get shit on. Teams like the Royals and the Brewers should get shit on more than us but they’re not a New York team, they’re not as visible. Maybe this is why I resisted? Maybe I knew being a Mets’ fan was a burden to bear similar to the Jews being the chosen people of God. My faith will get tested, I will be ridiculed and chastised, and one day a rivalry will just sort of appear in the city I live in and make my life more difficult, forcing me to hide the objects of my faith or go into exile even though I can never go home again, they’re all Yankee fans there.

But I digress, this is the life I chose and I’m happy for it. I sit down now to watch one man get up to the plate and try to find a way to outsmart nine men, I see a game that most of America doesn’t fully get. You have to feel baseball, you’re born with it and raised with it. It’s a team helping an individual strive against a team. There’s the sound of the bat, the diving catches, the roar of the crowd. Baseball players are larger than life, more so than Hollywood and politicians. The sport is a combination of strategy, smarts, talent and the occasional divine intervention (Buckner). God is a Mets’ fan if you’re a Mets’ fan just like he’s a Brewers’ fan if you’re a Brewers’ fan.

And that’s what my father taught me about baseball. It took some time, but he stuck with me.

Edit: You know, I sort of stutter step with my comic projects, I lose interest. And the ideas are usually pretty strong and if I just finished them up, got an artist, etc I'd be doing OK right now. I'm sort of realizing, now, that I should do a comic about baseball. I even have a story. I don't know, I think this is something I could dedicate time and money towards, more so than stories about cowboys and dinosaurs. It's something I care about, you know? Anyway, just rambling.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns

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PBF, DCC, Two Things and The Big Straw

Monday, April 18, 2005

I pimped the Perry Bible Fellowship once before but they’ve since updated quite a few times and I have a much larger readership now. You must read it, it updates every Sunday. It is the best comic strip out right now, period. Also, one of the DC Conspiracy’s own, Matt Dembicki, represented at SPACE this past weekend and put some photo’s up on his site. Besides being the man behind Wasp comics, he’s a member of the United Fanzine Organization and was sitting in at their table. Matt does some awesome stuff and if you’re ever in the DC area during one of our get-togethers you should come by and meet him and the rest of the crew. Our next one is scheduled for May 1st at Dr. Dremos. Pictures from our last get together can be viewed here.

Two things before the story. There will be an update this Saturday, this is a six story week. I can’t do my 423 story on April 22nd, it just wouldn’t make sense. However, I am preparing a pictorial retrospective for April 22nd since I get a fair amount of emails from people asking for pictures. If you don’t want your picture up due to embarrassing stories about you, please let me know now via email. Also, you might want to check out a disturbing but funny conversation going on since Thursday in my comments section about Rocco Siffredi porn. Apparently one of my reader’s friend’s sister has gotten ravished by the man himself and, well, I’ve seen her.

What to do on a Saturday night? Amidst the drinking, doping, sexing and pranking we occasionally had moments were we had sober, nondestructive fun. One of those moments was sophomore year when we underwent our “First Annual Straw Challenge”.

It started simple enough, a bunch of us were studying in the lobby for finals and we decided to take a break, go downstairs to Late Night Café and get us some food and some of that syrupy goodness known as fountain soda. All-in-all, a typical study night.

When we get back to our floor, we continue studying. Getting restless, I combine two straws into a super-straw and struggle to drink my soda. And then I get challenged. “Bet you can’t do three,” Max tells me as he looks up from his textbook.

“Whatever, give me a straw.” I can’t do three, Max wins. “It would be easier if I duck taped them together.”

“You still can’t do it.” So I duck tape them together and suck up my soda with ease. “Let me try,” he asks me. He gets it the soda up easily. “How far do you think we could go?”

Fast-forward about three hours and you have this:
big fucking straw

You see, that’s just the top of a straw that was over a story tall. Max and I's little game attracted a lot of attention, soon everyone on the floor was playing. The rule, suck up some soda through the straw in one breath. (EDIT: The more I think about this, the more I start to believe that we changed the rule to "can't take your mouth off of the straw" as it got longer, so you can tongue block. I think we also put a time limit on it.) The soda has to reach your mouth and you have to spit it out to prove it made it. If you don’t get any soda, you’re eliminated from the tournament. Every round we added a new straw and duck taped it up.

As you can see by the picture, I’m still alive at this point. That’s Eric behind me. If I remember correctly, Eric, Keyo, Corey and I were the final four and Corey ended up winning.

Now, the tournament went very late and we were yelling in the stairwell extremely loud. Eventually two of the RAs on-call showed up to break us up. They wanted to know what we were doing and I told them. They asked, “What are you drinking?” and I said, “Root beer.”

“Just root beer?”

“Yup, just root beer.”

They tested it, it was just root beer. Now, the funny part was seeing these two RAs trying not to laugh because at this moment, we were getting written up for the dorkiest thing imaginable. Not knowing how to handle this, they get our RA, who comes into the stairwell. His eyes bug out as we tell him what happened and he points to the straw and asks, “You actually drank from that?”

Now the two RAs on call are cracking up, they gave up trying to hold it in. Our RA grabs the straw and tries it out but can’t even get the soda half way up. Corey shows him how it’s done and he’s awestruck.

We all get written up on a noise violation and apparently we were the laughing stock of the next RA meeting. The following year I was RA of the floor and since we had some repeat residents, we actually made the straw tournament an official floor event, the “Second Annual Straw Challenge.” It wasn’t as fun, it lost its spontaneity.

it is physically possible, fanboy: Elementary Fluid Dynamics

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Writer's Workshop, Looking for Talent and 13 Rules

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I joined Chuck Palahniuk’s writer’s workshop. They recently started a script workshop and it seems pretty cool so far, I’m using it as a way to work on my editing; I might eventually post some stories as well. But it just seems like a good bunch of people giving feedback and, most importantly, feedback on your feedback, which is what I need. I mean sure, I can edit the fuck out of a story but I have the tendency to come off as a bit mean sometimes, a little too blunt. Works for my friends but sometimes kills the working relationship with other people. But, I mean, look at me. Look at the stories I write, how can anyone expect me to be wine and roses after reading this site? Anyway, I hung around Digital Webbing and Scryptic for some time but the signal to noise there is really low and you never get feedback on feedback. So, Chris Fabulous and I joined this place. Worth checking out if you’re an aspiring writer, editor or if you’re a fan of Chuck.

Also, I think I’m on the quest for an artist. I have two things I’d like to get something together with by San Diego . If you’re out there and want to get some dialog going, please hit me up. Otherwise I have to hunt people down and I hate that.

My week of sex is coming to an end. I have a lot of sex stories I could tell and there are more I do plan on telling in the future because, well, I like sex and I have it as often as I can. 50% of my life has been spent trying to get sex or having sex. The rest is compromised of writing (usually about sex), sleeping (while dreaming about sex) and watching baseball. I’m not a sexual guru by any means but I’ve learned a few things and I think I’ll share them with you, the reader, so you don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made. These are all based on idiotic moves I’ve made.

1 – If you go into a convenience store with your girlfriend and purchase whipped cream and a six pack of beer, they probably know what you’re up to. To save her from unnecessary embarrassment that might be caused by a wise ass clerk, pick up some ice-cream as well.

2 – For the love of God, let the girl pick out the porno movie. God forbid the movie you pick out has anything in it that can be deemed “offensive” to her. And if you do pick it out, don’t tell her it’s one of your favorites. You’ve never seen that movie before, it’s brand spanking new. This way, that thing that offends her, she won’t think that it’s a lifelong fantasy of yours.

3 – If you video tape yourselves having sex, don’t watch it right afterwards. It’s kind of awkward.

4 – Also, if your girlfriend suggests destroying the tape of the two of you having sex, don’t cut up the wrong tape thinking you can fool her. She’ll probably double check. Also, if she suggests destroying the tape, it means she’s going to break up with you soon.

5 – If your girlfriend start to make out with another girl, it’s ok to be excited, but it’s not ok to hoot and holler like Daffy Duck. It really kills the mood.

6 – When taking a break from an ecstasy enhanced sex fest to go to the bathroom, don’t knock on your friend’s door and start telling him you’re having some amazing sex and you’re currently tripping balls. Because there’s a chance your friend if your girlfriend’s next boyfriend. And there’s also a chance you’re lying and the sex is kind of lame and the ecstasy only lasted for about an hour. And if that happens, not only will your friend be banging your girlfriend a year later, he’ll also know you’re a liar (and a sleazy one at that).

7 – Your roommate isn’t really sleeping. He’s actually lying in bed, wishing the two of you’d finish up already, so he actually can fall asleep.

8 – You can’t tie someone down with industrial strength bungee-chord, if it unhooks it’ll whip them in the face. Plus, it apparently burns their wrists.

9 – Sex in the ocean only works in Hollywood. Salt water + friction + sand + open spaces = supreme irritation.

10 – No, you most likely can’t put it there. Unfortunately this isn’t a porno movie. And she won’t fall for the “Oh, that slipped.” You can’t slip into there, it’s impossible. And when she asks to remove it, she means it, she won’t suddenly like it and realize what she’s been missing.

11 – If you’re really drunk and you know you’re going to throw up you probably can’t make it through the sex session. Give it up, there’s always tomorrow when you don’t vomit in bed.

12 – If you go all out and rent a nice hotel room, drop a couple of Franklyn’s on it, at least try to do some research and find out when her monthly visitor tends to stop by. The head you end up getting will be hollow and it will never offset the frustration you feel over the money you wasted. This rule goes double for long vacations to exotic islands.

13 - Don’t ask someone if they’ve ever been tested for HIV immediately after having sex with them. Believe it or not, they feel like a slut when you do that.

And with that, have a good weekend.

read a book, fanboy: Lullaby

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Sean Maher and God's Gift (UPDATE! A great plug!)

Front. Fucking. Page. For when the front page goes cold, here's a link to the article itself. For those that don't know, Elk's Run is the book that I edit (and have a back-up story in issue two co-written by Chris Fabulous and illustrated by Paul Maybury).

I had a couple of drinks tonight and I was going to forgo the daily pimp and just post the story and then I was reminded why Sean Maher's blog fucking rocks me. Everyone should read his article on how to sell books at a con. And when you’re done, read the rest of his site.

Continuing my week of sex stories that are designed to counteract my week of depressing family stories…

What would you do if you woke up one morning and discovered that your penis was four times larger than its normal size?

Well, I’ll tell you what I did that day I took a shower and found what I originally thought was God’s gift to me; I called my girlfriend, R.

“Holy shit, baby. You have to fucking see this!”

“See what?”

“Just come over.”

So, like a good girlfriend, she came over and I instantly showed her my humongous penis. I had a smile across my face that would have put the Kool-Aid man to shame until she told me, “I think you should go to the hospital.”

And I did. Hopped on the T and went across town to some hospital on the red line, can’t remember the name. Waited for a doctor and when it was my turn, went in and busted it out, smile on my face – I was proud of my freakish penis. This was a penis of legend.

I will never forget the doctor’s response. Everyone has things that they claim they’ll never forget but the doctor’s response is impossible to forget, it has been permanently imprinted onto my brain. I thought she would have been impressed, I was rocking about seven inches soft and girth like you wouldn’t believe, but instead, my not-at-all-subjective and professional doctor winced and asked me, “Have you been masturbating a lot lately?”

I could have been honest. I could have told her that, yes, after having sex with R the night before I got a couple off. This kind of thing happens, we’re alone in our room, we plan to watch kung-fu but instead we download a new Rocco Siffredi movie. Three hours later we milked our shit until it can’t take anymore punishment, irritate the fuck out of it and go to bed. I could have been honest, but you try telling a woman you just met, doctor or not, that you masturbated all night to the most misogynistic porn ever created.

So I told her I didn’t do anything, that I just woke up like this.

Do you know what a culture is? If not, I want you to really imagine this for the full effect.

Imagine someone takes a pointed plastic stick with a little scoop on the end and shoves it up the hole of your penis. You think that hurts? Imagine them moving it around, scraping the inside of your penis walls. It hurt so fucking bad. It was probably the worst minute of my life.

Oh, and it got better. You see, R thought I had a disease because, well, the doctor said I could have a disease. So we had to wait for the results of my test to come back before we were allowed to have sex again. My doctor was most likely fucking with me because she knew I was lying to her, but my tests didn’t come back for a week.

Now, not having sex for a week is fine. I’ve had dry spells that have lasted many a month. But you see, the doctor told R that I wasn’t allowed to irritate my penis at all, so I wasn’t allowed to masturbate either. Imagine getting reminded by your girlfriend twice (or more) a day that you can’t masturbate. Now ask yourself, what hurts more? The culture or the embarrassment of an 11PM phone call telling you to drop you cock and go to bed?

Let me give you a hint, they both sucked.

turn of the metallica, fanboy: Emergency Rations

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First Comics and SEX!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Wasting times over at Comics.org I started looking up books that I owned when I was a wee kid to see if the covers rang any bells. It was a good time. GI Joe #2 was one of my first comics. The cover is unmistakable. I also have fond memories of GI Joe #55, I remember how Cobra Commander unmasked but put on sun glasses, a barret and a fake mustache. The shit we remember.

I also realize now that I had the complete run of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew. Every one of those covers is familiar and I remember the stories inside.

I’m trying to think up as many of my early comics as I can and I’m surprised that some of them don’t have cover galleries. I remember owning Groo, Star Wars, Droids, Ewoks, Madballs, Peter Porker, Transformers, Thundercats, Fraggle Rock, He-Man, The Get Along Gang and this comic that was based on those stuffed animals that folded into themselves and became balls. Popballs or Popems or something. Popples? Yup, Popples it is and it was published in 1986 making me the gayest 8 year old ever.

I’m trying to remember what other pre-Super Hero comics I used to read but I’m drawing a blank. Which ones do you guys remember from the early to mid 80s? Maybe you can jog my memory.

Does the first time always suck?

Mine was with MP, a girl I ended up dating for a year and a half. We were awkward right from the start, I think, several failed attempts at the act. We were very sexually uncomfortable; I was never good with condoms despite carrying them around since I was eleven and she had a weird vocabulary (she called my penis a “bird” and commented on how it “chirps” for her, very odd). She never let me watch while getting head, either, which completely defeats the purpose of head. For what’s it worth I can spit in my hand and close my eyes. So, we were basically two 16 year old kids, extremely awkward and just trying to go through the motions without a notion of sexuality.

The failed attempts were always weird. We got caught once by my pops. We brought a tent out to Rockaway, set up shop, and after futzing with a condom for a couple of minutes a ranger was nice enough to let us know tents weren’t allowed on the beach (could have been lying). A lack of knowledge about lubrication leading to injured private parts (both parties) when trying the “jam it in” method. Typical 16 year old kid shit.

And then it finally happened, in my bedroom on the floor. I was so amped because everything came together perfectly and stayed together for the entire thirty seconds we were fucking. It wasn’t even fucking. It was in, one hip movement, and twenty five seconds of breathing hard and trying to clench some muscle in my taint that doesn’t exist. And just like that my “bird” had “chirped”. And I apologized, like a good 16 year old, for making her first time the most depressing first time a girl could possibly have. I went down afterwards to try to make up for it but that lasted all of about ten seconds before she asked me to stop. I think she might have cried, to. She tried to cover it up. Now THAT is something to make you feel good about yourself right there. In retrospect if I probably just laid her for a second instead of going for a snack she would have been perfectly fine but, I was still learning back then.

I’m pretty sure MP and I got it on after that, we had to of, but to be honest I hardly remember any of it. I remember one time at this kid’s house and there was some disgusting Russian porno on, really bad stuff, hairy women. I really don’t remember much else.

And that’s probably because whenever I think about that relationship I think about how I’m the biggest idiot in the world.

She was cheating on me for quite some time, verified by several sources. And I was in major denial. Her friend John. I’ve actually seen pictures with the two of them in bed together, “fake” pictures where they were posing under the sheets with their friend and her boyfriend.

One day John was dropping her off at my place and they were an hour late, they accidentally missed the exit for my house and ended up in Manhattan.
One day she came over with a hicky on her neck and told me her friend Helen gave it to her, playing into my typical male girl-on-girl fantasies. She was crying, apologizing; I was psyched because the possibility of some three-way action was looking promising.

I broke up with her at one point. About a week later she wrote me a letter saying how she’s nothing without me and yada, yada, yada. So I got back together with her. A month later we exchanged gifts on Christmas and I got her a bunch of cool shit and she got me the worst presents ever. It was, like, three button down Van Heusen shirts (I didn’t even wear button downs) and some used book about The Beatles. Up until recently I forbade girlfriend’s from getting me clothes as a present, I actually developed a complex over those shitty gifts.

(Robin’s allowed to get me clothes now, it took some wearing down. I even own some Van Heusen dress shirts for work because they’re a lot cheaper than Hilfiger. But still, it took some time to come this far.)

We went out with a bunch of people for New Years that year. John was there. After the bells, after my kiss, John asked her if she could get his jacket from her room. She led him upstairs and they were there for about five minutes.

It was at this point that I actually started to suspect something.

A week later she broke up with me.

On a fucking crowded bus.

metallica sucks, fanboy: Wanna Buy a Monkey?

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Revisiting Maus and Visting Arizona

Monday, April 11, 2005

Last week I committed blasphemy by admitting I wasn’t too impressed by the first Maus book. I assured the reader that the second book would likely “wow” me and I would “get” the whole story. Well, I just read the second book and if I were to review it in a word, I would have to go with: “Eh.” One of the issues I had with the first book is still there, the black and white metaphorical representations of races, and some of the characters are still highly unlikable. Vladek redeemed himself; I liked Vladek more in this book. He was more human, we saw more of his motivations. Francois was great and even Mala was strong and quirky likable towards the end. But Art just got worse and it really made the book hard for me to enjoy, I just didn’t like him. He’s an unappreciative, exploitative man and as honest as he may have been about his own weaknesses, an honest, unappreciative and exploitative man is still an unappreciative and exploitative man. His personality just didn’t jive with mine, enough so to stop me from truly enjoying the book. I guess what it comes down to is that I’ve heard many Holocaust stories before, and usually they are told in a voice that I like to hear. I don’t want to take away from Vladek’s story, it was real, heartbreaking and inspiring, but overshadowed by Art’s shallow interludes for me. It seems like the reader gets more out of Vladek’s story than Art did and that’s a shame.

Ok, now that I’ve alienated myself from the rest of the comic world...

While I was “dating” MDT I made a trip out to Arizona to visit my Uncle Alex. Now, I’ve lied about my age to get a girl three times in my life, all three times before I was a teenager. With the Arizona trip, however, I took it to a new level and created a brand new persona for myself. I still do this today, whenever I go on business trips I come up with a fake name and occupation that I use at bars, just because it amuses me. Arizona started that trend, except with Arizona I might have taken it too far.

I was having a good time visiting my uncle but all kids need to get out every once and a while. On my last day I decided to venture out and meet some people.

My uncle lived in a condominium complex and I decided to head on down to the pool where I met Teddy, an older guy with a boom-box blasting some Public Enemy, my kind of people. I walked up to him, introduced myself, told him I was from New York and I was here visiting my uncle. At some point he discovered my age, 17, and he kept inquiring about what it was like growing up in Brooklyn. I preceded to tell him about the drug game, the hip-hop game and the intricacies of gang warfare. I never dealt drugs, I told him, but I did occasionally run some lla for Poppo, a member of my crew, 4DBC. For those of you reading this for the first time, these were all lies, and the extent of my gang activity was summarized in this story.

Anyway, Teddy sweated me and we hung out by the pool all day, cycling through cassette tapes. He was a horrible singer but he thought he was good and I remember when he popped in some Shai and sang “If I Ever Fall in Love” to some girls that were sitting by the pool. They giggled, probably partly flattered but mostly laughing at his horrible voice.

As an aside, I’d like to point out that the particular song Teddy chose made no sense to sing to a complete stranger. “If I ever fall in love again, I will be sure that the lady is a friend.” Basically, it won’t be you, random girl that I am singing to. You’ll just be a fuck-buddy at best.

Either way, Teddy’s advances scored us a “date”, of sorts, and the two girls hung out with us that night. They were both 17 years old. And now all three of these people thought I was a 17 year old tough-guy from Brooklyn.

We went out for pizza, talked, came back to the pool in the condo complex. At one point we partnered up, I was with this girl that was pretty damn attractive and I believe her name was Anna. Not entirely sure because the third girl that I lied to about my age, her name was definitely Anna. It’s all so long ago and I get confused easily.

Anna and I found a nice quite spot and started making out. Not bad for an eleven year old kid, within the span of two months I’ve made out with a sixteen year old and a seventeen year old. With Anna, who was obviously enthralled with my made up stories about Brooklyn, I actually tried to have sex with her but she wasn’t all into doing that on the first date. Prude.

But, she did say she would like to keep in touch with me. So I gave her my number (fake number) and told her I’d try to come back her before I entered the air force.

Yes, that’s right, in an attempt to put the sense of urgency in her; I told her I was entering the air force. I would try to make it back to Arizona before I go but there are no guarantees.

She still wouldn’t have sex with me, but promised SHE WOULD WAIT FOR ME.

I doubt she waited long, probably stopped waiting once she realized my phone number was a fake, but still, I left Arizona the next day and had some soon to be high school graduate promising she’ll wait for me. That’s fucking awesome.

And, not only that, in my final discussion with Teddy he told me he might be interested in running llallo in Arizona and asked if I could hook him up with some of my connections. I said yes and gave him a fake phone number.

Luckily, for me, my uncle moved the following summer to a new condominium complex or else I would have never been able to visit there again.

I’d like to point out that I’m not a liar, despite how it may sound with this posting. All the stories I’m telling here are true and in most cases they can be backed up. The whole fake persona thing is a game for me; it’s a great way to entertain myself. So I’m not lying to you right now, but if I’m out of town and see you in a bar I might flirt with you and tell you my name is Reginald Grey, motorcycle designer (a name I now have to officially retire after using it for the past 6 years, it's ok, I was getting bored with it anyway and too many people have seen me use it).

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: Raising Arizona

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posted by Jason at 6 Comments


Three Blogs and Born to Fuck?

I pretend to run a “comic blog”. For those who haven’t caught on, I throw out a quick blurb about someone or some book or some site and get right to my story of the day. This way, comic readers get tricked into reading the blovel and non-comic readers get tricked into learning about comics. Everyone wins, really. I figured, for the sake of my comic readers that come here, I’d review some comic blogs that I’ve stumbled across so they know where they can go to get real comic related commentary and information. I would do non comic related blogs for my non comic readers but I never read non comic related blogs because I hate poetry. I’ll do three blogs today; I might do more throughout the week. After that, I’ll tackle the question “was I born to fuck?” and then we’ll call it a day.

The Comics Curmudgeon is a great example of how you can do sarcasm on the internet without resorting to the “< /sarcasm >” tags, which are absolutely hilarious < /sarcasm >. I am addicted to this site, so much so that I once considered buying some of the guy's merchandise but then decided he doesn’t actually know that I read his site, so I have no reason to feel guilty. Everyday he takes some strip from the comics’ pages and pokes fun at it. I've never read the comics pages before finding this site, but now I read them just to try and guess which one he’ll pick apart.

I had no idea who Tom Peyer was when I first stumbled across Superfrankenstein. I soon found out that Tom Peyer is a guy that posts hilarious links, occasionally comics related, and couples them with an often humorous, quick commentary. It’s really not the kind of site you go to for comic news, by any means, but it’s usually a nice start to the day if you want a chuckle. His content tends to be comics, movies or politics related, his political allegiances being reminiscent of a 500-pound girl getting on the left side of a see-saw and launching a fetus into orbit. I still have no idea who Tom Peyer is, by the way, all I know is he’s cowriting a Spider Man mini with Mark Waid which means, at this point, I should know who he is or he gives great head.

Johnny Bacardi is 90% great name and atmosphere, that alone separates him from the other comic blogs that do great commentary and reviews. Johnny’s site is a great place to go for honest reviews without the pretension you get from other review blogs. You can actually disagree with him and he might see your side! I see Johnny’s site as a good place for a comic connoisseur in training, he seems to be refining his palette daily, trying new books and finding new talents and giving honest feedback on the material.

And now, onto the story. After depressing my readership last week with stories about my family, I’m going to dedicate this week to sex. When you get emails that read: “you made me cry again, suka! “, you realize your readership may need a break.

I was freakishly tall as a kid. I hit 6-foot-3 by the time I was in Junior High School. I pretty much stopped there and now I’m not “as tall” as I hoped I would be but back in the day I was a fucking giant compared to my friends. And believe me, I use it to my advantage.

Back when I was eleven I was introduced to this girl, we’ll call her MDT. She was dating this guy John, an older kid that was part of our skating crew. Our skating crew consisted of a bunch of kids between 11 and 18 years old, it was a nice dynamic because it allowed for us to learn tricks off of the older kids.

I don’t remember how this all started, but I do know that I told MDT I was 16 years old and we started making out, while she was dating a 16 year old kid that could easily kick my ass. When you’re eleven, you really don’t know anything about jealousy and shame, you’re just trying to get by and learning as you go along. MDT broke up with John and became my girl; I thought this was perfectly fine. I continued to skate with John and the rest of the crew and although I did notice the dirty looks I never really thought anything would come from it, she’s just a girl after all.

Well, something did come of it. I guess John didn’t really want to beat up an 11 year old so he went for the next best thing, embarrassment for both MDT and I, he told her I was eleven. She confronted me about it, I confessed and she didn’t want to talk to me anymore.

The next day we were making out again. She told me she didn’t care about my age. Truth is, she savored the flava and once you get some Jason in your arms you just can’t stop.

Ok, truth is she was probably fucked up.

But either way, I was dating a 16 year old when I was 11 and she knew my age. John stopped skating with us, obviously, I don’t know how anyone can handle that kind of embarrassment. That’s like Jerry Springer style embarrassment.

We carried on for a month, making out, never anything more. At one point I got a cold and I was all afraid that I had AIDS. Everyone of my friends agreed that I could have AIDS. We asked some nurse that lived on our block if I could get AIDS from kissing, she said no, and pointed out that you mainly get AIDS from sharing needles and homosexual relations. Some heterosexuals get AIDS but only if they have sex with a homosexual. But it’s impossible to get it through kissing a non infected person. So, you know, I was in the clear. But my friend Bobby did tell me that he thinks she had a hole in her arm, it could have been from shooting up.

Ah, kids. Remember when you were 11 and thought you had AIDS from making out with a 16 year old potential-junkie?

My cousin Luis told my mom about MDT and that was fun. I was grounded and I sat in my window playing my baritone because I was a fucking loser. After an hour of playing my mom told me to go outside but to stay away from MDT, which I didn’t.

I went to Arizona for a week to visit my Uncle Alex (and holy fuck is that a story for tomorrow) and when I came back I found out MDT made out with Rossalino, this kid from the neighborhood with a mustache and motorcycle. He used to always make fun of us for riding skateboards, claiming motorcycles were cooler. During one of his demonstrations he ran over my friend Ross. In retrospect, Rossalino couldn’t have had his license, he was too young (probably 16) but he rode that motorcycle around the block like a pro.

And thus ended my first relationship. Eleven years old, making out with a sixteen year old. I wish I could say that my MDT relationship set the tone for the rest of my sexual escapades but sadly I did not turn into the pimp master early predictors were calling for. But I had my moments of pimpdom, my Arizona trip being fucking hysterical, to me at least. I can’t wait until tomorrow.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: The Graduate

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On Letterers y El Funeral

Friday, April 08, 2005

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine that was putting together a comic book. Having no previous published material, he was doing the right thing and hiring an art team since the chance of his book being picked up, despite how good it is, is pretty much -36%. He has no doubts that he’ll be self publishing this book and he welcomes it. So, he has a budget, not a huge budget, but a budget none-the-less. Fair prices to pay the art team taking into consideration the fact that will most likely be no back end and they’ll never see a dime for their work otherwise. He showed me his numbers, they looked fair, but I noticed he had no letterer budgeted. So I asked him why that was.

“I was going to do the lettering,” he informed me. He has never lettered a page in his life. This is a huge problem that I’ve seen with a lot of would be comic creators, they feel as if he lettering is easy and “not a big deal”. It especially upsets me when these beliefs come from a writer. In Lettering Comics the Comicraft Way, Richard Straking tells us that letterers are the writers’ inkers and I’ve never heard it summed up any nicer than that. You can write your ass off but if the lettering is bad, people will notice, and you writing will look bad in turn. If you’re going to put time, effort and money into a book, why would you allow the lettering to kill it? If you’re putting a book together, do yourself a favor and hire a letterer. It’s an extremely unappreciated job that hardly gets noticed by anyone except other letterers but it is a specialty art that is crucial to any project you may be putting together. As the old saying goes, people only notice the letterers work when he fucks up. But you know what, that fuck up is reflected onto you as the writer and publisher of the book.

If you don’t know where to look for one Digital Webbing is a decent start. If I may be so bold, I do recommend Jason Hanley. The guy has been doing all the books for us over at Hoarse & Buggy, his lettering is superb and his rate (for now) is better than anything you’d get from most of the DW hacks (they're not all hacks, mind you). I’ve even included some samples of his work below. Contact him if you’re interested. But please, whatever you do, don’t do it yourself. And if you do, for God’s sake buy Illustrator, you can’t letter in Photoshop.

These samples of his work are from Western Tales of Terror #4 and Elk's Run #2:
Other Folks' Troubles Page 1Elk's Run 2 Page 15

Continuing what’s turning out to be a week of depressing stories centered on the Rodriguez family (don’t worry, next week I’ll do all funny shit)…

When I walked up to the coffin, and saw him in it, I broke down. And I don’t mean I broke down as in a cried and someone had to comfort me. I mean I broke down as in I started crying, then screaming, then I stopped breathing and then my father had to drag me out of the funeral parlor. I went to a lot of funerals throughout the years but there was none of them like when we buried my cousin Steven. He was only eleven.

The whole family was there after not talking to each other for several years. This was about two years before the letter; we had a temporary reprieve in the fighting.

I was dragged out of the funeral parlor and calmed down. I went outside with my cousin RJ, Steven’s brother, and we stood around with a bunch of neighborhood kids, talking about Steven. Even B was there, something like this throws all beefs away, despite how strong they are.

The procession was amazing; I’ve never seen anything like it. There must have been 70 cars at least; the funeral was packed with people. I hardly knew any of them. But my family was there, we huddled together and comforted each other – for the first time in years we were a family again.

Steven was the son my cousin Ray, I guess he was technically my third cousin; I’m not sure how the labeling goes. Ray was my father’s cousin, so what does that make me and Ray’s son? Either way, RJ and I were close and even if we weren’t, Steven’s death was just wrong.

But this one is about the family, the stuff we’ve been through. After the funeral we went back to Ray’s house, he lived a block away from my Grandma. I remember all the men went down to the Red Hook pier; Me, my father, Ray, RJ, Luis, Grandpa and Tio Andy. It was just silence. We looked out, over the water, and we occasionally tried to say something but it just wasn’t the place.

Finally my grandfather said something, he apologized for not being there. He told Ray that he was going to be around more often, that he’ll always be there for him. And for the first and only time in my life I saw my Grandpa cry.

Guilt. Death is sad, it’s final, you cry (sometimes) and you get over it. Guilt is everlasting. Guilt is when you can’t get that forgiveness, when you know you fucked up and right now someone you care about is at the lowest he or she will ever be and you want to make up for it.

There was a lot of guilt surrounding Steven’s death. I still have some guilt, to this day. I can’t even think about Steven without this sinking feeling, this overwhelming sadness, and it’ all due to guilt. I’ve already gotten over the death.

It fucked us all up. And we got together because of it, we needed each other. Two years later we’ve drifted apart again and I wrote the letter.

This was one of the things, I remember Ray telling my dad that the rest of the family pretty much stopped talking to him for no reason.

If something like this can’t get us to forget our petty differences, what chance do we have as a family?

A pretty good one, but that’s a story for another day. As far as Steven’s story, that’s for another day as well and, honestly, not my story to tell. But you’ll hear it soon.

I’ve depressed you all enough. Next week I’ll be talking about lots of sex, introduce my “first” and maybe even do a posting dedicated to my most embarrassing sexual moments, because they’re pretty funny. Of course, I already told Hooker Hand and No Dick, but there are some equally embarrassing stories. If you made it through this week, you deserve a break.

metallica sucks, fanboy: No Alternative

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Some NYC Creators y La Carta

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Talking to Neil Kleid over at the Isotope Virtual Lounge yesterday I was reminded of two comic creators I should pimp. First off is Adam Suerte, cartoonist behind the Ignatz nominated Aprendiz. I met Adam at a bar last year after MOCCA, he was hanging out with a long time friend. We got to talking, he was a cool cat, and I picked up Aprendiz 1 and 2 and really dug it, still waiting on 3. I went to his table at SPX last year and he had to bail last minute, some House of Twelve guys took over Adam’s table and I talked to them a bit. Purchased House of Twelve #3: Fiesta, a book that had raunchy as hell stories including the insanely wrong serialized story of a Leprechaun that tricks kids into fisting him. So, you know, don’t buy it for your kids. But check out Adam Suerte and check out House of Twelve, they both produce some good stuff.

Continuing the week of stories dedicated to the Rodriguez family...

Couple of years back my Grandparents moved to Virginia. My Aunt Sophie was out there and my Grand parents spent their entire life in Red Hook, they probably decided they needed a change. Now, I have no problem with that, I live in Virginia now, I understand the need to try new places. I just wished they would have told us they were moving.

This was during a lull in family relationships, there was a fight a few years back but circumstances brought us back together somewhat. It slowly faded away but my sister and I would still visit. So, when we found out they up and moved to Virginia, we were a little hurt to say the least. I got over it but my sister was younger, probably 5 or 6, and she didn’t understand why our Grandparents up and left us. She would cry, assuming they didn’t love us. Now, do what you will to me, but no-one fucks with my sister and gets away with it.

A couple of months later, on Christmas, after not hearing from them since they moved, our Grandparents send Elizabeth and I Christmas cards with checks inside them. I sent mine back. With a letter. Not just any letter, this was the letter. Three pages of letter writing goodness, front and back.

In the letter I explained how hurt they made my sister feel and, in turn, myself. I explained how bad they treat my family yet how good they treat the other kids despite the fact that my father is the one that’s actually doing the right thing with his life. I said how the special treatment carried onto to the Grandkids, how Luis gets more attention than me, how Aunt Sophie’s kids gets more attention than Elizabeth, how Uncle Alex’s son Mickey is practically ignored. I said a lot of things. And I sealed it and sent it out and waited.

My father knew I sent it, he read it before he went out. My father, being the best dad ever, told me that if this is what I needed to do, I have to do it.

About a week later I’m working the video store when my Aunt Anita comes in, letter in her hand, furious. I don’t know, I felt like I did the right thing but I said too much, I included people that shouldn’t be included, such as Luis, one of my best friends and Aunt Anita’s son. She asked me if my father knew about the letter and I said yes, she went to my father’s house.

They fought, my father told her he agrees with what I wrote and he knew he sent it, etc. I wasn’t there, I understand it was a bad time.

But that’s my dad, he stands by me no matter what. He knew what I wrote was right and he admired my courage to write what he’s been wanting to say. And I know it hurt him, putting stuff out there like that has to hurt, and I know I forced his hand, but sometimes you just have to get the shit out no matter what happens because of it.

My family didn’t talk for years, until my Uncle Alex died. I don’t want to talk too much about Uncle Alex yet but I will say that no one in my family knew that he had AIDS except for my dad. My uncle didn’t want to worry them more than they had to be. My father used to ask him, “don’t you want them to know?”

He’d tell him, “They know what I’ve done. If they want to know they’d ask.”

And maybe that’s what did it, that philosophy. Maybe that’s why my family is closer now than we’ve ever been. Maybe it was my letter, maybe they saw that some parts of it were right. I tell you, this isn’t today’s story, but there’s something about finding out someone you love so much has been dying for years. I didn’t know Uncle Alex had AIDS until he died. I didn’t understand why my whole family was going out to Arizona if Uncle Alex only had pneumonia, how bad is pneumonia, after all?

I found out later on. When I asked my dad if something else was going on. I had no excuse not to ask, this is the third time I went through these exact motions.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: And the Band Played On

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Half-way Through Maus, Super F*cking Contest y La Invasión de Boston

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Let me start with a confession, I’m reading Maus for the first time. You see, I read comics as a kid, stopped in my teens. Picked it up again about two years ago when I decided I might want to try writing them. So I missed out on all the “adult” books that came out before two years ago, for the most part, and I’m catching up. The other day I went to Amazon to order Fables & Reflections (purchased for free thanks to my wonderful readers buying little things I link to as well as using the search box on the side) and I picked up the Maus two-pack as well.

My second confession? I just finished the first book, My Father Bleeds History and, honestly, not that impressed. It’s written well, but I hope the second book redeems the first one somewhat. My problem with it is the use of the cat/mouse/dog/pig analogy. The thing is, it’s just a gimmick (so far) but it’s entirely contradicted by the source material. Spiegelman is painting the world as black and white (wasn’t Vladek and Anja, in fact, Polish?) whereas so far all the main characters are gray as all hell. And not only are they gray, but with the exception of Anja, they pretty much all fall towards the side of unlikable, with Art Spiegelman himself being the least likable non-German character.

Now, I’m pretty sure I know what’s going to happen. I’m going to read the second book and I’m going to get it. It’ll all come together. But if I were to read this in 1986 and not having access to the second book until 1991, I’m not sure what I would have taken away from it. So, I’ll check back in after I read the second one, maybe my remarks won’t be as blasphemous then. And one more thing, though, what the fuck was up with the Poles being pigs? Are the animals supposed to be representative of inner character? Rat makes sense for the Jews, despite the negative connotation, because they had to scurry and hide and live off scraps. But pigs? Most Poles weren’t fans of the Germans, either. They just wanted to survive like everyone else, a central point to the book. I don’t know, pig just seems really harsh.

Another comic related thing, with what seems to be a new contest being launched every week, it seems like the cats over at Comic Book Galaxy went ahead and trumped all the other fuckers. Enter their Super F*cking contest to win an original Kochalka painting, American Elf hardcover, Super F*ckers #1 and The Comics Journal #222. Nine runner-ups get a copy of Super F*ckers #1, a book you should have pre-ordered anyway.

I introduced you to the 2 grandparents, 7 siblings (plus significant others) and 13 cousins on Monday. With the exception of my Uncle Alex and his family, they all came to Boston to watch me graduate in 2000.

All of them. They piled into their minivans and coupes and made the trek from New York/Virginia/Buffalo/Connecticut/New Jersey to see me walk down an aisle and get my diploma. Most of my friends had two or three guests, tops. Not me, baby. I had over twenty guests, twenty loud guests, hooting and hollering when I walked up to get my diploma.

My mom came up early that week to spend some time with me. My dad brought up my grandparent’s and my Aunt Connie (who’s actually my mom’s second cousin) the day before graduation. But the day of is when the rest of the family came.

But what can I say, they were proud. I was the first person from the family (both sides) to graduate from college and to do it from a school like Boston University was a big thing. You should have seen them, after I came off the stage, my leather diploma holder in my hand. They all wanted to see it, wanted to see what accreditation looked like. So I opened it up and showed them the glorious contents: a bill for a thousand bucks.

After clearing up my account and getting my real diploma I met up with my family at the restaurant I chose for my celebratory dinner, La Famiglia Giorgio in the North End. Robin’s parents met up with us, their first time meeting my family. What better way than to throw them right into the fire? We all got along fine and had a great time.

And ran up a huge bill.

My father went to pay for it and came out five minutes later, wearing an apron, and started clearing the dishes off of the table. The entire table erupted in laughter.

After dinner most of the family went back to the hotel, it was a long day for all of us. My Uncle Chris, Aunt Jecinda (I know I’m spelling that wrong), Titi Lisa and Hervin went with me and my friends to get some beers down at Crossroads. Since most of the people that lived in my building had already moved out, and since as an RA I had a master key, I let them crash in our brownstone, set them up with some sheets and the like.

The next day we all went back home, even me. I remember sitting in the back of the car with my sister and I wanted to cry so bad but I just didn’t let myself. She knew, though, she always knows. It was such a great four years, the last two being especially good, and it was nicely capped off with the first large Rodriguez family get together in some time.

I just didn’t want to leave, though. I spent about four days in New York, making my rounds and then left for Virginia. Robin met me there, her plane was several hours delayed and I waited in Dulles Airport for her, chain smoking. We finally got to our hotel in Tyson’s Corner where we began two weeks of stretching our dollars as far as we could. We had no money, no apartment, and no friends and we were burning up my 2,000 in relocation money by staying in a $100 a night hotel (not counting airfare). And I was starting my new job in four days.

This part is technically a story for year two of my blovel, The Moose Out Of The Closet, but I just wanted to sort of touch on how absolutely fast life can change direction on you and sometimes, having your family there to ease the transition makes manageable. When I came to DC I was lucky to have Robin, who is as family as family gets for me, or else I don’t think I would have been able to do it. When I was leaving Boston and then New York, I was lucky to have my family there, reminding me that if I failed, they’d be there to pick my ass up.

Separately, I have such a longing for Boston at this moment. I think if Robin where to say, “Let’s move back” I’d start packing. I firmly believe New York is the greatest city in the world but when I think of Boston I want it so bad it hurts, maybe I’m just in denial. I think we'll make a trip out there this month, for all those from Boston reading this.

read a book, fanboy: Faithful

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The Best Comic of the Week, Potential Pitches and La Casa

I think I’ll let the article speak for itself.

I have some new ideas; they’re currently developing in my marble notebook. One is a fairytale, of sorts, about the first ninja coming from the first African tribe and the other is only a title and a basic concept right now, “Snuffed by a Brit”, but you have to admit, you’d buy a book with that title.

Every Friday night, when the family was speaking, we were at Grandma’s house. And not just us as in me, my dad, my mom and my sister. I mean all of us, all the aunts, uncles and cousins that were in town. Aunt Sophie and Uncle Alex lived in Virginia and Arizona, respectively, for the later years. But they came to New York occasionally, and even when they weren’t around everyone else, every Friday, was in Grandma’s house. We ate a huge Spanish meal (Puerto Rican, to be exact), danced, joked…it was a party every time. So many quick stories come out of Friday night at Grandma’s; I think I’ll just go through some of my favorites.

My Grandma is a short woman, probably a little over 5 foot and a bit portly, looks like a Puerto Rican hobbit. Outside of her house one day a plastic bag flies through the air, grabs onto her face and refuses to let go. We try not to laugh as Grandma struggles with the bag for about ten seconds before falling to the ground, the bag still clinging on. She finally tears it off and asks for us to help her up but we’re all too busy laughing, tears streaming down our faces.

Pancho was my Titi Lisa’s boyfriend back before she met Hervin. He’s actually the guy that got me into comics. Rumor has it that now he’s psychotic and got put into a mental hospital because he thought he was Michael Jackson’s limo driver. Rumors are rumors but, if this one is true, we should have seen the signs. He got into paintball and brought his gun over the house one day. We asked him if it hurts to get shot with a paintball and he said no and decided to demonstrate by having him shoot him square in the back, standing only a few feet away. He hardly flinched but instantly developed a huge welt on his back.

Seth Domo Meno Macho was the full name of my Grandpa’s dog, Seth. Seth was an Irish Setter/German Shepard mix, he was huge and slobbery as all hell. He loved to escape from Grandma’s house and every once an a while he’d break through a partially open door and book it down Dykeman Street full speed, panting and slobbering as he went. People would literally drop their shit and run, screaming, thinking that the dog was coming after them. We’d spend hours trying to corner Seth and get his leash on, he refused to come back to Grandma’s house.

Whenever your birthday was coming up the family would throw a “surprise” birthday party for you on Friday. Three things:
1) It’s not a surprise if they do it every year. It’s also not a surprise if you come back from some diversion to hear over 20 people shushing, the lights turned off in the house.
2) Two Grandparents, 7 siblings, 7 significant others and 10 cousins that were old enough to say “shush” during the Friday night years (we now have 14 cousins, total). Either way, that’s 26 people, which meant every other week we had a “surprise” birthday party, on average.
3) When you coupled it with anniversary, graduation and holiday cakes, we pretty much had some sort of cake every week and the cake usually said stuff like: “Happy Birthday, Christina/Congratulations, Jason/Happy Anniversary Andy and Denise/Hoppy Easter.

The back yard was the dog’s toilet, both Seth and Princess. There were two sections, the dirt and weed section which was a minefield of dog shit and the concrete section which was safe and where the pool and barbeque stayed. Every once and a while the cousins would be tasked to weed the backyard and pick up the petrified dog shit, usually on days before a big party when more than the immediate family was coming over (we used to stuff over 50 people in that house). We’d go through the yard with plastic bags and rubber gloves and pick up the dog shit. Particularly hard pieces made for great gags as you can fling them at people as if they were rocks. Nothing like seeing your cousin freak out after getting hit in the face with a petrified piece of dog shit.

Christmas was insane at Grandma’s. All of the aunts and uncles will get each kid present(s) and there would be a pile of hundreds of boxes just waiting to be opened. And we’d always get there early in the morning on Christmas Eve and we wouldn’t open the presents until 8 that night. Christmas Eve consisted of us sitting in the living room and starring at a mound of presents for 8 or more hours straight. We always had adult supervision; no one was allowed to even touch a present. Torture.

I don’t know what it is, but to this day my Grandpa makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. It was just Wonder White Bread, Smuckers and Jiff but for some reason, whenever he made it, everything was just right. He even topped it off with a perfect glass of strawberry milk. And sometimes, if our parents weren’t watching, he’d let us eat a spoonful or two of the Nestle Quik strawberry or chocolate powder. And not a little taste of the powdery goodness but a heaping table spoon of the Quik Bunnie’s delicious sugar magic. He also let us take a sip of his beer, occasionally.

When we were much, much younger my Titi Lisa got a kick out of dressing us up. Keep I mind she was only eleven years older than me; Luis and I were the younger brothers she never got to torture. Which is why my family has the following pictures:
1) Me and Luis in bikinis
2) Me in a suit, Luis in a wedding dress

We always had one of those cheap plastic pools in the back, the ones that are about two feet deep and five feet in circumference (what the fuck was up with the slide on those things?). All the cousins used to pile into that shit like it was the best damn pool ever invented. One time my parents called me into the hallway while I was in the pool. They told me that they were having another baby after 11 years of trying. My first sibling, I was out of my mind. I ran back to the pool and told the cousins with a mixture of splashing and jumping and screaming. I remember looking into the window of my Grandma’s house as my parents told the rest of the family. They were all covering their mouths and crying and laughing and hugging. My Titi Denise was doing all of them at the same time.

For a family that fought a lot, when we were close we were ridiculously close. And as much as I started to hate the Friday night get-togethers as I got older and began to avoid them, I would love to be able to do it again now. My dad and Titi Lisa still live in New York. Uncle Chris is in Connecticut, Titi Anita is in Jersey. Titi Denise is in Buffalo as is my Grandma and Grandpa and Titi Sophie is in Virginia. Uncle Alex, as I mentioned yesterday, passed away six years ago.

We couldn’t even have the big Friday night anymore if we wanted to.

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Vaudeville Villain

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DCC Jam and La Familia

Sunday, April 03, 2005

We had a DCC jam yesterday and a pretty good turnout. I got to pimp Elk’s Run, taking advantage of a gathering of drunken people. We showed off some work, I got to see the first 8 pages of our jam book, the first four done by Matt Dembicki and the last four done by Deb Orgel. All in all, a good time (you can see pictures here). Our next official get together is May 1st but we may do something beforehand as well.

I'm going to dedicate this week to my dad's side of the family, the Rodriguez family. I figured I'd start by introducing them.

I’m pretty sure my great-grandmother was the first of us to come from America, we called her Granny. She died when I was 17 year old after spending years in a wheel chair as a result of falling down a flight of stairs a long time ago. I only knew her as a cripple. She hardly spoke English, called me “Jesse” and would chant “I’m dying, Jesse” every time I went to visit her. She lived on the third floor of my Grandma’s house, and we’d visit my Grandma every Friday. My cousins and I would always try to avoid the Granny visit because it was easily the most boring and depressing half-hour a kid could possibly spend. We all loved Granny, but when I look back for the “good memories”, they’re few and far between. They’re not bad or good, just memories, I never knew what she was saying.

That was my Grandma’s mother, my father’s mother. The story here is, again, sketchy. I believe my Grandfather and Grandmother were living in a home when they met. They got married and somewhere in there my Grandfather went to fight in the Korean War. They did the family thing, rented a house in Red Hook for what had to be peanuts and started producing children.

My father is the oldest, born in 1954 but if you see him you’d think he’s in his late-30s. He entered the Navy after going to a trade high school for printers. He was a printer in the Navy, came back and got a job as a printer, married my mom and had me, eventually. They bought a house on Woodhull in a three way partnership with my mother’s brother-in-laws’ parents and this guy Jumbi from the neighborhood. They’re still in that house today, each family taking an apartment. The upstairs neighbors died (my adopted Grandparents, as I call them, another story for another day) recently, my Grandpa John dying about 8 years ago and my Grandma Fran dying last year. The partners are now trying to sell the house. Also in my family is my sister, now 16 years old, and one of those multi-talented kids that plays the viola, piano and four sports. She’s also starting to show a good grasp on perspective and I’m hoping she turns into a decent little artist so I can put her ass to work.

My Titi Anita is next, one of those tough yet beautiful women that could most likely kick your ass with little effort. She had my cousin Luis with her first husband. Luis used to be afraid of everything as a kid, used to fall down for no reason and had the greatest catch phrase to ever come out of a four year olds’ mouth: “When I was a woman, I used to smooookkkeeee.” Luis and I were basically inseparable throughout our childhood. She’s now married to my uncle Mario and that brought Little Mario into the family as well, a wired and weird kid that tells people that they smell like corn chips.

My Uncle Alex is next, my godfather. He had a tough time when he was younger, got into bad stuff. Heroin, mainly. But he always had this heart of gold, and he one decided to straighten up. He moved out to Arizona, started a family with my Aunt Theresa, had a child, Mickey, and got a good job. He was always funny, always laughing and smiling and inviting. Everybody loved him. He died of AIDS in 1998, his past caught up with him proving how absolutely unfair life really is sometimes. He died during the summer of 423, just one of the many things to happen over that summer. There will be more about him in the coming months.

Here’s where I get a little confused over who’s oldest. I believe my Uncle Chris is next. Uncle Chris drifted in and out of our family for a variety of reasons, most of them not worth occasionally losing a family member over. But every family has its speed bumps and now we’re close again. He married a couple of years back, during one of those bad times, we weren’t at the wedding. He now has a son, Jack, one of the cutest and brightest kids I’ve seen in all my years. They have a big house that’s accessible to most of my family so that’s pretty much the spot for the big Rodriguez get-togethers, something I promise to never host because they never go to sleep and drink a lot. I once jokingly told my family that I already have a house; I just didn’t want them to known about it.

I believe my Aunt Sophie comes next. She married my Uncle Mike and had three kids: Samantha, Christina and Mickey. The Rodriguez family had two big fights in my days and one of them was centered on a letter I wrote to my grandparents after they moved down to Virginia where my Aunt Sophie lived. I’ll be talking about that this week.

Titi Denise is next. The first Rodriguez family blow-out came when I was a kid. One of my earliest memories is my Titi Denise coming out to my father’s car during Christmas time, as we parked in front of my Grandma’s house, to give me Christmas presents. No-one else came out. She was crying the whole time (she always cries). When people ask me why my Titi Denise is my favorite aunt, I tell them that story. That’s love, right there. She married my Tio Andy, a great guy that’s more like me in the sense that you can tell the big family get-togethers get to him. They have a huge house in Buffalo and a huge pool so the family tends to propagate there quite often. They have three kids: Andy, who just started college this year, Amanda, who is to my sister what Luis is to me, and Taylor, an ultra sweet kid that’s practically a clone of my Titi Denise in terms of mannerisms. They also raised two kids from my Tio Andy’s first marriage, Tatum and Kiesha. Kiesha still lives at their house, now with a kid of her own, Jayden (could be spelled wrong), a little premature miracle baby that dances around like a maniac.

And finally is Titi Lisa, the youngest in the family and only 11 years older than me. She recently married her long time boyfriend Hervin, the comic relief of our family and the constant spewer of what we call “Hervinisms”. One of my favorites came when he was reading a Trivial Pursuit card and said, “What does James I mean when he says…” except instead of saying “James the First” he said “James eye”. We asked him to repeat the question several times, he never saw anything wrong with what he was saying. Titi Lisa’s wedding this past January was huge, the whole family showing up and all of the cousins being together for the first time in years. We had a blast, I was giving alcohol to all the little kids, getting my sister buzzed off of apple martinis and giving the older boy cousins Jack and Coke. It’s a wedding; we’re family; what’s a little drinking amongst family?

And that’s the family. We’ve fought, we’ve loved. There were events that have torn us apart and events that brought us together. Occasionally I feel a little weird, a little out of place; I know I said my share of things. But it’s dumb to feel that way; once we’re back together it’s as if everything that has happened before is inconsequential, like it never happened. I think mainly because twice we were brought back together by deaths, and death makes you realize that whatever it is you’re fighting over is insignificant.

read a book, fanboy: You Can't Take it With You

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Fanfic and Ring Induced Retardism

Friday, April 01, 2005

You know your spot’s blowing up when the person you admire is writing fanfic about you, albeit tongue-in-cheek. Thanks, Larry. ‘Tis a good read.


I got my tongue pierced ten years ago (still have it). One day I was in the Village with Jackie, my good friend throughout high school and college (one of those relationships I really fucked up in the end) and we saw a tattoo parlor/piercing place and I just decided to go on in and do it.

It was really no big deal, I sat down, the guy clamped my tongue, needled it, pushed the stud through and I was on my way. The thing is, I couldn’t talk. Not only did I literally sound retarded, but every time I opened my mouth I drooled all over the place. Now, I’m a talker. You can probably tell that by these verbose passages I put up daily (not today, though, I got a killer back-ache and want to go to bed). When I realized that I physically couldn’t talk, I freaked out. I went pale, started sweating and had to sit down in a doorway while Jackie comforted me. Clamp, no problem. Needle through my tongue, no problem. Barbell through my tongue, no problem. Can’t talk; fucking pass out.

We sit for a couple of minutes and I finally pull myself together enough to walk over to a drug store across the street and purchase a bottle of Listerine. Jackie gets it for me while I peruse the aisles because my drooling was uncontrollable and it was better I didn’t interface with the store clerk. After the purchase, Jackie asks me if I want anything else. I point to an ice-cream truck.

We walk up to the truck, Jackie orders a cone and now it’s my turn.

So here I am, tongue all swollen and sticking out of my mouth, drool everywhere as it continuously drips from my mouth and lands on my shirt and I say to the ice-cream vendor, “Ah ha a vanaha co wi spinka.”

“What was that, son?” the vendor asks while looking at Jackie as if she was supposed to be ordering for the guy that was obviously her retarded brother.

“He wants a vanilla cone with sprinkles.”

The best part of the whole ordeal was me thinking I could hide it from my parents. My mom, who sensed a condom in my wallet, picked up on it before I even said anything. The expected response, my mom was pissed, my dad squirmed and my sister wanted to see it.

Now I don’t even realize I have it anymore. I want to take it out but I know that if I did, I’d never get another one, so the removal would be permanent. After ten years you get pretty attached to it. Robin has two, which was an obvious selling point. Our first time making out I swallowed the ball of one of them. I now have that and a quarter lodged in my appendix.

Anyway, I need to pass out. My back pain isn’t a normal back pain; I actually think I have something wrong with my kidneys. This pain started after I got sick, went away and then came back today. Situated in my middle back on both sides of my spine. So, if I don’t update on Monday it’s because I’m dead. If I’m on dialysis, however, I’ll phone in my story.

Have a good weekend, enjoy Sin City.

self-diagnose your illness, fanboy: WebMD

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