Active Blather: December 2003

December 31, 2003
I really need to post something here, but I'm getting tired so I'll be brief.

 Christmas was good around these parts though practically everyone was either suffering from a cold or recovering from one. Thanks to everyone who sent me a card or gave me a present. I really appreciate your kindness!

This past Saturday I helped Nick move into his new home. That was the first time I ever helped anyone move and I felt very productive after doing so. It made me want to pack up all my stuff and move to a new place. Perhaps one day.

Monday night I had dinner with my friends, the Reeses and the Kaehrs. The food was good, the conversation was lively, and the card game we played (Phase Ten) nearly cost us our stamina and our endurance. Thanks to Gerald and Carolynn Reese for inviting  me over (The chicken was great, Carolynn!)!

It's now New Year's Eve day. I have no plans whatsoever for tonight. I'll probably be at home, either watching too much TV or spending too much time on the computer. Hopefully you, dear reader, will have a more lively and entertaining evening. Happy New Year!

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Amanda!

December 25, 2003
Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2003
I think I'm done with my Christmas shopping. There may be one more thing to grab tomorrow, but nothing major. It really doesn't feel like I bought many gifts this year, but my receipts may argue otherwise. I have wrapping to do in the morning. I used to enjoy wrapping presents, but my enthusiasm has waned over the last few years.

Some good news for my friend Nick Grove. Nick finally closed on his new house today and is a homeowner for the second time! Nick really went through a lot of trouble getting his new homestead so I hope his misadventures in the turbulent world of real estate is officially over. Congratulations again, Nick, and thanks for the Christmas present!

 December 18, 2003
I'm determined to write something in this space. Of course, my mind is telling me to put off updating until tomorrow, but that's a trick. My mind can be so lazy sometimes.

A scene from 2003's Christmas card

I haven't been properly maintaining this blot on the worldwide web for the last few weeks and I'm going to blame that on the Christmas comic/card that I just finished (Sample panel lurking up above). I'm currently sending those freshly printed puppies off to various friends and family. I have forgotten how big a chore it is getting Christmas cards out and about. The last time I sent Christmas cards was in 2000, I think. This year's effort turned out pretty well though. If some reason I forgot to send you one and you would like to check it out, drop me a line with your address and I'll send one your way! 

Something cool happened at the company's Christmas party last week. As in years past, an employee talent contest was held and I participated. For my act, I sung Roger Miller's "Kansas City Star" with the amazing Deb Schaal accompanying me on the piano and we were a success! We really got a great response from our fellow co-workers and, for our efforts, we received fifty dollars each. Sadly, my fifty dollars was quickly spent, but the memory still lingers.
December 10, 2003
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder so do ya miss me?

Mid-Ohio-Con 2003

On November 29, Tim, Bill McIntosh, and I jumped into Tim's trusty Taurus and headed off to the Mid-Ohio-Con in Columbus, Ohio! After braving the icy streets of early morning Muncie and Hardee's sausage biscuits, we were soon racing down the Ohio interstate with enthusiasm and anticipation.

The drive to Columbus was wonderfully uneventful and we made the trip in good time. However, once in Columbus, I came to the sudden conclusion that the directions I printed out (via MapQuest) were slightly incorrect. To my horror, I realized I didn't accurately type in the address for the Hilton where the convention was being held. Thanks to my error, we ended up on a deserted back road that featured weeds to the left and to the right, but no hotel in sight. We were lost.

While I felt more than slightly humiliated, Tim drove about and soon found directions to the Hilton by going into an office building and asking for some assistance from a cute secretary. After turning left and left again and then right, we were soon at our destination. Hallelujah!

After parking in a parking garage that featured free parking and Christmas music on every level, we trekked a block and entered the Hilton. A line for tickets awaited us in the hotel's lobby. As we stood, I took in my surroundings and found this particular Hilton to be fairly high class. With its elegant interiors and well dressed staff, I realized it would cost some serious change to stay there.

As I pondered how the bellmen must feel when carrying in long, white boxes stuffed with comic books, the line quickly evaporated and we were admitted into the con. My goal for the Mid-Ohio-Con was to concentrate on meeting cartoonists from the small press crowd and picking up their books, So while I headed for the artists' alley, Tim and Bill went into the dealer's room in search for HeroClix figures and obscure dvds.

Working through the bustling crowd, I soon found where the artists were and I searched about for the ones I wanted to meet.
I think I saw Pam Bliss first and I went to her table to buy her most recent offerings. For those who don't know, Pam Bliss is a well-known minicomic cartoonist who's work I have enjoyed for the past couple of years. Her comics have a charm that I greatly admire. 

Sitting a table away from Pam Bliss was Matt Feazell of Cynicalman fame. Mr. Feazell is another legendary name in small press circles, known for his stick figure characters and for being a very funny cartoonist. I have been following his work off and on for years so I happily bought a bundle of his books.

Across from Matt Feazell was Scott Roberts, another artist who's work I have come to love and admire. Mr. Roberts is the man behind Patty Cake, a comic featuring the manic childhood adventures of Patty-Cake Bakerman and her friends (and foes). I knew Scott Roberts was going to be there so I brought a couple issues of Patty Cake with me for him to sign. Fortunately for me, he gladly did.

After spending some money and walking about in the extremely warm hotel, I caught up with Tim and Bill. We decided to grab some grub for lunch. After wandering about the neighboring shops and restaurants of Easton Town Center, we decided to go to Johnny Rockets. Fashioned after a '50s diner, Johnny Rockets was a lot of fun. It's a way cool version of Steak 'n Shake and I'm glad we eat there.

Soon we joined the crowds back at the convention. Tim took off to see a Kill Bill panel featuring David Carradine, Bill decided to hunt for some autographs, and I was back shopping about for whatever caught my eye. I did pause long enough in my purchasing to get an autograph from writer Tony Isabella. I have been a frequent visitor to Mr. Isabella's website for the last few years so it was nice to meet him in person.

One of the ironic things I have noticed about comic book conventions is that they provide a great workout with all the walking that is required. After just four or five hours, I was exhausted and so was my wallet. Meeting up with Tim and Bill again, we gave the dealer's room one last visit and then we decided to pack it in.

As we drove back home, I think we all concluded the convention was a blast. We surveyed our new found bounty and we were pleased. Bill added to his HeroClix collection, Tim finally found the infamous Fantastic Four bootleg, and I had a pile of comics sitting on my lap, just waiting to be read. I don't know if we'll all return to Mid-Ohio next year or not, but the thought is pretty tempting. 

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