The Scenic Route

School is just about to start back up for Kiddo, so I took my family on a vacation/road trip to Sea World this week. I drove from Dallas to Austin, then Austin to San Antonio and I can say unequivocally that driving through Texas like taking the scenic route through an inbred meth head’s nightmare. Every square inch of the state that isn’t a major metroplex is a terrifying decent into a rust, decay, poverty and racism… by which I mean “quaint.” Texas is an extraordinarily “quaint” game of connect the dots, where the dots are cities with more than a million people, and the lines are squalid shitholes full of miserable people from a time thankfully gone by. Also there’s usually really big truck stop. The kind that is also a grocery store and a chicken restaurant and a place to buy drugs and CB radio parts and parking lot sex from parking lot sex-ladies. QUAINT, I tell ya. Quaint as all get out.

Thanks to @nmrjess for inspiring the Dairy Queen bit.

COMMENTERS: What’s the most “quaint” place you’ve ever lived/been to? 

The 2013 DIGITAL FANCY SKETCH DRIVE is still going through the end of this week! Check out the details and order yours HERE.

MY WIFE KEEPS MAKING AWESOME STUFF! My wife has a super cool, ultra geeky jewelry shop on Etsy. You can see her Tetris necklace andt the just announced Harry Potter inspired Quidditch necklace. Check out dat Quaffle!  

quidditch necklace

Comments (20)

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Ector, TX (NE of Dallas) was the first town I saw when moving to Texas back in 1978. Population of 549 (Salute! Ok, kiddos, Google THAT reference) What a culture shock. My first job in High School there was hauling hay. They had a one building school that housed all 12 grades. Also, the nicest people you would ever meet. What a difference from big city indifference that I was used to.

1 reply · active 96 weeks ago

thelogos's avatar

thelogos · 96 weeks ago

I have made the trek from Dallas (Well, really, Stillwater, OK) to Houston. There are still “sunset” towns in Oklahoma, I kid you not. As in, “don’t let the sun set on you <non-WASP person> in this town. They were like vampire lairs, but creepier.
Khel's avatar

Khel · 96 weeks ago

All of southeast Idaho… Between the meth, the mormons, the lack of any shopping centers other than the odd walmart… I’m getting depressed just thinking about it
Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 96 weeks ago

Accio nerd necklace! ACCIO NERD NECKLACE!!!!

The quiddich necklace would make a fantastic present for my sister. How much is she asking for them?

1 reply · active 96 weeks ago

Click that link to her store and all will be revealed.
Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 96 weeks ago

Nevermind, I clicked the link. Would she be willing to take the top half of playstashun? Or perhaps a stump munchler/weed wangler combo? Maybe a rotary…. NO!!! THE PTERODACTYLS!!!
Miles's avatar

Miles · 96 weeks ago

We road tripped from a small town in SOuthwest New Mexico (10,000 small) across the USA on the 10 Freeway… we now never want to drive though Texas that way again.

1 reply · active 96 weeks ago

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 96 weeks ago

Ah, NM small towns. I grew up in Los Alamos (drive to the middle of nowhere, turn left and drive another 30 minutes). If you like hiking and mesas it’s a beautiful place to live. If you like doing anything after 8PM other than heading into the mountains and getting drunk, good luck.

My brother crossed TX and OK on his way to college, he says it’s what Hell must look like. Endless flat with nothing to distract the eye.

In 2000, drove from the then boyfriend’s home in Augusta, GA (where “other side of the tracks” really means something) to Savannah (which was beautiful and genteel). On the small highway somewhere in between was a high-fence-and-barbed-wire surrounded compound containing a gun range, a camouflage store, and a “PRIVATE” club. The boyfriend said “and probably a white hood section around the back” and we just kept driving until the Savannah suburbs.
Zee's avatar

Zee · 96 weeks ago

Gah. Whole point is moot. People should not go to Sea World anyway. Keeping incredibly intelligent five ton mammals, in enclosures that are usually the same size as you would keep half ton mammals, is fairly analogous to raising a child in a closet, and never letting it leave. They need to cut it out with the Shamus.
Larry 's avatar

Larry · 96 weeks ago

I spend a year living in Corpus Christi, my friends that where already living there told me it was beautiful on the Texas coast. once down there i soon discovered, that it is a flat one shade of dingy army green ( all plant life) and it smells like fish and ass when it rains! and it rains often.
Dio's avatar

Dio · 95 weeks ago

If you like SeaWorld, you should see the new movie made about it- “Blackfish”!

1 reply · active 95 weeks ago

I know about it. The trainers arent allowed in the Orca tanks anymore because of the trainer that was killed. The orca currently in captivity can’t be released back into the wild, so Im not sure there’s an easy solution. It’s not a perfect situation.
Just move to Shallotte, NC from Seattle, WA. It’s kinda like moving from your most wonderful dream to the most humid part of a donkey’s ass and then having people tell you it’s not so bad “cuz there’s a beach.”
There are a few places on the road from LA to Sturgis, SD that make me nervous… and I’m a 6’2 big-bearded biker dude. I stopped for gas in a small Utah town (but along I-15, so not exactly isolated) once and the cashier was a skinhead with plainly visible white power tattoos, one of which was on the side of his neck. (And my parents always told me not to get tattoos or I’d never find work!) Not to mention that it seems like a huge fraction of the population of Wyoming are scary looking rednecks who drive mud-covered pickup trucks. [Redneck B.M.W. – Big Mud Wagon]

As someone who’s lived in Southern California for several decades – to be more specific, the Greater Los Angeles Metro Sprawl [yes, that’s right – the G.L.A.M.S.] – I don’t put up with much attitude from people who live places that are flat and boring. If I feel like it, I can go to the beach and a ski resort in the same day … and weather that makes them both pleasant is not exactly uncommon.

Baskerville's avatar

Baskerville · 31 weeks ago

I ran into the most suspicious museum driving around in Texas. It claimed to have the greatest variety of rattlesnakes in the world. So obviously, I had to go in. There were indeed around 25 types of rattlesnake in the small suspicious building, as well as a man with four teeth who attempted to sell me a live tarantula.


Malcolm And His Amazing Monocolor Browncoat

Last night I tuned into the Firefly 10th anniversary marathon on the Science Channel somewhere around hour 3. I didn’t get up from the spot I was in for the next 12 hours. I really hadn’t watched the entire series since the DVD’s came out. I was gifted the Blu Rays for my birthday by a generous Fancy Bastard, but I had yet to break them out and it seemed like 10 years was far too long to have waited. It also seemed like an impossible amount of time to have passed since they did, in fact, take the sky from me.

3 New Shirts at @SharksplodeWibbly Wobbly Timey WimeyRival Smugglers and Might Club!

Grammar Dalek shirts are now available in Ladies sizes!

Grammar Dalek Ladies Shirts

Also, pretty much all HE shirts are back in stock size-wise for your holiday shopping enjoyment. 

One thing that always catches me off guard about Firefly is that all the tropes and memes and catch phrases are things that were used, shown or said just once in the series. Everything the nerds glommed onto, from Jayne hats, to strawberries, to tight pants, to problematic food were just one off gags in single episodes. I think this is a testament to two things: A) the show was so well crafted that everything about it felt pre-established upon the first viewing. The world, the ‘Verse Firefly presented us with was already fully realized, even as it was unfolding before us bit by bit. To the audience it really felt like peeking in to something very old (in terms of development) and very real. And B) With only 15 hours of tv content and a eventually an added 2 hours of movie to obsessively analyze, nerds did what they do best and… obsessively analyzed the limited resources at their disposal.

After the marathon Science showed a partial cast reunion roundtable that took place just before the big Firefly panel at Comicon this year. Interviews with the missing cast members (excluding Ron Glass if I remember correctly) were spliced in. It was touching to hear how the palpable sense of demise pushed them to make the show even better, rather than causing them to sleepwalk through the episodes with a sense of gloom and defeat. Joss’s tear jerking speech to the San Diego crowd at the end was just that. An eye misting declaration of gratitude if their ever was one.

A couple of things I wasn’t expecting were the final revelation of why Inara had to leave Serenity and why she refused to allow herself to love Mal, and a deeper explanation of what Inara’s “magic” syringe was intended for. I know they explained it in the DVD commentary, but after hearing Tim Minear layout what the episode would have really entailed, I can’t think of anything darker that has ever appeared on a tv drama. Not even Breaking Bad could have touched that plot line.

As I write this post, I am listening to “King Animal,” the first new Soundgarden album in 13 years. Firefly and Soundgarden – early 20’s me is in full effect right now. This far removed from the cancellation, the outrage the fruitless online petitions and the shocking lack of fairness of it all, I think I would really appreciate an animated series right about now. So… let’s go ahead and make that a real thing.

I have a guest comic up at Wasted Talent concerning TRUE CANADIAN ADVENTURES!!!

Wasted Talent Guest Comic by Joel Watson of HijinKS ENSUE

COMMENTERS: Did you watch the Firefly marathon? Is there anything that you’ve caught 10 years later that you missed during the initial viewing? Or did you discover Firefly long after it was axed?

Of Tooth And Claw. Of Blood And Stone.

Strange things happen to me when I travel. I basically suspend the need for regular sleep and go into a sort of survival mode fueled by adrenaline, alcohol and copious amounts of meat. I become a creature not of reason, but of instinct. I become… a BLOODWOLF! Also sometimes I am chased by them through airports. I am alternately one OF them or tormented BY them. It depends on how long my flight is delayed or when the last time I had any coffee was. Anyway, the underlying condition that brings on the Bloodwolves is called Plane Madness, and I promise that you do not wish it on your worst enemy (my worst enemies are the rival pack to the north known as Cave Wolf Clan).

“George Hurt You” shirts are in the store!!!

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Plane Madness, scientists believe, stems from the unbelievable amount of horseshit you have to deal with in modern day air travel. Pat downs, porno scanners, oversold flights, lost checked bags, lost CARRY ON bags (seriously this happened to me once), missed connections, confusing terminals, other passengers, people in general… it’s all just maddening. Since I am traveling A LOT these days in order to peddle my wares and sundries at various comic’ed book type conventions, I am subject to the throws of Plane Madness more often than the average Bloodwolf human person.

The incredibly odd thing about my condition, and you may know this if you follow me on Twitter, is that in order to keep my tenuous grip on reality during the onset of Plane Madness I have to immerse myself in fictional scenarios that are somehow less terrible than the chaos that is actually happening all around me. Obviously a pack of blood-hungry wolves terrorizing the terminal is preferable to the realities of air travel, so The Bloodwolves were born.

I feel like I’ve over-explained this concept in a big, confusing mobius strip now, but I am still recovering from C2E2 in Chicago last weekend and my brain is not yet fully de-wolfed and re-brained yet. I had a lot of fun at the con. Thanks to all that came out and said hi, got a sketch or bought a thing. The guys from Explosm and I wrote a musical at a few different bars over the course of the weekend. Who knows if we’ll remember it all and actually write it down before the Bloodwolves devour our memories with their bone-magics in order to conceal their existence. Oh, you didn’t know they did that? Of course you didn’t. That’s how you know it worked.

COMMENTERS: Have you ever suffered from Plane Madness? What about Road Trip Tripping or Train Dementia? What about just general Travel Insanity? Only in sharing your experiences can you begin to understand the Bloodwolves’ plan for you.

I wrote this comic on my iPhone at 30,000 feet, and subsequently drew it on my iPad using Paper by 53 and an Adonit Jot Pro stylus. I pieced it together and added text in Photoshop when I got home. Other than that, I have no explanation for what the hell it’s all about. The Bloodwolves were guiding my hand.

Baby We Were Born To Run For The Border

Thus endith my week of comics, non-comics and comic-like entities dealing with my trip to Canada. The above comic is a 98% true account (with a +/- 2% margin of exaggeration) of my border crossing experience.


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The Canadian border official treated us like human beings, who were welcomed into his country and encouraged to spend our bland, greenish monies at their many fine establishments. He did want to make sure that we were attempting to procure gainful Canadian employment surreptitiously, but he was never anything but polite. He even laughingly commented about how there seemed to be a lot of people coming over for the comic con.

The US border agent treated us like terrorists. Worse, he treated us like our faces were dusted with cocaine, our pockets were brimming with knock-off boner pills, and our trunk was bulging with far too many severed torsos. All of his questions were accusatory, his tone was immediately angry and he was a fucking asshole. Let me remind you that we were trying to re-enter our OWN country. Next time I drive back into the US from Canada I’m just going to have my dick’n balls out. Just right on my lap. When the border agent asks me a question, I’ll point southward and politely ask that he address all inquiries to The Captain.

Wheaton Comic Dare: Check Your Bag Before We Wreck Your Bag

Ewok Stare Shirt

When Southwest called me to tell me they had found my bag I was in the back of Jason Finn‘s car with Wil on the way to meet Stepto and Marian Call. Jason and Wil were talking Mini Coopers and there was talk radio coming over the car speakers, so I pressed my phone against my right ear as hard as I could and plugged the left one with my little finger. I asked the woman on the other end of the line to repeat herself. “Shredded,” she said. “Shredded?” I replied. “Like we were a polar bear and your suitcase was a seal covered in maple syrup,” she responded.

They couriered what was left of my bag to my hotel later that night. From the extent of the damage I was completely unable to come up with a scenario by which this violation could have actually occurred. It hadn’t simply been dropped or snagged. It seemed as though some sort of manimal had clawed into (or out of) my small rolling suitcase in a blind rage. Can a creature truly hate a piece of luggage? I dare say it can. In my search for a reasonable explantation, Wil offered the Sarlacc pit theory and thus a comic was born. Later in the weekend I would prototype this comic in Wil’s copy of HE Book 2.

[Special thanks to Wil for contributing his first line in panel 1, a reference to his character in the Penny Arcade D&D Podcast.]

I toyed with the idea of continuing the Emerald City Comicon Sketch comics [Part 1 and Part 2] another day, but decided instead just to show you the rest of the sketches I wanted to share in this blog post. I will call this series “Sketches For Celebrities: Both Internet And Otherwise.”

Commenters: Feel free to offer up more examples of how and why specific airlines lose your luggage. Does JFK have to pay off the mob in “misplaced” golf clubs? Does Newark purposefully chuck your bags in the river to remind you not to go to New Jersey? How about some new slogans for Southwest? I like “Southwest: Hey whattayou Expect?” “Southwest: No Guarantees,” “Southwest: Come Fly The Functional Skies,” and “Southwest: This Whole Thing Is A Scam To Move Pretzels and Diet Coke.”