Friday, June 30, 2006

I don't know...

I wish I didn't feel so out-of-place. It's like I belong to a parallel dimension.

The past week, I've felt pretty low. No reason at all; I'd wake up each day and my body would say, "where the fuck do you think you're going?"

The very nice girl has deftly sidestepped my invitation to dinner. If she's read my navel-gazing moral quandary/flirting with others post, I certainly can't blame her.

NEWS FLASH:

I'm a dumb fuck, who's also fucked up.

My life could use a few retcon punches.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'm So Ronery


*sighhhhhh* a rittre ronery...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

One Year Later

Note: This has nothing to do with the DC Comics storyline.

This blog is one year old. How to celebrate?

I know! A quick bitchfest about how public transportation can suck:

While at Queensboro Plaza this afternoon on the Manhattan-bound N, an older (late 30s/early 40s, I guess) obese fellow boarded the train, dragging his wheeled luggage behind him. His sweatpants were tucked into his shoes. The pants were soiled from the ankles up to mid-shins.

The gentleman must have gone swimming in the sewer recently because he was RANCID. Upon realizing that there wasn't an available seat, he threw down his luggage in my direction, and let out a "FUCK!" followed by a quiet stream of obsceneties.

The thought of getting up to correct his behavior quickly and violently crossed my mind, just before the stench overcame me, and survival instincts kicked in. Everyone within 10 feet got up and moved to one end of the car or the other. We were in the middle. I was ready to throw up as the train dove underground.

Moving to the next car was not an option: the doors were locked.

Not soon enough did we enter the next station. I RAN to the next car, and pittied anyone who entered the other.

At Times Square, the situation was much, MUCH less revolting. The downtown 1 train lacked air conditioning. It's amazing how quickly they turn into ovens.

Monday, June 19, 2006

It's funny...

When I first got my wonderful apartment in Astoria, one of my roommates shared my last name. We're not even close to related; it's purely a coincidence. Even though she's moved out, we still get mail for "The Brady Family."

Friday, June 16, 2006

So what's been going on?

It's been a whle since I've posted, so now that I have a half hour or so to breathe (and skip the gym for the third week in a row - dammit), let me fill you in on the past three weeks.

A quick breakdown: great news for others, good news for me, further good news for me, sad news for me, great news for everyone x2, great news for me, and then the depressing contemplation and moral quandary.

Oh, if the text is bold, it's a link. CLEEEEEEEEK!

Sean Peter Hogan was born a few Tuesdays ago to a very happy Francis & Mickey. The whole family is coming down on the 24th for the baptism.

(I have to update their family crest!)

About three weeks back, I went out to see X3 on a Friday night (it was Memorial Day weekend) with a bunch of other interweb comic nerds. A very nice girl sat down next to me and asked me to entertain her while we waited the half hour before the movie started. I pointed out to her that I work nights, was having difficulty sleeping, and just finished up a less-than-ideal day at work; I might not have been the best person to seek for entertainment. I didn't bother pointing out that I am completely socially fucktarded. We're comic geeks. I'd be stating the obvious. We talked about comics & other light stuff, and exchanged cards.

Once in a while, we'd hit a quiet point in the conversation, and I'd start to nod off, then catch myself and apologize. I really was tired. Hopefully the movie would wake me up.

Did it ever. As I obnoxiously laughed at the horridly absurd bits, she'd pat my shoulder. We'd exchange quick glances during the sweet bits.

This kicked my self-esteem up a half notch.

She had to leave after the movie, as her commute is one of the more hellish ones I've ever heard of. The rest of us went out for food & drinks, and for the most part stayed out until 5 AM. I had to take a cab home because of a fire in the subway tunnels. I passed out once I hit the bed, and vegged for the rest of the three day weekend.

Lynne dropped by on either Saturday or Sunday afternoon (memory's a bit fuzzy here), as she was apartment hunting in the area. We just relaxed for a while, watched TV and ordered food.

During the week, the nice girl and I emailed a bit back and forth; general small talk and questions about the upcoming weekend.

Another nice surprise was getting a MySpace Friend Request from Vern, the very lost fellow I 'rescued' in Brooklyn a few months ago. It's nice knowing that he's alive & well.

The following Saturday, as I was on my way to the train, I bumped into Lynne, Naomi & Kemp. They were on their way to a realtor's office. I wished them luck and headed out. I met up with Carlos, his brother Marco, and Bowie at Osteria Laguna for Carlos' bachelor party. The food was absofuckinglutely delicious. It's been well over a year since I've had foccacia alla robiola, and this place makes it pretty damn well. I only had a taste of their chocolate mousse (ooh, click it!!!), but I'm going back for more.

Way more.

The four of us hung out for a bit, just talking trash and laughing like we did in the good ol' days. We parted ways around 7, and I left for another comic geek meeting with many of the same folks as last weekend, including the very nice girl. This time, it was karaoke night.

I DID NOT SING. I DON'T SING.

(Just getting that out of the way.)

We were joined by a few other people, friends of one of the guys' fiancee. We non-participants mocked the horrible videos created for the songs, and occasionally the singers themselves (although not often - just the Asian guy doing his William Hung impersonation/tribute on "She Bangs.").

Harry Chapin's Cats in the Cradle came up and my nerves shot. See, I hate that song. Not because it's slightly representative of my relationship with my dad, but that it's obscenely sentimental and oversaturated with regret, and basically the cover tune for anyone with a crappy child hood.

The very nice girl, sensing my angst, squeezed my shoulder for a bit. She pulled away just as I reached up to hold it. She noticed this, and returned her hand to me. I put mine on hers and held it for few moments.

It was like we were the only people in the room.

We all left a little after 1 AM. I got home and crashed, despite feeling pretty good for a change. On Sunday, Lynne dropped by again to harrass me because my cell phone is never on, and to invite me to dinner.

I had been up for about two hours and needed to do laundry, so that wasn't happening.

They were in the neighborhood again, checking out apartments. One place she looked at was right next door. That would have been cool, but the place is too small for them.

Once my phone was on, I got a call from Mom telling me that my Great Uncle Bill Grady died Thursday of pnuemonia and kidney failure. He was a classic smart-ass, and generally quick-witted. How he got married was a pretty funny story:

World War Two was over, and everyone was discharged. My grandfather James had just proposed to Dorothy, my grandmother. Bill wasn't yet aware of this, and came calling to grandma.

"Hey Dorothy, would you like to go out tonight?"

"I'm sorry Bill, I just got engaged to Jim!"

"Is your sister home?"

Bill & Harriet had been together ever since.

Sunday was also Dad's birthday, which I remembered but forgot.

During the week, I played around with my Best Man speech. I'd typed it up onto my phone, just in case I wouldn't be able to memorize it all - and I wasn't able to, even after editing the HELL out of it.

Thursday was Chris' birthday, and in all the excitement of the wedding, I completely forgot to give him my belated wishes. I still haven't called him because by the time I remember each day, it's too late, and I don't want to wake up the kids.

Thursday night after work, I picked up a 16 oz can of some energy drink, plus a pack of energy strips. They're like the Listerine breath strips, only highly caffinated. I needed to show up at Carlos' house at 10 AM Friday. That meant I had to get up at 6. I went to bed at 4, as I was still on my nocturnal sleep schedule.

After my two hour nap, I consumed mass quantities of food, chugged the canned caffiene, and took three hits of acid - I mean, energy strips. I bathed, put on my penguin suit and began the long trek to Staten Island. I got there relatively on time. Carlos handed me the most ass-kicking gift: the Complete Calvin & Hobbes. Damn that thing is heavy!

The limo arrived (wee, first time in a limo!), and the driver gave Carlos & I the once-over. "Carlos, tuck in your tie, unbutton all but the top button on your vest."

When he got to me, he just said "you're alright." That could have meant many things:

1) He noticed my grommetted belt and figured out that I didn't care much.

2) He noticed my steel toe boots and figured out that I didn't care much.

3) He noticed that I was burning holes through him with my bloodshot eyes and figured out that I didn't care much.

The ride over to the place was relaxing. I got to know a little bit more about Carlos' dad and his affection for dogs.

We met Bowie, Chris & family, and an impatient photographer who really wanted me to take my glasses off for all the photos. Sorry man, I'm sorta FUCKING BLIND without them.

We all hung around, and I finally got to meet Chris' second son Victor. He's absolutely adorable. I got to hold him a few times. I'm looking forward to being a parent some day...in the very far future.

Everyone sort of wandered around while everything got set up. If something went wrong, or if Carlos had questions, I tried to find answers and solve problems (or find someone else to solve the problem).

The ceremony itself was wonderful. There was a bit of levity when the maid of honor (Tara's sister) realized she forgot the ring for Tara to give to Carlos. She looked right at her husband across the room (filming for the upcoming DVD), who pointed back over to another gentleman in the audience, who was carrying it for him.

Tara was crying through most of the ceremony; she needed to laugh and breathe for a minute.

I was shaking a little through the whole thing. Nerves + no sleep + joy + caffiene.

It wouldn't have been a wedding if Isaiah & Victor hadn't cried or screamed, so they made sure to play their part.

The Wedding Party exited to the hall and greeted everyone. It was great meeting Tara's mother; she was so happy.

Everyone retreated to the bar in the dining hall, where the acoustic guitarist/singer played a few good songs, including one of my favorites, The Girl from Ipanema (twice!).

(My wedding will have the Skullcakes play.)

From this point on, my memory gets fuzzy. Things may not be in the order they actually occurred, and the accuracy of certain events may be disputed.

We relaxed for a while, got some drinks, and generally shot the shit. After a while we were asked to move to the dining tables where a nice salad was waiting for us. Orders for our meals were then taken

I was then asked to give my speech. I explained to my captive audience that I was barely conscious, so I had to read it from my phone. Tacky? Probably, but it got the job done, and way more people laughed at my jokes than I thought would. I was well beyond nervous and skipped a line or two, and completely destroyed another. But I got through it to much applause.

I sat back down and Bowie commented that I looked ready to die. I inhaled a few more of those energy strips. Shortly afterwards, we were all greeted with a plate of pasta. I've said it before, I'll say it again:

Food is good.

Then our regular meals arrived. I got to hold Victor again (so Chris & Yanellie could eat and Isaiah could sleep), and felt another pang of fatherly instincts kick me in the gut.

Bowie was the DJ at this event, clicking through Carlos' playlists on his laptop. There was a bit of dancing -

I DID NOT DANCE. I DON'T DANCE.

Bowie did, for a few seconds, though.

- and finally, there was cake & ice cream. Really, that's the whole point of a wedding: dessert. Neither one of the couple smashed the cake in each others faces, to the dismay of many guests.

There was a little more dancing, certificates were signed, and we all slowly cleared out. Just before she left, Tara's Mom came up to me, held my hands, and thanked me for my speech. She then said that I have "a wonderful friend" in Carlos.

I replied, "thanks to you, I have two wonderful friends."

Getting back to Carlos' house was...awkward. I hopped into the back of an SUV driven by his uncle, the passenger seat occupied by his aunt. To my left was another middle-aged woman and to her left was her husband, both names I've completely forgotten. After getting smooshed every time we took a right turn, the lady apologized and said I could do it back to her when we turned the other way.

Which seemed...odd.

Soon after, I got caught off guard at an abrupt left turn, and smooshed back into them.

She said softly, and I QUOTE: "It's okay baby, I like it."

A chill went down my spine.

Once I recovered, I purposefully braced myself against future smooshing. The next left turn we took, she was disappointed and said, "Come on, do it back to me. It's okay."

Let me be clear (and funny at the same time): I'm not interested in MILF Hunting.

For the rest of the trip back, during rush hour on a Friday afternoon, she remained disappointed. I felt a little bit skeeved out.

We eventually got back to the house. I grabbed my stuff (including the very, VERY heavy boxed set), shook Marco's hand, and got the heck out of dodge.

I made my way from Staten Island to Park Slope, Brooklyn, to the MOCCA kick-off party at Rocketship. I arrived a half an hour early while still in full wedding regalia, and I shopped and spent a ton & a half of money. Proprietors Mary & Alex recognized my semi-conscious state and were EXTREMELY helpful even as they set the place up for the party (many, many thanks again). I occasionally chat with Alex on the Comic Book Resources Community Forum, so he kinda knew I'd show up.

While at the party, I ran into SVA/Newport Dorm Alumni Celia Bullwinkle, as I do every time I'm there. We caught up a bit, and a few more people from CBR showed up, as did the very nice girl I've mentioned earlier. I was asked by a few people, "did you just come from a wedding?"

Do I need to answer that at this point?

After Michael Pullmann and I were standing around, listening to Joe Rice yuck it up about his impending nuptuals, Catherine approached and asked if either of us was Ed Cunard. While we aren't him, we both know who he is since we all post on CBR. About 30 minutes into the party, Mike noticed that I was teetering a little. Then I saw someone who shouldn't be allowed to breathe, let alone breed. This waste of flesh who makes me look like Brad Fucking Pitt enraged me. Mike egged me on to turn to the dark side.

Oh, if only he knew. But I didn't want to get blood all over the store's merchandise and original art hanging on the walls.

Anyway, I said good night to the very nice girl, and hauled ass for 10 blocks back to the Pacific Street subway station, while carrying three very heavy bags full of comics. An hour later, I was back in Astoria, walking the 10 blocks to my apartment. When I was a half-block away from my doorstep, I ran into my friend Drew, and begged him to help carry one of the bags.

Thankfully he did. I got into the apartment, greeted my roommate, set my alarms for MOCCA the next day, and crashed.

I arrived at the Puck building around 1 PM, and ran into Mary & Alex from Rocketship, and "Winslow" from CBR. Winslow and I joined the fellows running Graphic Language, and the very nice girl for a quick lunch at a bar a few blocks away. Ed Cunard is a friend of a friend, and we know a bit more about each other because of this. Besides comics, we also share similar tastes in music.

Shortly afterward I ran into a friend of a former roommate, R Stevens, at his Diesel Sweeties table and harrassed him for a few minutes. In my wanderings, I bumped into Celia, Mike Pullmann, Dave Forrest, Brian Chichester, Khary Randolph, Brian George, Kano, Vanessa Satone, and a few other people I'm forgetting in my haze of that weekend.

Khary and I talked for a while, and he became the third person (after Aleeeeeeex and Carol) to suggest turning my blog into a comic. "Yeah, it's depressing, but it would make an AWESOME book!" I've been thinking about it since Alex brought it up many months ago; Khary's vote of confidence reinforced everyone elses comments.

I proceeded to shell out slightly less than $200 on a gigantic stack of books that, combine with the books from Rocketship, will last me for a few months.

At five, I went home to unload all of my stuff so I wouldn't be weighed down at the Fantagraphics/CBLDF party after the doors shut on MOCCA for the day. After being a total idiot and forgetting in no particular order: my wallet, map, metrocard, and cell phone (thus leaving the house, realizing I forgot something, turning back, leaving again, forgetting, going back, etc), I finally got to the bar, where I once again met Celia and her bf Jim. Soon, Winslow, Ed, and the very nice girl showed up. Ed sat down next to Catherine, the woman from Rocketship who was looking for him. She was about 5 feet away & didn't realize it. There was a nice "oh HEY!" moment. The very nice girl sat at my table, both wired & exhausted. I put my hand on hers, and she just plotzed. She was also on 2 hours of sleep that day. A few more people showed up and just about everyone else mingled. Winslow and I talked for a while over the loud music.

I was losing interest in the scene, and said good night to everyone. I walked over to the very nice girl, seated at another table with friends/artists. She rose from her seat and gave me a very warm hug. She said, "someday we'll hang out when there aren't 10,000 people involved." I laughed and said "I'd like that."

I got home and ordered some Thai food, and crashed again.

On Sunday, I arrived just in time to bid Winslow farewell, and Ed was also on his way out. I followed him around as he said goodbye to everyone. We talked for a little while, but not nearly enough as either of us would have liked. Once he took off, I ran into the very nice girl while she was on a break. I followed her around as she went to another table to pick up something for her coworker. While we were standing still for a few moments, I put my arm around her as a sort of half-way hug. A smile dawned on her face and all was well. She had to get back to work, unfortunately. I wandered around for a while, and then headed back to the Diesel Sweeties table to harrass Rich for a while. He's a laid back, funny guy.

While at Rich's table one of his fans started talking to me. I explained to her that I was invisibly chained to the table and was forced to harrass Rich when he wasn't selling anything. I got a chuckle out of her, and she introduced herself while extending her hand. I took it and responded in kind, transfixed by her eyebrow piercings.

Fucktard that I am, it wasn't until AFTER she walked away that I realized she was flirting with me. I shortly left Rich to his own devices to seek her out, but she vanished.

Stupid, stupid, STUPID!

Filled with disappointment, I started to say goodbye to everyone. I ran into Evan, a friend of Francis'. He handed me a mini-comic, and we briefly chatted. I then went to say goodbye to the very nice girl, and left.

This Sunday, I'm helping Lynne move from Bay Ridge to Astoria. It'll be nice to have another friend in the neighborhood.

*whew*

Now, onto the moral quandary.

The very nice girl is indeed, very nice. She's very affectionate, which is the main attraction. She's a comic geek, a vegetarian, and a non-drinker/smoker. Every time I talk to her, I find another reason to like her.

The problem is I can't tell if my attraction to her is genuine or not. Do I really like her, or is it just because 1) she likes me, and 2) I'm a lonely, lonely bastard and will take whomever I can get?

Let's not forget the time I mistook physical affection for romantic interest, either. That was painful enough. This is worse.

I don't know. I guess it feels more like attachment than attraction. While some practice at relationships would be good for me, I don't want to lead anyone on. I certainly don't want to use her or hurt her.

Dammit, I'm too fucking detatched to know what's going on inside me.

Fuck fuck fuckety fuck fuck fuck.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Carlos & Tara's Wedding

All I have are 8 good pictures. More to come in a couple of weeks, as I get the official pics, and a few from the other people there.

Click here for a Flickr slideshow.