Catching Up

Hi. I realize that I've been out of touch for a while. I've been burned out for the last six months or so, and I really needed to take a protracted break from the daily grind and rethink my priorities.

Unfortunately, one of the things I realized during the break was that I just don't have the desire to draw The Japanese Beetle! on a regular basis any more. I just don't have the same passion for these characters now that I did ten years ago, so I'm mothballing the strip for now. This doesn't mean that I won't return to these characters and situations sometime later — I'm sure they'll pop up every now and then. I know some of you are disappointed, but really, it's for the best. I'd rather let the strip slide gracefully into obscurity than get sick of it and churn out substandard crap that makes me mad.

So where does that leave me? Well, today I'm relaunching my blog in this new location, and I'll be providing fresh content every day this month. Throughout the rest of the month I'll be redesigning the other areas of the site to match the blog's new look, and in July I'll be launching an omnibus strip called Different Package. I'll have more news about that as it develops.

And now, on with the show...

Toronto Comics Arts Festival 2005

Toronto Comics Art Festival

Last weekend I went up to the Toronto Comics Arts Festival. It was a nice change from the usual comic book convention atmosphere — an honest to God arts festival with no cover charge, high-profile guests, and fascinating panel discussions. I don't have much else to say, except that I'm eagerly awaiting the 2007 festival.

Minnesota Twins at Toronto Blue Jays

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
MINNESOTA TWINS 2 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 16 0
TORONTO BLUE JAYS 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 2

W: J. Santana (6-2); L: J. Towers (5-3)
HR: MIN — S. Stewart (7), J. Castro (2)

While I was in Toronto, I figured that I might as well take in a baseball game. After all, it's highly unlikely that the Blue Jays and I will ever be in the same place at the same time again. I had a great time, and I thought I'd jot down some quick impressions about the Blue Jays, their stadium, and baseball in general.

The Good

The Rogers Centre: The Rogers Centre (formerly the Skydome) is a great place to take in a game. It's clean, spacious, and has lots of concessionaires and bathrooms. It's easy to reach via public transportation, has plenty of nearby parking structures, and there are plenty of bars and restaraunts nearby for after-game entertainment.

The Scoreboards: The scoreboards in the Rogers Centre are fantastic. They've got everything you could possibly want — pitch speed and type, pitch count, on-base percentage, scoring information, meaningless trivia, out-of-town scores — and they're laid out in intelligently and attractively. I never had trouble finding whatever I was looking for.

The Bad

The Blue Jays: They couldn't do anything right on Friday — they had poor pitching, terrible fielding and weak batting. Fortunately, it was just an off night.

Poor Attendance: The Toronto metropolitan area has a population base ten times larger than Pittsburgh and has a great baseball team that's within striking distance of first place. Yet they only managed to draw 18,000 fans to a Friday night game against a tough opponent. That's just wrong. But I have a feeling that the poor attendance can be blamed on...

High Ticket Prices: I managed to snag a great ticket for the game, just to the right of home plate in section 120, row 24. But that ticket cost me $60 CAN ($50 US). By way of comparison, an equivalent Pirates ticket would cost me about $27 US.

The Other

The Beer: Surprisingly, the beer prices in Canada ($8 CAN/$7 US) were about the same as those in the United States ($6.75 US). On the other hand, all they had on tap were Labatt's and Budweiser, which isn't much of a choice.

Between-Inning Entertainment: There wasn't much of it, which was actually kind of refreshing since it forced you to focus on the game itself. On the other hand, the between-inning entertainment they did have was terrible — they'd have been better off with nothing. The crowd really seemed to hate the "Jay Force" dance team. To be fair, they were really good dancers — but they had no business being at a baseball game.

Fonts: Someone in the Jay's production department loves Copperplate Gothic Bold — it was everywhere. I wonder if there's any value to having Copperplate Gothic named "the official font of the Toronto Blue Jays?"

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