Two of my closest friends, Jon Chad and Greg Means both have brand new books that came out this month! Things have been so crazy around here, I haven't had a chance to properly plug these projects... until tonight!
Leo Geo and the Cosmic Crisis is Jon's follow-up to his 2012 book Leo Geo and His Miraculous Journey Through the Center of the Earth. Readers of Leo Geo 1 know that Jon loves to play with the possibilities of what a physical book can do, and Leo Geo 2 is no exception. If you flip the book over, it is also "Matt Data and the Cosmic Crisis." You can read the book from either end and they meet in the middle. Two stories in one!
Jon really went all out on this book. Unlike the first Leo Geo book, this one is in full color, which allows Jon to pack every single page with tons and tons of hilarious details. You can read this book over and over and you will constantly find new things that you missed on previous readings. If you have a kid in your life who loves detailed drawings, or science, you should definitely pick up this book for them. It would make a great Christmas present!
The Cute Girl Network would also make a good gift, but maybe more for an adult in your life. Greg co-wrote The Cute Girl Network with MK Reed and it was expertly drawn by Joe Flood. It's a romantic comedy about a girl named Jane who meets and likes this guy, Jack. But before she can date him, she has to get clearance from The Cute Girl Network, who put her in touch with many of his exes. The whole thing takes place in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, so it was extra fun for me to read. You can read the whole first chapter over on BoingBoing.net if you want to check out the beginning of this great story.
Both of these books were published by various arms of Macmillan Publishing, which is one of the "big five" so you should be able to find these books at your local book shop. If not, they should be available everywhere else too. I know I'm biased, because these guys are my friends, but I did genuinely enjoy these books, so I'm recommending them to you, Dear Readers.
Claire and I are heading up to Seattle this week, to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I will also be participating in the Short Run 2013 Festival on Friday and Saturday while I am in town, so hopefully I will see some of you there!
A few weeks before Claire and I decided to move from Vermont to Oakland, we flew out here to find an apartment. We only had five days to find a place, so we knew the apartment we settled on would work, but we would probably not be here forever.
After a little over a year of living here, there are a few things about our apartment that have started to drive us nuts: 1) It's pretty dark in here because there are only windows on one side of the apartment, and they all face North. 2) Outside those windows is a weird sort of parking lot/hangout zone for all the teens in our building. They are out there at all hours of the day and night, idling cars, revving motorcycle, boat and ATV motors, shooting pool, smoking weed, playing loud music, slamming the electronic gate that is attached to the side of our apartment, etc. etc. etc. 3) We get absolutely no cell phone reception in our apartment, which is very frustrating. We had to set up a weird workaround using Google Voice to be able to use our phone numbers through our computers, but we are still constantly missing important phone calls. It makes it very stressful to get packages delivered and stuff like that. 4) Someone broke into our mailbox, stole a credit card offer that was sent to Claire and filled it out with their own information. Luckily we caught the piece of mail when the cards arrived, but it was pretty scary coming that close to identity theft. People have also stolen cars out of our building's parking garage by being let in through the front gate. 5) There are about 80 units in our (huge) building, so everyone just kind of ignores each other and there is no real sense of community. People litter around the building and inside the building and there is a general lack of respect which rubs me the wrong way.
ANYWAY, last summer I was heading home to Seattle for the fourth of July weekend, which was right in the middle of the BART strike. I had to take a weird bus route to get to the airport and it went right through Alameda, which is a small island/city, just South of Oakland. There were tons of cute houses and the main street had a nice book store and a crazy toy store and lots of restaurants and shops and stuff. After my trip to Seattle, Claire and I went back to Alameda a few times and really enjoyed checking out all the parks and fun stuff there is to do out there. Did I mention they have Pinball Museum???
So for the last four months Claire has been hunting around on Craigslist for apartments in Alameda. Eventually one popped up that we like and that we can actually afford. It's the exact same size as our current apartment, but it's got windows on the South, East AND West walls! There are trees outside instead of a parking lot! Our mail will come through our front door and into the studio! We get four bars of cell phone reception inside the apartment! There are only eight units - we've met the neighbors - they're nice! Also there are hardwood floors and we are allowed to get a cat and/or a dog if we want!
So, we're moving. We have been making a lot of little trips using City Car Share but on Monday we're getting a Uhaul to move the big stuff (like my pinball machine...) We're both pretty excited about this move. Claire and I spend about 95% of our time inside our apartment because we work from home, so it'll be nice to have a quieter, brighter, less stressful place to live and work.
The other great thing about this new place is that it's only a 20 minute bus ride to get back to our old neighborhood in Oakland. I'll be back a few times a week at least because I'm keeping my Oakland P.O. Box. It also means we can still go hang out with our Oakland friends and go do all of the fun stuff that we love to do in Oakland, like seeing old movies at the Paramount Theatre or walking around Lake Merritt.
This move is inconveniently overlapping with the home stretch of my giant illustration project which is due on November 15th. I have been pretty stressed out lately, but compared with some of the other things I've had to deal with this year, it's not so bad. Right now I'm looking forward to November 16th, when I'll have a bit more time on my hands to enjoy my new surroundings. Hopefully it will be a LONG time before Claire and I move again! I would love to turn 40 in this new apartment.
Well, the Basewood Kickstarter finished strong, raising 214% of its original goal. September was a very internet-heavy month for me, as I tried to promote the Kickstarter on twitter and facebook, etc. etc. etc. Honestly, I'm a little burned out. Luckily I have been drawing a lot, which helps balance out all of this "screen time."
Last week I finished penciling my big, top-secret illustration project that I have been working on since this summer. Inking for this project will go much faster than the penciling, so that has freed up a tiny slice of my schedule, which I'm using to start penciling Weezer Fan: Part Three (see above). The illustration project should be wrapped up by the end of November, at which point I'll be able to devote myself full time to finishing off that issue. I'm hoping to send it out to the Phase 7 Subscribers in early 2014.
SPX was wonderful, as usual. Thanks to everyone who swung by and said hello. I'll be tabling at the Alternative Press Expo this upcoming weekend (October 12-13) along with Claire who will have some of her plush toys along with the full line of Fluff Engine pattern/instruction booklets, as well as the new issue of her Terrible Movie Nights zine, and Greg who will have all kinds of cool stuff from Tugboat Press. We'll all be at table 604. If you're in the San Francisco area, swing on by! There should be plenty of cool stuff to check out.
Okay, I think that's it? Back to the drawing board!