Letters to Holly

Friday, April 9

Hurley's Not a Bad name. Or Sawyer.

To prepare for the prom, I put down a deposit on a tux rental Wednesday. Later that day, Your Sister stated her preference for my suit instead. I'm gonna try to get my deposit back. I am not confident.

Yesterday's doctor appointment was short. She was weighed and measured (all in the "perfect" range, we're told). Roo's heartbeat was heard, and the doctor asked about any signs of premature delivery. That was all they wanted. I mentioned the ultrasound and our previous failure to get it done for My Mom. We hopped across the hall, cranked up the Babyscope, and there was Roo. We saw a nose (I think it's yours). We saw a hand. We saw the package. It's definitive: Roo's a he-boy-man-lad. That eliminates most of our cool names. We go back in three weeks.

While we were in the doctor's office, the satellite muzak played Shambala by Three Dog Night, a song used in one of the best Lost episodes (it's at the 55-second mark).

I reminded Your Sister, and it calmed her down a bit. The doctor asked what we were talking about, and I mentioned the song and Lost and he said "oh yeah, where they're driving around in the van." Yes. We couldn't have picked a better doctor.

I called Mom to break the boy news to her, and she's still floating on a cloud about throwing/starring in a baby shower. She wanted a name, and I couldn't oblige. We have our first shower Sunday. Your Sister was so pooped from being scanned that she went to bed very early. I went to work. I am now ahead of the date/page formula. After less than a week of inking, I'm on page ten and halfway through. That assuages my vacillating fear of not having a book ready in five weeks. I'd like to think I could do the second book in about two weeks, including a color cover.

I had to give Your Sister the boot to the guest bed. Her snoring was horrendous. I feel great shame for kicking out my baby mama.

Picture of the Day
Lady Gaga is a good trade-in for Miss Piggy.

Wednesday, April 7


Your Sister and I had a long conversation about the guest bed. It shares space with her office and her clothes. Meaning no matter which one of us is sick (or noisy) she would have to use that bed or wake me up before the sunrise to get her day's items together. I'm not happy about sending a pregnant woman with a hinky back to a small bed with a weak mattress. But she insists. I a relented. But I didn't need to do this last night. I got to bed at midnight and went out like a rock. Your Sister could have gargled a boombox, and I wouldn't have known.

I also inked page six, so I'm still on the page/date schedule. I'm now inking the nine-page fight scene. I lettered the comic yesterday too. Once I replace the pencils with inked pages, the comic proper is done. That leaves the covers. The second mini is mostly scripted and thumbnailed.

Picture of the Day
And I thought I had a bad day.

Tuesday, April 6

Can't Sleep. Clown's Gonna Eat Me.

I am running on fumes.

I discovered after the spring clock change that I have a small window of sleep. If I stay up until midnight, my body needs an hour minimum to wind down. I inked page 5 last night and went to bed around 1. That combined with a certain nasal resonance achieved by Your Sister to conspire against me. I slept on the couch. Until the cats started mewling, that is, and I dragged myself up to spray them with a water bottle. I may have gotten three hours of sleep. I consider this practice for Roo.

Speaking of him, we got the first non-family baby gift -- a bag of washcloths and a hooded towel -- from the neighbors. It's cute. The card was addressed initially to my alter ego, Jeffrey, a name that has followed me all my days.

I had the notion that I could finish each page on the same number date in April. I did page five on April 5th. But given my mummy brains, there's no way I can ink all of page six tonight. I'm having much better results inking pages with large art. Luckily, that's the majority of the comic. I did my first villain panels last night, and it looks good.

Picture of the Toil
I scanned in the pencils to start lettering, and I'm halfway through that. I'll replace the page backgrounds with the finished inked pages. But now I can test the legibility of the type and play with balloon placement. Some balloons are gonna save my bacon by covering spotty backgrounds.

Monday, April 5

Cooking With Villainy: Alfredo Sauce

I really should start these weekend recaps during the weekend instead of trying to remember everything Monday morning.

It was my turn to make dinner Friday night, and I tried to make alfredo sauce again. My first go was a shame. Too watery, too bland. It was milk soup. This time, I goosed the recipe.

Wait, I need to do this properly.

Doom obey a paltry retail cookbook? DOOM HEEDS NO COOKERY CROCKERY! Doom freestyles because Doom has mad moves, yo!

The effrontery of this impudent pamphlet amuses Doom, and Doom bequeaths it precious Doomblog time. Laugh along with Doom. That was not a request.

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 tablespoon salt

Doom commands you to combine the butter and cream in a medium size skillet over medium heat. Doom DEMANDS you add another 1/3 cup cream.

Doom commands you to allow the butter to melt and turn the heat to low when the sauce begins to bubble.

Doom commands you to stir frequently for six minutes then turn off the heat.

Doom commands you to add 3/4 cup of Parmesan. Now you must add another 1/2 cup.

Doom commands you to stir the cheese until it melts. When thoroughly melted, you may now salt and a dash of pepper.

Doom commands you to toss with noodles.

Doom commands you to indulge.

And with these changes, that sauce was magnificent. I didn't make enough noodles, but we used a loaf of bread to sop and sop. We practically licked the pan. I jotted down the changes in the recipe book.

We shopped Saturday for larger maternal clothes. Many shirts were tried. Many looked ridiculous. Your Sister noted earlier in the day that she had belly cleavage -- other women were staring at her tummy instead of making any eye contact. We figured the ugliest maternity shirts (and their stupid, stupid collars) were meant to draw the eyes away from the Roo. She found some items, but one pair of capris was too long, and I suggested she add a second hem button higher up on the pants leg.

We hopped over to Best Buy to see the iPad display, and we got hands-on time. I can see the first-impression appeal. If I walked off the street with no notion of what other gadgets can do, I'd buy one. However, playing with one shows the limitations. As the salesman said, it's a wireless iMac. That's not a selling point to me. It's a half-laptop minus the webcam, mic, keyboard, and the ability to run some browser software. Also, why would anyone use the included NYTimes app to read text blocks of breaking news when the Safari browser lets you read the entire paper with photos? My opinion stands: It's a halfway device, and the subsequent models should be the true innovations.

One interesting notion might be the digital distribution of comics. Many companies have tried to become the iTunes of comics online, and the publishers are nervous about it because of easy online pirating. They don't release their full monthly libraries online. But the new Marvel iPad app might be the first big landmark. Most comics are sold nowadays through what are called direct-market shops. There are very few issues in grocery and convenience stores anymore and bookstores don't want single issues to deal with anymore. But there aren't that many direct comic stores nationwide. I'm lucky to have been in towns with a store nearby, although the newest one is close only because I have an commute for an hour to work in its town. The iPad could make comics widespread again when the price on the machine comes down. Writer Warren Ellis noted that if Marvel sells 4,000 copies of its app, that would surpass their number of retail outlets. That sounded low, but the Barnes & Noble website states they only have fewer than 800 stores nationwide.

She attended an Easter mass that night, and I stayed home to ink. As of Sunday night, I have inked four pages. They ain't great, but they're clear, and that's what I want. After just two days of inking, I'm almost a quarter done. This is fucking shocking. My eyes felt the strain of working with tiny pens, and I ran a little. This worked up an appetite, and we devoured bar food.

Pictures of the Toil
Here's the first page. The style of the first panel's building reflections were swiped from an artist named John Romita Jr. They saved a crappy drawing. That empty circular sign will have lettering added on the computer.