Em oi! #399: He’s a Fan

Next time he'll perform "Eat It."

If you haven’t heard Janet Jackson’s classic song “Nasty” at this point, I don’t even know what to say to you. I’m not even the first comic artist to do a strip about it. Highlights from the music video include male crop tops, shoulder pads, and those funny squared-off haircuts that seem to have been popular in the 80s.

Everything was so square in the 80s, in a literal sense. What was with that design choice?

So following my marathon last week, which you may have read about here, I decided to run ten miles on both Wednesday and Thursday, sort of to see how I was feeling (the answer: tired). Then Friday we lifted legs. Some of you know that I lift with moderate seriousness[1]. This is something Bryan got me into just about six years ago next week(!) when we got our first gym membership together. Over time, I have come to appreciate leg day, because legs are a large muscle group and one that can do a lot of weight, so you can justify eating a lot of food after lifting legs.[2] For the last couple of months, I have been de-loading my squat (i.e., lifting less weight) to fix some problems with my form. So I was usually lifting about 95-100 lbs, but Friday I decided to go back to my typical working weight of 135 lbs (aka 100% of my body weight). Although I decided I would do five sets with five reps each rather than my more usual three sets of ten reps each, my quads unsurprisingly were not sold on the sudden increase. Then Saturday morning, I met my running group for thirteen (rather painful, hilly) miles. At this writing (Saturday night), my quads are no longer speaking to me. Basically I am currently sitting on the ground in front of the sofa and although I’m hearing a noise from the other room that suggests the dog is doing something untoward, I am having a really hard time motivating myself to get up and go check on the situation. Even the process of getting from a standing position to the floor where I could use my foam roller was rather harrowing. I may stay here forever.

Consequently, a new comic. Because I could sit on the ground and watch cooking videos and finish the inking. But hopefully my sabbatical is over and there will be more to come soon.

Anyway, dogs. So as the somewhat controversial Cesar Millan likes to say, dogs like to have jobs. This is especially true for working dogs like German shepherds and Australian shepherds, but it also seems to be true for regular normal house dogs like the shiba inu and the “mostly a flat-coated retriever.” If you don’t give the dogs a job, they come up with one themselves, I guess, because our dogs have certainly made a decision that they are each in charge of watching one of us. For the most part, when we are working during the day, we are in different rooms, and Edgar will be in my room while Maya is in B’s room. I am not sure how they came to this assignment, but it seems to be pretty consistent. If I move to another room to work, say, while Edgar is asleep (dogs spend most of their time asleep, much like cats), soon he will wake up and come find me in the new location. Similarly, I will find Maya either in the room where B has gone to nap, or occasionally in the next room if he has closed the door. Why do they act like this? How did they make the decision of which dog to assign to which human? And crucially, if we added either another dog or another human to the mix, what would happen?[3]

Questions that will probably not get answered.

Dogs who want my lunch.
Dogs who want my lunch.

We’ll file this under ML88.J3 L86 2014, for Literature on music–Aspects of the field of music as a whole–Visual and pictorial topics–Pictorial works–Musicians—Individual musicians, A-Z.

[1] Moderate seriousness defined as lifting 50-100% of my weight on most exercises, but without grunting, flexing in the mirror, or dragging along a gallon jug of either water or BCAAs to drink while lifting. Anyway, we lift on a body part-based rotation rather than an upper/lower split or that sort of thing. This fact included for the lifting nerds?

[2] Not that I need that sort of justification to eat a lot. Since my race, my diet has consisted mostly of romaine lettuce with parmesan cheese and Cesar dressing (a modified Cesar salad) and also cookies.

[3] When Daniel and Claire came to visit last, I think Edgar spent some of his time watching Daniel as well as me, but we were working in the same room enough that I can’t say for sure. He did really like Daniel though. We haven’t had any other guests either dog seemed to be as fond of.

Em oi! #397: It also Means “of the Greatest Importance.”


Here is something interesting I found out about cardinals: If you are a priest who is ministering somewhere that it might potentially be dangerous for you to be made a cardinal, the pope can make you a cardinal in pectore, which means he makes the appointment but keeps it secret (from everyone, including the apointee). Later on, he can reveal the appointment. But if he dies (or retires from the papacy, I guess?) before it is revealed, the appointment expires and the cardinal goes back to being a priest (or bishop). This kind of blows my mind, but I guess it is related to how the college of cardinals functions–not surprisingly, for a group that is full of old dudes, seniority is important.

Our yard might look like this picture if any of our trees (save the evergreens) had any leaves on them yet. Also we sold the swing set, it is not there anymore. And Edgar has dragged about a dozen sticks (many of them as big around as my forearm and longer than he is) out of the woods and piled them up in the middle of the lawn. He seems quite pleased with himself. If they start building ramparts, I’m going to get worried.

We’ll file this under ND1329.3.C37 L86 2014 for Painting–Special subjects of painting–Portraits. Group portraits. Self-portraits–Special subjects, A-Z–Cardinals. No, I am not sure why this is a call number.

Happy Pesach everyone! I hope you had a good seder (or seders if you are more ambitious than I am) and that you are having a good week of not eating bread. I have not had any bread in several days now, yes indeed! Although I must admit I have eaten some tortillas. A line has to be drawn somewhere I guess.

(Ok, actually the rabbis drew it on the side of don’t eat things with flour in them other than matzos during Passover. But they never had to go out to dinner in a non-Jewish city during Pesach.)

I guess this comic is somehow timely because Easter is coming up this Sunday. Happy Easter to all my priest relatives (and priest-to-be somehow-related-by-marriage people)! Actually, this is not a joke, I have one relative who is a priest, and also two of B’s relatives are priests-in-training. That’s a lot of priests for a Jew to be related to. It seems unusual. I also have a relative who studies the medieval Church although she isn’t herself Catholic. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but I can get questions of dogma answered all over the place.

After Easter though, comes the holiday we’ve all been waiting for: Cadbury-Creme-Eggs-Go-on-Sale-Monday.

You were waiting for that too, right? (Cough) I just started training for a triathlon, so I’m trying to stop buying junk food. I’m trying to eat less sugar. I’ll let you know how that works out. Right now I am very hungry and have been eating like it was my job. Probably because I can’t fill up on bread all the time.

It’s, um, Wednesday. Pesach ends Monday at sundown, I think. Be strong.

Em oi! #396: Airplane Hell


This was on a flight from Salt Lake City to Denver. Let me just say that I am super paranoid about my headphones–not only do I worry about disturbing others, I worry about damaging my hearing, so I keep music/podcasts turned down REALLY low. Evidently this guy didn’t give a fuck if everyone could hear his music or not. He’ll probably go deaf, serves him right I guess. Or that’s about what I was thinking. But at the end, when we got up to get our luggage, I started to lean over the seat to vent spleen on the guy. As I did so, I saw some of the stuff he was texting to a friend on his phone (well, we were on the ground, I guess). Essentially he was in his 30s or 40s, on his way to visit a woman his family disapproved of (they believed he was a sinner because he was going to see her, and she had posted some “mildly sexy” photos of herself on the internet), his family also disapproved of his lack of religiosity… I just lost steam. Poor guy was old enough that he should have a life for himself, but he was so totally caught up in his family’s feelings.

It would have been easier if he was just the stupid teenager I’d assumed he was. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a terrible person. But I didn’t yell at him; his life seemed rough enough already.

Anyway. We’ll file this under BJ2139.L86 2014, for Social usages. Etiquette–Etiquette of travel–Special topics–Airplane travel.

I went out to Black Earth to run the Black Earth 10 Mile Race today. It was quite entertaining–I knew about a third of the field, it felt like, or they were friends of friends. It was especially funny to hear people say “Here come the fast people” as I approached with my friend R. Not sure how long I’ve counted as a fast person. We kept a pretty steady 8:00-8:30 pace for the first 9 miles–it was an out and back course, very flat, so it was relatively easy to keep pace, and I knew when we hit the turnaround that I was in 9th place, so it was easy to drive just a little bit harder on the second half to move up a few spots to 7th. Just shy of the 9 mile marker, two people we’d passed earlier (a man and a woman) came up behind us looking to make a move. I dropped the hammer and took off. For a while, I was running about a 6:40. It was amazing, I was flying.

My hands started to tingle. I realized that I could only hold that pace for a limited amount of time, and the clock was running down. I was very shortly going to have make a choice between passing out and slowing down.

I finished, I believe, in 8th place. I didn’t win the free shoes gift certificate. But I learned something new about how fast I can really push myself to–maybe if I start doing intervals once a week (my PT suggested this), I will actually be able to hold a 6:40 pace for a little while longer.

That’s enough of that. Here are some pictures of dogs and other animals I took.




Macalester, or Mac for short.
Macalester, or Mac for short.
Edgar is happy when Bear is around.
Edgar is happy when Bear is around.


Bear, who stayed with us for a week while his person traveled.
Bear, who stayed with us for a week while his person traveled.
Kali and Bear go on adventures.
Kali and Bear go on adventures.



Bear, lying down.
Bear, lying down.






Smile nice for the camera, guys.
Smile nice for the camera, guys.
Smile, I said.
Smile, I said.
Guys, come on.
Guys, come on.

Anyway I think my SAD is over so I will try to post more frequently now. I still have a couple of reviews in queue and a few more to write, plus I’ve recently fallen down a post-colonial studies rabbit hole and I’m excited to talk about that (everyone in real life is tired of listening to me talk about it, actually).

Em oi! #394: Secret Messages

To write “sum chees” I used my right hand. I’m not sure if this proves that my right hand handwriting is as good as my left or that my normal handwriting is that terrible.

Anyway, this is based on an event that actually happened, sort of. As proof, here is the piece of paper that Edgar was actually toting around (click to embiggen):
I saw an article yesterday that alleged that black dogs are adopted at a lower rate than dogs of other colors. It’s the Daily fail Mail, fair warning. But I’ve heard the allegation elsewhere before. I don’t know if I believe it–I certainly see a lot of black labs around the dog parks–but if it’s true it’s quite sad. Black dogs are awesome. Their fur blends in to any color of carpet that’s not white, and who wants nasty white carpet anyway? Sometimes they hide in the shadows and you don’t see them! And all they really want out of life is to hang out with the cat and maybe get belly rub:



That’s my public service announcement for the day. It looks like there is no LC number for secret dog messages, so I’ll file this under SF422.33 L86 2014, for Animal culture–Pets–Dogs–Communication of information–General works.

In theory I am depositing my thesis tomorrow. (It was going to happen today, but then Kinkos decided to be a bitch.) I have promised copies to several people, so I will email those out soon. Also I need to send copies to my other committee members and to, uh, a couple of journals. Also need to apply for some jobs, finish a massive copyediting project, get hair cut, take dog to vet for annual checkup, do laundry, vacuum every horizontal surface in house, learn good method of removing wallpaper, order shower curtain, watch some old episodes of Dr. Who, finish novel, finish applying for unemployment, contact guitar teacher, contact a bunch of other people, decide if I can run a 50k this spring, develop positive outlook on life, get enough sleep, and put some stuff up for sale on Craigslist.

Piece of cake, right?

I keep thinking about starting a tumblr for my comic, but then my readers wouldn’t be subjected to these entertaining little chats–they’d just see the comic. And that would be sad, wouldn’t it?

Em oi! #388: The New Guy

Edgar came to live with us close to four weeks ago. I think it will be four weeks tomorrow, actually. It’s actually surprising how much about him has changed since we brought him home:

  1. He will walk on a leash and not freak out.
  2. He will go up and down stairs by himself, although he’s a bit clumsy.
  3. Weighs 46 lbs rather than 42.
  4. Is willing to walk past cars that are parked as well as cars that are turned on but not moving. Still terrified of moving cars though.
  5. We are reasonably sure he is flat-coated retriever and Aussie rather than part Newfie.
  6. I have decided on the best way to draw him. As you can see in the comic above, there was some experimentation.

At first Edgar was very shy and stayed in his crate most of the time, even though we left the door open so he could come and go as he wanted. I think he appreciated having the little cave to hang out in, because re-homing is incredibly stressful and confusing. And that’s for people; imagine how the dogs feel. Anyway, Edgar is a rescue dog and he had spent a lot of his life in to a shelter before entering the foster care system and then coming to us, so we knew that it would take him longer than it took Maya to warm up to us. After all, Maya was 12 weeks when we got her, versus Edgar at six or seven months–much more life to have traumatized him thus far. However, I am happy to report that he is thriving. I drew this follow-up comic to demonstrate Edgar hanging out in the atrium every morning while I eat breakfast:

breakfast comic

I’ll file this comic under SF427 .L86 2013 for Animal Culture–Pets–Dogs–Culture and care. Sadly, there was no entry for “doggy personal ads.”

And here’s a photograph of him I took earlier this afternoon:
Majestic as Fuck

And a picture of Edgar and Maya playing in the snow:

So the reason we were able to get another dog is that we recently moved to a new house. I think I may have mentioned this before. But the thing is that we have been slowly going through a lot of stuff at the old condo that didn’t get moved, stuff that we should probably throw away so we can get the house on the market. Earlier this evening while doing this, I came across this piece of paper:

If you can’t read, it says, “ทำงานทุกวันและเล่นไม่ได้ทำให้คุณจากคนไม่สนใจ,” which translates as “Working everyday and not playing makes Jack an uninteresting person.” Nowadays I would spell “Jack” as “แจก” rather than “จาก” I guess. But. I wonder what was going on when I made those notes? It also seems to say “Liz Bernstein–another Jew in Asia,” “มหา [maha] Ghosanada,” “CompLit,” and “No one is soverign [sic] in love.”

…It’s probably a good thing I’m finishing my thesis and graduating soon.

I should mention that the novella is due out at the end of the week. It will be available as a PDF and on all major ebook platforms (i.e., Kindle and Nook). So, uh, prepare to spend money on it? It should be pretty awesome. Here, in case you haven’t seen it yet, is the cover.


Em ơi! #341: The Shiba Inu, part 2

Apparently, Norman barks at B because he doesn't like men.

Apparently our condo has thick walls.  Thank goodness.  This was also the longest conversation we’ve had with our neighbor since she moved in (she lives on the other side of our duplex), so it’s a bit random for her to give us a dog toy.  Maya has really been enjoying chewing on the bully stick though.  It is a great toy.

This comic is filed under
SF429.S63 L86 2011a, which stands for:
Animal culture–Pets–Dogs–By breed, A-Z–Shiba dogs.

So to give you some idea of what my training schedule has been like since I last posted:

Week of March 7th-March 13th

Monday: Biked 19.5 miles
Tuesday: Ran 10.3 miles
Wednesday: Ran 8.1 mi
Thursday: Ran 10.5 mi
Friday: Swam 2550 yards
Saturday: Ran 22.6 miles
Sunday: Ran 10.5 miles
Total: 19.5 miles biked, 2550 yards swum, 62 miles run

Week of March 14-March 20th:

Monday: Swam 3100 yards
Tuesday: Ran 10.3 miles
Wednesday: Ran 10.2 miles
Thursday: Ran 10.4 miles/Ran 2.4 miles as second evening run
Friday: Swam 3200 yards
Saturday: Ran 11.1 miles
Sunday: Ran 24 miles
Total: 6300 yards swum, 71.5 miles run

And this past week:

Monday: Swam 2000 yards
Tuesday: Ran 10.3 miles
Wednesday: Ran 8.1 miles, plus about 2.3 miles evening run on the elliptical
Thursday: Ran 10.3 miles, then 3.1 miles in the evening
Friday: Day off.
Saturday: Ran 20.2 miles
Sunday: Ran 11.6 miles
Total: 2000 yards swum, 65.9 miles run

So if you see me looking tired, that’s why.

During the 20-miler this past Saturday, I managed to take a header and scrape up my right knee and apparently bruise my left foot.  So far it doesn’t seem to be anything serious, but I’m keeping an eye on it.

Taper begins now, by the way.  I’m excited.