Letters to Holly

Friday, April 15

Sad Emails

The local theatre issued a surprising email a few days back. For years, they've hosted a new-play competition in two ranges: the classic three-act play and the one-act. The play I directed was that year's one-act winner. This contest is national, and the theatre takes it seriously. They produce both plays in the appropriate venues; the one-act gets a luncheon performance with the playwright, and the three-act gets a full run with the theatre. It's the most ambitious effort the theatre undertakes, and they get good response from hopeful writers.

But this recent email suggests that may be over. The theatre announced they will not offer a new play performance this year. Citing the lack of a director (for which I may have been solicited recently) and a cool reception by patrons to past winners, the play won't be produced. I wonder how that will affect future submissions to the contest; a production of the winning play was surely a draw for hopefuls. I still hold that they should cut back on the number of shows each year and avoid burning out actors and directors. It seems, each season, they are forced to announce cancellations and a policy to rearrange tickets sold for canceled shows. That has to crimp season ticket sales.

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I got an email from my ex a few days back saying her mom, my first mother-in-law, died. I hadn't spoken with her since 2001, and our final words were unhappy. She was of the mind her daughter and I were fated to be together and would reconcile magically if we were patient. I objected, saying any possible reconciliation would require her daughter to step up and act like an adult. She was nice to me, and I suspect she was relieved her daughter found a guy who treated her well. When her daughter and I reunited in the mid-'90s (after she cheated), she said she did a dance of joy. She and Your Sister met only once, at my first wedding. I may have pictures of them together. The only time I talk to my ex is when some one's near death. It doesn't make me enthused to crack open her emails when her name appears in my account.

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The sidekick didn't sleep through the night, but he did allow me to put him down and read to him. That's progress.

Picture of the Day
Mister Rogers is a mean art critic.

Thursday, April 14

You Will All Fear My Bat Bomb

Our usual routine for the sidekick is to wind him down around 6:30. He gets Prevacid and Vitamin D, a change of clothes, milk (from the bottle or tap), and a cuddle for sleep. That changed in the last few weeks as he's eaten more solid food. This means he's taking in less milk, and Your Sister is making less. Because she doesn't have to pump as often, there's less milk for me to feed him with. That obliges her to nurse him at night to put him down. He would often wake up after an hour, and a quick cuddle would put him down again. A few hours later we would wake him up, change the diaper, and top him off. And he'd usually wake up at least once throughout the night.

Recently though a few changes have helped him sleep through the whole night. First, because he's outdoor more often, he gets an evening bath to slough off the sunscreen. Then we put him in special overnight diapers -- thicker, more absorbent -- before Your Sister nurses him. Lastly, we don't wake him up. The hope is that his increased day activities (including his new skill of crawling) would wear him out for longer sleep. All of these seem to work. For the past two nights, he's slept for nearly 11 hours.

But because Your Sister has been the one to put him down so often, he won't surrender to sleep without her. He used to allow me to put him down after a bottle. We now have to tag-team him to sleep, and I worry this will make miserable our future babysitters. We need to train him to trust me again even if it means a later bedtime.

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I traced the Avengers art and will start inking it soon. I also bought artists "trading cards," blank tiny squares of artboard. I'm going to make sketches on them and sell them cheap at the convention. Some will be drawn beforehand, others I'll do by request at the show. I bought three packs at the downtown art store, True Blue, and was informed they've sold like hotcakes lately. The clerk asked if I knew why there is sudden demand, and I told him about the convention. He hadn't heard about it, and that doesn't surprise me. The convention is relying on radio ads this year, and their visual promotion is greatly reduced. I fear (as does the local comic store owner) that this is a bad gamble, and turnout may suffer.

Well, I at least will pick up the slack with my own fliers and posters about town, including True Blue and the comic store. Wherever I see fliers for bands, Imma gonna put up my ad, using the rejected art for the collector card. I'll also send in a press release to the local paper again. Hopefully, if they're smart, they'll turn it into local-interest story with a small interview. They didn't do that last year, despite the press release I sent them. Last year, I didn't know what to expect at any stage of this. This year, I'm on solid ground, and I intend to make a significant push before and during the show. I intend to be a major local presence.

Picture of the Day
You will all fear my Bat bomb!

Monday, April 11

Blood Don't Want No Help, Blood Don't Get No Help.

The red blood cell donation appointment was for 8:45 Saturday morning. The local drive organizer called me a few days prior to make make the appointment, and I had already decided to show up to give the larger donation. I had done it back in December, and they need as many folks as they can get.

When I showed up at 8:45, I was given a sticker that had my name on it and another sticker that identified me as a double donor. If I had any more stickers, I would look like a TGIFriday's waiter. I was directed past the pint donors to a special section for double donors. I was told I didn't even need a number for the normal deli system for registration and donation. This was VIP service. I was summoned to a station and asked for my donation card. Within three minutes I was told I couldn't do the big donation. I was one day inside the mandated window between donations.

Apparently this happens often. The organizers jump the gun, ignoring the Red Cross deadlines or forgetting how to count. This local organizer is gung-ho, as I learned when I last made an appointment. I think the area charities compete for the biggest blood drive, and the Red Cross is so desperate for blood that they put up with these hollow scheduling shenanigans. But I was there and sitting in the nurse's station, and I figured I might as well give the usual pint. It was done quickly as always -- I bleed free and easy -- and I ran into my buddy Travis as I ate Swiss Rolls. Breakfast of champions, right there.

A teacher buddy came over that afternoon, and we three talked divorces and failed relationships over beer. Your Sis and I watched Good Night and Good Luck, the Murrow/McCarthy film, and I took the boy for a walk through the neighborhood. I did that again the next morning while Your Sister went to church. And I watched him Monday morning during her ENT appointment.

She was told the vertigo is symptomatic. Nothing irregular was seen or surmised, and she was told to call them if it happened again. If it does within the year, they'll do an MRI. Otherwise, if she's no longer nursing, she might get strong steroids. She's mostly fine now.

I talked to My Mom about plans for the summer and mentioned our second thoughts on taking the sidekick to DragonCon. Would she consider watching him for a few days? She was delighted at the idea. Giddy. I think She's already planning on it.

I am within a day or two of closing up the comic. I've made PDFs of the pages and proofed it and worked on the copy for the inside covers and maybe finalized the cover. The Avengers pencils are done, and now I need to trace and ink it.

I reassembled the lawnmower and started watering the garden with liquid fertilizer. I just ordered sweet potato plants from an online catalog.

Picture of the Day
The cover as it stands today.

Little background on the cover blurb: One of my earliest comics was Magnus Robot Fighter about a future man who fights robots. I wanted to tip my hat to that.

I'll post some preview panels to Facebook within a few days.