Thursday, April 30, 2020

Evening Stroll During Lockdown

As far as places to be locked down, Burbank is pretty good. Less crowded that the city over the hill, and the weather was perfect throughout March and April.

Getting a bit on the warm side now, but it's still lovely at dawn and dusk. More photos here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

But Only the British Kind with a U

So this happened. Click to see the larger version, or you can go to the site. 

I am not sure what it's specifically about. Maybe for trying to get out assignments to people, spreading them out when a lot of people were suddenly out of work? Or maybe the digital material I'm overseeing side-by-side with a big event comic and a young readers graphic novel.

Or maybe just a slow news day.

Big Box Full of Crap

In Jersey City news, apparently Liberty Storage wants to close and turn into an 8-story hotel. It was only a matter of time--it's located directly adjacent to Liberty State Park.

This makes me wistful for an earlier time when I'd drop off Henry the 1990 Ford Taurus at Liberty Storage for 2-3 months, and he'd live next to the sailboats and RVs in their parking lot, while I'd live in Australia, Spain, Mexico, Kuwait, Uganda, Egypt, wherever. My car lived in the storage lot as often as it lived in front of my apartment.

I kept all my stuff in Liberty Storage for about four years.

After the first year, I should've just thrown in a match.

Here's a photo, but it's low-res as it's the only scan I have of a physical photo, which is...wait for a box at A-1 Storage in Jersey City.

Some people never learn.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Semi-Progess in Burbank

It took a global pandemic to get Burbank to automate its pedestrian walk signals. 

This is only temporary, of course, because this is car country.

I'm sure there will still be plenty of motorcycle cops out ticketing people jaywalking across alleys, though.

"Pedestrians in Burbank will no longer need to worry about pressing a button at traffic intersections to activate the walk signal as the city has automated the process in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Best That We Can Do

Here's a free concert. Kinda brief.

Longtime pal Steve B and I were going to see X at the Wiltern tonight for my birthday (which was a few days ago) but I guess we get to see this instead.

I always loved this band. I even spray-painted the cover to More Fun In the New World onto the back of a black denim jacket when I was a teenager. I only wore it a few times before giving it away though...broadcasting affinities makes me uncomfortable, even for awesome music.

Maskmaker Maskmaker Make Me A Mask

Look! It's my unsolicited opinion on face masks.

How exciting for us, surely.

The pleated kind and similar (like a cloth version of a surgical mask) are more comfortable than the bra-cup looking masks, but your glasses fog up. This isn't a problem if you don't wear glasses, but today I put on my sunglasses and they fogged up immediately.

The bra-cup ones are better for people with glasses, but they feel a bit more suffocate-y.

Both of the above are more comfortable then the N95 pro masks, the kind I've worn while tiling the floor or scraping something likely to include lead paint or toxic fumes.

I'm pretty sure the comfort is inversely proportional to the efficacy. Meaning...the more breezy the mask, the more pleasant it is to wear. The more you feel like you're going to hyperventilate from being unable to breathe normally, the more likely the mask is to be doing its job.

Of course, you might not want to take medical advice from a comic book editor. This is purely anecdotal.

At least the handmade ones look like a bit more fun. Here are a few I've been working on recently. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Before Photo

Remember back in February when I had the little pop-out bay window roof redone on my Jersey City house? And the drainage system down the house's side?

I'd been thinking about asking the roofing company if they are working during quarantine. Now seems like a great time to get the roof redone, when my tenants are in another state, and my house/cat-sitter could handle the work crews.

I know this isn't likely to happen, I thought. How would I get a construction permit? I idly went to the roofer's website to see if they were open. No indication. I clicked the Instagram link to see if that had more current info.

And found this. Oh, ha ha...oh no. My house is the cautionary tale on the roofing company's social media!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Best Birthday Pressie

March, 2017. Emerald City Comic Con.  Boss and I met up with Gene Luen Yang. This wasn't our first meeting with Gene—he was already writing comics for us. But I'd had great results with the DC Super Hero Girls series I'd been producing for a few years, and we were ready to expand.

"I have this idea," Gene said. "It's about Superman."

Boss and I leaned forward. Yes? 

"And he smashes the Klan. It's based on the old radio show."

We both approved his idea on the spot. Sure, we still had to run it through the P&L process, but neither of us ever had a single doubt, and as anticipated, neither did anyone else.

Three years in the making, and the bound preliminary copies showed up today on my doorstep during social distancing lockdown.

It's beautiful. Perfect.

I can't count the number of amazing books I've had the privilege to work on on one hand, but I can count them on two.

This is one of them.

Happy Earth Day 2020

Gonna wait until evening to dig into this pile of bounty. I'm conflicted about how to view today. Yes, it's my Earth Day, but I'm not 8 years old or 40, so it's not exactly a huge deal.

And I've certainly had my share of bad Earth Days, and this isn't one of those. I usually go home this time of year and have dinner with friends, but obviously I had to cancel my flight this time.

My most memorable this-is-odd Earth Day was during the last MariesWorldTour. I'll post that day's account in below, so we can all relive it together.

* * * * *

I woke up on the Endurance ferry (why would I worry about that name, NO REASON) from Calabar to Limbe just in time to catch the end of a rain shower outside and a Nollywood video inside.

Where was my passport? I was starting to get nervous. A man from the shipping company had taken my passport at the start of the journey and I'd figured it would show up eventually. Now I was getting worried.

We pulled into the Limbe port and anchored.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Whole New World

People protesting the stay-at-home orders should read some firsthand accounts by health workers. I have...and I'm ready to stay home until the governor of CA, the mayor of LA, Elizabeth Warren, my friends in NYC, Spain, and Italy, and my mom all tell me it's okay to go out again.

But it's not just about me not wanting to end up drowning in phlegm (alone, but that's just the icing on the goop when you think of drowning in phlegm). It's also about not adding to the dangers of exhausted people working in hospitals.

And yes, I'm statistically on the safer side of all this, but you know what, I didn't try to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro either. Because the thing about altitude sickness is you can't know if you get it until you've got it. And at that point, it's a little late to be going "Oh, hey, I didn't know I'd get altitude sickness."

Only the finest in mask fashion for my trip to the building dumpster.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Shopping Instincts

Cairo, 2007.

I sometimes wanted pancakes for breakfast back when I worked at Teshkeel’s Egypt office. Something familiar for Sunday mornings in Zamalek, a touch of home in a world where Sunday was the first day of the work week, where I’d have to get to the office in Dokki by 9.

I knew how to make Euro-pancakes, the flat kind you use as a crepe, or put in Bavarian pancake soup, but that’s not what I wanted then. I wanted fluffy IHOP-type pancakes, the kind that kept me from desperately wanting lunch at midday, when the only nearby lunch options were McD’s, a Moroccan place (I spent many long lunches there with colleagues), and BYO.

There was one problem with my IHOP-mimic recipe. One of the ingredients was baking soda. Bicarbonate of soda.

My local supermarket nearest my apartment didn’t seem to have it. Nor did the other supermarket, the one across from the hotel I’d stay in for four months later that same year.

So I set out on a quest across the supermarkets of Cairo. I went to the suburbs. To the mall. To the upscale and local markets. I knew how to do this—I’d traveled the world enough times, lived overseas in Berlin, Australia, Barcelona, Kuwait, Uganda, Cape Town, Namibia. When you want to make something that tastes like home, you have to visit multiple outlets just to make breakfast.

In the end, I made a lot of Euro-pancakes without baking soda. Then one day, bicarbonate of soda showed up at my local supermarket. The first one I’d visited in my quest for pancakes.

I snapped it up, even though suddenly it was everywhere, like a giant container full of baking soda had found its way through the Suez last night.

This was no different from my experiences around the world, or how I’d lived in Kampala in 2005, once scouring ShopRite and Woolworths and Game stores in my quest for sesame oil, which was nowhere until it was everywhere.

This is all a longwinded way of saying I think I know why I bought this today, even though I’m pretty sure we’ll be out of quarantine long before a single person with a bidet gets through 36 rolls.

I never did get through all that baking soda either, though I did use up the sesame oil.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good or Bad Friday?

I got into an argument at the supermarket today. Which isn't really how one expects to spend one's day when making a grocery list.

A raggedy-looking woman tried to cut because "I'm just buying cigarettes."

I jumped in before the person queued up in front of me could respond. (She looked taken aback, at least as much as I could tell since we're all in masks.)

"Get in line like everyone else."

"Oh, you're gonna be a bitch?"

"You're the bitch, you see all these people in line? You're gonna try to cut in front of them all waiting here?"

"It's just a pack of..."


By now people were turning around and staring.

"You've got a pro..."


She slinked away. Sigh of relief.

The woman in front of me turned around with a nervous laugh. "I'm so glad you said that!" The woman in the line next to us said "Me too! The other day someone tried to cut because they only had two things."

"I was scared," I admitted. "I'm glad that worked."

Then the woman in front of me told me "You are cool," so that's a win

 Good Friday indeed.

(Yes, I would've let her go ahead if she were buying flu medication or diapers, and I wouldn't have used the addiction line if she hadn't continued to push. I'm not completely heartless, just mostly.)

Thursday, April 09, 2020

The Dressmaker

I did some digging around online to see if I could fix my sewing machine. I got this for fifty bucks from a little sewing store that used to be on Magnolia, and that's probably the right price if you think of it as a dollar a year for the life of the machine.

The lightbulb wasn't just out—the little bulb was detached from the socket, which was wedged into the housing. My first inclination was to throw the whole thing away and order a new one, but then I realized I can barely lift the machine and probably couldn't get it into a dumpster by myself, and donating is out of the question right now. Everything is closed and will be closed for at least another month.

Finally, I just took the assembly apart. Oh. Easy-peasy.

A trip to CVS and a lightbulb later, the Dressmaker was back in business.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Short Commute

I got a new (used) Thunderbolt display, so now a swap of a Thunderbolt cable and I can commute from work (right) to personal (left).



Monday, April 06, 2020


The lightbulb went out on my sewing machine, and I'm not sure I'm going to get to make anymore of these, but here are my favorites.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Sew At Home

The mayor of LA has asked Angelenos to wear masks in public (we are already under mandatory stay-at-home rules, so this is additional).

Not to pretend these can stop us from getting C19, but in case we have it and are asymptomatic and are within 6 feet of someone else at the supermarket or post office, we won't accidentally sneeze on them.

I'm figuring out the mask thing. Still not very good at it, but I'm getting there.

Thursday, April 02, 2020


Here are the rules we are now living by in Los Angeles.