Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happiest of Thanks and a Comic to Come

Well I've just about sobered up enough to start posting a bit more often. What? Oh. No, not the wine, although it has been long enough since my last post to have been off at some remote celebrity detox center. No, nothing like that, but I'll admit I was getting a bit carried away with the other side of this whole "having a web page" thing and probably needed the break.

(I promise I'll finish this post with something tea but first...)

The main cause of this is a little project I've got brewing with a friend of mine, Brian. At some point in the future we're going to be making an online comic strip. Not related at all to tea but I'm sure it'll make an appearance from time to time. We're just getting the characters down and the feel for it. Brian is a damn fine artist and has a great sense of humor. I've always been something of a jokester and a storyteller myself and on paper it seems like all the pieces should just fall together and click, boom, bam = ha, ha, ha but the reality of it has many challenges that you would probably expect but not really worry about. We started working on this somewhere near the middle of September with a three hour lunch at a local restaurant that doesn't deserve the mention. We both arrived with a bit of an ego that by the time we left we would have the first month or two done. The result was a few funny ideas but no real success. That came a few weeks later.

We were kicking around some ideas for names (still kicking) when we both realized how much easier this would be if we just made ourselves the main characters.


I had just started a new job and was really enjoying it and the sudden influx of money that I'd been sorely missing for the last few months. With these obstacles removed I finally managed to wrap my brain around the obstacles a comic strip presents.


The floodgates were open for me suddenly and over the next two weeks I came up with several ideas that will make there way into the comic. Once I broke past the first few it became easy to think in terms of non-moving objects and overcome the limitation of space to tell a coherent story that I've never had before. Now when I think of a funny idea I can break it into a few jokes and tell the story in five or six comics. I guess that's how they do it. It's not a matter of being funny every day just really funny once a week. Then sit back and say "Wow, I just wrote twenty comics about beating a dead horse!"


I didn't by the way. But I may just have to now, eh?

I'm making it sound like I'm the writer but I'm not. We've both been writing some funny stuff and the benefits of having someone else working on this with me are great. I know now that I really couldn't do it by myself as my artistic ability is really limited and while there are a great many hilarious stick figure comic strips out there I would never have one. Mostly since it would still take me a week or so to draw one, even stick figure style.

Right now we're stuck on the name and the look. I think we have a fairly good idea of the feel and the kind of person that would find it most entertaining. Now that we have a few ideas and I know how easy it is to be funny in this format my confidence is way up so things like the name become so much more stressful. We've had plenty of ideas but the problems with having more than one person working on this is it's harder to find something that both people can get behind, and that's important for this to be a success.

I'm staying out of the art as much as possible. Since I really can't contribute anything but criticism I tend to make my comments more along the line of "Give my character a bigger nose." or "F'in A!"

Since we're still working on a name we have a temporary blog called Comic Name Here that we've been using (but not very often) to get used to the idea of having a presence and test formatting ideas. I'll be reposting a version of this over there in a few weeks but in the mean time Brian has a post over there that covers his side of starting this whole comic thing. Since we don't have any sample art put up yet I should mention that Brian has a deviantART page that has some interesting examples of what he can do, but doesn't scratch the surface. Give him a "hey" over there and he may just draw something upbeat for it. I mean it, his last post over there was an apology that he wouldn't be doing much posting or art for the page and I would love to piss him off by sending an audience his way 'cause that's how I roll. It will be a twisted comic but not necessarily in the same way.

Ah yes, back to the previously mentioned tea.

I wanted to send my first thanks to you for reading all of these long posts I put up here and an apology for always trying to leave the funniest part till the end.

The other Thank You for this Thanksgiving post goes out to Adagio Teas for making my birthday extra special by sending me one of their ingenuiTEA pots, their new book "A Guide to Tea" by Chris Cason and a bevy of tea. The pot performs as advertised and is quite easy to use, clean and trick people into having a cup just to see how it works. I suggest giving the tea a gentle stir about half way through the brewing process since it gets a little narrow at the bottom where the tea is. The book is commendable simply for being up to date and lacking in the bold fallacious statements that are often found in a book of this nature. I believe you can get the book for free with your first order over $19 and would make a fine present for a burgeoning tea drinker.

I'm trying to keep this page mostly review free since I don't think it really fits this pages style (I'm going for a have what you like not what I like and hey, here's a funny story to read while drinking it.) but since this post is rather off topic I don't mind mentioning that Adagio has very good Jasmine Teas. I've tried a few and can say without any reservations that if you like Jasmine you'd be a fool not to try some of their offerings. The company has shown itself to be a real class act several times by managing to put the drinking of good tea above the drinking of their tea (that is to say that they will go out of the way to answer a question even if it doesn't involve you buying from them, and I've seen them help people find things that they don't sell) and deserving of your money as a result. You know - family business, kill the Wal-Mart, Spirit of Jazz all that kind of stuff.

So happy Thanks to you. I just love when Jackass day falls on Thanksgiving but that's another story for another page and I assure you that these thanks do not fall under the rules of that particular holiday.

Now go have a cup...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Earl, and One More Tea Stop at the Wine Shop

I wound up going back for a few days at the wine shop from a few weeks ago and this time I did it right. I brought Earl.

Earl, the thermos of goodwill that is. It might seem odd to name a thermos but famous teapots get named and any thermos that wants to be famous will need a name. Now I know Earl may not be famous to you but around me it's just about as recognizable as I am. You see when I get comfortable at a place I do what anyone would and start to preach the truth. I am a Tea Advocate and this is my tool.

Before I bring in tea I always try to do a little research into what kind of tea people like in this case the lady I was working with said that black tea makes her feel acidic. A little more digging and I discovered she liked jasmine. She just hit the jackpot since I happened to have a big ol' tin of Jasmine Pearls. I filled up Earl that morning with a damn fine brew. Now Earl is rated at "1.0L" and that might sound like a lot of tea but I just brew up a two cup size pot, then repeat using the same tea. You wind up with a very nice brew by mixing the first and second pots and you save a bit of cash. I wanted the tea to be enjoyed so I brought a few mugs from home that I knew to be free of any office coffee stains.

The tea was a hit but the cups were more of one. Stemware was the word of the day. Every person who came in was told about the wonderful tea and how great Jasmine Pearls were followed by "and he brought his own stemware." In the wine world a lot of effort goes into pairing. Pairing wine with cheese, meat, and the proper glasses. All of the vendors were thrilled and I was quite the hit as a result. They all were very insistent that I try their wines. Again, what kind of fool would I have to be? Now, something came up that only a tea lover in a wine shop would notice. Don't try tasting wine after drinking Jasmine Pearls all day. The first wine I tried was border line and when they asked my opinion I responded that it was "OK, but it would probably kill me to drink a whole glass." Thankfully they didn't appear too fond of it themselves and began laughing at my honesty. I apologized for being so blunt and added that it probably just didn't mix well with the tea I had been drinking.

The next day I brought some green tea, in fact the same one I used in the pizza recipe Hojicha Fugue. It's a green tea that's been lightly roasted, to me it tastes like a green but smells like an oolong. I've never been too fond of green tea but this day that would change. After having a few cups I had really become quite fond of this tea and was quite impressed at how well it went with wine. If anything it may have made that days selections taste even better. Of course it could be that the wines coming in that day were just plain better, but being who I am I must go with the tea.

So if you happen to be going out to do some tasting feel safe having some green tea before going but beware the jasmine.

As for being a Tea Advocate apparently the key to success is to bring your own gla--stemware(!) The irony is that the ones I tend to bring in these situations are $0.49 finds at a local thrift shop. Or I thought it was a find until I noticed that every thrift shop in the world has these same glass mugs with the lotus flower on the side. They hold a damn fine cup of tea though.

That was a few weeks ago and now I'm at a new place. A really nice job that pays well, well enough that I've been so side tracked with not being broke that it's taken a few weeks to get around to this here post about Earl. Speaking of Earl, has he made an appearance? Not yet but you can bet he will.

Now go have a cup.