Yesterday I was having a bad day. It was one of those crappy days at work that we all have sometimes, where everything goes wrong. Nothing was going my way.
After a meeting in which I presented myself like a sloth on Vicodin, I shuffled back to my desk, feeling like an idiot. A few minutes later, I checked my email and saw about 10 messages from people who tagged me on their posts and comments on Facebook. That's the kind of thing that happens on your birthday but it wasn't my birthday. Turns out George Takei shared one of my cartoons Facebook.
For those who may not know, George Takei is best known for having played Lieutenant Sulu on Star Trek. He's also known for his good sense of humor. He occasionally sits in on the Howard Stern show, cracking jokes and laughing at himself. Bottom line, George is cool -- and he has 3.1 million followers on Facebook, so I was stoked that he shared my cartoon.
I want to thank George Takei and my Facebook friends for turning a bad day into a good one. If you like this Santa on Facebook cartoon and want it as a greeting card, you can buy some here.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy Festivus!
Today is my birthday. For math nerds and people who like to Google stuff: the year I was born is the 38th through 41st digits of pi.
I had to Google the pi thing because I only know pi up to 15 digits. In my freshman year in high school, I made this utterly dorky, useless goal to memorize pi up to 100 digits. I must’ve thought I’d impress my classmates by being able to casually rattle off dozens of pi digits. I had the first 30 down cold but somewhere along the line I lost interest. Instead, I ended up memorizing other things, like Steven Wright one-liners and commercial jingles.
Did I mention I never had any girlfriends in high school?
Anyway, it's my birthday and I’m 41 years old. I don’t care about turning 41, probably because I don’t feel like that age. I’m not sure what age I feel but it’s not 41. On a bad day, I feel like I’m in my late 30s. On a good day or when I’m drunk, I feel about 25. And if someone tells a fart joke, I feel 11 because I end up chuckling like a 6th grader. In general, I feel younger than I am. I think I feel this way, in part, because I spend most of my waking hours around people who were born during the Coolidge Administration.
My day job involves working with older adults. When you regularly talk to people who are in their 80s and 90s, you can’t help but feel young—a lot younger than you really are. When I visit the retirement community next door to my office and run up the stairs, I often hear comments like, “My goodness, you are fast!” and “Look at the kid go!”
To be called “kid” at 40 is ridiculous but it’s also kind of fun, along the lines of being carded when you buy alcohol. You know it’s a sham—they don’t really think you’re all that young—but you somehow let yourself be flattered by it anyway.
Since I’ve been around people 40-50 years my senior for the past several years, I feel like I’ve been living in a bubble. Generally speaking, I’ve always felt young. But that recently came to an end. The bubble popped.
This past weekend, my wife, daughter and I went to Lake Tahoe. One of my wife’s friends (her former coworker, Libby) was celebrating her birthday. Every year, she rents a condo in Tahoe for the week of her birthday and invites people to come celebrate with her. This year, Libby’s nephew and a few of his friends (who are all in their early 20s) were in attendance. All of us had fun swimming in the lake, joking around, drinking, watching the Olympics, talking politics, etc.
One morning, Libby cooked a huge breakfast and, when we were finished, I thought I’d get off my lazy butt and wash the dishes. A little bit later, I heard Libby’s 23-year-old nephew, Pat, say to her, “I guess we’d better do the dishes.”
Libby replied, “No, Scott just finished them. They’re all done.”
Then I heard Pat yell, “Thanks, surrogate dad!”
At first, I thought, Dad? How old does this guy think I am?
Then it hit me: I really am old enough to be this guy’s dad. This dude I had been treating as a peer could, in theory, be my kid. I suddenly felt old. Ancient. And it just got worse when I talked Pat’s friend, Matt, about Rowan Atkinson’s hilarious skit in the opening ceremony of the Olympics. When I started talking about how I love the movie “Chariots of Fire,” Matt’s eyes glazed over. I said, “Have you seen Chariots of Fire?”
“I’ve heard of it,” Matt replied. “I think my mom told me about it. Isn't it pretty old?” I might as well have been talking about flappers or rumble seats.
Later, Pat started raving about The Dark Knight Rises. Pat is a huge fan of Batman, he loved the latest movie, and was pretty shocked when I told him that I hadn’t seen it.
“But you’ve seen the other movies in the trilogy, right?” he asked.
Before I could say “No” someone jumped in with a comment about something else, which was good because I think Pat’s head would’ve exploded. Eventually, Pat got back to talking about Batman and I got back to feeling old.
“The Dark Knight trilogy is so awesome,” Pat said to me. “You know how your generation was really into the original Star Wars trilogy? The Dark Knight trilogy is like my generation’s Star Wars.”
I had the urge to reply, “Star Wars should be your Star Wars! Go wash your mouth out with soap!” But I held back.
It was a strange feeling to be the “old guy,” but it’s okay. I embrace it. As the cliché goes, age is just a number. Like pi.
Or 1981. The year Chariots of Fire came out. Which was….31 years ago.
Man, that makes me feel old.
EDIT: I saw Chariots of Fire the other day - the first time I've seen it in about 20 years. I was wrong. The movie sucks.
It’s been interesting to see the various reactions people have to the above cartoon. Some find it funny, some find it unfunny, others find it both unfunny AND sacrilegious. I received an email letting me know that “ALL PRAYERS ARE IMPORTANT!” Another person emailed, informing me that “God answers ALL prayers, even if He doesn’t directly answer them.” (The subtext of both emails seemed to be: “You’re an idiot” and/or “You’re going to Hell.”)
I think this cartoon is quite tame but I guess any time you draw God you risk people being offended. These people would’ve flipped out over the first two drafts of this cartoon. Before I came up with the final version, I had two other 'takes.' And they’re really bad. Want to see how bad? Okay, get ready for some lameness!
Version 1 – Jesus helping his Dad with Faithbook
This is the first version I mocked up. I thought it would be funny to do a spin on the theme of a child helping out their “clueless” parent with the computer.
There are two things wrong with this version:
1. It shows God needing help with something. God doesn’t need help with anything. He’s God. He’s all-knowing. It's not a good idea to show God needing assistance.
2. Having two “serious” prayers in a cartoon just isn’t funny. Especially that first prayer. What a downer.
So I realized it had to be God on the computer by himself, then came up with another version, which I’m a little embarrassed to post.
Version 2 – Annoyed God on Faithbook
After the caffeine high wore off, I realized what’s wrong with this idea:
1. God comes off like a sarcastic jerk. He also looks bored, as if he’s tired of people’s prayers.
2. The comment God is making is a take-off of “Bitch, please.” (I know…it’s awful. It seemed funny when I was hopped up on coffee.)
After much thought, I came up with the final version which was meant to portray God as a cool, caring dude who knows his way around his Faithbook features. (It was also a lot of fun to come up with Debbie Pefferton’s prayers.)
Well, that’s it for the peek behind the scenes. Now you know how much thought and concern goes into some cartoons. Scary, huh?
A couple weeks ago, I had an emergency appendectomy. My physician and surgeon at Kaiser—Dr. Ruth Holly and Dr. Jennifer Plunkett respectively—were both great and my experience in the hospital was about as pleasant as it could be.
Once I started feeling better, I drew a cartoon and emailed it to Dr. Holly and Dr. Plunkett as a “thank you.” (They saved my life and I thanked them with a silly cartoon. Well, it’s better than nothing.)
Here it is:
Yesterday I had my phone follow-up appointment with Dr. Plunkett, the surgeon. During the conversation, she told me she loves the cartoon and showed it to several of her colleagues. She said, "Now it's on my office door." That made my day.
At the end of the phone call, Dr. Plunkett jokingly said, “I hope you never need to see me again.” I hope not, too. But if I do, I know I’ll be in good hands.
A friend of mine, Bob Williard, recently suggested a cartoon idea. I usually don’t draw other people’s ideas but I decided to quickly sketch this one out, just for fun. Here it is:
Two bowls of Oatmeal who have kids that are cookies - it raises a few questions:
Are these cookies from a previous marriage? Did they adopt these cookies? Or, God forbid, did Mrs. Oatmeal have a torrid affair with this guy and Mr. Oatmeal is totally clueless?
Whatever the situation is, they seem to be raisin’ them well.
It’s been more than a month since I posted a new carton and yesterday I got an email that said, “How come you haven’t posted any new stuff lately?” That was the entire email. The person didn’t even leave their name so I didn’t bother replying. Despite kind of implying that I’m one of these, the guy (I’m assuming it was a guy) did have a valid question so I’ll respond here.
Where are the new cartoons? What the heck have I been up to?
I haven’t had much drawing time lately because I’ve been pretty busy. Life stuff. But I’m always thinking of cartoon ideas and I’ve been filling up the ol’ drawing pad with various sketches and jokes—some decent, some bad, some really bad. There were a few jokes I was unsure about so I showed them to my wife (her reactions were mainly eye-rolling and/or head-shaking). I have a general rule: if you have to ask someone “Is this funny?” it’s usually not funny.
The rare exception to that rule happened recently. Several months ago, I sketched out an idea which turned out to be this cartoon:
The idea made me chuckle at first but I wasn’t sure about it. I had second thoughts. So I showed it to my wife, who said, “I don’t get it but I really like the dragons. They’re cute.” The idea ended up staying in my sketchbook for weeks because I thought it was too “niche” and possibly too wordy…basically I just wasn’t sure if it was worth spending the time to finish.
One day, I decided to draw it and posted it on Facebook. I figured if it was a flop, at least I’d be satisfied about the drawing. To my surprise, people liked it a lot. And to my utter surprise, it ended up going viral. Over the past few weeks, thousands of people have shared it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest.
This made me realize two things: 1. My judgment is crap sometimes and 2. A heck of a lot of people out there play D & D, used to play D & D, and also seem to like nerdy dragons.
I want to thank those who’ve shared this cartoon. Power to the dragon nerds!
As for new stuff….it’s coming next week.
One of my favorite Christmas songs is "Merry Christmas from the Family" by Robert Earl Keen (whoever posted the YouTube video below misspelled his last name). I discovered this song a couple years ago and it quickly became one of my favorites of the holiday season. I love this song almost as much as I love Christmas classics like, "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)," "Silent Night," and "Jingle Bells."
Here’s how Wikipedia sums it up:
"Merry Christmas from the Family" describes the Christmas gathering of a fairly dysfunctional Texas family whose merrymaking—which includes drinking alcohol, carving a turkey, watching a televised ball game and smoking cigarettes—seems to be punctuated with Christmas music and the need to run to convenience stores for additional supplies such as fake snow.
"Merry Christmas from the Family" is pure genius. Take a listen and enjoy the excellent video.
I hope you had a very merry Christmas. And Happy New Year!
The Daily Mail reports that, according to the UK Government, Scooby Doo is the healthiest cartoon. Researchers spent 200 hours watching top children's television shows to determine which characters were the most active. Scooby Doo topped the list because, well, they run around a lot.
Rounding out the Top 5 are: 2. Shaun the Sheep (never heard of it) 3. LazyTown (doesn’t sound very healthy to me), 4. Peppa Pig (never heard of it) and 5. Bob The Builder (“healthy,” but unwatchable)
Enough about the healthy cartoons. Here’s a list of The Five Least Healthy Cartoons:
1. Extremely Fat Albert
2. SpongeBob StretchPants
3. Super Fat Friends
4. Dora the Porker
5. Angelina Size Fifteena
Quinoa is a popular item in health food stores across the country. Every day, people are choosing to incorporate this heart-healthy food into their diets. As a public service, I'd like to share 10 things I think you should know about quinoa.
Ten Facts and Tips About Quinoa
1. Many people think quinoa is a grain, but it’s actually the seed of a plant that’s closely related to chard. These amino acid-rich seeds are not only very nutritious, but also super disgusting!
2. “Quinoa” contains the word “no,” which is what everyone says when asked if they want seconds.
3. If you eat one cup of quinoa (one serving), you will:
* consume 220 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of protein.
* want to take back all the bad things you said about couscous.
4. The word “quinoa” comes from the French words “qui" meaning "who" and "noa" meaning “really likes this crap?”
5. If you’re in a fancy restaurant and want to order their highly acclaimed quinoa dish, be sure to pronounce it correctly: keen-wah. Actually, it doesn’t matter—you’ll never find yourself in that situation.
6. Quinoa’s Official Slogan: “Just for the taste of it! Okay, just for the health benefits.”
7. The Incas considered quinoa a sacred food and referred to it as the “mother seed.” They valued quinoa as much as gold. Oh, did I mention that the Incas also sacrificed young children?
8. Nobody in the history of the world has ever uttered the phrase, “May I have that fantastic quinoa recipe?”
9. Quinoa cooks very easily, in 15 minutes, the same time it takes to bake a delicious pepperoni pizza. Just saying.
10. Quinoa by itself tastes rather bland. You may want to add some olive oil or butter, which will make it taste only slightly less shitty.
I recently took my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Kate, to Trader Joe’s. She likes coming along on shopping trips because she really enjoys looking at people. But she especially likes going to Trader Joe’s because the cashiers give out stickers to kids.
Most little kids like stickers. Kate loves stickers. It’s almost an unhealthy obsession. The only thing she likes even more than stickers is balloons. One time, my wife bought her a sheet of stickers that were all balloons and Kate’s head almost exploded.
Along with giving out stickers, Trader Joe’s also has this game they do for little kids. Every day, they hide this stuffed donkey toy somewhere in the store. If a kid spots the donkey, they tell the cashier where it is. Then they get a piece of candy.
As we got in the car, I said to Kate: “Remember the game at the store? When you look for the toy donkey?”
She replied with an emphatic “Yes!”
Fifteen minutes later, we’re in the store walking around. At one point, I looked down at Kate in the cart and noticed that her head was moving slooooowly from left to right. The look on her face was deadly serious.
“What’re you doing?” I said.
“Looking for the donkey,” she said, in almost a whisper. Then she continued to scan the store, like a robot.
I had forgotten about the donkey game.
“Okay, good job,” I said. “Keep looking.”
About ten minutes later, I was grabbing gallon of milk and almost dropped it when Kate yelled “THERE IT IS!”
She found the donkey – but I couldn’t see it.
She said, “There!”
“In the refrigerator?”
“No, no! Up THERE!”
The donkey was perched about four feet above the milk section, on a little ledge.
“Good job,” I said.
The entire time Kate was looking for the donkey---a good 20 minutes---she had the demeanor of a Secret Service agent, searching for a lone gunman in a crowd. (I know you’re here, donkey…you can run, but you can’t hide.)
I’m pretty sure that if I had played this game at her age, I would’ve had the laser-like focus Kate had…..for about a minute. (Look for the donkey…look for the donkey…look for the—oooh, ice cream!)
Right after Kate found the donkey, she was beaming. I looked down at her and thought: You got this skill from your mother. Both Kate and my wife are highly observant people. Me, not so much. I can’t count how many times my wife and I have had a conversation like this:
Me: “I really like this new lamp.”
Her: “I bought it six months ago.”
As I was driving home from the store, I was thinking about how much Kate is like her mom. Then suddenly I heard Kate’s voice from the back seat.
I turned down the radio.
“Poo poo!” she said, followed by a huge belly laugh—which totally cracked me up.
I guess the kid is a little like me too.