Friday, June 5th:

  1. Chris returned, healed! Character-Land is whole once more!
  2. There was a lot of good-natured ribbing about my swift exit from the theatre the previous night. Rob looked upon me in horrified disgust and accused, “You SHAME me!” I waved a stapler threateningly in his direction. It was kind of glorious.
  3. We found out that a really, really, really awesome spot was awarded. I DANCE! It’s going to be an absurd amount of work, but it’s going to be so much fun that it’ll be worth it.
  4. I got to model Audrey Tautou as Amelie!
  5. It didn’t feel like a Friday at all, but it WAS! Rapture!

Saturday, June 6th:

Okay, this is going to be a challenge. Saturday was miserable. Some good stuff happened: I reposted my ad on Craigslist and got a small handful of responses, for example, filling me with a sense of productivity and cautiously enthusiastic anticipation. But at 12:30 or so, when I got up from my computer to take a shower and get ready for MoCCA, I started feeling lightheaded, overheated, and gastrointestinally distressed. I spent an hour switching between the toilet and a cold bath and desperately trying to throw up. Eventually, I managed to tumble into bed and find some position where my lower abdomen didn’t hurt so much and retreated into unconsciousness.

I woke up around 5, feeling entirely cured, and fixed myself some cereal, as I hadn’t eaten yet that day. However, in the short time it took to assemble the materials, the weakness and discomfort started to return, so I sat down on the couch in hopes being off my feet would help. It didn’t. I brought my computer into my bedroom, thinking I could be fine if I lay down instead, but no joy. I retreated into sleep once more, returning to consciousness around 7. I felt fine once more, but this time, I didn’t even get up from my bed, knowing that discomfort lurked in wait for as soon as I attained verticality. My bed-ridden evening was quite pleasant, actually! Hurrah! My horizontal exploits are detailed below.

Happy things for today:

  1. The aforementioned Craigslist re-porting.
  2. Feeling better. There’s nothing that can make us appreciate our health more than a momentary hiccup. I’m grateful that the overwhelming majority of the time, I have energy and the full range of human ability. I have access to clean water and fresh food to keep my body nourished. And if or when my health takes a tumble, I have insurance and access to treatment–heck, I live in a world where Stem Cell Contact Lenses Cure Blindness in Less Than a Month–, and I have family and friends to help nurse me back to health, both local and long-distance. That’s something that certainly qualifies as a Thing to Be Happy About for today.
  3. And related: There’s a great deal of satisfaction in “out-thinking” an ailment, to be able to figure out “hmm, if I lower my body temperature like this, and lean forward like this, or lie down like this, I don’t feel nearly as awful.” At least this way I don’t feel awful and helpless.
  4. In the evening, on Ko and Fred’s recommendation, I watched the first two episodes of Leverage. This show is so much fun! I’m delighted to see that it was renewed.
  5. One of my friends was in a very cruddy place emotionally, so I called her and we shared a much-needed girly gabfest. We also watched the Glee pilot simultaneously, keeping a running commenting over IM. It was adorable! Feel better, friend! I love you!

Sunday, June 7th:

  1. I took the morning slowly, as I still felt a bit fragile from the previous day. However, I soon discovered that standing up was no longer an impediment. Woo, mobility!
  2. I checked out MoCCA, my first time attending the festival. I didn’t stay for long, as the combination of being on my feet and the building’s lack of air conditioning threatened to drain my precious stores of energy, but I had a lovely time while I was there. I was finally able to give back to the creators of webcomics I’ve loved so long! I bought trades from Dylan Meconis (“Bite Me”), the inimitably brilliant Kate Beaton (“Never Learn Anything From History”), and David Malki (“Wondermark”). I got a t-shirt from Ryan North of “Dinosaur Comics,” but upon getting it home, I saw it was too big for me. I’ll have to find a medium-sized friend to give it to. :D I also bought a sketch from Randall Munroe of XKCD for pi dollars–I accused him of swindling the public by rounding up to $3.15. I mentioned his strip’s popularity at my workplace, so he redrew the “We’re Rendering” swordfight comic for me. Highly entertaining! All of the artists were a delight to chat with. Time and money well spent!
  3. Next, I returned home to recover my strength. It was going to be a late night, and I didn’t want to run out of steam early. I watched a few more episodes of Leverage while working on an illustration for a friend.
  4. Strength restored, I hopped on the subway to Union Hall, the awesome little venue where I first saw Vienna Teng, Christina Courtin, and Jonathan Coulton perform live. My first month in New York, actually! Tonight’s occasion? John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton were performing the list of 700 Mole-Man Names from More Information Than You Require. I ended up being the first person in line, as I thought the event started at 9:15 when it actually arrived at 9:30, and I arrived around 9. Ah well! I met some cool people in line, and we had delightful conversation.

    Hodgman and Coulton were their usual quirky selves, Hodgman warning the audience of the upcoming unpleasantness with Snicket-like foreboding. He suggested the audience use the bathroom and purchase large quantities of alcohol before the ordeal. He explained a bit about Mole-Men for the uneducated, though I’m not precisely sure why anyone would choose to be there if they hadn’t at least flipped through his book. Perhaps for the benefit of those being dragged there by friends or dates? Ah well. It was still hilarious!

    Finally, the recitation began! Coulton played endless repetitions of the colonial ballad “The World Turned Upside-Down as Hodgman plunged headfirst into what he anticipated would be a 90-minute endeavor. The audience was very receptive, laughing out loud and cheering wildly every 50 names. Every so often, I took minute-long clips with my little Flip Video camera, which I imagine I will eventually combine in an amusing way if I can find the time. I was particularly delighted to be reminded of mole-manic woman #538, “Miss Priscilla Thirtyfingers, a wall feeler.” When your name is as rare as mine, any uses of it by people you admire become a source for much joy.

    As the list wore on, I exchanged occasional looks with Jonathan Coulton, mine saying, “I am in awe that your hands have not cramped and/or fallen off at this point,” and his saying, “Me too.” After Mole-Man #600, I shouted out “GO COULTON!”, and all gave him a resounding cheer. Hodgman took this opportunity for another sip of Jack Daniels.

    Afterward, Hodgman declared that the event was being recorded for the audio book of More Information Than You Require, and that he was taking our applause at the revelation as consent to our voices being used on the recording. I feigned concern and asked, “Can my applause be digitally removed?” “No, it cannot, Miss Flip Video,” he quipped.

    He graciously offered free drinks to all of us that endured the full list, though he winced at the admission that he thought more of us would leave midway. I was sitting near the front, so I didn’t see what the crowd looked like at the beginning, but the room was still mostly packed. Good thing he has those Mac ads to keep his pockets well-lined! :D

    Coulton closed the “formal” portion of the event with a song–“Ikea,” by fan request–then we all dispersed. I lingered afterward and mingled with other folks from the audience. One of the folks I chatted with was Sam Potts, designer of Hodgman’s book jackets and mastermind of the Superhero Supply Company and Twitter On Paper. A very creative and motivated guy!

    Eventually, the staff ushered us upstairs, so they could close the downstairs stage. Hodgman invited those of us remaining to join him in the comfortable leather seating overlooking the Bocce courts, and he gestured me to sit in the chair next to his, which exploded my little fangirl mind.

    Our little group must have talked over an hour! It was a delight. Toward the end, we got on the subject of the Battlestar Galactica series finale, which was particularly awesome. It’s always cool to discuss something you’re a fan of with someone you’re a fan of, who is also a fan of said thing. It’s a sort of conversational equalizer. :D Our group seemed united in its criticism that the notion of an entire society being willing to regress to a primitive culture was difficult to swallow. Hodgman stepped into his exaggerated “John Hodgman” character a moment to comment, “For instance: my character, the brain surgeon, would be unlikely to want to return to trepanning.”

    Finally, as 1am came and went, we all started migrating doorwards. We said our goodbyes, then went our separate ways. All in all, it was a joyous evening!

So that was the weekend. I’m now completely behind on everything that’s happened since! I hate to interrupt my run in what’s become a quite faithful daily practice, but I may have to grant myself a week’s amnesty, as the days are running together and I’m having difficulty pinpointing noteworthy events and ruminations for my lists. But let’s give it one shot…

Monday, June 8th: Monday was a struggle. The job I was so excited we’d landed on Friday turned out to be a lot more difficult than I’d bargained for, and we were given four days to accomplish what I’d imagined would be a challenge in two weeks. I spent much of the day trying to wrangle our traditional rig into something very exaggerated and cartoony, without success. Finally, around 6, Eric and I made the executive decision to start from scratch and build a new rig to accommodate the demands of the project. From then on, everything went smoothly!

Tuesday, June 9th: However, despite said smoothness, we still had an insane amount of work that needed to get done! We shanghaied a number of folks who aren’t traditionally character designers for the task, which helped things move quicker, but the prospect of finishing everything by Friday was still dicey. Compounding the time crunch was the sudden revelation that we were running out of space on the server, and Chris and I needed to be diverted to backing up old characters to the library. Yikes! Together, we managed to rock everything out just in time, though we had to stay until 1 am to accomplish everything we wanted that night. We only stayed until 11:30 on Monday.

Wednesday, June 10th: Another challenging day! We could tell that everything was coming together, at least. We were in awe of the amount of work we’d accomplished in a few short days! And to further brighten our spirits, the Gods on High moved our deadline from Friday to Monday. What a relief! To our greater joy, Eric discovered a book online that gave detailed instructions on how to draw the characters we were modeling. I zipped across the street to Barnes and Noble, where they were selling the $30 book in the bargain bin for $9. WIN! The book henceforth became known as “The Bible” in Character-Land. I stayed until 12:15, feeling good.

Thursday, June 11th: We continued work, the Bible showing us just how off-model many of the existing characters were. Our first passes definitely needed a second! Fortunately, I didn’t have to stay late, as my good friend Tex had a show in the city tonight, and I was able to attend! Tex is a ridiculously talenter composer, and he performed a number of his original pieces, accompanied by a woodwind quartet and a cellist. Afterward, we walked back to my apartment and spent an hour or so catching up on each other’s lives. He was staying with his brother, Davio, and his very pregnant wife, Jessica, who live about a ten minute walk from my place. T’was quite nifty!

Friday, June 12th: Work remained workful. I spent most of the day squeeing over Fred and Christie’s Twitter posts, updating us on the status of the birth of their first child. Welcome to the world, Evelyn Violet Hicks! The universe has a new contender for Cutest Baby in the World.

When I wasn’t in baby-squee mode, I was counting down the hours until the Battlestar Galactica panel at the 92nd Street Y. I sprang from my workplace at 6:55 and joined Shecky and Sue in line. We were close enough to the front of the line that we managed to find seats in the second row!

The panel was fantastic. BSG was represented by Mary McDonnell (the iron-ovaried President Roslin) and Michael Hogan (the grizzled Colonel Tigh). I was initially thrilled to see Mary McDonnell and only lukewarm about Michael Hogan, as Tigh wasn’t among my favourite characters, but hearing him speak about his role gave me new appreciation for the role. It made me want to rewatch bits of the show! Mary was even more gorgeous and eloquent in real life, which is terribly unfair to the rest of us mortals. I want her shoes.

The scientists were absolutely intriguing. Roboticist Hod Lipson works in evolutionary robotics and has created several ‘self aware’ robots. The video clips he played for us were mind-boggling–he made me wish the panel devoted less time to BSG, so he would have more time to explain how his robots were able to discover how to walk. The man is the architect of his own Intelligently Designed universe.

Cyberneticist Kevin Warwick works in robotics and artificial intelligence, and has created implants that allow humans to sense the world around us beyond what we experience with the traditional five. In another implant experiment, he was able to control objects remotely with his mind and receive sensory feedback. It was staggering.

Philosopher Nick Bostrom was also in attendance, providing a counterpoint to some of the scientists’ more radical ideas, and drawing a distinction between pop culture urges and scientific realities. Moderating the event was Faith Salie, whose palpable enthusiasm for both sides of the panel kept the conversation going smoothly. All in all, I had a fantastic time!

However, afterwards, when Shecky, Sue, and I headed back to a Starbucks to hang out, we passed an apartment whose anteroom floor was covered in fresh blood. The glass inner-door had been stoved in. We stood gawking for a solid minute, trying to parse what had happened and trying to decide if we should call the police. Just as Sue was taking out her cell phone, we were met by the building’s superintendent, who was even more floored than we were. Meeting him on the other side of the door was a twentysomething girl, standing gingerly on a leg smeared with blood, irately explaining how she had been coming home with her dogs when she slipped on the tiles and her leg went through the door. Assured that we weren’t looking at a crime scene and that the situation was under control, we left.

The scene was still fresh in our minds as we walked away, however. Sue is trained as an EMT, and she watches enough CSI and Dexter to understand blood splatter analysis. We couldn’t help thinking that the girl’s story didn’t match up to the scene we found. Very curious.

Saturday, June 13th: I had to work again. Bleh. 10-7. The day was chill, though, and I had a vegetarian moussaka for lunch that convinced me of the existence of a loving God. Afterwards, I met up with Craig, and we hung out and people-watched for a couple hours to make up for me not being able to support him and the rest of the NY Jedi at Big Apple Con. T’was nice.

And now, it’s Sunday, June 14th! I’m simultaneously relaxing and getting stuff done! Life is good, and now I’m up-to-date on it, even though I can’t imagine anyone but perhaps my father is still reading at this point. Ah, well! At least I feel better about my newfound fidelity to my blog.

Ooh! Barb re-posted her recipe for Pear and Cream Cheese Pie, one of my all-time favourite things to make. Check it out, and share the deliciousness with your friends and family at your next pie-friendly occasion!

Speaking of pie, Kristin Chenoweth (Olive on Pushing Daisies, as well as the original Galinda in Wicked) did a book signing at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes and Noble last night! You know I was there! Man, that woman is about seventy trillion times cuter in person.

It’s amazing, the effect she had on the audience. People love her. People are enraptured by her. I’ve seen people fanboying and fangirling over actors, but this was something special. After her interview, she took questions from the audience, and every other person opened their question with an ejaculation of “I love you!” She’s like a human joy-generator.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to give some of that joy back! She mentioned in the interview that she despaired the lack of good Southern cooking in New York, so I gave her the address of Mara’s Homemade, a fantastic Southern/Creole restaurant in the East Village. She seemed absolutely delighted! As a thank you, she signed my Pushing Daises DVD case, even though the Barnes and Noble folks wanted to limit signatures to her book only.

I lead a charmed life. :D

My world has been so full of exciting events lately. On Friday, Mike Cho and I saw Vienna Teng perform at Le Poisson Rouge, as part of her international tour. She’s such a fantastic performer, and I rejoiced to hear her sing a number of my favourite songs, including as “Blue Caravan,” “Antebellum,” and “Stray Italian Greyhound.”

Before she went on, though, a band called Paper Raincoat and a solo performer, Ben Sollee, played a few numbers. After Paper Raincoat played their first song, I happened to glance to my left and realize I was standing one person away from Vienna herself! Between songs, I said hello and re-introduced myself.

We’d met in February, when she did a gig benefiting the Caffe Vivaldi. We had a mutual friend in Jenn Jackson, Jim Butcher’s agent, and the three of us spent quite a while chatting after her show. I gave her lessons in being evil and she gave me a hug. It was an awesome night. I’m amazed I never got around to blogging about it! Bad Cellie!

Anyway, she remembered me, and she greeted me with enthusiasm. We didn’t have time to say much then, as the Paper Raincoat’s next song started up, and I didn’t want to be disrespectful, but we got to chat briefly after the show again, at which time she signed my Book, “Always great to see you! :)” Mike took some great photos here, including two of Vienna and me together.

But the fun doesn’t stop there!

Sunday, Craig, Shecky, Sue, Sue’s mother, and I went to the Bronx Zoo on Sunday! It was Easter, so we had much of the zoo to ourselves. I took oodles of photographs, though my shutter finger was tempered somewhat by the fact no store in or near the zoo sold film, and I had to be conservative with what I had. It’s unbelievable how difficult it is to get film these days! I’m so grateful that my mom is lending/giving me her sexy digital camera, as she hasn’t used it in ages. It’s something like eight years old, but it was top of the line then, so it’s still a fantastic camera by today’s standards.

I think I got a handful of decent shots from our explorations, but I felt “off” photographically most of the day. Some recent feedback I received on my photos, raising a skeptical eyebrow at my attachment to my Lensbaby, struck a nerve. In reaction, I tried to take a mix of Lensbaby and traditional photos, but I ended up sabotaging myself, obsessively questioning every move I made instead of letting inspiration strike organically. I need to get over myself. Hopefully, I’ll have the few good shots ready for posting in the next couple days!

Anyway, photography aside, it was fabulous to spend time with the crew. Craig is also a big Dresden fan and Shecky is a fellow beta, so we spent part of lunch squeeing over Turn Coat. Afterward, Craig invited me to his family’s Easter dinner, a feast of Italian family proportions.

And that’s all I have to say about that!

Oooh! I accidentally bought the sweetened chocolate almond milk instead of the unsweetened! I like cutting down on sugar whenever possible, and the unsweetened is tasty enough, so the choice is obvious. But I do *prefer* the taste of the sweetened, so that was a pleasant surprise!

(Yes, this is the kind of drivel I’m compelled to share with others. Aren’t you glad you kept poking me to take blogging back up, Ko and Chungy? :D)

For Jo, and anyone else that was curious: The bizarre antiques store I visited yesterday was Billy’s Antiques, located at 76 E Houston.

For everyone not mentioned above, I shall legitimize this entry with cover art for the upcoming Middleman DVD (Fighting evil that distorts perspective and makes the heroes look like they’re on completely different ground planes, so you don’t have to!) and Really Geeky Political Cartoons.

Today was weird.

I mentioned in passing that one of my coworkers is doing a weekly photography workshop. I ended up submitting this image last week, which was not taken in my front yard.

Our assignment for next week is to take a picture that illustrates motion. I had to run an errand over at Houston and Broadway–an area of town stupidly close to me, but which I rarely ever get to–and afterward, I decided to prowl that area for potential shots.

The first place that caught my eye was a curios shop, which specializes in countless shiny odds and ends, subway signs, opera props, and bizarre statues and masks. I set up a number of shots of people reflected in mirrors among the odd bric-a-brac. One such shot featured the legs of a tall, slim man in black jeans and cowboy boots, who spontaneously walked into frame. Yay happy accidents! Then I looked up, and it was one of my coworkers! We stopped to chat and have a laugh about it, and he explained that he lives very nearby, and he stops in occasionally to see if there’s anything new and interesting to see. That’ll be a story to share with my fellow photographers!

My next stop was a basketball court, where a bunch of young guys had banded together an impromptu game. I must have watched them for 15 minutes, taking photo after photo, before the game ended. I smiled at the guys in greeting afterward, ready to explain my presence to any who asked, when suddenly I caught the eye of the son of one of my family’s oldest friends. We spent a few minutes catching up and generally boggling, then I was off once more.

I strolled around a little longer, then made my way back home, whereupon I got my first jury duty summons in the mail.

Yeah, today was weird.

Books I am currently in the middle of: (in the order they were started)

  1. The Vor Game, Lois McMaster Bujold
  2. The Sellsword, Cam Banks (a long-time friend of Jim Butcher–we palled around at Comic Con)
  3. The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell
  4. The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
  5. The Queen’s Bastard, C.E. Murphy

    and now

  6. More Information Than You Require, John Hodgman

Self control. I should look into it.

But why, you may ask, is my brain going in so many directions? Perhaps this is because I have done so many awesome things in the past month.

September 15: Attended the Audacity of Jokes Obama fundraiser. Among other notable comics were Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords, The Daily Show) and Jonathan Coulton.

September 29: The Mobile Pie Hole! Enjoyed free pie and Pushing Daisies swag in Times Square as ABC pimped the season premiere.

September 30: Kevin invited me to see Simon Pegg at Comix. I LOVE YOU, KEVIN!

October 1: Pushing Daisies premiere! I made delicious pies for my guests and wore a cute dress. Afterward, Kristen helped me hang the Serenity travel posters I’ve been meaning to hang for months. I also put up the Pushing Daisies dot I was given by a Mobile Pie Hole attendant. It’s about two feet wide, and it looks fabulous on the wall!

October 2: Bought Nation! Listened to audio book Thursday and Friday.

October 5: Toured the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons as a part of Open House New York.

October 8: Saw Sarah Vowell speak!

October 10: Long-time family friend Tex invited me to a performance art production, for which he composed the music. It was very bizarre, but it was great to see him and his family again!

October 12: Kristen and I went out for crepes, then she used me as a model for her painting of a psychotic queen. I’m still waiting to see those photos, Kristen! Later, Tex invited me to watch the Cowboys game, then I treated him to gelato.

October 15: Debate Night! And better, my beloved college roommate Ko spent the night!

October 16: Kevin and I went to the Obama campaign HQ to get training for phone banking, canvassing, and other forms of volunteering. W00t!

October 17: Invited more friends out for crepes! Crepecrepecrepecrepecrepe.

October 18: Planned to spend the weekend phone banking, but woke up on Saturday a nasty cold and couldn’t. Lamesauce, body.

October 20: Ko came to town again! She and I and one of our favourite college professors, Veronica, went to Vesselka for shenanigans and raspberry blintzes.

October 21: Saw John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton speak and perform, respectively, at Barnes and Noble. Fig. 1, Jonathan Coulton summons a great white whale through the sheer force of his awesomeness. Fig. 2, John Hodgman sees whut you did thar. Unfortunately, he does not see the great Brobdingnagian hand come to squish his head and filch a copy of his new book, More Information Than You Require.

Have I mentioned how much I love living in New York?

Happy Birthday, Renata and Terry!

This just went by my apartment. There was a steady flow of skateboarders going past for at least twenty minutes! Two thousand would be a conservative estimate. I love New York.

Some of you may have heard that PBS is revamping their much-beloved series, “The Electric Company.” It turns out they were filming a scene in the basketball court next to my apartment as I was walking to work this morning!

No, I didn’t see the Blue Beetle. :D


What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on

Western. Like Midland, Western is another accent that people consider neutral. So, you might not actually be from the Western half of the country, but you definitely sound like it.

And if you’re not from the West, you are probably one of the following:
(a) A Pittsburgher – the quiz can’t tell the difference;
(b) Someone from Canada (probably southern Ontario) who doesn’t have a Canadian accent;
(c) Someone from northern New England who doesn’t have a New England accent; or
(d) Someone from Texas or the Heartland who was born after 1980.
You are definitely not from New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Detroit, the Deep South, etc.

Take this quiz now – it’s easy!