Letters to Holly

Friday, April 2

Fixing A Hole Where the Mail Comes In

I started looking at car seats. The rules on their use are well-intended. Yes. They are also dumb as fuck. For the first year, a child must sit in the back (no problem), in a car seat (still OK), facing backward (retarded).

While driving, I could glance in my rear-view mirror to look at my baby to see if he's OK. But because I won't see his face now, I'll have to constantly keep an ear out for any trouble. That's distracted driving. How is that preferable to the momentary look-see?

I learned that some baby seats use boots or bases to lock into the car. The boot stays latched in, and the seat unhooks quickly to be carried. I also discovered that some brands sell strollers that will accept their car seat. The stroller Your Mom bought us will accept the same brand's baby seat. But the baby seat costs as much as the stroller.

However, Babies R Us carries a stroller/seat 2-pack by the same brand. I took back the stroller Your Mom bought and exchanged it (and paid a small balance) for the two-pack. Now we have a seat to last him at least 12 months unless he's a behemoth (a word of Jewish origin, we learned). Your Mother shall never know.

The stroller she bought was a deluxe model with shock absorbers and an MP3 speaker. It's not an exact swap, but this is a better deal. Also, it comes in gender neutral palette. If there's a problem with it, it's that the baby will sit backward in the stroller, facing the handlebars. It's more rear-facing, but a little window flap lets us look at him as we push the stroller. But that's only when we have Roo in the car seat in there.

In the wide time-swamp of making a comic, I get a thrill from the smaller projects that can start and end the same day. Or week. Our mailbox has gone Pisa on us thanks to inundated soil. We thought we installed it well despite lacking the proper tools. When the mailpost kit said we needed a mallet (which we bought), it should have said "sledgehammer. We couldn't smash the post into the ground deep enough with a puny rubber hammer. I debated using concrete on the post and bought a pail of it before the snow hit, but the more I read, the more that seemed like large answer to a small problem. I bought a sledgehammer yesterday and fixed the post in about 15 minutes. And now I can hunker down with the comic again. This warm weather is luring me outside to work on the yard and garden. I may clear out the row of dead plants behind the house this weekend to get some vitamin D.

I finished the first round of pencils. Now I'm going back through to touch up weird angles and bad anatomy and perspective. I'm astonished to be here so soon, and I'm terrified the pages will spontaneously combust.

Picture of the Day
Starbucks is flirty.

Thursday, April 1

Thinking Things Through

Yet another advantage of watching TV shows online: You avoid the network's promo bugs, those little icons for other shows that run in the corner of the screen. They used to be only the station icon. Now we get animated blocks of text and show logos. Unfortunately ABC decided to pimp the return of V with a red V and a countdown clock during Tuesday's Lost. At one point, the V obscured a crucial piece of text provided by Sun. The reaction was strong and may have led to a boycott of sorts. According to this article, the ratings for the V premiere were the lowest of the show's brief run.

Roo's kicks are getting rough. Your Sister practically hops off the couch when they hit. We are now signed up for new-parent classes at the hospital. They start later in April, and she was concerned it would hurt my progress on the comic. She said I didn't have to go if there's a schedule conflict. I won't hear of it. This is a group effort all around. The only baby-related event I'll miss is the girls-only shower.

+ + +

Because Your Sister is a registered Republican, she receives fundraising material from the GOP. Yesterday she got a solicitation disguised as a straw poll ballot for the 2010 campaign. It lists these names, and I'll qualify them:

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (who?)
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (who?)
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (disgraced)
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (marginalized)
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (who?)
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (magnetic, popular, flaky)
Former New York Governor George Pataki (marginalized)
Current Representative Ron Paul (earnest, smart, tends to get strident)
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (a wannabe)
Current Representative Mike Pence (who?)
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (marginalized)
Former Senator Rick Santorum (ruined by Dan Savage)
Current Senator John Thune (who?)

Not a stellar line-up. Note who's missing: Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana Governor who bombed on live TV when he tried to rebut Obama's first speech to Congress last year.

It says a lot of the current Congressional minority leadership that none of the GOP Senate or House leaders are considered viable presidential candidates. All of the ones on the above list either have glaring concerns or a lack of national prominence. 'Course Obama had the same visibility issues four years ago. And let's be fair, if the Democrats had to offer a new candidate for 2012, they'd be just as screwed (Biden? Pelosi? Yikes.) . Except for Palin, the GOP has no elevated presence, and her support is tenuous. She's foremost a celebrity and has little chance of surviving a protracted presidential campaign. We didn't return the ballot.

We were entertained by the rhetoric that Obama is taking money from trial lawyers and Wall Street fatcats, to use their words. The Democrat has Wall Street backing? Really? The letter said he might rake in a billion smackers for his re-election campaign. I can see that. I think the campaign will only become more lucrative for everyone.

Picture of the Day
I might make this a t-shirt.

Wednesday, March 31

A Night Out

I've made online adjustments to our registry. I added onesies (is there no dignified name?) and removed the South-African designed Bumpo. We were handed one last night by the teacher couple who fed us. It was a nice evening at their place, talking a lot of school stuff and a little baby stuff. They have a baby younger than a year old and giant dog that eats teddy bears. We had wine and fajitas.

We got back home after ten, but I recorded this week's Lost. I watched it while Your Sister prepared for bed. It's a good episode; things are happening.

I drew most of page 18 today, and I might finish it tonight. I plan on cementing our newish mailbox this weekend, weather permitting. It's leaning badly.

Neither the office nor the post office are closing for Good Friday or Easter for what appears to be the first time. I'm confused.

Picture of the Day
This is what a volcano eruption looks like from an airliner.

Tuesday, March 30

New Look

Trying something new via Blogger's tricked-out templates. If this is awkward to read, let me know. I may tweak it in the next few days. The map background is a nod to writing you in South Africa.

Taking A Break

Your Sister stays home today to catch her breath, both literally and figuratively. She just wants a little break. She noticed some calf swelling last night, and it went away once she put her feet up. She has a teacher workday Friday, so that will help her take it easy this week.

(Confession: My first wife ran to the woods while taking a sick day. I learned only that night that she wasn't sick and used the whole day to scavenge from our house and move to her new digs. Whenever Your Sister calls in sick and I go to work, one of the many stupid voices in my head wonders if she'll be there when I get home. She's done nothing to continue this. It's all my dumb brains.)

I used my lunch break yesterday to stroll another Target and see what baby items leaped out at me. I'm concerned we'll need home clothes for Roo. We have outfits for seeing people, but those won't be worn around the house. I awoke to find the registry suggestion list with my work stuff. I'll call Your Sister later today to ask if this is now our shopping list.

Your Aunt wants very much to help us as we become parents. Last night she emailed me an offer to pay my student loans. I thanked her. I told her I was humbled by the generous offer and I'm lucky to be in such a caring family. Then I told her the student loans are but a memory. We took care of them last year.

Before Your Sister retired to the royal bedchamber, she posed for reference pictures for the comic's last scene. My heroine is robed and curled up on the couch. I started page 18 today. The arbitrary April 4 pencil deadline now looks feasible. I still need to fix the perspective-heavy backgrounds using reference photos.

Picture of the Day
This looks like a real article but sounds a bit fake.

Monday, March 29

Must it Be Monday?

We didn't do much after you left. We got groceries and ate a light lunch as we were still packed to the gills with pancakes. We couldn't even get Starbucks to power us through the afternoon work. She hunkered down with her laptop while I drew some more. I've now moved from the street fight to the nighttime apartment scene. I have six pages to go, and I want them penciled by Sunday. That will give me a month to tidy up backgrounds using Google Street View and fix inconsistencies before I ink and letter. I'll also need a cover image to pencil, ink, color, and letter.

During a bathroom break, I got a call from the local theatre asking me to audition. The director asked what how we are.

Me: Very pregnant.

Him: Still? Seems like she was pregnant eleven months ago.

Me: Yeah, she feels the same way.

That raised my hackles. While one could (rudely) argue I'm using the pregnancy as a dodge, I instead say I'm refusing to commit to anything until we establish a new routine. Say I did agree to work a show (and pretend I'm not preparing for a convention), I'm quitting said show at the first sign of any baby complication. In this, I am unreliable. I'm saving them and me the trouble or scrambling at the last second. They just canceled Glass Menagerie because an actor was took sick to prepare adequately, and they again refused to do a reading-theatre version to at least fulfill the sold tickets. Why is a scaled -back show worse than no show? Anyway, I again think the recent award was given in hopes to bring me back sooner. I haven't found any wall space for it yet.

I called My Mom to fill her in on registry info. She also may be joining my uncle for a trip to Vegas after little Epic Win is born.

Your Sister suggested I have wings while watching last night's giant annual WWE show. I gobbled them and had one of the bottled beers you brought us a few months back and marinated in rasslin. I also worked on some sketches for the publishing logo.

One of the teachers invited us for dinner Tuesday, and she'll give us more baby hand-me-downs.

Picture of the Day
The recently released cover to the last Scott Pilgrim comic.