Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sunburns and snow: summer in the mountains

I decided to be hip and trendy and start using the Helvetica font.  How ironic!  Well, not really, I've been using fonts other than Times New Roman since before they went mainstream.  Courier New was always my favorite because it looks like a typewriter's font.

I majored in English, how can I not be particular about my fonts?

Anyway, in homage to the hipsters, this post is done semi-un-ironically in Helvetica. ENJOY (or just stand in the corner, sipping PBR and puffing American Spirits while complaining about how you liked Radioactive Cheese before it had 2,000 hits.)

...I feel like we should celebrate, but I'm too busy punching lions in the face and wrestling grizzly bears in the back-country to make a celebratory comic.

ANYWAY!  Time for the real reason you are here!  Comics!

After months of drawing Georgie as a bug eyed puffball, she gets her revenge. There's nothing on earth quite like a Maltese getting revenge.  (Eez so cuuuuute and deadly!)


Georgie is snuggly cuddly soft and radiates sunshine and happiness...or something like that.  She also poops a lot. On the deck. Unapologetically. She also runs off sometimes and totally freaks Sam out since large birds have been reported to have picked up dogs and eat them.
Yes, everything out here can and will KILL YOU DEAD.  That may be why Wyoming is the least populated state (even Alaska has more people than us). It may also be why my county is the least populated one in Wyoming too.  (There is barely 10,000 people living in this county, and it is bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island. Our population density is something like 2 people for every square mile.)

So what do I do with all this seclusion?  I take my shirt off!!!

There's 7,200ft less atmosphere up here to filter out the UV rays, and after 9 months of winter I lost my tan from the previous summer for the first time ever. I also got my first hardcore sunburn as well, one of the benefits of being 1/4 Native American...aside from the inability to handle alcohol and the insatiable urge to sleep outside.
I spent the next two weeks soaked in aloe gel with lidocain and not touching ANYTHING.

However, the weather here is bipolar. It was hot and sunny at the beginning of June, then it snowed on the 16th. (The day after my birthday, I was more annoyed that it didn't snow on my birthday than the by the fact it was snowing at all in June. I've always wanted to have a snowball fight on my birthday.)


 Sweater in the morning. Shorts in the afternoon. Coat after sundown. You must keep gear for all types of weather with you at all times. It's not uncommon to switch from heat to air conditioning and back again in one day when driving.  ...and when the nearest town is 100 miles away, there's a lot of driving.

One of the (many) positive aspects of living out here is the unique history. Mountain Men get a 4 day long festival in early July called Rendezvous.  Historical re-enactments, crazy delicious food and bands each night make it essentially the Mardi Gras of the mountains...plus the bars are open all night long for one of the nights.  I am still recovering.


Next year I will definitely be participating in the re-enactment. They take the historical accuracy very seriously, and I'm always looking for an excuse to grow out my beard and ride bareback while drinking whisky from a large jug.

The official state sport of Wyoming is Rodeo, so naturally there is a really big one held during Rendezvous.  I haven't got the cajones nor the funds to pay the medical bills afterwards to participate in it (yet), but my adrenaline addiction is leading me in that direction.

In the meantime, I will live vicariously through Sam's dog, Georgie, and the magic of static-cling!


I'm 155 pounds and 6ft tall.  Basically, a walking skeleton thanks to running.  If I were to take up the sport, I would inevitably be flung higher than anyone else, thankfully years of air-falling in Hapkido should have me prepared to get my ass kicked by a raging 2,000 pound bull.  

If the comics stop coming, assume I died in a bull riding accident.  I have adrenaline issues and need thrills.

I also need cookies.



As a hyperactive runner, I require 5,000 calories or more a day just to keep from falling over from hunger. Cookies are the food of the Gods, and I need them.  All the time. 

[I have no idea how to transition from this comic to the next, so deal with it.]

Much like myself, most of the staff for both newspapers out here is from the Midwest. My roommate is from southern Illinois, and Sam and another reporter are from Chicago.  Sometimes going home to visit is unavoidable...which leaves me essentially unsupervised.




If anyone is going to take over Chicago, it would be Sam and Georgie (in a viking helmet).



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And now for something completely different! (Not really)

So, I got a job, moved to the mountains and totally started ignoring the blog-comic.  Big surprise and even bigger let down, eh holmes?

Well suck it up!  I'm still drawing new stuff, I just haven't been uploading lately because...well...I've been busy.

Really!  I have been!

Actually, that's a lie.  I've been working, running, and brooding over the insane student loan payments that are absolutely crushing me financially.  Fortunately, laughter is the best medicine.  Laughter, and donuts.

I really do not like this first comic, it was a busy week and I was in a pissy mood and it reflects in the lack of wit.  Scroll past this monstrosity and pretend it never happened.  Do it and I'll be your best friend!


Winter took forever to end around here, and not just because this place is way up in the mountains either.  This was an unusually long winter, even for here.  My complaints are valid.  Don't doubt me, and I'm not a wimp for getting cold easily!  (Fun side effect of being like 2% body fat?)

Up next...my complete lack of consistency in character design!  Hooray!  Also, I love cadburry eggs and eating tons of Easter candy.  Tripping balls on sugary treats is exactly how Zombie Jesus would want us to celebrate.


It seems that the better my mood, the bigger the eyes...I don't really like these large egg shaped things, I think I will stick with the beady ones for everything other than extreme expressions.

Extreme expressions such as complete ecstasy over growing a mustache!  (I didn't actually grow a mustache, but imagine the shenanigans!  They would be the classiest, most soccer-dad-esque shenanigans ever.)


Mustaches make everything classy and awesome.  Actually, facial hair in general is the coolest.  If you have the means to do so, I highly recommend it, it is so choice.

Growing mustaches/beards is definitely the epitome of awesome, but sloshing around in a massive mud pit is a very close second.  Combine the two for an awesomeness combo that is guaranteed to attract the ladies!


I'm pretty sure Sam would kill me if I got Georgie covered in mud since she is her dog and I've yet to contribute to the keep-Georgie-snuggle-soft fund.

Note: Georgie gets an energy efficient and environmentally friendly idea because she is a trendy and progressive little pooch.  We should all be more like her (and bark at everything that moves too).


I don't typically condone violence of any kind...justice on the other hand, well that's a complicated thing for me.  I've also got a dark side that thinks a quick death was too good for him.  Personally, I would have paid good money to give Osama a swift kick in the groin.

And now for something completely different!


I often wonder what other people are doing when I'm not around.  I also sometimes day dream about the awesome things people (or dogs) could be doing when I'm not around.  90% of the time, assume that I'm thinking you are off having epic adventures while I'm at work or at home doing dishes.  If you freaking walk into Mordor while I'm stuck doing other things, then I will...umm...do something unpleasant!


It took until about May or so for it to get warm enough to go running with no shirt on.  Then it rained for about a week straight.  Fan-freaking-tastic timing to get rid of my gym membership.  I don't run in the rain, it's a good way to ruin my ipod and it is also a recipe for INFLUENZA.


I didn't grow up around Italian-Americans.  Iowa was mostly people of German, Mexican, Dutch, or Irish decent...or any combination of the four.  So, I was shocked to learn that Italians can be naturally blonde, and I still assume mob connections and a double life as a magician is the Italian-American way of life.  Also, bread sticks, lots and lots of bread sticks (thank you, Olive Garden, for forever skewing my views on Italian-Americans with your horrid commercials that make my mouth water).

Anyway, Luvisi sounds like a magician's name to me, and I'm so jelly that I could feed Africa with my jelly sammiches. 

The reason for this?  My last name is the butt of so many Mr. Roger's jokes (won't ya be my neighbor/naber) that it makes my head explode with rage.

Fun fact, my old last name from my biological father, "Truitt," is Gaelic for "direct hit" ....I think my new name that implies being the friendly guy next door is more fitting, but I am kind of jealous that my last name doesn't sounds like a freaking magician's one!

Update in a month or so?  I dunno...eventually, for sure!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ozone, funding disputes and a new truck

The county I moved to is loaded with money.  Pinedale's population is just barely 2,000 yet there is a 20 million dollar aquatic center and just about everywhere you go is extravagant.

Unfortunately, most of these awesome facilities are funding with oil money because there's tons of drilling going on in this area.  What makes this really suck is the ground level ozone that occurs in the late winter/early spring when it's sunny and warm but there's still a super reflective layer of snow on the ground which ultimately traps and bakes the chemicals in the air...or something like that.

Anyway, we have ozone advisory days that say young, old and sick people should stay indoors and avoid strenuous activity.  I'm neither young, old or sick...but I am a notorious running addict, so I ignore this and go running anyway. 

Then my nose bleeds and I get light headed, which completely ruins my Nike+ running stats.  (Don't judge me, you try running with a face full of your own blood...it's not easy!)

Suffice it to say, I have conflicting feelings about the oil drilling.  I love what it does for the community, but hate what it does to the environment.

  
There are so many of these oil rigs on the horizon that at night it looks like an alien invasion.

Another unusual side effect of these oil companies drilling in the area is that Pinedale gets more funding than Big Piney, these are the two school districts in the county so it's a pretty big deal.

By national standards, neither school district is hurting...but national standards for school funding are a joke. 

Pinedale (SCSD#1) has some pretty amazing stuff for their kids, trips are funded, the new elementary school is the nicest I've ever seen, and the list goes on.  Big Piney (SCSD#9) isn't as well funded as Pinedale, but it's still a lot better than any school I saw in Iowa despite it's even smaller size than Pinedale. 

So what happens when one school district gets a bigger piece of the oil-pie due to district lines from the 1970's?  A feude worthy of a Clint Eastwood western movie ensues!  ...minus the gun-slinging.


Both are in better shape than the rest of the world, yet arguing still ensues.  SCSD#1 uses their excess funds for recreational purposes, not educational, so they are free to do as they please with it...and fortunately for me, this means having a multi-million dollar recreational center across the street from my house.  (Indoor waterslide and a rock climbing wall is the shit!)

These things are available for anyone, but it's a 40 mile drive for Big Piney...so getting upset is kind of understandable.  However, taxes are higher in Pinedale to make up for this.

These have been the big things to report on lately, so I'm never in short supply of articles to write.  (And that means job security for me.)

One thing that was a threat to my job though was my piece of shit truck that Wolf Dodge sold to me a couple months ago.  Roughly $2,000 in repairs for a $7,000 truck in less than 6 weeks of owning it is bullcrap.  My extended warranty covered none of the repairs that were needed either...total moose-crap!

I sent out e-mails to every car dealer in western Wyoming and eastern Idaho telling them what I wanted and asking them to find something that fit all my criteria.

First Choice Ford in Rock Springs found a 2007 Chevy Colorado within a week of this, and now Uma is no more.  (snaps for First Choice Ford)


I'm not the type to go cruising, but this is the first vehicle I've ever owned that is from the 21st century and isn't constantly threatening to kill me.  I haven't named her yet, but mudding is definitely going to happen...and at 24 mpg, why not?

The scooter that I drove in college got 110 mpg, but the yellow POS truck got 11 mpg, so I'm pretty stoked even though I sometimes kind of miss only using pocket change for gas money.
Sunday, March 13, 2011

I've Been A Bad Blogger

Over a month with no updates!?!  Blasphemy!  

I would say that I've been busy drawing fantastic cartoons for you all to enjoy, but that would be a dirty lieA very dirty lie!

But fear not, kids!  Captain Matt is green and not just because he is Irish and it is almost St. Patrick's Day either.  I'm going to recycle the comics I posted on Facebook as I made them for the newspaper, so if you read them already...well, you're just going to have to read them again.  (Along with my babbling.)

In retrospect, this comic is kind of crap.  Deal with it.


I freaking hate deer now.  I normally don't hold grudges, but ever since a deer destroyed my car I have wanted revenge.

Cold blooded revenge.

I was walking to the PAC (Pinedale Aquatic Center) to go running, and there was a group of deer just chilling out by the high school and I wanted nothing more than to roundhouse kick them in the face.  I was seriously debating whether or not to do it, I mean after all, they did try to kill me earlier this year.  I was going over what the fines would be for killing a deer without a hunting license and wondering whether or not hunting meant using a gun or bow.

Is it legal to kill a deer using martial arts?  Is it legal to do so on school grounds?

I didn't know for sure, and not wanting to get in trouble with the law, I let the deer live...for now.

I've never had any desire to go hunting, but recent events have lead me to want to do it very badly.  Besides, I deserve my revenge.

This next comic is more of an inside joke for those living in Pinedale, but if you are from a small town you will know what I'm talking about.

Traffic lights change things.


Roughly 7,000 vehicles pass through Pinedale and there is no traffic light.  Left hand turns are impossible and crossing the street would be deadly if the people here weren't nice enough to stop and let pedestrians cross.

As a runner and gas-saving-enthusiast, I appreciate this...but I still think a traffic light would benefit the town.  It would at least get people to stop and see what few shops and awesome restaurants are here anyway.

This next comic is an introduction of our new reporter, Sam. Unfortunately when drawn in my minimalistic style, Sam and Jacie look very similar.


As much as I love cats, I'm also a very big dog person as well.  Typically I don't count anything smaller than a beagle to be a "real dog," but Georgie is an exception.  She demands it.

Since Sam actually works at the same newspaper as me and I hang out with her fairly frequently, she will be in a lot of upcoming comic strips.


As an ex-fast food employee, I try to avoid those restaurants because I know they are dirty and their food is horrible for me.

As a junk food enthusiast and notorious sugar fiend, I ignore these facts.

There's no fast food in Pinedale.  The closest McDonald's is in Jackson, along with the closest anything.  There's no Wal-Mart either.  My inner economic-hippy is thrilled since I really enjoy the Main Street vibe and buying local...however, my Irish pride and forbidden love affair with bad food gets the better of me when it comes to Shamrock Shakes.


Eff fine dining, I want some soft serve ice cream blended with artificial green mint goo served in a paper cup by a greasy and angry teenager.  Aaaah yeeee!

My yellow truck (Uma) is a lemon and this is irony that I do not appreciate.

I spent $7,000 for this 1999 4x4 Dodge Ram 1500, $1300 for an extended warranty, $460 on tax/title/license, $380 on steering repairs and $680 on new gaskets (neither were covered by my extended warranty, those stingy jerks).  The cherry on top of my sundae of debt is that my new clothes dryer cost $380 and it didn't work nor would the store take it back or exchange it...luckily Whirlpool is providing free repairs.

The dealership I worked with on buying and repairing this truck twice admitted to knowing there were problems with it when the sold it to me.  I am one repair away from qualifying to file a lawsuit under the Lemon Law.  I was going to run this comic in the newspaper, but decided against it since my room-mate/friend does sales for the other paper and the sales rep for my paper has enough problems selling with them as it is and I didn't want to create any bad vibes for either of them.  Plus I may need to work with this dealership again anyway.

My ego was so shot by all of this that I went out and spent $120 on a new cowboy hat.  My old one smelled like campfires and was getting kind of crappy...plus everyone gives me beef for always wearing my Iowa baseball hat despite living in Wyoming and reporting on agricultural/environmental news.

Cultural adaptation happens.  (Fun side note, it's a total chick magnet...I hope [girlfriend] doesn't mind.  Everyone knows I'm taken anyway, it's just ego-boosting to be asked to dance by multiple girls in the same night.)


I'm a shallow person sometimes.

Suffice it to say, college food is back on the menu and my trips around the world to visit friends are postponed until further notice.  (That was why I bought such a cheap truck in the first place.)

This is the replacement comic that I made when paranoia sunk in and I decided to pull a Ghandi.  "An eye for an eye and the whole world is blind."  In my case, "The reporter who reports on being shafted by the car dealer gets no road-side assistance."


My only problem at work is my running addiction.  Actually, this is the only problem in my life.  I can't miss a day of running, otherwise I get irritable and easily distracted by everything.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I have ADHD and I refuse medication for it.  I don't believe that taking a pill to be "normal" is a natural thing to do.  I also don't believe that I am abnormally fast and easily distracted.  Instead I believe that everyone else is abnormally slow and that some things just aren't that interesting.

ADHD medication is an amphetamine, it releases chemicals into your brain that otherwise would be out of wack.  Running also releases chemicals, but does so naturally and while improving my overall health.  This is one of the many reasons I have to run every day, it keeps me sane.

Plus, given how insane life can be, a little sanity is necessary; and in my case that comes in the form of running shoes and an ipod.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Shaved my beard and ate a peanut butter and jealousy sandwhich

Before we get this shindig started, sit back and take in the awesome new layout that my old student/protege, Kim Sloan, made for the site!  Not bad for still being in high school, huh?

Snaps for Kim!

*snap snap snap*

If you want her to hook you up, she's doing some freelance web-design work and I can get you her contact info while she sets up her own site.

Now, on with the show!

It was as cold as a witches left tit up here this week.  Up until now it has been a jackets-optional kind of winter, so I was loving it.  I went so far as to shave my beard in celebration of the warm weather.

Then el diablo unleashed a whole tank of liquid nitrogen on the mountains and I got a pretty annoying cough which kept me from going running for like 3 days!  I was pissed!

I kind of forgot just how much I look like a teenager without an epically huge red beard covering my face.  I also forgot how chilly things can get when you don't have a permanent face mask on.

Unlike Iowa, spring doesn't really hit up here until April or May...or so I've been told.  I guess this makes sense since the town is at 7200ft and the mountains peak out at like 14,000ft.  Pretty awesome, but also pretty cold.


It was cold enough outside that our house made really loud creaking and popping noises, the power fluctuated on and off and water would freeze before hitting the ground!  I didn't get to try it, but you could also blow bubbles and watch them freeze in midair.

I bet you all can guess what I will be doing next time we get a cold snap.

  
My new comic series, "Nerd on the Range," has been a pretty big hit with the newspaper so far.  I wonder how long it will be before I reach statewide syndication?  ...or even better, national syndication!

"Peanuts," "Blondie," and "The Family Circus" have been around for way too long, so it's time for them to be replaced by something new and awesome, and preferably made by me.

This would have been a longer entry, but it's finally warmed up enough to go outside and I am finally over my cough, so I am totally going running!  I flushed out my system with about 10 pounds of fruit and chugged water like a champ, so I think I killed the virus dead.  Dead in the streets!  (Because I take the thug-gangster's no mercy approach to killing viruses, with some hardcore anti-oxidants.)

On an unrelated note, [Girlfriend] got to see The Decemberists concert in Chicago last night and am I radiating jealousy!

 
Someday I will see The Decemberists in concert, and I will go into a deep coma from sheer awesomeness.
Friday, January 28, 2011

Moved to the mountains

I moved to Pinedale, Wyoming when I got a job offer at the Sublette Examiner as a reporter.  Normally I wouldn't move 1,000 miles away from home without knowing someone in the area...but the 7200 ft elevation was too tempting to pass up for improving my running and learning how to snowboard.

My new job rocks, the office is loaded with mac computers, my coworkers are awesome and I got permission to make comics for the paper in addition to my regular reporting load.  (One step closer to obtaining national syndication as a cartoonist...suck it, art school!)

Things were totally epic for this first few days.

Then I hit a freaking deer and totaled my car!  A stupid suicidal deer on the other side of the highway jumped out in front of me and my only options were to swerve into oncoming traffic, go off the side of a mountain or hit the stupid jerk.

Not wanting to die, I hit the freak and drove 18 miles through the mountains at night with no headlight or passenger window.  Fan-freaking-tastic.



I was so mad at that deer that I promptly broke my vegetarianism and ate a deer burger out of vengeance.

[Girlfriend] and I named my 2001 Daewoo "Appa" last summer because I bought it at the peak of our Avatar obsession (the anime series, not the blue freaks) .  Daewoo was only made for a few years and then the company tanked...so parts are rare and expensive even though the car is cheap.

Fun fact of the day:  Gigantic Wyoming deer love to kill cheap Korean cars. 

So, I was 1,000 miles from home, new in town and fresh out of college with no income yet since my first pay day was 5 days away.  There was no freaking way any bank would hook me up with a car loan without my parents as a co-signer...and I thought I was an adult.  Guess not!

Fortunately, the people here are extremely nice and the local car dealer hooked me up with a crazy nice loaner truck until we could get me in something new.  Despite all this, I was freaked!

After a week of begging the banks in Wyoming to hook me up with a loan, I ended up going with my hometown bank back in Iowa since they knew me well enough to know that screwing me over with high interest rates would be totally bogus.

My new ride is boss.  In fact, I might go so far as to say is soooo cash.


I'm a diehard fan of "Kill Bill" and an alumni of the University of Iowa, so anything that is black and gold must be mine.  I named her Uma (after Uma Thurman, my favorite actress who coincidentally looks a lot like [Girlfriend]).

My coworkers and friends reactions to my car crash were pretty similar...and it was a pretty good blow to my recently inflated ego.  Yay karma!



Jacie is one of my chillest coworkers, so I drew her in my first comic to get printed in a newspaper since college.


[Since Pinedale is way up in the mountains, there are tons of moose here...so I grew a beard.  Deal with it.]

So Appa is dead and I got a car loan in addition to my student loans to pay off...but it's worth it.

Doubt me?  Best check yourself, fool, because I don't front...much.

Ch-ch-check this view out, cousin!


Living and training up here is improving my running in ways that never could have happened in Iowa.  The thin air, massive mountains and awesome aquatic center across the street from my house is totally getting me ready for the 2012 Canadian Death Race.  (77 miles in less than 24 hours over 3 mountain peaks).

You all knew I was insane, and this is the extent of my madness. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Best Day Ever

I would have made some drawings for this update, but moving day is tomorrow.  Deal with it, punk.  (I will definitely be posting new blog/comics once I get settled into my new place though, so be excited.)

Today has been the best day ever.  EVER.

Never before in the history of mankind, nor even during the duration of this plane of existence, has anyone had a better day than I had today.  Be jelly.

1.  I'm finally leaving my boring/smelly/depressing hometown tomorrow to start my first job-that-is-related-to-my-college-degree-and-is-something-I-actually-want-to-do job.  Ooh yes, I am thrilled.

2.  My great-grandma royally hooked me up with a ton of her frosted sugar cookies...to go along with the mountain of junk food my sister got me and the amazing DING DONGS WITH OREO FILLING that my ex-student/soon-to-be-protege made for me (if the dudes at the newspaper ever get their junk together and let her take my spot as columnist/film critic). 

...if you can't tell by now from the frantic tone of my writing, I have been eating those snacks all day while packing and am on a sugar rush which is probably on the verge of becoming a food coma.

Also, you read right, Ding Dongs with Oreo Filling.  Try it, it will change your perspective on snacking forever.  FOREVER.  (There is a reason why I chose [student] as my replacement at the newspaper, she is a genius at snacks and that's 90% of the writing process right there.  Don't believe me?  Note the dietary habits of Hemmingway, Mark Twain, and just about any good writer and you will find that they ate some odd-yet-amazing things.)

Anyway!

3.  The iPhone is going to be available on Verizon soon.  I am so stoked.  I've wanted one for years, and I could care less about the other smart phones.  The iPhone is shiny and made by Apple, therefore I need it.  (Actually I just like how it looks and works when compared to other phones and could care less about expanding memory and all that other crap.  It's a freaking cell phone, not a customizable car or desktop computer...so no whining about the Android, you harpies!)

4.  Boxxy is back.  She is my favorite internet meme (or whatever you want to call her/her character), and I can't wait to see her new videos!
 
If you don't know who I am talking about, watch this!


If your head didn't melt from that first video and you want to know more, watch this!


If you know who I am talking about, but don't believe me that she is back, watch this!


5.  I just now realized that one of my old friends from Hapkido recently started teaching at Utah State University, and that is only a 3.5 hour drive from where I will be!  It's going to rock hanging out with her again, and it's just comforting to know there is a friend nearby. 

6.  Today is Pocky Day.  1-11-11  (Pocky are delicious Japanese cookie sticks, and since they look like 1's, each day that is entirely made of 1's is a Pocky Day.  I could only find strawberry around here, so I had to settle...but it was still delicious!)

Summary of today:  Woot!

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Matt
I got my English degree and mountain of student loan debt from the University of Iowa. I like boo berry cereal, martial arts, running and cats.
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