Wednesday, October 29, 2008

24 Hour Comic Day -- The Movie

Yes, they filmed us. If you want to get a great idea of what the event was like -- and hear some odd interview questions get lethargic answers from sleepy contestants including yours truly, then click the links, if you dare:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Thanks to Shawn and Daniel for creating the videos!

Monday, October 20, 2008

24 Hour Comic On-Line

Okay, I'm planning on adding some more information (I also need to do a post here recapping everything), but for those of you who can't wait, my 24-hour comic is posted now, right here:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Declare Victory!

Just finished the final page and checked through all 24. Overall, I'm pretty happy. I stayed awake all night, and I succeeded. The comic is pretty lame looking, but I'm okay with that -- I'll get better in time for next year.

I won't have the comic online until tomorrow at the earliest; I may not have time to get it online until next weekend. But I'll let you know.

Ryan is just finishing up his (far superior) 24 hour comic. I'm going to stick around and read his once he's done -- then it is off to my hotel for some sleep!


Yes I am still here. 20 pages down, 4 to go, slightly more than 5 hours in which to finish. So I'm feeling good about making it. I'm also feeling like I wish I was a more capable artist. Lots of times I wanted to draw something, but just had no idea how.

Looks like Ryan and I are the only ones still in the running to actually meet the challenge. DJ was keeping up, but he just gave up and went home. Daniel is still here, but he was never on pace to get 24 pages done. There are people who are putting out high quality (like Daniel), and people putting out high quantity (like me). Ryan is the only one doing both. But Ryan makes his living as a comic book artist, so.... whaddaya expect.

Anyway, I just ran out to Starbucks to caffeine up for the final 5 hours. Gotta go drink my quad-venti now.

Everyone Else

I was going to try to do a blog post on all the other folks doing this with me. But, Sean who runs Spazdog has already done that on his blog, so I will just point you there.

Four AM

Four a.m.

I made a couple really simple pages, so I have 18 down, 6 to go. I need to take a break.

I am 10 to 20 years older than everyone else here. I'm too old for this. Whine whine whine.

Actually, I'm still having fun. I may not be coherent though.

Am I making sense? Or snese? or nsene olfjc nsdl sdfljeia ??

This Is Where It Gets Crazy

2:30 a.m. Fifteen pages done. My thumb is killing me. My back isn't real happy either. But I'm not tired and I'm not about to give up.

Aha Break

One in the morning. Fourteen pages done (and the latest is my best yet, I think). Things are getting a bit silly now, while a pile of geeks high on energy drinks. We just took a break to watch this video, and to roll on the floor laughing.

By the way, my wrist is doing fine. It's my thumb that is killing me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Half Way Point

Just finished my twelfth page. There is a TV tuned to SNL that is trying to distract me now. But I'm going to try to press on.

Going to take a quick walk.... stretch my legs...

Pizza Break!

Page 9 not quite finished when the pizza arrived. We've lost a couple guys already. A couple others are being waaaay too detailed and won't possibly finish 24 pages (some are still on page 1 or 2). But I think four or five of us still have a shot.

Momentarily Ahead of the Game

Just finished page 8 -- 45 minutes ahead of the pace. But there will be pizza at 8, so I need to not get cocky... I should try to finish one more page before the pizza gets here.

Out of Ideas...

Hey, we're a quarter of the way through! Six pages in six hours. Six straight hours of drawing is the most I've ever done before (and that was years ago...) So now we are heading into unexplored territory....

My wrist is holding up and I'm reasonably happy with the drawings... But now I'm out of ideas.... Must think... Need more caffeine...


Five hours (almost) gone. Five pages done. I was half an hour behind, now I'm all caught up. Even had time to take a break and get my picture taken with the Red Bull Girls.

Yeah, I kinda cheated. You'll see when it all goes online....

The Earlier You Fall Behind...

The longer you have to catch up....

3 pages done... 15 minutes behind...

Two O'Clock

Two pages done... Just barely... don't bother me now!!!!!

First Page Done!

Okay, I guess I'm on track so far. I think everyone else's stuff looks better than mine, but hey, I'm the only one with a finished page. I'm pacing myself....

Five Minutes...

Really, really regretting forgetting the camera now. There are about 5 of us here now, and everyone else looks like comic artists. Most brought computers and everyone's trying to find a place to plug in. One guy as an enormous tower, not a laptop.

Ooh, I've got butterflies...

Spaz Dog

Well, here I am already ensconced at Spazzdog Comics -- an entire hour early. I wanted to make sure I could find the place and I overcompensated.

They say that about a dozen folks will be participating here!! That's a lot more than I expected. At the moment I'm the only one here. Excepting of course the good folks who run the place.

Aside from forgetting to bring my camera, I also forgot to bring a book I bought about how to draw cartoon animals. I'll just have to get by... Good news is that they have electricity and wi-fi here, so I will be able to check in on the blog from time to time, and search for images on the internet when I need a model.

So... I guess I'll look around at the comics and help myself to a free Bawls energy drink (Bawls is the sponsor of 24 hour comics day).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Glenn Dale

Well, just about 14 hours until the start of the big challenge. I have arrived safely at my hotel in Glendale (actually, I think the hotel is just over the border in Phoenix, but the challenge will take place in Glendale).

I'm going to try to stay up kinda late tonight so I don't wake up too early tomorrow. Might go back out and scope out the area, figuring out where I'm going tomorrow, where the nearby 7-11s and Starbucks are, etc.

When rushing out the door, I forgot my camera, so I won't have any photos to post. Dang.

My good friend Steve (readers of my other blog might remember Steve) is one of a couple people I'm still in touch with who could remember my drawings from 30 years ago. He has taken a look at my practice page and allowed as how the style looks familiar but he has seen me do better.

Well... yeah... I'm a bit rusty. But anyway, the challenge isn't to create something good in 24 hours, just to create something 24 pages long in 24 hours. There's definitely some tension there. If I create 23 pages of the best work I've ever done in my life; I lose. If I create 24 pages of useless drivel, I win. Of course, I am hoping to create something good. Good things can happen fast. As I understand it, Grapes of Wrath was written in six weeks. It could almost have been a NaNoWriMo. So there you go.

Anyway, keep your expectations low enough, and I might just surpass them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Unleashing My Inner Cartoonist

Well, less than 48 hours to the start of the Big Event. I've been practicing some more and I think I've got a good feel for what I can do at a 45-minute-per-page creation rate.

Two worries: Will my ideas hold out, and will my wrist hold out?

I'm resurrecting an art-and-humor style that I developed back in High School, along with my good friend Chris Peterson. We drew extremely odd cartoons that we called Foodles. We had about four or five hard core fans who could not wait to see our next creation. Pretty much everyone else who saw the Foodles just stared blankly and wondered if we might need counseling or rehab.

I've got a couple more practice pages in various states of doneness; doubtful that I'll post them before the Big Event. I'm leaving for Glendale tomorrow after running (i.e. sometime around 7pm); I'll see how much blogging I can do during the contest. Hopefully they'll let me set up my laptop and they'll have wi-fi so I can check in from time to time. If not, I'll at least check in from the hotel before and after.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

One-Hour Comic

Wow, I finally found an uninterrupted hour! I used it to practice doing one page of a 24-hour comic. This may or may not end up being similar to a page that I'll actually use in the contest. I need to be careful not to get too far ahead of myself.

This page actually took me about 70 minutes from trying-to-think-of-what-to-draw to finished-with-the-inking, so I need to either simplify or figure out how to draw faster (or think up ideas faster).

Anyway, the page is here to give you an idea of what I can do:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Col-Erase Non-Photo Blue Pencil -- is that too much to ask?

I'm feeling pretty good about the 24 hour comic... I'm feeling good about being able to come up with stuff to say, and I'm feeling good about reawakening my drawing skills after years of dormancy.

I still want to start by making sure I can do a one-page comic -- conceived, laid out, penciled and inked -- in one hour (with plenty of time to spare -- I will need to take breaks after all!) I really need to get a handle on just how much detail I can go into. I don't want to get overambitious. I've looked at a few samples out there on the interwebs and mostly they don't try to get complex.

For the seven-day-roguelike, I knew I was right where I belonged -- I can hold my own against pretty much any programmer. For the triathlon, I knew I was way out of my league, I'm not a real athlete by any stretch. I'm interested to see what it is like being in a room full of comic artists. Do I count as a real artist, or just a real programmer pretending to be an artist?

Today I bought art supplies. I have plenty of paper, a battery-powered pencil sharpener, a couple magic rub erasers, 3 black Tombow N-15 acid-free pen/brushes...

But I searched 3 places -- Michael's, Office Max, and Aaron Brothers -- for Col-Erase Non-Photo Blue pencils... No luck! I ended up buying a few Prismacolor non-photo-blue pencils, but they just aren't quite right. I need my Col-Erase! I finally ordered 4 dozen of them online. Meanwhile, we'll see if I can get by using the prismacolor just for practice...sigh.

We artists are quite temperamental.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Quick Update

Okay, I'm going to do the 24-hour comic event in Glendale, AZ at SpazDog Comics
I've already emailed and heard back from them.
Caleb will be joining me, doing his own 24-hour comic!

And I've done some sketching just to make sure I remember how to do it. I am, in the spirit of the contest, trying not to think too much about what the story will be -- I'm supposed to make it up only after I arrive. However, I do want to at least come up with characters in advance so I know I can draw them consistently. So I'm working on that.

And, I am planning on doing a couple practice pages -- see how much detail I can put into a page and still get all the penciling done in a half-hour, which should leave me enough time for inking and occasional breaks.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

24 Hour Comic Looms Anew!

Oh, look. A year has almost gone by since I skipped last year's 24-hour comic day. And here I have the opportunity to do it again. And, this year (unlike last) there is a venue rye cheer in Arizona where I could go draw -- a mere 140 miles away in Glendale.

Or, there is a location in Rancho Cucamonga. Farther away (by 400 or so miles), but right near my brother and my folks.

Or, I could just do the thing at home.

Anyway, maybe I'm going to do it this year. I'm not promising anything, but there's nothing particular standing in my way this time. Better nail down my plans -- the whole thing is just over 3 weeks away.

Let me see -- where did I put my pencil....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tri Ouch

Well, this is sobering.

They have started posting the results. The overall scores are out, but not the individual events.

Not only did I come in dead-last for my age group (45-49), but the guy who came in second-to-last beat me by over 15 minutes. Ouch. I was also slower than everyone in the 50-54, 55-59, 65-69 and 70-99 age groups.

I did beat the times of two 25-29 year-olds, but their numbers are so far off that I can only assume they had flat tires or some other catastrophe.

So, why do I care? Why did I do this? Obviously not to win. If I met my own goals, should I care that my score looks pathetic, out there for all the world to see? No, I shouldn't care. I didn't think I would care. In theory, I did this for 3 reasons (in no particular order) -- 1. fun way to get myself in overall better health, 2. to knock something off my "bucket list", and 3. to have a fun time with good friends. All of which I accomplished successfully, so why do I care that my score is so "bad"?

I care. It feels humiliating. It feels like it would be better to not race at all than to put up such pathetic numbers. It's not a rational feeling but it is real.

So, how do I react to this?
a. "I guess triathlon is just not right for me. I should find something else to do with my time"
b. "Oooh, now I'm motivated! I'm going to get a swim coach and a better bike and train twice as hard, and I swear next time I will put up respectable numbers"
c. "Hey, I'll just keep doing triathlons and if I keep coming in last, who cares? As long as I'm having fun, my times don't matter!"
d. "I am a sad, pathetic worm, and I will crawl into my room and never show my face outside again"

Wouldn't it be great if I was the kind of guy who could answer (c) and not even struggle with it? Being so much at peace with myself would be a greater triumph than any triathlon win anyhow. But I'm not there; not yet.

Looks like I need more training.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tri Oomph

Well, here I am at the end of a very long and mostly happy weekend.

I was awake this morning at 4:00 a.m. I was loading up bikes before 5. At 6:33, I was wading into 74-degree water in Tempe Town lake with about 50 other 40-somethings in dark blue bathing caps. The race was on!

I expected, correctly, that the swim would be my worst event -- hardest, slowest, and least pleasant. There were 3 buoys out in the lake and we had to swim a triangle around them. Most of the rest of my wave was far ahead of me by the time I was about half way (200M). At that point, the next wave, 30-35-year-olds in red swim caps, were suddenly surrounding me. Soon most of them were past me as well, along with a few from the next wave after them. Still, I'm pretty sure I was not the last blue-cap out of the water. And I never had to stop and grab a rescue buoy.

I made it out of the water and trotted into the transition area. It took me a while to get my jersey and shoes on and get on my bike.

I am becoming famous for having exactly the wrong equipment for the sport I'm trying to accomplish (next up: a tennis racket at a softball game?) In this case, it was my mountain bike (actually my son's mountain bike) amongst a sea of racing bikes. It was two times around a 10K course that somehow seemed to be uphill all the time. But I made it through, didn't crash, didn't stop.

The run would be, relatively speaking, the easy part. I actually passed some people while running, something that never happened once in the swim or bike. With the early start, the temperature had been reasonable through the bike ride, and even the first two miles of the run. By the last mile, though, I could really feel the heat.

Everybody's age was written in marker on their calf. So I knew the age of everyone who passed me. The last person to come flying past me at the end of the race was 67 years old. Humiliating and inspiring all at the same time.

So my goals for this, my first tri, were to finish the race, not stopping during any event and never walking during the run. As a bonus, I would have loved a total time of under 2 hours. I met all my major goals, and I was only a couple of minutes over 2 hours, so I'm very happy about the whole thing.

I don't know if I'll do another one, though. I really don't like the swimming. If I keep doing these, I'll definitely need to get an appropriate bike.

Well, there's one thing to check off my bucket list!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tri-al Run

Nine days until the triathlon.

Yesterday was the first time we did a full practice run-through. There are four or five of us training together (depending on the week), though only three of us will be competing in this upcoming triathlon.

Our normal routine has been to meet together after work on Mondays and Fridays at Reid Park to swim and then run; we had talked about biking together at other times, but logistically we never worked anything out. I managed to do some biking on my own, but really not much, so I was pretty concerned about that aspect.

Yesterday, we all met at Mike's house at 5:30 pm. We were in the water at the community pool a little after 6. I think swimming is my weakest event. Everyone else had finished 400 meters before I got to 350. Since only Mike knew the whole course, we agreed to wait for the slowest (generally me) so no one would get lost.

It probably took 15 minutes after getting out of the pool before we were on our bikes and rolling. The others all have racing bikes; I have a mountain bike that I am borrowing from my son. I've already spent several hundred bucks on this triathlon, and I can't justify buying a whole new bike just for one race. Nonetheless, I did much better at biking than I expected, I was not too far behind the others. At a few points, I was even ahead of Melissa and Joy. This was the first time since training began that I did a full 20K bike ride.

The transition from biking to running was the hardest. This was new for me; we'd always just gone from swimming to running. My thighs were angry with me within a minute of starting the run. But I pushed through it and after a half mile or so my muscles adjusted. I was able to finish the run without having to walk any of it, and Joy and I came in just a couple minutes behind Mike and Melissa. I was amazed to find out that less than two hours had gone by since we got in the pool!

Also, once I caught my breath, I didn't feel at all tired (that would come the next day). I think I finally experienced that "runners high" that they talk about.

We all headed to Texas Roadhouse for a celebration dinner. This week we are taking it easy, and eating lots of carbs, as we get ready for the big race.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Nike on the Other Hand Seems Indifferent

Oh, look, it's May.

The triathlon is in May. May 18, less than three weeks away.

The training has been basically going well, except for the biking. I just haven't found time to get biking in. I've done a few 3 mile rides and a 6 mile ride, but the bike part of the tri will be 12 miles, so I really need to get with it. 12 miles tomorrow, I promise.

The swimming and running has been going fine. I've been training every Monday and Friday with my triathlon buddies.

The very best part of the training is the camaraderie. It's really the main reason I'm doing this at all -- I enjoy the company of my fellow triathletes. Being in good shape is a great fringe benefit.

My friends are all younger, stronger, and faster than I am, which is okay because they seem happy enough to put up with the old slow guy. But they also all appear to be possessed of a competitive spirit that I think I lack. I'm wondering if it's something one is born with or something one develops. If it is the latter, I'm wondering if it's something I ought to be working on.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Tri Again

Well, this year's seven day roguelike is coming up soon. Or maybe it already started. I have been very bad and haven't even checked. I know I can't participate this time around.

But, I am hoping to do a regular old sprint triathlon in Tempe in May. 400M swim, 12 mile bike ride and 5K run.

Today was my first training day: a 650M swim followed by a 3 mile run. I actually did pretty good for an old guy.