Is backdating cheating?

123083109We’re back!

Pacific again.

I’m in Portland, OR! The trip was almost freakish in its ease. No delays, no screaming babies, we even arrived a good 45 minutes beforeĀ  our scheduled arrival! My new friend and roommate Jen picked me up from the airport, showed me around her lovely home, and then took me out to a rad little taqueria, Porque No? (Not sure if the question mark was in the title or my own addition.) Tomorrow I’ll get my scanner set up, and you know what that means… Easel Ain’t Easy returns! The Portland Adventure is underway!

Mahjong Media.

I’ve been playing Mahjong with a frequency and fervency that borders on unhealthy. It taps into a part of my mind that is underused, I think, that mathematical/logical puzzle-solving side. It’s been helpful, I think, as I’ve been solving the ultimate puzzle these past few weeks – how to get all of my stuff out to Portland for the least amount of money (it’s exhausting mental work, being a cheapskate!) So I’ve been juggling baggage checking fees and crunching shipping rates, and the other day a little light clicked on over my head when I was reminded of the US Postal Service’s Media Mail rate. Suddenly clouds opened and dollar signs melted away at the prospect of mailing these fairly heavy things at this significantly reduced rate. I prepared a box and shipped it along with my other things yesterday, as I mentioned in my previous post.

Well, today my mom and I returned home from an errand and there was a package sitting on the front porch. That initial, reflexive delight at seeing a brown paper package on your doorstep was quickly deflated when I realized it was my box that I had attempted to ship Media Mail. It had been cut open, inspected, and marked “NOT MEDIA MAIL” with a garish yellow sticker. To the USPS’s defense, they made full disclosure of their policy to inspect these packages, but I guess I thought maybe they were bluffing. Mostly, though, I really believed that my package contained media: books, photos, and, well, a few art supplies, but in my circle we call those things Media. Anyway, I felt rejected. I mean, I was rejected.

So I took out the offending articles and replaced them with a few more books and hauled it back over to the post office. As my luck would have it, I wound up with the same postal worker as I did yesterday, the one who had seemed excited for my trip. What follows is our conversation:

Me: Hi. My media mail was rejected.

Postal Lady: Oh ho, yes. You had a LOT of stuff in there that wasn’t media.

(Really, it wasn’t a lot.)

Me: Well, I’m a little confused what qualifies as media.

Postal Lady: It was all on the sheet you signed yesterday. Here, look at this list. (Reads list to me.)

Me: Well, I guess I was confused. Anyway, I removed those things from my package and I’d still like to send this as Media Mail.

Postal Lady: (skeptical) There is only media in here?

Me: Yes, (removes cover of box) see?

(The postal lady picks up the first book off of the stack, which was a leather bound Bible.)

Postal Lady: (still skeptical) This doesn’t look like a book… (opens it)… Oh, it’s a Bible! (Smiles. Points earned.)

Me: It’s all just books and CDs. Oh, and stationary, is that okay?

Postal Lady: (skeptical again) Oh, I don’t think so… (turns to Postal Lady #2 at next counter) Is stationary considered media?

Postal Lady #2: NO way!

Me: Okay, I’ll take that out. (Removes stationary as Postal Lady #2 joins us at our counter, joins in the inspection.)

(The postal ladies discuss the package with a combined level of skepticism and suspicion that is very formidable. I literally shrink a bit, as I’m sure they think I was trying to con the postal service. Finally the other lady approves the contents and returns to her counter.)

Postal Lady: Okay, if you can just sign here we’ll send this out!

Me: (trying to redeem myself) I was just confused. I went to art school and we called all of that other stuff “Media.”

Postal Lady: (Smiles) Oh I know. I used to be interested in art too. (More points earned.) Good luck in Portland!

So, in the end, I think she still liked me and was excited for me, and I mean, I guess if I were on the other side of the postal counter I’d be annoyed by hooligans trying to sneak non-media through at a cheaper rate. But that really wasn’t the case!

Anyway. I’ve officially shipped everything I’m going to ship, I saved a tiny bit of face at the post office, and I’ll use my Mahjong skills to fit the last remaining bits into my luggage. So, that’s my story. That’s my post.

Yikes. More updates.


I haven’t really been posting here at all, I’m sorry. The new website IS on its way, (we’re shooting for a Labor Day launch) and the daily comic WILL return as promptly as possible following my relocation, which will hopefully be by this coming Monday. But I feel like I’ve really deserted you guys here. I am really kind of bummed that I didn’t get to comic-journal my August, since that’s my favorite month (even though the weather has been very sub-par) but I guess that was my own decision. I’ve had a really nice August, in spite of a week of high stress and many weeks of low temperatures. I still love this month. I always will.

Today I shipped my things to my new home. The lady at the post office seemed excited for me, even though I didn’t come right out and say, “I’m moving!” although by the end, for the sake of small talk, I did make some comment about racing my packages out West. “What day are you leaving?” “Sunday.” “Oh, you’ll probably beat your things out there.” Well, who needs clothes, anyway?

So I get into Portland on Sunday night, and then I will have that week to get acclimated and maybe explore my new neighborhood and new city. By foot or by bike, because I’ll be without a car! Then on Friday the real work starts! I’ll be heading down to Humboldt County, California for a photo safari, getting reference shots for drawing the Redwoods and other typical Northern California majesties. And THEN, by Labor Day, I should be able to dive into the next phase of my graphic novel, the reason for this whole upheaval, Operation: Illustration! Okay, after this post, it shall never again be referred to as such. What a nerd.

Anyway, I feel like a person who exercises regularly but then takes a 3 week “break.” I feel gross from not drawing comics. So I’m looking forward to getting back into the pattern! And, if you couldn’t tell by all the exclamation points in this post, I’m excited to start my new adventure!

Behold the hipsters.

Another goal I’d like to accomplish this year, the Year of Drawing, is to learn how to illustrate, specifically how to color digitally. Here’s one I worked on tonight… lots of room for improvement. I’ll color this picture again at the end of the year, how about, and we’ll see how much I’ve learned. Behold, the hipsters:


Moderately link-crazy.

Some updates! I’ve booked my flight to Portland, I’ll leave the end of August. In the meantime I’m just trying to get things finalized here. I begin work on my new website today, so hopefully I’ll get that up and running in the next week or so! I’m also going to test out my new scanner today, so I might be able to post a comic – no promises though. Rachel and I saw (500) Days of Summer last night and it was terrific. The best movie I’ve seen since Juno, and probably even better. Also, please check out this article where our family band (Family Band… third band listed on my music page) gets name dropped in a Rolling Stone article! It’s Rolling Stone, Brasil, though, so you’ll need to read Portuguese. Featuring Todd Fadel and my buddies Agents of Future at The Bridge in, can you guess? Portland! Read it here. Does Laura look rad playing the accordion or what?

Finally, I did say I’d post some other artwork here while the comic is on temporary hiatus. So here goes, some old sketchbook scans:




Another week?

Okay. I have to take another week off of comics. Not because I want to, but because everything I own is getting packed up into boxes this week, if it has survived the cut at all (I’m getting rid of lots.) The primary problem is that my drawing stuff and scanner are no longer easily accessible. The secondary problem is I don’t have an ounce of free time this week, getting ready for the move and finishing things up at work.

In case you get tired of piecing things together through infrequent and often-cryptic cartoons, I’ll just be forthright for a moment. I’m moving to Portland, Oregon. For a while at least. To work on my graphic novel full time, to continue this daily comic which I’ve become pretty fond of, and to have a handful of new adventures. Why not? I’m young. (That’s a common response I get when I tell people my plans, and I love it.)

In the weeks between when I move out of Madison but before I move to Portland, I’ll be in a strange little creative limbo, in which I hope to finalize some sort of layout for the first set of pages in my book, and also, more immediately visible, I hope to work with one of my buddies to come up with a remodeled website. I think I’m ready to self-host. So stay tuned for that, and occasional updates, and maybe I’ll post a few little drawings or stories here to tide you over until I can get back on schedule. Thank you so much for reading this, and my comics. Your eyes make it worthwhile.

Without a fishing license.


I love vacation. :)

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