The Comfort in Horror - new autobio comic!

Happy Monday! Here's a little autobio comic I made all about going through a crap time in your life and turning to horror movies for comfort. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's done this! Those movies can be downright soothing. It's my little way of sharing my experience going through bullshit and wanting to let you guys out there know that not everyone is having the best time. Social media tends to tell us otherwise, but MOST of us going through the shit don't POST the shit we're going through. I thought it was important to make sure people who ARE going through stuff know that they're definitely not alone. Hi there!

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Motivating Through the Slumps

Sometimes it seems like all the creative roadblocks are stacked in your way, preventing your access so all you can do is sit there and stew and think EVERYTHING SUCKS. Bad reviews, nasty comments, struggling with a plot bit of a new story, etc etc. It’s tough - you put stuff out there for consumption, and it will be consumed - often in ways you don’t intend or disagree with.

The last few weeks I've felt especially tempted to sink down into some self-whining. One of the reasons is because I'm currently working on story pitches, which can be a bit taxing:

  1. Come up with a super idea!
  2. Explain it perfectly in ways that make everyone excited!
  3. Now throw it into a void and maybe hear nothing about it ever again.
  4. (. . . or only hear about it when it's soundly rejected by multiple people.)
  5. REPEAT! GET EXCITED ABOUT ANOTHER IDEA!

It's hard to write these half-stories, these inklings of fun ideas because (if you're like me) a LOT of your ideas form WHILE you're writing the story, not before. I plan as much as I can stand ahead of time, but it's not until wading through the story with my characters that some things start to make sense. It feels weird to predict what they'll do or where they'll go without going through it with them. That's like cheating!

It's also easy to feel like - why am I wasting my time working on stuff I can't show to anyone (possibly ever) and no one might ever like? That's a larger issue of putting stuff out there to begin with - why bother?

The thing that helps me when I go through these slumpy-slumps is to remember that slumps end. They can be miserable, but also kind of fun in a wallowing way. Enjoy feeling put upon for a tiny bit of time ... and then get over it. Get back to doing what you love to do - CREATE! YOU know why you're bothering, so what if other people don't get it yet. You know there are stories you want to tell, things you want to figure out, things you want to show. Turn off the social streams that make you feel like you're not accomplishing anything. Turn off that voice that keeps telling you you're behind your peers. Remember that when you're in this biz -- or really any creative endeavor -- rejection is part of it. And so is work for work's sake - none of it is wasted. Even the tiny little pitches you keep murdering and burying, stacking one one top of another. Somehow, some day they will all feed into your future work and they will all be valuable.

Slump slump slump .... time's up. Get back to it!

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Five Things I Learned Writing Part-Time Princesses

The super cool Chuck Wendig let me join in his stellar series of "Five Things I Learned ..." posts to share what I learned writing Part-Time Princesses (available now!)

Check out the article here, and if by some reason you haven't heard of Chuck's blog before, it is CHOCK FULL (Chuck full?) of helpful tips and exercises for writers. His books are AMAZEBALLS and full of crazy twitchy characters I adore.

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Podcasty Love

LET'S TALK PODCASTS!

I know everyone's all about the Serial right now (myself included - only 12 episodes, wha-WHAT??), but I wanted to give a shout out to some of my tried and true faves over the years (as any comicker will tell you, we go through a LOT of podcasts and audiobooks, crammed in amongst pencilling and inking and computerizing hours). I always try out some new ones, so this isn't ALL I'm listening to just now, but these are some oldie reliables:

Stuff Mom Never Told You - A big one for me - Cristen and Caroline are not only informed and thorough when presenting a lot of women's issues, but somehow manage to keep it from succumbing to OH GOD WHY with a good blend of sassy humor. Cristen dons her fake British accent and Caroline talks about everything in relation to her mom Sally and we all learn something without feeling depressed. And - check out how awesome Cristen's youtube channels are - the muppet is strong with this one!

Mysterious Universe - Another one I've been listening to for years, this podcast run by two Australian gents about everything paranormal is a real treat. They dish about all the latest sightings, mock Time Travelling Yowie followers, and admit to ghost encounters of their own that still leave them terrified. If you LOVE paranormal stuff like me but are afraid of the crystal worshippers, check this one out.

The Guardian Tech Weekly - A newer one (to me) that I've been trying out to get my fix of tech news. It always features a panel with a variety of topics, and the panelists are knowledgeable without being boring.

The Thrilling Adventure Hour - Oh man - my obsession with live radio broadcasts began with an episode of Frasier and WILL NEVER DIE. I was so happy to find not only an old-style radio broadcast but one that blends in heaps of nerd culture and amazing storytelling altogether. WITH tons of guest stars. And incorporating the ghost of a pterodactyl who's a deputy private eye. I LOVE THIS.

Jill on Money - Money slash financial podcasts are boring and awful but Jill answers questions, listens, and makes fun of her producer while not making you feel like an idiot AND passing on good advice. She's awesome.

99% Invisible - A design podcast that points out the design in the everyday - I love its subtlety and appreciation of the minute details. Plus I love any podcast that exhibits city planning that was actually, you know, thought about a bit.

RadioLab - Beautifully crafted sounds and discussions around several stories making up one scientific topic - I've had many a walk while listening to all the little bips and beeps Jad throws in the background, which really fill each episode with surprising depth.

StarTalk - Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a hero for all of us, leading the charge to bring scientific discovery back into vogue. His podcast is super informative while being exciting and encouraging, in true NDG fashion. Plus, every now and again he has Eugene Mirman co-host or run one of his live shows, which makes my day every time.

Savage Lovecast - I go through phases where I alternate between his snarky antics and Sex Nerd Sandra's zippy, fun answers to sex questions.

Stuff you Missed In History Class - The latest host pairing has done a great job (past pairings have been UBER awkward) - Holly especially in bringing some heart and feeling (and hella knowledge about historical clothesmaking) to the show.

Stuff You Should Know - A classic, general informy podcast on a wide range of topics with a HUGE back catalog. Josh & Chuck do a good job of balancing hardcore facts with rambly tangents without being annoying. Their banter is genuine, and funny, and rare.

I also go back and forth on WTF, Welcome to Night Vale, and The Daily Show Podcast. What are YOU PEOPLE listening to? I always love trying out a new one to throw in the pile!

 

Local Times and Sportscar Designs

Hi guys, it's me! What have you been up to this summer?

After running around to different states the last couple of weekends (Boston 2 weeks ago, California 1 week ago), I'm finally here to stay! So here are some of the (exciting) things happening that I get to tackle now that I've got the whole rest of the local year ahead of me ...

  • My next graphic novel (written/drawn by me and published by Oni Press) is ALL DRAWN! Now it just needs to be scanned, sent and VAMOOSH you guys will be seeing it soon! Can't wait!!
  • My comic 4 States 2 Months, which you may/may not have been following in its sporadic spot on my website, is now almost complete and will be available in print at this year's SPX!
  • Speaking of SPX, I will be there this year but FIRST I will be at Baltimore Comic Con at Table A-234!
  • And . . . oh right, I've got a wedding to finish planning! Expect some possibly-complainy blog posts about that to come.

As far as my trips went, my fiancee and I checked out Monterey Car Week for a few days (total lifelong dream of his to be basked in hot cars and foggy, perfect weather) this past weekend. Not being a car person myself - I see my car as IT BETTER LAST FOREVER rather than a stunning piece of engineering equipment - I was surprised at how enjoyable it could be for a spectator. I mean, yes, most of the car "shows" took place on gorgeous Carmel Valley golf courses, on breezy/sunny days, where all you do is walk around with your solo cup of wine and peer at the most beautiful vintage sports cars you'll ever see - so really, what's not to enjoy. My favorite part was seeing the crowd of fans - a perfect blend of fancy European men in tailored suits and old, chubby white men who dress like my dad. I overheard a lot of important conversations, but the people who really knew what they were doing were the wives who brought pop-up picnic tables stocked with wine, cheese, and camped out behind their husbands' cars for the duration. I was more than a little jealous of these women.

One of the things that fascinated me the most was the combination of colors and textures people chose for the exteriors/interiors of their car. So while my fiancee was snapping off engine pics and getting the full car in the frame, I was focused on all of these lovely combos:

Oh, but then I couldn't help but take a picture of this little guy too:

I love when form and function are considered and put together in such a fun way. You sportscar fans out there can have all the horsepower and torque you want, but throw in a good deep orange and some houndstooth pattern and I'm sold.

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Gods Sighting

One of the nerdiest things I love to do is scrutinize appearances of Greek Gods in pop culture (like this post about Disney's Hercules). Here we go on another one, yay!

LATEST POP-UP SIGHTING: Supernatural, Season 8, Episode 16!

So in this episode, Prometheus (aka the Titan who gave fire to mortals and royally pissed off Zeus) is embodied in a drifter Sam & Dean discover, who dies every day. The cause of his death is random, anywhere from cars hitting him to sudden heart attacks. This is an homage to the nature of Zeus's punishment for Prometheus in the myths, which was to strap Prometheus to a mountainside and let an eagle carve out his liver every day for a tasty snack. Every night, he would die. Every morning, he'd get resurrected just for the fun of it.

Apparently, Zeus had lost track of Prometheus and he'd fallen to earth, hence him dying by random means and not the daily eagle attack. So Zeus sent out his best assassin, a.k.a. daughter Artemis, goddess of the hunt, to go after him.

Things I liked about this portrayal of Artemis/Zeus:

  • Artemis was badass and impossible to beat in a fight
  • Sam & Dean acknowledged the fact that Artemis was THEIR goddess, since they're hunters and she's the mack daddy of ALL hunters
  • Artemis was a thinking goddess, not a one-track killing machine
  • Artemis was strong enough to take down Zeus
  • Zeus wore a classy suit and looked steely
  • Zeus respected his daughter's power

Things I didn't like:

  • The inexplicable black leather pantsuit Artemis was wearing
  • Zeus as mindless revenge seeker - I could see him going after Prometheus, but his son too? Just for the fun of it?

All in all I was happy to see them represented, as always. And props to making Artemis strong but also a thinking, feeling goddess (albeit still in a leather pantsuit). Yay!

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Wonder Woman Movie Time

In light of the success of Hunger Games, there's all these amazing comics screaming WHY ISN'T THERE A WONDER WOMAN MOVIE OUT (here for Kate Leth's and here for Kate Beaton's). I couldn't resist adding my amazon outrage to the pile :)

And yes, those X's are for the boobs they cut off to shoot better. Y'know, like Amazons do!

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Furies Having Fun

A couple of years back I created this drawing of the Three Furies having fun, hanging out Sex & the City style for the back of my 2nd Gods & Undergrads book:

Because really, why do they always have to be so angry and upset? Maybe they like to kick back a few cocktails every now and then too!

So, since I've been itching to do some new prints lately I figured I'd continue with some vignettes of the Furies, out and about in their every day life. I've got two so far, but already have ideas for more in the series. If you like 'em, I've got them for sale in my Etsy and Society 6 shops!

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You Guys, Once Upon a Time Has Gotten So Much Better

Even though my 13-year-old cousin thinks that lately OUAT has fallen off the wagon and isn't "doing enough fairy tale stuff", I for one am impressed/relieved that the show seems to have gotten its mojo back.

I admit, I initially approached the show with a lot of suspicion. I watched the first season, mildly amused and confused at all the weird relatives from other dimensions and wondering when these little insecure weirdos would get their memory back and realize they really were *gasp* princes and princesses. I tolerated the Snow White/Prince Charming storyline mainly because I loved the juxtaposition of the romantic past of the perfect couple compared to the desperate school teacher / philandering husband stealing glances in the present. Unfortunately, though, that and other ironic storylines were cut short when the curse that left everyone in Storybrooke without memory of their previous glory (and cricketness) vanished and suddenly all of us viewers were hit with exactly how drab and boring fairy tale characters would be IF they WERE really in the modern world. Suddenly everything was dramatic and overacted and Snow/Charming made my skin crawl just by looking at eachother. Making out in a room adjacent to their daughter/grandson who are just trying to make a decent meal? NO!! Not cute!

For a while I kept watching just so my friend and I could discuss how ridiculous the outfits were that Belle had to wear to go hunting.

Or wish that one of the few decent actors on the show, i.e. the Mad Hatter, wouldn't have left.

I wasn't sure how long I was going to last. I started lagging a couple episodes behind. I avoided broaching the topic of the show with my friend, just to hear her sigh heavily and say "it's going okay, I guess". I had kind of given up. But then, one afternoon in desperation while prepping for a comic show, I needed episodes to put on the background while I stapled and put together book after book. So I turned on some good old cheese-a-riffic Once Upon A Time.

I have to say it was the moment when Captain Hook punched out Prince Charming that won me back. And now all of a sudden there are surprises and real consequences! Buffy-esque moments of surprise when characters get shot and lose their memory! People who are pure of heart realizing how lame that is! I'm not sure if I'm completely sold yet, but with the last episode featuring Queen Regina in an especially creepy new light (reminding me of nightmares I'd have as a kid of witches craving children to steal) I'm delightfully intrigued enough to keep watching. Now, if they just brought back Graham and his impossibly tight vests, I'd be all in.

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Back to it

I just re-started Couch to 5K the other day after fits of sporadic jogging (some which resulted in three miles, some which didn't). I'm starting back up at the Week 5 mark, which I'm fairly confident I can handle and progress from there. Every time I try to incorporate jogging into my regular routine I feel like this scene from Romy & Michele:

[youtube id="S4ZRJ-Cxw4A" width="600" height="350"]

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Back to it

I just re-started Couch to 5K the other day after fits of sporadic jogging (some which resulted in three miles, some which didn't). I'm starting back up at the Week 5 mark, which I'm fairly confident I can handle and progress from there. Every time I try to incorporate jogging into my regular routine I feel like this scene from Romy & Michele:

[youtube id="S4ZRJ-Cxw4A" width="600" height="350"]

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Am I a Douchebag for Liking the Avocado App?

I know the last thing anyone wants/needs is another tool to do something they already can. But hey, where would stores like Target be now if they couldn't keep selling you the same crap, repackaged differently? That's kind of how I feel about apps in general. On my phone I have Evernote, Simplenote, Real Simple and Weave, each one for the purpose of taking down my ideas and lists. Instead of using any of them, I default to the Notes app that comes standard with the iPhone. Each one is just a little lacking in what I want to do, therefore I hang onto ALL of them. So you can understand my reluctance to embrace the Avocado app, which is essentially just another checklist-making app to throw in my Never Use pile. avocado BUT WAIT. For some reason this one is actually packaged and designed well with enough things in one spot that I actually use it. On the regular! I make lists, calendar invites, send messages, take pictures, and it doesn't bother me a hoot that I already have a million other apps that can do those very things. Unfortunately the thing that makes me like it is also the thing that makes me cringe. It's an APP FOR COUPLES. *barf* I know, I'm rolling my eyes really hard right now too. But as much as my boyfriend and I shun cutesy couple things altogether, it IS kind of convenient to be able to send him messages and requests to pick up wine on the way home without having to navigate the various other apps. It's all in one place, and it makes sense for it to be so. Sure, we could also send photos to one another of hearts and "I wuv you" notes but WE AREN'T THOSE PEOPLE. One app doesn't make a nauseating couple, does it? Oh and did I mention the app says supportive things to you when you cross off items on your lists? Oh god. I'm off to Lowe's. It's all downhill from here. You'll tell me if I've gone too far, right?

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Am I a Douchebag for Liking the Avocado App?

I know the last thing anyone wants/needs is another tool to do something they already can. But hey, where would stores like Target be now if they couldn't keep selling you the same crap, repackaged differently? That's kind of how I feel about apps in general. On my phone I have Evernote, Simplenote, Real Simple and Weave, each one for the purpose of taking down my ideas and lists. Instead of using any of them, I default to the Notes app that comes standard with the iPhone. Each one is just a little lacking in what I want to do, therefore I hang onto ALL of them. So you can understand my reluctance to embrace the Avocado app, which is essentially just another checklist-making app to throw in my Never Use pile. avocado BUT WAIT. For some reason this one is actually packaged and designed well with enough things in one spot that I actually use it. On the regular! I make lists, calendar invites, send messages, take pictures, and it doesn't bother me a hoot that I already have a million other apps that can do those very things. Unfortunately the thing that makes me like it is also the thing that makes me cringe. It's an APP FOR COUPLES. *barf* I know, I'm rolling my eyes really hard right now too. But as much as my boyfriend and I shun cutesy couple things altogether, it IS kind of convenient to be able to send him messages and requests to pick up wine on the way home without having to navigate the various other apps. It's all in one place, and it makes sense for it to be so. Sure, we could also send photos to one another of hearts and "I wuv you" notes but WE AREN'T THOSE PEOPLE. One app doesn't make a nauseating couple, does it? Oh and did I mention the app says supportive things to you when you cross off items on your lists? Oh god. I'm off to Lowe's. It's all downhill from here. You'll tell me if I've gone too far, right?

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January Pants

So last year my boyfriend and I decided to finally buy a house. No, not the perfectly good 1920 rowhouse we'd been living in for five years, but another house. Because that's what you do. We also decided to do it right before Thanksgiving, and then spend the holidays frantically shuttling stuff back and forth, making mountainous donation piles, staring wistfully at our pinterest boards, and wondering when our house would start to get its act together.

Soooo ... now it's January. And normally I hate January. It shows up for no good reason after the end of the holiday season, to mock you. And where I live, it doesn't even snow to trick you into thinking the holiday feelings were stretching out into the new year. Nope. It's JANUARY. Big, stupid, mocking, and 50 degrees. You can't do anything in 50 degrees. In 60, you can go for a hike. In 40, you can dream of snow. In 50 you start to wonder what season it's supposed to be.

Anyway. So while my head has been spinning with all the things I want to do with my house, I stumbled upon Apartment Therapy's January Cure. Apparently the genius folks over at one of my favorite blogs have found a way to tackle the January Blahs by giving you a list meant to distract you from the fact that WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER AND IT'S STILL NOT SNOWING. I know I'm late to the game, since this started on January 2nd and it's now January 9th BUT! There's nothing stopping me from grabbing onto the tail of the bus, Back to the Future-style, and join the home improvement.

I've already done Day 1: Make a List of Projects and Day 2: Make an Outbox, thanks to the moving process. The other day I sat on the floor and stared vacantly at the fireplace for a while, which in my mind counts as Day 4: Get a Fresh Perspective in 10 Minutes. This is going to be a piece of cake!

What's everybody else doing to conquer the January Blues? Or am I the only one afflicted?

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Mad Guns, Right?

Sorry everyone, but there won't be any Bonnie updates this week, since I'm trudging through my MOVING NIGHTMARE. Rookie House-Buying Tip: Don't schedule your move into your new house the weekend you get back from a wonderful comic convention in New Orleans. Just saying. But I'm pretending that my arm muscles have grown exponentially from all the graphic novels I've been hauling. MAD GUNS on these arms. Wait, are arm guns the biceps or the forearms?

Hopefully I'll be all hooked back up by the end of the weekend, but if not I might have some delirious blog posts from my phone. Thanks for bearing with me!

P.S. I finally saw The Dark Knight Rises, and Bane's voice was as deliciously theatrical and Sean Connery-esque as I'd been promised. Loved it! I mean, you have to figure he better EMOTE with that voice since there's shit all over his face. Am I right? Also, I did like Catwoman, but I'll post more later on that. In the meantime ... at Wizard World New Orleans I did this pencil sketch of Pepper Potts for a lovely woman in an Iron Man dress who didn't get to pick it up - please email me and let me know if this is yours!

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Continuing Bond

I'm a bit of a James Bond fan.

For my 30th birthday party I made it a mandatory theme - everyone had to come dressed as a character from a James Bond film. Villian, Bond Girl, Henchman #7, the sky was the limit! I chose to dress as a member of the Pussy Galore Flying Squad. It was pretty awesome.

The peak of my 007 Fandom was when I was sixteen, and my best friend and I would stay up late laughing at Goldfinger, cheesing out on Live and Let Die, or slogging through the endless underwater scuba sequences of Thunderball. Even though I grew up accustomed to Roger Moore as James Bond, Sean Connery became the only Bond for me. No substitutions accepted. Timothy Dalton was fun, and George Lazenby - well, aww, that poor guy.

When Goldeneye came around I was pretty excited that Pierce Brosnan might become the new 007 Hotness (my mom, for one, had been praying for YEARS that Remington Steele would lead him to Bond). But with each passing Brosnan Bond movie I became less and less impressed. As far as I was concerned, his legacy only provided the world with two worthwhile things: Famke Janssen and Michelle Yeoh. I didn't bother watching most of them. Halle Berry trying to redo Ursula Andress's combat bikini? Oh no they don't.

Modernizing Bond just seemed to be a problem. I mean, he's a cocky a-hole who treats women like Mrs. White treats her husbands. But Brosnan just seemed to look pained and guilty about it all the time and it was kind of a downer. Even though it's not cool that Connery went through like five women in Goldfinger - one ending up being painted to death and one decapitated -  I still wanted the free-wheeling, hard-hitting Connery days back again. Go away, sensitive 90's Brosnan.

So when Casino Royale came out, (and by that, I mean of course when Daniel Craig came out of the water in a mankini), amidst all the OH MY GOD CAN YOU BELIEVE JAMES BOND IS A BLONDE controversy, I think we all knew that Bond was back. And that Daniel Craig was gonna do this shit right. Casino Royale managed to peg Craig both as a brute who could crash through walls AND as a trained killer willing to throw in the towel for love. Which was exactly what we all were waiting for.

The Craig Bond Legacy has also done something else amazing - made the movies connect to one another. Bond movies used to be individual occurrences, each floating through the void. Every now and then they'd throw in a 006 or Felix the CIA agent would reappear, but they were basically all separate. Any attempts to make things sequential in Bond World resulted in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (and we all saw what happened to Lazenby). So the fact that Casino Royale can contain characters that still connect through to Quantum of Solace was amazing. You mean we don't have to wipe our memories for each Bond film? Priceless!

And after seeing Skyfall, it's clear that this generation of Bond is going to continue kicking ass and breaking boundaries (omg Javier Bardem and Judi Dench!), all while remaining true to the Bond Legacy. Really, how hard is it? You take one part suave, muscular man + women in dresses with secrets + martinis + female agents + car crashes = Bond magic.

So here's to Daniel Craig and this era of Blonde Bond. I can't wait to see what else they do before moving on to the inevitable next breakthrough ... Idris Elba Bond!!

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Juggling with Crazy

Sometimes it gets really frustrating trying to juggle what you want to do. Recently I cut my hours at my day job from 32 to 24 a week - which means 1 whole extra day I can spend at home making progress on comics, evolving my website into more of a business platform, and planning new ideas/projects. Time that would allow me to eventually (in theory) help me evolve out of my day job completely.

So how do I handle the juggling of the day job with the home studio job? I make myself schedules. Crazy Person Schedules that I'll never be able to actually follow.

My Crazy Person Schedule Categories:

  • PRE-WORK - What I expect to get done in the extra hour I wake up before having to get ready for my day job
  • DAY JOB - How much time I spend at my day job and commuting to/from
  • WEBSITE - Maintenance and graaaadually fixing/improving things I want to fix
  • BIZ - All the things I need/want to do to make this freelance thing happen full time
  • WEBCOMICS - Regular planning/drawing/posting for Bonnie N. Collide twice a week (and soon Gods & Undergrads once a week!)
  • BOOKS - Thumbnailing/drawing secret book projects
  • EXERCISE - When and what kind of exercise I plan on doing
  • FREE TIME - When I'm allowed to kick back and won't feel guilty for doing nothing and/or something else besides art work

I have yet to incorporate any of these schedules into my actual life, and I just designed my 4th one. For some reason, it gives me great peace of mind just to create them. Usually there are so many things floating around in my head about what I anxiously want/need to get done that I get frantically unproductive. The schedules help me visually map out what I'm expecting out of myself (and how unreasonable it normally is).

It's a constant struggle when the rest of the 9-to-5 world only understands that weeknights are for TV or going out to dinner and weekends are for going out with friends. I love my friends and I love relaxing with my boyfriend but there's the constant, neverending pressure that I NEED TO BE MAKING PROGRESS. Persistence and regular practice makes perfect. Or in my case, it will take me where I want to go with my life and my art career.

So I'm ready to start this next week planning on following SCHEDULE #4. Wish me luck! How many other fellow jugglers out there are making things work? And are you doing it with or without imaginary schedules?

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Kick-Ass Women: Tyra Collette

Nope, not Tyra Banks (though there was a time when I loved me some America's Next Top Model).

Since I've mentioned before that I'm working my way through back issues of popular shows, I'm referring to Tyra Collette from Friday Night Lights. Now, before I say anything, I have to say that I'm only part-way through Season 3, so this is purely based on what's happened to Tyra thus far. There are some spoilers below, though, for those few of you who, like me, are only now just watching this super awesome show.

I count Tyra as one of my Kick-Ass Women for three reasons:

  1. She kicked her mother's abusive boyfriend out of the house - hell, SCARED him out of the house with a fireplace poker
  2. She didn't let a rapist shame her into silence
  3. She channeled her rage into being an awesome hitter on her school's volleyball team

At the beginning of the show, Tyra was depicted as just the trashy ex-girlfriend of Tim Riggins. With some mishaps here and there, she was getting labeled as the "no good girl" that The Taylors didn't want their daughter Julie hanging out with. But when Mrs. Taylor reaches out to Tyra to give her a wake-up call on her schoolwork, we get a window into how effed up Tyra's home life is. Basically, her weak, man-crazy Mom would rather Tyra capitalize on her looks and not aim too high in her academic future. Luckily, even though Tyra loves her mom and only wants to make her happy, she struggles to do something foreign to her and start taking her classes seriously.

Tyra enlists the help of nerdy and loveable Landry as a tutor. They get along well, and she feels more comfortable studying around someone she views as so desperately nerdy that in contrast she'll still remain cool. They plan on meeting up for a study date, and then this is when the shit hits the fan.

Tyra is waiting for Landry in a cafe and strikes up a conversation with a friendly stranger. When Landry's car breaks down and he's late getting to Tyra, she gives up and starts to go home. The stranger pounces on her, drags her into his truck and attempts to rape her. This was such an unexpected and terrifying way for the story to go -- I was worried the show was trying to "pull a Mad Men" and rape (who I viewed to be) one of their strongest female characters.

Luckily Tyra gets away, and Landry arrives to help with the fallout. She's understandably shaken and terrified that the rapist will come back - and she has reason to be worried. In the episodes that follow she's stalked by the guy until he picks his moment and attacks again - while she's waiting outside a convenience store for Landry to get snacks (I'm sorry - who does that when they're worried they're being trailed by a crazy person?? Waits outside alone?). Again Tyra has to fight for her life and does as viciously as she can, and once Landry returns the two fend him off. (And by fend him off, I mean accidentally kill him. I warned of spoilers!)

This episode really shook me, I think because I viewed Tyra as such an intimidating presence. None of the boys in school wanted to mess with her, and she exuded a powerful presence beyond just her height. There are times in my life when I wonder what I'd do in such a situation - it was one of the main reasons why I wrote this comic.  So three cheers to a depiction of a strong female character fighting off her attacker - yay Tyra!

Oh, and as a sidenote - I'm so, so bummed that Adrianne Palicki got her chance to play Wonder Woman ruined by such an awful script. Boo. Can we have someone write WW for TV that wants to make it good? Please?

Past Kick-Ass Women:

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Small Boob Awards: Sutton Foster

The first time I caught a glimpse of Sutton Foster, I'm embarrassed to say it wasn't in any of her amazing, Tony Award-winning performances on Broadway. Nope, it was in Flight of the Conchords.

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But yet, just by that small performance alone I was able to immediately recognize her when she showed up in my latest fave new show, Bunheads. Her comedic timing and facial expressions are what really do it for me, but I also love that she's tall, gangly (though pure muscle from all that dance), and she's on my team. And even though it's an annoying pre-requisite that apparently any woman in the media with smaller boobs has to constantly be told they have smaller boobs (see: every episode of Bunheads so far), I still relish the fact that we've got another one on our side. Go Team Small Boob!

Er, boobs. You know what I mean.

Past Small Boob Award Winners:

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I Prefer Awkward

Recently my boyfriend and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary awkward-style: by going to a B&B.

For those of you not in the know, B&B's stand for Bed and Breakfast, and are the perfect culmination of everything you could find terrifying about going on a vacation. That, instead of going to a nice, private, secluded hotel where no one bothers you unless you ask them to, you go to stay with one of your relatives. A relative so distant that you don't know them at all, and you pad around their house and sleep in one of their beds and have them wait on you and serve you breakfast. Any small talk you manage to make is extremely forced, and you can't help but notice that each night they are sleeping under the same roof as you. Shoes must be worn at all times, especially when venturing out of your room (terrifying) in the middle of the night to get a glass of water or (horrors!) use the bathroom. Yes, you are paying to feel uncomfortable in someone else's home.

I've managed to survive many years of B&B's with just this simple mantra: Bring on the awkward. My parents introduced my brother and I to B&B's by throwing us headfirst into a series of them while we were vacationing in Scotland. I was 19, my brother was 22. We were completely foreign to the concept of inviting ourselves over to another family's house and forcing them to make room for us. In Scotland we experienced the full range - from a big B&B complete with unlimited, hotel-esque breakfast ... to the one place you could stay on a tiny island where "my mother's ancestors came from" and based on the icy welcome we received, my brother and I stayed up the whole night waiting to be stabbed. Luckily all the B&B's in between (we were there for a while and my parents liked to jump to a new place every night) were amazing, and the Scots proved to be incredibly warm, generous hosts.

But I digress. Here's why I've come to love B&B's:

  • It's just fun to get away. Yes, even if sometimes it's weird sneaking around someone else's house, it's fun to be a part of that house's history for a blip in time. Most B&B's I prefer are older and creekier, which adds to the fun.
  • I like thinking of them as haunted, as long as they're not actually being haunted. If there are more than a specific number of dolls around (i.e. one) you should probably rethink your stay. Just saying. Wood carved cherubs are okay though.
  • Some of them are suprisingly gorgeous, and worth any amount of time you feel obligated to hang out in the hallway and make small talk with your host. We once stayed at the 1890 Caroline House in Fredericksburg, VA and got our own private suite - complete with a HUGE tub, a fireplace spanning two rooms, and a comfy sitting room. Although, I have to admit, my favorite part was each morning when the hostess brought out a series of elaborate, lovely meals full of food my boyfriend didn't eat. Every time she left the room he'd hiss "TAKE THESE STRAWBERRIES!!", all panicky. Good times.
  • Embracing the local history of the place you're in, even if it's just up the road, is part of the point. And you get to be as cheesy exploring that place as you want - strap on the fanny pack, attach a cell phone to your belt.
  • Chatting with other couples/not making new friends. Remember when you're B&B'ing it, you have permission to not be yourself, and to say things you'd never normally say. "This crepe is divine!" "I can honestly say I love this wicker!" "Where did you find that statue of a boy peeing?" And by all means, be pleasant with the locals/hosts/other guests. Just ... y'know, remember when you get back home you might realize you really don't like talking about golf, and that was the one thing you had in common with that couple.

If I had to stress out about whether or not I'd feel comfortable at a particular B&B or naturally click with the host/ess, I'd never go! And I would've missed out on waking up one fine autumn morning, in the attic bedroom of a large old house, heading downstairs expecting breakfast and encountering instead ... PILES OF DOLLS.

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