No Directions

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I done made a one-page comic. Click on the image above to see it full size.
Or, if you're in some sort of RSS netherworld, click here.

De ja vu

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This banner picture and layout looks awfully familiar. I can't put my finger on who, but I think this freshly Dugg site may be ripping off one of you lot.

Shaggy Blog Stories

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I get the impression that readers here, while the numbers have dropped from days of yore*, are a fair mix between the US and the UK, with a delicious sprinkling of The Rest Of The World.

So that means that half of you won't know what Red Nose Day is, which means you won't know why Mike and his team took a whole book from conception to publication IN A WEEK.

And here are your answers:

Red Nose Day is a fundraising day in the UK which uses comedy, comedians and members of the public doing silly things to raise money for people living in poverty in Africa and the disadvantaged in communities in the UK.

Which means that Mike et al received submissions, skimmed off the cream, formatted, proofread, created cover art and all of the rest of the work required to take a bunch of words written by the best writers in British blogging and make them into a single piece of literary genius...IN SEVEN DAYS.

Are you impressed?
You should be.
Are you curious?
You should be?
Do you want a copy?
You should buy one.


*Ah, yore, how we miss thee

Resolution

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On any person who desires such queer prizes, New York will bestow the gift of loneliness, and the gift of privacy. The capacity to give such curious gifts is a mysterious quality of New York. It can destroy an individual or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.

E.B. White - Here Is New York

It's the people. There are so goddamned many of them that you can pretend they aren't there, and on public transport, that's what most people do. But there are those who stand out for any number of reasons. And for those who take time to think, even briefly, about them, there are always unanswered questions.

A homeless guy and his smell take up a whole subway carriage. The stench burns your nostrils and causes unwitting passengers to run into neighbouring carriages at the very next stop. How long has it been since he washed? Is he ill?
Who knows?

A woman's outfit is unusual enough to make you wonder if there's a kind of colourblindness where not only the distinction between red and green is blurred, but also the difference between blue and yellow, orange and pink, purple and brown, trousers and feral cats. What is she doing? Is it a statement? Intentional? Or not caring?

Or like the guy on my train yesterday, people can just act weird.

I was on the 4/5 uptown, stopped at Fulton Street. There had been a train just before the one I was on, so it was mostly empty. I was reading. Rapid footfalls got louder and louder and a man in a black suit with wildly messed-up bedhead-style hair fell into the carriage as the doors closed. He stumbled a little, so everyone else in the car looked up, then feigned indifference - de rigeur subway behaviour. The guy sat down opposite me. He seemed incredibly agitated, sitting forward in his seat with his elbows on his knees, wringing his hands, sitting back, sitting forward, checking his watch...over and over again.

So, as with everyone who stands out from the crowd, I asked myself, "What's his hurry? Why was he so desperate to run all the way along the platform into this carriage? Is he on the run? What happened to his hair?" and twenty seconds later I went back to my book. New York leads to a short curiosity-attention span.

By the time we reached 59th Street and Lex, where I transfer to the Queens train, it was twenty minutes later, and the guy was pacing back and forth in front of the doors. When they opened, off he ran again, bounding up the steps that were directly in front of that set of doors. Ah, I thought, idly, that's why he ran along the platform. He was way ahead of the crowd, and I lost sight of him.

There was some sort of delay on the N/W/R line, so I stood on the platform and peered down the tunnel with the rest, reading and watching a rat between the rails. By the time the train arrived there was a huge crowd, and the train was crammed full. At Queensboro Plaza, the first stop in Queens, the conductor announced that the train was going express - meaning we would skip the next four stations.

Off we went, and ten minutes of slow rolling later everyone was disgorged at Astoria Boulevard.

Krissa had a girls' night out last night and I was planning some quality GTA time, so my first port of call was the deli on the corner under the subway station. I picked up a few cans of beer and made my way to the checkout, where someone with a frantic voice was talking loudly.

"Do they come in a smaller box?!" said the wild-haired suit from the train.
"No, no smaller." said the cashier.
"And they're five dollars?"
"Five dollar fifty."
"Are you sure you don't have like, a little packet?"
"No, sorry."
The guy rummaged in his pockets really urgently, dropping a couple of receipts in the process but not caring. He looked up in hope.
"Do you take credit cards? You take credit cards, right?"

I edged around him, startled that it was the same guy.
The cashier stood with that classic posture of newsagent sales staff everywhere; hand on something someone wants, tilting it slightly forward on the shelf but not actually lifting it until they see the money.

It was a box of Imodium.

And so my questions were answered.

Nuggets

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So I survived the long week, which I'm sure everyone will agree is good news.

I just finished reading John le Carre's The Honourable Schoolboy, and have picked up another spy novel (There seem to be a lot of them around the house. Can't think why.) - Len Deighton's 'Berlin Game', made all the more enjoyable because I can visualize parts of the city as they're mentioned because of my ludicrously intense weekend there last year.

I'm listening to a lot of Regina Spektor, who has a gorgeous, very playful, voice. The world needs more album covers with the artists chugging alcoholic beverages, in my opinion. I've also been paying some serious aural attention to a great slightly-insane-loungey- jazz-electronica type group called De-Phazz that I discovered more or less by accident on a Russian website that hosts a lot of music, and I would direct you to it, but one of these days it's going to get its ass sued off seven ways to Thursday, and I'd rather not leave a trail. Ahem.
Email me if you'd like to know the URL of my Russian friends, but meanwhile, here's a De-Phazz snippet courtesy of the almost reputable last.fm:

Hell, now we've started, let's have some more musical teasey-bits, but don't blame me if all this here audio gizmos cause your browser to fall over, or if they all stop working in five minutes' time. It's the internets. Nothing is certain here.
Here's the aforementioned Miss Spektor:

Also, unless you've been hanging out under a dirty old tarp down by the river you will have heard of KT Tunstall by now, but here's 30 seconds of the girl doing her thing:

And as always, I have my Amon Tobin axe to grind, so here's a bit of Chocolate Lovely, from the album Supermodified:

So ner.

What with being hella busy in the last week (I think I had a relaxed moment where I breathed at 7.23pm on Tuesday, but that's about it) I haven't done much drawing, but I'm itching to get back to it. My policy of buying random $1 comics from the surplus bin at the Comic Shop near my office has resulted in a casualty - rather than impassively buying odd books for interesting art styles, I've gotten interested in one in particular, something I really wanted to avoid, because that shit gets expensive. But still, for better or worse I'm really into one called Powers and I have three $1 back issues so far, which are all about one issue apart. It's very gritty. I like.

Krissa and I went up to see her parents this weekend, which was as always awesome and a welcome respite from the hecticness.

What else?
Erm...I just bought Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories on the PS2 and seeing as Krissa's got a girly night out tomorrow night I shall be spending some time on that...

Any questions?
No, seriously. Ask me anything.

-Hard hat with lamp, check.
-Heavy gloves, check.
-Sensible boots, check.
-Anorak, check.
-Telescopic pickaxe, check.
-Small packet of pencils (for taking notes), check.
-Large yellow plastic gas detection device, with amusing 'Canary Death' alert tone, check.
-Accompanying moth-eaten wizard, in case of unexpected creatures from a former age, check.

Right, well, seems I'm all set. I'm going underground for five days or so.
Metaphorically. This will be a heavy week at work.

You could keep an eye on my Twitter for rants, timechecks and general moaning, though.

See you on the other side.

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