And that's it! You want the backstory?

About a year ago I was looking for something to help give me a creative kickstart. I'd been more than a little infatuated with graphic novels for awhile -- reading Flight my last semester of design school made my head explode (in a good way). That said, I'd always hesitated at making my own comics. There were a myriad of excuses: I didn't understand the format, my storytelling experience was minimal, I lacked the time and I was, to be brutally honest, terrified to try (and fail) at a new form of art.

My workaround was this: a diary comic would allow me to try sequential art in a small, bite-sized way. Also, by pulling material from my day to day life, the storytelling aspect would be a bit easier. Finally, by making the whole crazy thing a New Year's Resolution, the ensuing guilt would eat me alive if I didn't finish. If you think I'm lying about this, I should probably explain that I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about overdue book library fines.

So I dove in head first January of 2011. Was every entry perfect? Nope. In fact, I look at quite a few now and wince, thinking how differently I'd tackle things. But each week I finished a comic and in the process learned more than I could have imagined, had a whole ton of fun and did something that a year ago wasn't even on my radar. And besides the artistic side of things, I also learned to look differently at life. Like John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." I didn't win the Powerball this year or learn Cantonese or take up hang gliding. Instead I spent the year worrying about the zombie apocalypse, eating glitter cookies, obsessing over life-sized plastic dinosaurs and and attempting to find humor and goodness in the little things. And as a I read back through this comic, I think I like life best that way.

And some thank you's -- I owe Erik Evensen BIG TIME for his advice about diary comics. Erik kept a way awesome daily comic a few years back, so he had some great pointers. And when I tweeted early on about my trouble coming up with material, John Lechner made the excellent observation that hopes and dreams are as much a part of daily life as actions. Also, thank you to friends and family who lended their faces, feedback and foibles to this comic. You guys all rock, for reals.

So, thanks for reading and commenting and letting me test the comic waters. I'm hooked, without a doubt. Happy 2012!

(for now)

I'm visiting family for the holidays, but hauled along my tablet and laptop because I am way too deep into this now to flake. Also, next year I'm bringing the Manhattan telephone book to sit on.

Okay, one more to go!

To be completely frank, I have absolutely no desire to know what this says about my subconscious. Not even a little.

This probably takes me up to about 950 cups of coffee so far. Give or take.
"Alien" has never really creeped me out that much; I think I now know why. Also, I should probably specify that this was more a case of my parents going to see "Alien" with me in tow (sleeping), not them thinking, "Hey, I bet the baby wants to see Sigourney Weaver kick intergalactic behind!"

And sorry about the lack of punctuality with these comics. Life's been busy as of late and finding random snippets of time is taking MacGyver-like levels of creativity. Also, occasionally I do like to sleep.

To err is human...

I'm ashamed to admit this, but in complete honesty, the free pizza really was the tipping point.

Quite frankly, if I never hear another thing about a particular Hollywood socialite's failed marriage, it will be too soon.

In light of that, the elderly couple sitting near me at the library was a poignant reminder of what love really looks like. The wife appeared to have had a stroke (based on her speech and movements) and the endless patience her husband possessed was incredibly moving. And since they'll never make the cover of a national magazine anytime soon, here's their 15 minutes.

If the shoe vest fits, wear it. That said, I'm not planning on sporting any Hello Kitty threads anytime soon.

The thoughts that keep me awake at night. Wide awake.

Friday night I went to see Andrew Bird play at the Capitol Center. When he began "Tables and Chairs," I may have started hyperventilating in the mezzanine, because that's my favorite song in the entire universe.

Also, I had the pleasure of attending said concert with the terrifically talented Pixels and Pulp team -- if you're not familiar with their work, get a move on over here.

If you're within driving distance, the Children's Book Illustrator show at the University of New England is phenomenal. And if you're in the vicinity, you might as well swing over to the Big Sky Bread Company because they make apple turnovers that are kind of awesome.

I just totaled up the weeks left in the year; only 12 to go! Also, I should probably figure out just how many cups of coffee I've drank up until this point.

I wish I could take credit for the "Abigail, Belle of Kilronan" remark above, but someone actually asked me that years ago. Since I typically get asked, "Abbie, like 'Dear Abby'?" the random Magnetic Fields reference was a welcome departure.

We also argued about a Winnebago nightlight, but I'll spare you the details on that one.

Spiderman has a certain ring to it, don't you think?

How awesome would it be to operate with the reckless (and yet simultaneously accurate) certitude of a migratory bird? Sign me up for that bit of evolutionary development.

Anyone got a spare male sibling that they'd be willing to part with?

Guilty as charged.

Two Things:

1) If you haven't seen it, here's the trailer for "The Tree of Life."

2) In reference to the awesomeness of dinosaurs, I took this picture in O'Hare a few years back. I almost missed my flight. But I got a flippin' sweet Brachiosaurus pic.

Even Batman occasionally has to retire to the Batcave.
I wasn't sure that kid was old enough to drive. Oy.

Yesterday was trash pickup and before taking the garbage out, I randomly decided to go through the bag. After a gag-inducing 15 minutes, I found the ring at the bottom of the bag.

I have one more comic ready to go for, let's say, Friday-ish if the stars aline. At which point, I'll be caught up and won't have to hang my head in New Year's Resolution Failure Induced Shame any longer. Yes.


My family is the only family I know that gives each other Exederin for Christmas.

And despite having an Irish surname, I really do have Mayflower street cred. I just wish it was via someone with a better grasp on business ethics...

The best part about that trip (aside from nice people, beautiful weather, salt water and tasty onion rings? NOT GETTING A SUNBURN! When over 75% of your ethnic makeup comes from the British Isles, this is no small feat and was greatly aided by 50 SPF sunscreen. Also, in retrospect, that wave wasn't really that big. But it sure felt like it.

So the way I figure it, I have a week or two to make up and then should be all caught up. After that, I'm hoping to shake things up a bit. I'm a little over the half-way mark here and feel I've got a rhythm down, basic plan of action, etc., etc. That said, I don't really feel like I've pushed this comic artistically or thematically as much as I could, so that's where I see there being room for improvement in the second half of '11. Stay tuned.

I am s-l-o-w-l-y catching up here now that work has quieted down, so expect (gasp) another comic by the end of the week, fingers crossed.

The second I reached for the broom, I realized this embarrassing bit of domesticity would require comic documentation. Regrettably, though, Fitz and the Tantrums were not available to help me belt out the refrain to "Moneygrabber." Which is too bad, because I had a swiffer (as well as a broom) on hand...

Sometimes when my head's overloaded by life, I think of computers and binary and external hard drives and it all feels so computational. A reboot would be just the ticket, but since that's not feasible, I instead sit on park benches and listen to music and try to halt the nonstop flow of data. And gradually, incrementally, you find if not a cessation, at least a slowing.

(An aside, it wasn't until I finished this that I thought of "Masterfade" and its mention of a sky "full of zeroes and ones," but seeing as I like that song a whole, whole lot, it seems serendipitous).
All the warnings I had about "Up" being sad were right. And then some.

Sometimes I think I solve half the world's problems just pounding the pavement.

Yes, this is behind schedule, but I figure I'm too far invested in this darn thing to abandon ship.

Thursday night I was ready to set the bookcase on fire after an unsuccessful hour spent trying to figure it out. This short-term disenfranchisement was compounded by 90% of my worldly belongings being still in boxes, extreme exhaustion and a diet consisting mostly of frosted mini wheats and coffee. Friday, however, I got out the hammer and started wailing on the thing and apparently that was just what the doctor ordered. I also ate something other than cereal and bought flowers. So, go me.

Change is inevitable. And good. But that never makes it any easier.

Nature and I aren't BFF's. Also, trying to sand about three dozen pale colored bugs off of a white mirror is not for the faint of heart (or the poor of eyesight).

I bruise like it's my job, so the doctor sent me in for some blood tests.* I've never had blood drawn: that was an experience and a half. And if you really want to hear what I was listening to, here's an audio clip. Surreal doesn't even begin to describe it.

*I got a clean bill of health yesterday, so me and this blog aren't going away any time soon. And I promise that's the last time I reference vampires. Ever.

An ode to my once favoritest show in the universe, which has rendered me incapable of hearing "Tiny Dancer" without thinking of the song stylings of Michael Gary Scott.

And while we're talking about, "The Office," I was emailed a snapshot of a certain cast member's high school yearbook entry (which proves the whole six degrees of separation theory). I'm not going to say who or how*, but let's just say it left me feeling infinitely better about my own tragic adolescent photos.

*Well.... Unless you're promising me pints of Ben & Jerry's. Then, maybe, we can chat.
I'd originally had a different story in mind this week, but a family emergency popped up. Everything's fine now, but it felt glib to do the initial idea. This got me thinking about just how open do you really want to be with a diary comic? I'm an extreme introvert, so this has been a challenging project, both artistically and personally. I'm still trying to discover that balance between showing enough to be human (confessing my Rick Grimes crush) while keeping a certain amount of personal space (not telling you what size jeans I actually bought).

And yes, I like the new Avril Lavigne single. I don't care if that undermines every Pitchfork approved playlist in my possession. Sometimes I even sing along to it in the car.

It's possible to put a man on the moon, but try to find a pair of pants that fit and that's a whole other story.

I didn't have many photographs to use as reference for this, but I do have one of my mother's grandparents. Randomly, as senior citizens one year they decided they didn't feel like passing out Halloween candy, so grabbed bed sheets and went door to door trick or treating as ghosts.

Now THAT is the kind of awesome DNA I can only hope to have inherited.

Sunday morning there was a speed trap a town over from me. I figured that was it and I was just going to admit I was an idiot once I got pulled over for an expired registration. Officer Friendly, however, failed to notice my March stickers and didn't stop me. Phew.

And yes, first thing Monday I went in and became a law abiding citizen again.

It is April 1st and it is snowing. Blergh.

Also, I have nothing personal against Nina Totenberg, it's just she's not a "RISE AND SHINE!" kind of voice. Cue Carl Kasell.

While in the past an exchange like this would have wigged me out, I now know to recognize it for what it is: comic material.

To be completely honest, though, I'd rather be referred to as, "The Girl With Killer Ninja Moves."

Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, or in my case, 50%. And no, in the end I couldn't bring myself to eat a boiled dinner. But I did have a pint of Guinness, so Éire go Brách and all that good stuff.
I gave up coffee for Lent and it is every bit as agonizing as I imagined. A lifetime of caffeine consumption (my mother drank coffee while expecting me)*, has left me ill prepared to deal with the absence of my favorite beverage in the whole entire world. April 24 can not come soon enough...

*Okay, only a cup a day and a small cup at that. But still, I never really had a fighting chance...

I took a long weekend and went to visit my sister in Los Angeles. I knew the trip would mean lots of comic material, but narrowing it down to one thing would be the tough part. Getting stuck in Hollywood hours before the Oscars? My obsession with Yogurtland? Our constant arguments about if the weather was "cold"?

I finally settled on a detour we made to visit the Bradbury Building. I am a colossal fan of the sadly cancelled television program, "Pushing Daisies," portions of which were filmed at that location. Em, however, is not much of a fan of the show. Despite this, she navigated one way streets, a ridiculous parking situation and a film crew to appease this nerd. And, she did it all while wearing stilettos. This is reason #479 why she is really, really awesome.

So thanks sis. And if you could airmail me a mango frozen yogurt with gummy bears, that would be swell.
With this comic diary, I decided early on that I wanted to try to stay as true to life as possible. In the day to day there's plenty of humor, but there's also bills and parking tickets and influenza and all other sorts of things that chip away at you.

But things are what you make of them, right? Anyhow, that's what I was shooting for this week. That said, don't even start me about student loan interest rates...
Sketching this one I kept thinking, "You're really going to admit that you're a grown woman purchasing glittery heart cookies for herself?" The answer to that being, "Yup." It was kind of cathartic to tell the truth.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I actually do want to see that Justin Bieber movie. Purely for sociological reasons of course...

Skyping with my sister last week, we ended up discussing the dangers of exposing toddlers to indie music. Maybe they should slap some warning labels on that stuff? Also, if you haven't experienced Dr. Stringz, here's the video. He's a staple in my babysitting repertoire.

I wasn't sure I'd manage to churn a comic out this week, but that's where being an individual who gets by on very little sleep comes in handy.

To recap, Neko Case live is stupendous, her guitar really does have only four tuning pegs and Duckfat in Portland makes french fries that I am head over heals in love with.

Okay, now back to shoveling and shaking my fist at Mother Nature. I am over Winter in a big way.

This week, my overactive sense of guilt and lack of criminal street cred get center stage.