Day434: Trench Warfare


We're deep in the shit up here on the mountain. Charlie company, and by that I mean the ticks, hit us hard with another assault today. They must love the mornings, these parasitic blood suckers, as every time I've taken Hubble out for his morning walk of late we get attacked. Today was no exception as I pulled three ticks off him and TWO off me.. and all we did was walk down the lane about 200 yards. 

We're getting him taken in tomorrow to get shaved. He's not going to be pleased with the result. Hubble always gets upset when he gets shaved. He acts up like a pissed off kid who's had his TV taken away. It's for his own good of course, and the continued good of the household. We can't let these things penetrate our defences. I love Hubble and all, but he's like the canary in the cave -I think it's a specific kind of cave, for that saying.. but it escapes me. The point is, I hate to see Hubble getting attacked by all these ticks, but my real priorities are Jeannette and most of all Blaze; we can feel the little bastards on us, Blaze won't. And if he does he's powerless to do anything to stop them! So Hubble is a good measuring stick for how bad the problem is and also sharpens my skills at seeing them and getting them off of him before they get dragged into the house. 

The system is hardly fail safe yet, as evidenced by the numbers we've been dealing with. I even woke up with one in the bed this morning. I didn't know it was there but when Jeannette came in and dropped Blazer off with me this morning she was like, "there's a tick on the bed." It was right next to Hubble down at the foot, opposite me So I've gone from sleeping with my lovely wife and the mother of my children (well..1.5 kids anyway) to literally sleeping with the enemy. It's like a bad Julia Roberts movie up here these days. 

I had a good day otherwise. Jeannette took him out for a doctors appointment and then had an appointment herself. My mother went with her and they were out for most of the day. I did some work and then got sucked into the vortex that is Netflix. I watched a documentary that really brought me back to the old days. It was on Comic Strips. A little known fact about Rob MacDonald aka Jay Malone, is that before he... I... us... went up on stage and started telling jokes, and then stealing his way into audition rooms, and eventually in front of the camera, and got swept up in the world of show business, I was pursuing cartooning full time. 

In fact, the year I started comedy I had been starting to get published as a political cartoonist in Fredericton New Brunswick. In fact, my very first year of university was at King's College in Halifax, at the prestigious Journalism School there.. which I dropped out of about a month in. The only reason I took journalism, you see, was because I was hoping to become a political cartoonist and had enrolled in Journalism school because it would look good on a resume. Then I got there and they were trying to teach me to take all the art and style out of my writing, in favour "The bus flipped over killing all the nuns on board." Short, sweet, to the point, and riddled with blood; those were the stories and the manner in which they tell them that journalism school pushes. Not just the school, but the entire profession. It wasn't for me. 

I managed to stomach a month of it and then moved on. I never stopped cartooning however, and for a few years after that continued to work on my craft. I created three panel strips and submitted them to the Syndicate companies. All three were turned down outright. It got more and more frustrating. I remember putting it away for a while, after I completed the third round of rejection letters, and decided to focus on doing caricature work, political cartoons, and making a push to get a job at a newspaper. In fact, when I did start doing comedy and moved to Toronto to pursue it, I kept pushing to get in the doors at a real newspaper hoping to land a day job as a cartoonist, while telling jokes at night. 

I remember one call where an editor said they weren't hiring, they never hired new comics, in fact, and that they would only look at someone when they're guy retired or died. I asked if I could send him my work anyway and he said, "save your time, I have no interest in seeing it." At that time I started to really focus on standup comedy, where there was no one between me and the audience and the jokes land immediately. It was a much more immediate, much more satisfying outlet than cartooning was, and so I abandoned it altogether and went off on an entirely different path. 

I got into animating later on, but watching that documentary really made me nostalgic about all the hours and hours and hours I spent creating comics, and how satisfying it was to have it completed. It's an art form, of that I've never had any doubt, and I probably took it more seriously than most, despite the fact my comics were like most others, and didn't do any hard hitting observations or themes. Still, I've been doodling a lot more lately, working on the memory stuff, and may have rekindled an old love. Especially after watching that documentary, and listening to all the new breed comic creators that blew past the syndication companies with their bullshit 50% of the profit and ownership of your strip (seems a crazy system but it's what exists!) and went straight to the audience via the internet. 

The other documentary I watched was recommended to me by Netflix after the film ended, though I don't really see the connection. It was called the Source, and it documented the rise, transformation and ultimate death of Jim Baker, the Father figure and spiritual leader of the group of the same name, the Source Family. I'd heard his name for years kicked around as a pop culture reference but I didn't know anything about the man at all.

I recommend the documentary.. highly.. as it talks to a lot of his former students (family members) and there's a lot of footage of the man himself and the shenanigans he got up to. He seemed to have many of the ego failings of other cult leaders you've heard of, who get to a certain level of power and then go back on their core principles, in this case taking many wives when he'd established commandments that said you can have only one, among other things, but he also was the real deal in a lot of ways I think. There's something to these types of personalities, obviously, if they're able to attract people in so dramatic a fashion. Of this I also have no doubt.

In the end when things went south he didn't get his followers to drink poison laced kool-aid or go out and murder a bunch of innocent people, he just got up one morning and decided to go hand gliding without any instruction. I kid you not. It was after the end of a long and dreary attempt at setting up a shangrala for the Family in Hawaii, which failed miserably due to the inherent mistrust and outward aggression of the locals they came in contact with. It was a move (from Los Angeles) that eventually led to a lot of inner turmoil for Baker and culminated this this strange early morning proclamation one day. One of his female followers (and wives, I believe) was wearing black for some reason, that day, and there's footage of him telling her that it was a fitting color given what was going to happen.

So despite the protestations of all of his followers, the guy straps himself to a hand glider, and while the camera is rolling, jumps off a cliff. He miraculously manages to pull out of a nose dive and then disappears behind a hill. When they find him (camera still rolling) he's laying on the ground and is very disoriented but not bloodied or seemingly broken at all. "I thought I was going to ride the kite," he said. "But the kite rode me. Perhaps it was my last lesson from God."

Since the hospital was against his beliefs he did nothing and would allow no one to help him and so a few days later he died. When they did the autopsy there were no broken bones or internal wounds of any kind. Crazy. As I said, another interesting documentary. This is the way of things nowadays I suppose. We get the advantage of watching footage of all the modern day yogis and guru's and see their stories play out in front of our eyes.. in a reasonable hour and a half time period. I used to be much more cynical about these types of things, but having experienced a glimpse myself, I'm now much more open to these types of people, and find it fascinating, even if it remains a little strange and not something I'm altogether "drawn" to, in any earth shattering "hey honey I'm moving out to join a cult," kind of way. I just enjoy the psychology of it. 

Okay, well this entry got away from me a bit, but as I said, I watched a bit of the tube today, and some interesting stuff to boot. Perhaps I needed the respite from the war raging on outside. Hubble is up to a record 23 ticks. I've had 4 on me and the house has had 3. Jeannette and Blaze are still 0 each. I aim to keep it that way. 

Have a good night munks.