Sunday, July 20, 2014


I've been working the last seven weeks. A lot.

But less than usual. Just...different. Because I'm back working in an office now. My last regular job ended about 14 months ago, when Kraiger and I shut down the New York office of our Kuwaiti company. And at that point, it was just me in the office anyway. Kraiger had left at the end of April, and I was the last staffer standing.

I've worked in plenty of offices, which is why I knew to cut myself slack in the start. I'd be tired, I knew. And boy, was I. The mere act of commuting, sitting in a room and going to meetings, then coming home wore me out.

But I always work a lot. I write books, which is a huge job, but also a solitary job. Mostly. I love writing the Marvel Art of books, because I get to Skype with all kinds of interesting artists and filmmakers, but mostly, I sit alone by the window in front of my computer. That's how books get written.

And now I'm back in an office, at DC Comics until January, when I'll switch back to Art of. The plan was originally for a position less intense, but the job evolved within the first few hours, and now I'm overseeing a project of massive scope.

Which means I work late a lot and I spend a lot of time wondering what happened to all my energy.

I've been eating a lot of broccoli and sweet potatoes and blueberries...things I think are good for me under this circumstance, and I've been getting plenty of sleep. But when I needed to decompress, I found I couldn't.

So I've taken up pottery, which is a ton of fun (though I am dreadful at it). And tonight, I sewed my first bag in a year. The straps are too wide and too long, so I'll have to go to Pacific Trimmings and get more webbing, but the bag itself came out nicely. Making stuff is so fun.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Urban Nature Hike

I've been wanting to go wandering in the Erie Cut (aka Bergen Arches area) for years now, but my friend Kraiger keeps sternly ordering me not to go into this semi-wild area alone. You just don't know what's back there. But he's been too busy to go with me. What could be more important?

Last night, my neighbor Denise and I were out wandering around after going to the Polish festival, and we passed a hole in the fence that runs beneath the ramp from Exit 14C—the ramp that feeds the NJ Turnpike to the Holland Tunnel. This part of the fence has been there as long as I remember, but the part near the former home of the Jersey City giant cat is new.

"Let's go in," Denise said. "Two middle-aged women in sandals. We're terrifying to any muggers."

In we went, tripping over the gravel along the railroad tracks.

"Is that a rat or a groundhog?" Denise asked, pointing ahead at a mammal crossing the railroad tracks.

"It's not a rat," I answered. "Maybe a raccoon."

We stopped, then. The black tunnel up ahead was a bit too intimidating.

 We'll have to try again—with flashlights, Kraiger, and appropriate hiking shoes.

"From 1906-10, the Erie Railroad Company drove 5,000 feet through Palisades rock, from Palisade Avenue on the east, to Tonnele Avenue on the west, in order to bring passenger service to the Jersey City waterfront. The "Erie Cut," as much as 85-feet deep, was punctuated by the Bergen Arches, a series of concrete bridges that supported cross streets overhead. Today the site has returned to nature, with moss and vines covering the bridges and cliff face. It is a serene, pastoral world apart from the busy avenues that cross it."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Freelance vs Office

Cheery thought for the day.

Choose Your Own Adventure:

If you can tolerate the desperation of returning to the place you just left to run around in a hamster wheel while looking forward to sleeping late on the weekend, go to work.

If you choose the pressure of never knowing if you'll have cash for rent or food while you have a bit of dignity, go to freelance.

Both paths lead to obscurity, eventual illness, and death, so choose carefully.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Trip Planning Part II

I got a response! I think I actually managed to ask a question in Bulgarian. It looks like I have a reservation on the 10:30 minibus from Bucharest to Ruse on August 9.


I'm looking forward to my trip. I am working a day job at DC Comics from now until January, and while I spend a lot of time desperate for sleep, it's pretty fun. But I still want my vacation.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Trip Planning

I had big plans to spend the summer in Paris, until a temporary editor job poked its head in. But I'm still going to a convention in the UK in August, and taking a normal-human two-week holiday after that.

I'm flying from Heathrow to Budapest, then using trains and buses from there into Romania, finishing up in Bulgaria before flying home via Barcelona.

Here are a few stumbling blocks.

-I arrive early in the morning in Sighisoara, Romania. I'm torn between moving on to Brasov in late afternoon (reasoning I'll have had quite enough Sighisoara by midday and be most keenly interested in napping, and I could use that window of time to sit on the train or bus instead of upending the whole next morning after spending the evening vegging out in a hotel. If I'm just vegging out from exhaustion anyway, shouldn't I do that in the next city instead of wasting the next morning in transit?

-Do I want to spend an afternoon and evening in Bucharest, or two nights in Veliko Tarnovo instead? I have the option of just staying on the train after Brasov and getting more travel done at once, and the border crossing otherwise involves one of these: 1) a 25 euro taxi ride between border cities 2) a late train which wastes the whole day or 3) possibly a shuttle at 10:30, but it's hard to find info so I've e-mailed the operator.

I wonder what I really wrote. Here's what Google Translate gave me.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dystopian Dalmatians

Why did no one tell me there was a book about knights riding giant dalmatians?

Plus, the same book starts with the tidbit that there is an emperor of Weehawken.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Getting Centered

Look what I made in pottery class last night!

You have no idea how surprising this is to me. I suck at pottery. I can't even center right. But I have a temporary day job for a while, and I knew going in how jobs can take over your life if you aren't careful, so I signed up for something to make me leave work once in a while. At least on Thursday evenings.

Last week, I managed to center, but the best I could do was two cylinders. This time I made things I might actually end up firing.

Of course, I could still destroy them in the trimming stage. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hooked On A Great-Looking Book (Ooga-chaka)

Every once in a while, for fleeting moments, I think I have the best jobs in the world.

My long-suffering editors got this to press yesterday. It's an amazing book. I can't wait to see it in print.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Creepy Crawly

I want to shower but this...this thing is in my bathtub.

Could be worse, I guess. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Iron Man Audio Book

It freaks me out to listen to this. The voices are all different in my head, and they all sound like me.

Meanwhile, Stuart actually won an award for GraphicAudio's interpretation of Civil War.