February 26, 2012

August The 16th

After five and a half years, time has ended for August The 15th. No, I don't mean the final act of a sequel to the film Groundhog Day, it's my official announcement that my ill-conceived and dust-collecting webcomic is mercifully being put out of its misery.

A little background on the comic: My original career aspiration had been becoming a cartoonist until my senior year in high school, when I fell in love with writing and focused on being a novelist. Years later, when I discovered webcomics online, I figured I could live out my original career choice on my own terms as a hobby. The topic I settled on was to portray incidents in my own life; either exaggerated for humorous effect, or complete factual retellings since reality can oft be funnier than fiction. I named the comic August The 15th after my date of birth after looking for inspiration for a title and having my eyes fall upon the Friday the 13th movies in my DVD library. Since I had no deadline or real goals for the strip, I updated at my own leisure, sometimes making new ones every few days, or spacing them out between weeks or even months. I published my first strip on August 15th, 2006, and the last one I ever made was uploaded on December 30th... of 2007. In that year and a half, I managed to crank out a paltry 23 strips.

I always had the intention of going back to it when I got my time more organized, even keeping an extensive list of notes and sketches for future comics. Just last December, in my Christmas card to the world, I made a collage of sorts featuring all of my major projects going on at the time. On the rightmost side of the picture are the main players of August The 15th. This "shoutout" was my way of saying (basically to myself) that my old project was coming back.

However, as I was gathering up all my scrambled notes and sketches to prepare for the revival, I stumbled upon a horrible truth about the whole thing: my ideas for strips, past and present, seemed to mostly consist of inside jokes only myself and few others would understand, and punchlines that only I would "get". The rest were just flat-out lame. True, there were some winners in the batch, but the amount of losers far outweighed those. Some were based on timely events that have long since become irrelevant, and knowing me, any other attempt to make a strip based on current topics would face a huge delay of inactivity, thus rendering them worthless. Hell, even looking back on a few of the strips that were actually completed and uploaded online make me cringe with embarrassment.

I just could not commit to a revival of something that even I couldn't get behind. I have since started removing all traces of this failed project from the world, but I don't hate it in the sense that I would shy away from discussion about it. It'll be the forgotten and unloved child that I screwed up in raising, with the mistakes made in its upbringing being used as lessons in what to avoid in my future ventures. With this said, I'm not done with making an Internet based comic, but I've settled for an idea that is more up my alley. Oddly enough, it's one of the original ideas I passed upon when coming up with a strip because I didn't feel I could do it justice. But now, with many years passed and gaining much experience in drawing, I'm ready to take this one on with renewed vigor.

February 17, 2012

Company for Valentine's Day

I went to see Journey 2: The Mysterious Island on Valentine's Day evening. Partly because it looked like a fun adventure movie, but mostly because I try to catch Dwayne Johnson in all of his flicks as long as they aren't ridiculously kiddy fare or centered around football. Without giving a full review, I'll just say that most of its entertainment value will be lost if not viewed with the benefit of a 3D movie screen.

As I exited the theater at around 11:30 p.m., I was approached by a young lady with red hair, black glasses, and a pair of piercings on her lower lip. She asked if there were an ATM machine inside the theater, and I told her that I wasn't aware of one, but it mattered not since the building was now locked from the outside anyway. She was with her boyfriend, who was sitting against the side of the building clutching a backpack. As I walked to the parking lot, the girl yelled out at me "Happy Sappy Love Day", to which I stopped and replied "Nah, not really". Then the girl quickly ran up to me and began to explain their situation. They had no car and no money to hail a cab, and asked if I would give them a ride to their place that was only a few minutes away. Now I really should have walked away from this potentially dangerous situation, but the young lady was persistent, and obviously under the influence of something, so I figured I would have good chance to overcoming a pair of intoxicated car-jackers if the situation called for it. So I caved and gave Jamie and Jay, as I would come to know them, a lift.
Throughout the short drive, Jamie would remark several times that she really liked my leather trenchcoat and continuously asked if I would join herself and her boyfriend the following evening for a local club's fetish night. I declined... I'm not really the kind of guy who wears his fetishes on his sleeve. I also learned that her boyfriend was in a band or something. Both Jay and Jamie took turns reciting the exact same directions to their place, while telling each other not to interfere. When we finally arrived, Jamie asked me a few times if I were single, as she had a former roommate she could hook me up with that was "really hot". I couldn't think of hanging with this duo after only knowing them for about 20 minutes, especially since all I really knew about them was that they would go out, get drunk, and have no means of transportation other than bumming rides from strangers. Also, since they asked if I could pick them up at their place if I chose to join them on fetish night, that they most likely intended on using me as their chauffeur.
After dropping Jamie and Jay off at their destination, I couldn't help but think back to them on the drive home, mostly because my car now had a faint scent of booze inside of it. They did offer to give me some cash to cover gas, but their location really wasn't out of my way so I told them not to worry about it. In the end, they seemed like a nice pair of kids that just wanted to spend Valentine's Day night together drinking and watching Underworld: Awakening. Their social lives seemed far more interesting than my own, that's for sure.

On an unrelated note, three days later my betta fish Gerard lost a portion of his tail fin somehow, although the tip of it looked as if it were embedded in the gravel as opposed to coming to rest there after falling off. A few hours later it was gone. Who am I to judge, I gnaw on my dead skin all the time. Although those portions have never been the length of my ENTIRE BODY. I gave him a few less pellets for his meal, as I figured he had a pretty big one already.