Jenni Gregory's Comics, Art and Stuff

The digital home of cartoonist Jenni Gregory

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On This Day:


Wednesday September 17, 2008

  This is the 261st day of the year, with 105 days remaining in 2008.

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5 years ago today we had the first of three most important things ever happen to us.  Chloe Abigail Gregory at 7lbs 2oz came kicking and screaming into our semi-calm life.   After that things have never been the same.


Today my big girl turns 5!! I try not to freak out about it (and by freak out, I do mean cry). 

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Each day she takes our breath away with her smarts, her beauty and her personality.

I’m proud of her.  I can’t what joy and utter delight she gives us.

 Happy Birthday, my little bug!

Fact of the Day: popcorn

Popcorn is a special variety of dried corn that contains a high moisture content. About 14% of the composition of the kernel is water, which creates steam when the kernel is heated. This causes the popcorn kernels to explode and pop open because the steam cannot escape. Popcorn is typically available in white or yellow varieties. Yellow popcorn has a golden tint and is larger in size, while white popcorn is smaller in size, both as unpopped kernels and when popped.

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When it pops, it has expanded to a volume 40 or 50 times its original size. There are three elements that make popcorn work like this: moisture inside the kernel, starch inside the kernel, and the hard shell surrounding the kernel. When a popcorn kernel heats up (either in a popper or in the microwave), the moisture inside the kernel expands.

Moisture, it turns out, is extremely important to a popcorn kernel. Unless the percentage of moisture in the kernel is just right, the kernel won’t pop. When the pressure inside the hard shell gets high enough, the kernel explodes.

READ ‘EM AND WEEP!

I hate to read.  Absolutely hate it.

Okay, okay, okay!  That’s not true.

I love it beyond measure!  Every once in a while you come across books and you become so tunnel visioned that you can’t do anything but read, read and then read some more!

I’ve spent far more money in the last month then I even want to think about with my local crack dealers (aka bookstores).

First up is:

Cormac Mccarthy’s  The Road

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Dark, scary, horrific, incredibly bleak.

Okay,  yes, I get it–you’re a “legitimate” writer and therefore this book can by no means be considered science fiction.

But it is.

Post apocalyptic sci-fi.

Is it the best post-apocalyptic book out there?  Hell no.  Not even. But damn good.  Even Oprah said so.

But would it have killed you to use quotation marks just once in a damn while?!?

I look forward to the movie.  Will it be as bleak as the book?  I think everyone was pretty much gutted after watching “Children of Men”, so bring it on.

Other BETTER post apocalyptic books to try:

* Lucifers Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (one of my top 10 books and probably THE best post apocalyptic book out there)
* Swan Song by Robert McCammon
* I am Legend by Richard Matheson

* Wolf and Iron by Gordon Dickson  A man befriends a wolf and head west.  Damn this was a good book!

* Folk of the Fringe by Orson Scott Card  I am begrudgingly including this book even though I’m pissed as hell at what a blowhard Card has become.  He use to be one of the most character driven writers out there.  Now he’s just a scary hardcore nut job.

* The Postman by David Brin (soooo much better then the crap fest movie that Kevin Costner made)
Ok, ok, ok!  I’ll do it…

* The Stand by Stephen King.  The Deus Machina ending kinda cheesed me off, but hey, it’s Vegas baby.

COOL THINGS I HAPPENED UPON WHILE IN THE BOOKSTORE THAT I HAD TO JUST BUY:

Dracula and Tom Sawyer illustrated by Ben Caldwell.  I loved these books and had to buy them.  I stumbled across them hidden in an obscure corner in the kids section at Barnes and Nobles.  Chloe was looking around with me and “the creepy vampire guy” on the cover caught her eye.  The art caught mine as well!  I ended up buying both and am so impressed by his figure designs and color schemes.

Bastard.

I had his Cartooning book from a few years ago.  Talented guy this Caldwell fellow.


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Chloe was looking around with me and “the

creepy vampire guy” on the cover caught her

eye.  The art caught mine as well!  I ended up

buying both and am so impressed by his

figure designs and color schemes.


Bastard.


I had his Cartooning book from a few years

ago.  Talented guy this Caldwell fellow.


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Go buy his books.


Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.

If’n you haven’t read the Twilight series and

want to, STOP HERE.

SPOILER ALERT!!

You HAVE BEEN WARNED!!

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Twilight is literary crack. Some how I had

missed this book and series.  Mainly because

it’s considered “teen lit” and even though it’s

sold a gazillion, it’s not considered

“mainstream” enough to put on the adult best

seller lists.

I hadn’t ever heard of it until I caught the

cover and brief article about it in

Entertainment Weekly a month or two back.

I decided I had to give it a try.  I really

LOVED this book.  It’s been a long time since

I’ve had a book (much less a series) where I

wanted to just let everything around me go

and read.  I love the main characters

especially Bella.  She’s feisty, a klutz, not a

bombshell beauty, smart, never EVER says

what I expect her to say and a great sense of

humor.  Meyer did some fantastic character

writing here.

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With in a month I had plunked down $60.00

for the rest of this friggin’ series.  These are

huge THICK, heavy books.  And expensive.

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It took me a while to figure it out.  I couldn’t

imagine why my hands and wrists were

hurting me so much.  I thought it was just

because I had increased my writing, computer

coloring and drawing over the last couple

days.  Then I’m sitting in my library (ok, the

bathroom) holding book 3  and it all finally

clicks!  It was because I had been sitting and

holding this huge 4 volume series!

They are heavy, people!!

HEAVY!!!

I’ve been reading some of the blogs and

review of this series to see if others were as

bemused and befuddled as I was on the last

book –Breaking Dawn.

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Good lord, are there are some freaky people

out there.  Things ran from “Best book Ever”

to “OMG, Stephanie Meyers is Mormon and

her characters kissed!  It’s pornography!”

Seriously.  Some geek actually called this

pornography–one of THE most chaste books

I’ve read in a long time!  This particular

reviewer went on to say she felt guilty

because she neglected her family because of

her addiction to this series.  Yeah, blame

your need to escape your repressed reality on

a damn book and it’s author.

Get a grip!

I felt bad because most of the reviews and

forums I glanced thru were LDS (Mormon)

supported.

Another person thought Meyer racist and drew

parallels between Mormon beliefs of the

Nephite/Laminite/black/white thing.  I think

this reviewer was reading far too much into

things.

The whole thing is a fairy tale, with it’s happily ever

after ending–I get it.

Bella Swan (Bella= beautiful) Swan (the ugly

duckling that turns into the beautiful swan by the end

of the series (becomes a vampire)….Yeah…a bit

hammer on the head, but ok.  The titles all have a

lunar theme–Twilight, Eclipse, New Moon,

Breaking

 Dawn.

Ok.

Cool.  An homage to the old school vampire and werewolf tales.

Things that bugged me:  Bella has a thing for a guy

that while he became “vamped” at 17 could

theoretically still be alive.   Meyers should have made

him older.  Edward (our hero) gets changed during

the Pandemic of 1918.  So I kinda got the creepy old

guy thing wrapped around my head (see

McCain/Palin and creepy old dude post further

down).  Couldn’t he have been 150 or even 200 years

old?  Now THAT’s a vampire.

Bella gets preggers and has a kid at 18.  The child is

also “special”.

Jake (the shape shifter) bonds (falls in love with)

with a baby–Bella’s baby.  BUT A BABY!!  Ok, I

shouldda seen that coming.  Meyers talked about it in

an earlier volume…but still that creeped me out.

I really admired Meyers writing.  I’m Mormon (ok,

I’m technically what we in The Church call a jack

Mormon–similar to a lapsed Catholic).  I went to

BYU.  It was really hard to be creative at BYU.

Seriously.  You had very thin lines you had to walk.

So I guess at times I repress my writing because of

those very fear.

I believed Bella to be a teenager.  Nothing Meyers did

made me not think her heroine wasn’t an angst

driven teen, thrown into a new environment, meeting

the love of her life, and then getting changed into a

vampire.  The only thing I didn’t buy was in the first

book (Twilight) Bella nor any other teenager ever

uses a cell phone or texts anyone.  As ANYONE over

the age of 12 knows nobody writes notes, nobody

simply calls anyone…every friggin’ teenager sends

text messages!!


Meyers writes fresh and intelligently.  She wrote a

great series and “The Church” actually issued a

statement about her on the front page of it’s website

.  Many church members don’t want her books sold

at Mormon bookstores (i.e. Deseret Books because

she deals with vamps and weres).  I admire her.  She

writes for herself and writes pretty darn well. 

Harbinger F Paul Wilson

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I LOVE Repairman Jack novels.  I’m a little behind on them.  I’m kinda not liking this Jack against The Otherness kinda thing.  In Harbinger, Jack takes on a fierce cadre of baddies called the Yeniceri.  I was worried that somehow Wilson was gonna  go all “National Treasure/Da Vinci” code on me.  That thankfully didn’t happen.

Jack always prides himself on keeping a tight control on EVERYTHING– situations and settings…   Each book finds Jack loosing a little bit more of his being able to control anything.

I miss my smart-ass wise cracking Jack from early novels.  I miss the street smarts we got to see he’d developed keeping just on the fringes of life.


But I’d never go without my man Jack.  Wilson gave me one of the best literary creatures to fear — the Rakoshi.

Da man has my respect just for them.

GET THEE TO A GYM…ERY

Ok, I did it.  I dragged my overly large lard ass out and joined a gym.

And I LOVE IT! 

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Stress, age, stress, laziness, stress, overly active sweet tooth and various and sundry childhood trama’s  and another dash of lack of will-power and stress have left me with one hell of a large ass.  Barry and I have realized that enough is enough.  We have too much stress, a wonderful family, too many health factors that needed changing so we both made some major adjustments.

I joined a 24 hour access gym and it works perfect for me.  I usually go late at night after I get off work from caricaturing.  There are few people there and most of the time I have the whole gym to myself. 

I feel better.  I’ve been in a pretty dark place for a while and I am amazed at how much exercise really helps. 

 
IN THE COMPANY OF CREEPY OLD MEN

 I work 4 days a week up at Disney drawing Caricatures at various hotels.  I love it a lot.  I like the different people I meet, the different situations I’m in and the fact I am constantly drawing pretty much nonstop for 5 hours (No–really.  Most nights once you sit down to draw you do not get up).

I like messing with people and I like to play games with myself while I draw people to keep myself going.  When you’ve been doing this for as long as I have and met as many people as I have, asked the same damn questions I have over and over again, you start to compartmentalize people and categorize people.  Last week I drew a couple.  She was great and cute and we got a long fine.  Then her boyfriend sits down.  He’s big.  Very quiet.  Crew cut flat top thing going on with the hair, and obviously worked out–he was bulky in a gym rat kinda way.  He sits down and I do the regular chatty stuff with him for a couple seconds.  Then I asked him if he was a cop.  He blinked then looked at his girlfriend and asked if she’d told me.  She went wide eyed and told him no.  I was proud of myself.   Then in the next breath I realized I’ve been doing this far too long.

One of my favorite things to do is occasionally I will get kids (usually boys) that they only reply in “yes, Ma’m, no Ma’m” utterences.  So I love to frame questions in my mind that in no way require a yes or no answer.  Kinda a fun mind game.  Ya gotta try it.


Every once in a while you come across things that make you shake/pound your head–mean clients, kids that won’t stop chomping their gum in your ear, people standing far too close to me (yes, I have serious issues about personl space).


The other night I’m drawing at The Caribbean Resort.  And this old guy–seriously he was 80 if he was a day–walks up to me wanted me to draw his girlfriend.  I’m kinda waiting for someone his approximate age and thinking this guy is an older man who has found his lost love and this is gonna be sooo fun and cute to draw…


…and then this child, this freaking-not-even-old-enough-to-wandering-around-alone KID
walks up and sits down.  There is NO WAY she was 17.  No way.  I’m floored and more then creeped out.  He was pointing out she was his Flipina girlfriend and how beautiful she was.  So SHE comes over and sits and starts doing the things I hate–posing and primping and fluttering her eyelashes and saying she’s just not pretty and all the while smiling and giving me her best beauty pageant smile.

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And he’s all standing right by me all smoochy and hands grasping at her and…GAH!  I don’t know which issue bothered me more–his obvious fetish with the fact his girlfriend was flipina or the fact she was way, WAY under-aged.


It seriously gave me the creeps.  It messed with my mind for a long time.


And speaking of old creepy dudes…what the hell is up with John McCain?!?

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He’s 72 she’s 44.  They’ve met once, talked on the phone once and she’s the best he could find???  Man or woman???  I’m trying to figure out who is more pissed, Mrs McCain, Leiberman, or Romney.  Or women in general.

This is the best ya got?  A first-term Governor, a former mayor of a town of 6,000-9,000 people depending on what source you use.  Who’s foreign policy experience amounts to “Alaska is close to Russia?!?!” (Fox News Channel’s Steve Doocy actually said that.  Granted it Fox news…but WTF??!?)


And McCain made a big deal out my man Obama’s lack of experience?

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Vanity, John.  Power hungry vanity made you make a stupid move.

But she is kinda hot.

SCHOOL DAYS

It has officially started.  Chloe is now officially in school and forever marked to be in the system.

Ok, it’s Pre-K, but everyday she has to go to school from 9-12.  She loves it.  I don’t know if she is learning a lot, but I love to watch her interact with her teachers and other kids.

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Fox and Molly go to school 2 days a week at the same place.  They have really blossomed.   I feel bad about the other kids.  On the days that Barry and I drop off all three of the kids, all the other children in the room run up to us like they were starved for attention.  We had to becareful not to trip as we tried to retreat towards the door. 

And last…

IT’S ALIVE!!!

Big NEWS!  My new series Womblees is ready to go!! 

http://www.womblees.com/

is now alive!  I’m not sure how often I am going to update it.  Mostly weekly I’m thinking and I’ve not set an official start date.  Maybe end of September.  I want to be good and caught up.


Another character design and future cover

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My thanks goes to Barry.  He built the page and I can’t thank him enough for all the help, support and advise he’s given me.

But we are back doing comics, baby!  Woohooo!

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