Interlude: An Intervention Is Considered!

They have a pretty legit concern here.

Spring Break is upon us starting tomorrow, although honestly, there is little to differentiate it from the last three weeks.  Sure, I don’t have to physically go to work, but I haven’t done that for a while now.  The fact that I don’t have to, or shouldn’t, give lessons and assignments…that just takes a thing to do out of my day.

It’s not like it is real “time off.”  I can’t do anything, and can’t go anywhere.

That’s the tough part of this “social distancing.”  It’s time in isolation, without any real freedom.  It’s important, sure…vitally so, and we will be through this time period.  In the moment, though, the boredom and isolation are tough to deal with.

I’ve been avoiding news, except in short bursts.  Too depressing.  I’ve been basically rationing out brief “need to know” periods of time, at the beginning of the day.

This is pretty much going to be the format of the month of April, here in California.  We have already been told that we probably will not be going back to school, and the grading window has been pushed back several times.  There are some other things being discussed about grades that I’m going to wait until I have more solid answers for, but a good amount of that makes my job feel kind of useless.

It’s amazing how much of our identities are wrapped up in the things we do, and the value that we attribute to those things.

Obviously, that’s the idea behind today’s two panel gag.  I like drawing Tamiyo, and am looking for expressiveness of posture in a lot of my sketches lately.  I’m also looking to sort of stabilize my “character model” for Jace…I tend to draw him with a pretty loose model.  Cap’s poor temperament is well established in the strip, so their commentary on it is pretty much on point.

That’s all for the weekend, True Believers.  Hopefully as more upbeat series is en route.

 

“I’ll Just Pop In And Get A Few Things…”

This pretty much says everything on its own.

Obviously, I managed to get a hold of some additional toilet paper.  We have not yet gotten into the reserves at the Fortress of Togetherness, but who really wants to get into that kind of nonsense?  Toilet paper rationing, or for that matter, toilet paper hoarding should not be a thing.

If you told me even a year ago that there would be a day in modern America where I felt like “Achievement Unlocked!” applied to acquiring toilet paper, I would have laughed at you and slapped you simultaneously.  Sadly, we now live in that reality, a Mad Max world where the acquisition of toilet paper is an Event.

Those toilet paper hoarders…is that an investment?  Are they going to bequeath the rolls to their grandchildren in their will, like an inheritance?  When toilet paper is a commodity like @#$%ing Gold, we need to rethink ourselves as a culture.

“Back before the Great Toilet Paper War of 2020, we had so much toilet paper that we used to hang it off of the houses and trees of our enemies.  Good times.”

That sentence is not so far off from our current position.

The art didn’t take as long as you might imagine.  I was strongly committed to drawing vehicles, and I’ve been taking a much more nuanced approach to that as of late.  The process lent itself to inconsistent line weight, which bugged me, but it’s a learning process.  I’m pretty happy with the final result.

Trash Day.

It’s not like Jace is going to take out the trash.

Life goes on, but in weird ways.  Obviously, if you are going to continue to live, even under “social distancing,” normal things like taking out the trash will have to happen.  I’ve been trying to stick to some kind of schedule, and do certain basic tasks on a regular basis, in order to maintain some kind of normalcy.

The constant, sort of base level of stress is tangible.  Checking the news or media in any way invariably results in some new update, and that update is rarely all that good.  My sleep has gotten fitful to say the least, and as a result, today I am avoiding the news actively.  I think rationing the news is an important thing, at least for me at this point.  With little to do, there is just a generation of a subconscious undercurrent of stress.

That…I do not need.  Not in the least.

Grading assignments and checking in with students takes about an hour a day.  I try and do that responsibly, and then I try to generate a list of students that I need to reach out to, or contact.  I have “office hours” where students can contact me…that is another two hours, but only a few do.

I think that’s the real challenge here, the lack of things to do, and the total social isolation.  I think to some extent that’s what fueled the kind of boneheads that still went on their “Spring Break,” or had a “Corona Virus Party.”  Both of those things are un@#$%ing believable, and they both happened.

I’m holding off on a “school themed” post because I really don’t have enough information about what is happening next.  Most newspapers have reported that California schools will not be returning, and the Union has started to negotiate about a ton of things…but it’s not clear yet what anything is going to look like.

As a result, not a lot to think about, besides trying to make class go on, in an online format.

I Can Has Mission?

Superheroes tend to want to be active.

Not much to say here.  I’m still struggling with my creative process, such as it is.  In order for it to function, I need to, well, do things.  The “safer at home” order, which is smart, really prevents that from happening.  I mean, I can do pretty much what Cap is doing, which is go outside the Fortress of Togetherness, and have a sandwich and coffee.  Look at squirrels, which I’ve always liked as animals.

Not a lot more to it.

Today, the Governor of California pretty much said that California schools will not be re-opening this academic year.  That’s a Big Deal, in more ways than one.  I may do a post about that specifically, but right now that statement is just that.  It’s not a directive, so local school districts like mine could elect to reopen.  I’m really waiting on more news.

With that said, I’ve more or less felt that was coming since the “safer at home” order was extended until at least May 1st.  It’s just logical…schools are places where hundreds of people congregate, and move around.  It’s impossible to observe “social distancing” under that model.

I’ve been frustrated with my job this year, but I did want to go back to it.  This news, that we will be doing internet learning for the next two and a half months, kind of took over my day.  Even with that, you will notice that I chose to draw feet, Rob Liefeld.  Even the squirrel has feet.  I’m not that depressed about work not resuming, Rob.

Sheesh.

Wherever you may be True Believers, stay safe and stay smart.

Marvel Team-Up: Cable And Deadpool With Tales Of Adequacy!

Tuesday at the Fortress of Togetherness.

For the first time that I know of, North American Comics Distribution has stopped.  That means no new comics tomorrow.

That doesn’t seem like a big deal, I know.  Except…it really is.  Comics started during the Great Depression.  World War II?  No interruption.  September 11th?  Keep calm, and keep distributing comics.  In other words, comics started during a national crisis, and have not really suffered interruption because of them.

So, yeah…if there’s one thing that makes this global crisis really scary to me…like, beyond clear, it is that simple thing.

I began to wonder what super heroes that are normally out and about, on their various missions and such might do without any such missions.  Guys like Cable and Deadpool, who really rely on people being social in order to have missions in the first place.  If you’re Superman, you can distribute food at super speed, stop accidents, repair damage to buildings and dams…you job can keep going, because it’s not all about fighting and thwarting someone’s Big Plan.

If you’re Cable and/or Deadpool….you need to stop someone, who is going to do something.  Usually a lot of people are involved.  Often information needs to be gotten out of someone, and then exchanges made, and various plans and meetings broken up.  None of those things can happen, because everyone has to stay at home.  Even Bad Guys, most of whom don’t have a power of some kind that would keep them from getting sick.

Granted, Cable and Deadpool both have powers that would keep them from getting sick.  So they must be super bored.

Also…tap, tap.  Rob Liefeld?  Are you out there?  Sure you are.

You know what’s challenging about drawing Cable and Deadpool jumping rope?  You need to draw their FEET.  Gotta be there, bro.  IT was hard figuring out what Cable’s @#$%ing boots look like, because you never draw his @#$%ing feet in the frame, bro.

Also…neither character has a very consistent costume model.  It’s all random pouches, guns, knives and military looking stuff.  Although the sketch came together fast, it was also like improvisational jazz, trying to just get the feel of the characters’ look, instead of nailing them exactly.

As much as I tend to criticize Rob Liefeld (deservedly), he did create these two characters, and in all honesty, they were great for a solid amount of time.  I looked forward to X-Force, with monthly appearances of Cable, and thought that the character was excellent.  It’s a big part of why I drew these guys today…I figure that I will go back to some of the comics of that time period, and revisit them.  See how they hold up.

It’s not like I don’t have the time.

The Trash Of The Titans.

Gotta maintain the Fortress of Togetherness…

I have hardwood floors, so the vacuum cleaner isn’t really needed.  It was one of the better ways to illustrate cleaning, though, and the vacuum was an interesting challenge to draw in many, many ways.  I have been tidying up around the house, because I have plenty of time to do so.

At this point, I’m basically looking at an area, and dealing with that area.  The reasoning for that is nothing more advanced that the fact that I’ll be here until the beginning of May, with some long days ahead, so I want to continue to have tasks.  Tasks, and the achievement of goals, are important.  Once you stop going to work, you have to put those tasks ahead for yourself.

Sure…I have my daily “office hours” as a teacher.  As well as assignment production, and grading.  Putting my lessons online.  The only new part for me is putting the lesson, as such, online.  The rest of it…I pretty much had to get down to a highly efficient assembly line by now, because I’ve been doing this for over twenty years.  As a result, without actual classes, the business of detailed lessons and teaching is really only a few hours.

There are district trainings that are online, about this.  The first real one was today, and was supposed to take two hours.  I don’t really understand how that was possible.  I watched the video, read all of the material, and took all of the “check for understanding” tests to completely ace the seminar in about twenty minutes.  I actually double checked to see that it was correct, and did it again.

It makes me a bit worried for the entire educational system that something so basic is supposed to take two hours.

Really…I’m not being an intellectual snob, either.  It was about how you have to set up your gradebook to make it work, how you can copy documents and settings from class to class, and what the grading standards of a High School gradebook need to be.  Considering that we are supposed to be using the “Schoology” system as our method of grading and gradebook, by District edict…that should be basic level stuff that every teacher deals with, at least every five weeks.

So, given all of that, drawing challenging things like vacuum cleaners, and dealing with some of the clutter in the Fortress are on the proverbial agenda.  I’m also making sure I get dressed, like Cap is in her uniform, just to try and keep an air of normalcy about things.

A new season of Magic: Arena will be starting soon, as will “spoiler season” for the new set.  That’s something to look forward to.  I’m limiting myself to rationed out amounts of news about everything happening in the world, to avoid the constant flow of depressing information.  As a result, the “spoiler season” for the new cards (which we won’t get physically for some time) is even more to look forward to.

Maybe Cap and the crew will go to Theros, like they intended to a few weeks ago.  I’m in uncharted territory here in terms of the strip, because I don’t want to write about (or draw about) what’s going on in the world, but I draw “inspiration” from the things that are happening to and around me.  I’m going to actually have to…do something different than that.

Something actually creative.

I’ll leave you, True Believers, as I ponder that scary thought.

Infinity Prank.

No comment needed.

If you want to connect yesterday’s post to this one, and say that Thanos used his Infinity Gauntlet to move the moon and that planet around, you can.  Maybe he teamed up with that Cosmic Being, the guy with the insanely giant thumb.  It wasn’t intended that way, but while I was drawing this, someone suggested the connection.

I kind of just shrugged my shoulders and made a sound.  Sometimes people are looking for more plot than I’m thinking about.  It kind of works, though, I guess.

I’ve been home, and bored, and thinking about cosmic menaces that threaten huge amount of the population, so Thanos just kind of seemed like a logical entry here.  I didn’t want to do something heavy, something downbeat, so this happened.  Cap could probably throw down pretty well with Thanos if he didn’t have the Infinity Gauntlet, honestly.  Sure, he’s an Eternal from Titan, but that pretty much just gives him a Generic Set of Alien Super Powers from the Silver Age, much like Cap.

The Infinity Gauntlet, as we all know, is a game changer.  In fact, any one stone is.

Everything we are doing now is to “flatten the curve” or slow the progress of a population threatening crisis.  I might have been thinking of that when I drew this, because tying Thanos’ shoelaces together is going to do that, for a hot second.

For a hot, humiliating second.

Think about it…you are a cosmic scale bad guy wielding universe shattering power from the beginning of the universe….and you face plant because some jerk tied your shoelaces together.  That’s a bad moment, that makes you question everything, especially your choice of footwear.

Obviously (or maybe not obviously) Thanos didn’t have laces in his footwear on screen.  That was one of the bigger challenges here.  Figuring out how to add shoelaces, and also how to draw tying them together.  The whole thing was an interesting exercise.

I chose to go with the film costuming for Thanos because honestly, that’s what most people recognize, and I wanted the gag to land.  His film ensemble has a whole lot of little doo-dads and extra bits of kibble on it that were unexpected until I sat down to draw it.  If we see him again, I don’t know that I’ll use this selection from his wardrobe.

Also….knock, knock…I know you are out there, Rob Liefeld!  Yeah, I’m talking to you.  For this gag to work, I needed to draw both feet and hands.  People needed different faces.  No one could be just randomly gritting their teeth and shouting.  I could have left Cap’s feet completely out of frame, but I wanted the perspective to work.  See that?  I could have done it, but didn’t.

I’m definitely not sure what I’m going to draw for tomorrow, so if you are having some idea of unity between yesterday’s post and today, in terms of “plot,” I can’t promise anything.  I probably will draw and post something tomorrow, because drawing provides me a thing to do that is intellectually stimulating in this time of Social Distancing and Remote Learning.

Especially on the weekends.  It’s never clearer how much the city of Los Angeles is shut down than on these weekends.  I’m not a person that does a whole lot…I don’t go to concerts, I see a film once in a while, clubs are not my thing at all.  Now though, the inability to go and have dinner with a friend, or get a happy hour…take the dog to an obedience class…it’s amazing how that changes things.

Anyway…I’m going to get back to the drawing board at some point today.  Whatever you do, add value to your day somehow, and be excellent to each other.