Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's a sad, sad, sad, sad world....

Hard to believe just a mere 3 weeks ago, Bill wrote his last blog.  I am his wife, Sharon, or as most of you know me, Perfect Wifey.  I wanted to be sure that those who loved Bill and his blog were informed that he passed away last evening.  His talent and humor were known by many, and his legacy will continue for years to come.  Thank you for your continued support of Bill's blog over the years.  He was very proud of it, and really enjoyed sharing his thoughts and talents with you all.  Much love....  PW

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I'm (Almost) Back!

Hello all. I'm back.

Yeah, I have been struggling with a serious medical condition for quite awhile now, but that's only part of the reason I haven't posted anything in, what is it, OVER TWO MONTHS?! Yikes! I am also having computer problems, so until I can figure out what is the trouble with my beloved Mac, I am forced to use Perfect Wifey's PC. I am not the most computer-literate dude to begin with, but working on a PC is a real pain-in-the-pixel for me.

For example, you may notice this post is free of any of my "delightful" illustrations. There are some out there who might view this as an improvement, but not me. My blog without images is like a kiss without a hug, or something. Their absence is not due to my current condition (I drew a number of pics for this post, in fact), but rather that, for the life of me, I can't figure out how to scan and download images on this fushtoonkiner PC, and there is no one handy to give me any tech support in doing so. As soon as I can figure that out though, the cartoons and photos will return in full force. I'll even update this post with a doodle or two. 

One other thing before we move on: Yes, I am still not well, but I am getting a bit better every day. One thing that makes me feel worse that it should though, is talking about my condition. So from here on in, no more chat about that stuff here. Just assume that if I'm posting, I'm okay. If something momentous about my condition happens of course I'll mention it, but really, I don't wanna discuss it any more. Except for this last thing: Thanks to all of you out there for the cards, letters and yes, even gifts, you've sent to let me know you're thinking of me during this tough time. You can keep those coming. Especially the gifts...

So now that I've let you know what won't be in the blog, I suppose you're wondering what I do have planned. That's easy: I don't know! I have plenty of things that I've wanted to comment on, but now a lotta time has gone by, and posting about them now seems kinda lame. I mean, National Pierogie Day is over, who wants to read about it now (although I hope you had a happy one)?

One subject a few of you emailed me about is the death of cartoon legend Joe Kubert. As you may know, I attended his cartooning school. He was an important figure in my development as a cartoonist, and his death hit me rather hard. I DO have something rather special to post regarding Joe, but I really need to post it with illustrations. So, until the computer kinks are worked out, it will have to wait. It will be well worth the wait, however, as the images I will post have never been seen by anyone but Joe and I, and they give  fascinating insights on the way Joe worked, as well as what a wonderful teacher and editor he was.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share with you my latest obsession: Buying penny books at Amazon!

During my recent recovery, I was often in search of something to read. The problem was, I read a lot, and finding something I hadn't read before was a challenge. To make things more difficult, I was really getting into "how-to" books by cartoonists. These books aren't in great supply at my local libraries and they are, for the most part, overpriced at book stores. Amazon usually sells thing cheaper than the stores, but often the shipping charges erase any "savings" you get on the cover price.

Unless of course, you check out the prices on their "Used" books! One day I was looking at the information on a book I coveted (I now forget what it was, sorry). The price was outrageous, but I noticed I could get a "used" copy for one cent! Even though with shipping costs added, the total was four bucks, it was still a heck o' a deal, so I ordered it. For a penny, I expected the book to arrive in wretched condition, held together with staples, duct tape and fond intents, but to my surprise and delight, it was practically new! I returned to the Amazon site, and found a bunch of books I was eager to read, and while not all of them were available for a penny,  they were still worth taking a chance on ordering "used".

So far, I have not been disappointed. Although some books have arrived in rougher shape than others, none look any worse than what a "new" book looks like after I have finished with it.

So now I am hooked on my "Amazon Penny Books", and will have a tough time paying cover price for a "new" book. The only spoiler in the whole deal is the shipping charges. If you decide to give the Penny Books a go, look at the costs of shipping carefully. Once and a while, a used book dealer will try to boost their profits by "tweaking" the postage rates a bit. In fact, one dealer had the shipping charge for a one cent book at around sixty bucks! Unless this shipping method involved the book being delivered to you on a satin pillow by a beautiful naked woman riding a silver unicorn, that seemed a bit much.

So what sort of bargains have I obtained? Here is a list of a bunch of the titles I have purchased at a ridiculously low price from Amazon. One caveat: one or two of these books were not "Penny Books" at all, but gifts from well-wishers that I enjoyed. I am posting this list not only to show how many I have obtained, but also because I intend to start writing my beloved-by-all book reviews again on a more frequent basis. If a title piques your interest, mention it in the comments and I'll let you know what a thought of it in a future post. Not all of these books were winners, believe me. You may notice most of them are "how-to's" and books on animation. I explained my "how-to" obsession already, the animation thing is a result of me realizing just how easy it is to do animation on your computer at home. I love animating, but filming pencil tests was always a problem, not to mention that things got expensive if you wanted to finish the films. Computers have made things much easier and affordable, as these books try and show. Some of these books are a huge help, while others should have remained trees. Of course, I will need to get my Mac back in working order first, but once that little wrinkle is smoothed out, oh boy...

Anyway here are the books, in no particular order:

* "Iwao Takamoto- My Life with a Thousand Characters" by Iwao Takamoto

* "How to Draw Cartoons" by Syd Hoff (Please note this is a different book on cartooning by Syd than I mentioned before. A very. Different. Book.)

* "The Animated Raggety Ann & Andy- An Intimate Look at the Art of Animation: Its History, Techniques and Artists" by John Canemaker

* "Big Book of Cartooning Volume 1" by Vic Lockman

* "Bryan Hitch's Ultimate Comics Studio" by Bryan Hitch (Duh!)

* "Manga Pro Superstar Workshop- How to Create & Sell Comics & Graphic Novels" by Colleen Doran

* "Incredible Comics with Tom Nguyen- The Ultimate Guide to Creating Kick-Ass Comic Art" by Tom Nguyen

* "Radioactive Man: Radioactive Repository Vol. 1" by The Gang at Bongo Comics

* "Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice" by Michael Brandman

* "Animation- The Whole Story" by Howard Beckerman

* "The Klutz Book of Animation" by John Cassidy and Nicholas Berger

* "The Fleischer Story (Second Edition)" by Leslie Carbarga

* "How to be a Successful Cartoonist" by Randy Glasbergen

* "Get Animated!" by Tim Maloney

* "Felix- The Twisted Tale of the World's Most Famous Cat" by John Canemaker

* "Beginner's Guide to Animation" by Mary Murphy

* "Stan Lee's How to Draw Comics" by Stan Lee

* "Superheroes- Joe Kubert's Wonderful World of Comics" by Joe Kubert (Like going to Joe's school, but for forty thousand dollars less!)

* "The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics" by Freddie E. Williams II

* "Cartooning: The Art and the Business" by Mort Gerberg

Again, in the comments, let me know if you want to know my opinions on any of these books, or the reasons I even paid a penny for some. Thar are some gems in this list, as well as a few hold-yer-nose-and-open-the-windows stinkers here.

Thanks for reading. It's great to be back!

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Disses and Dats!

My goodness! Has it really been twenty one days since I've posted anything here? I'm afraid it has. Regular readers, of course, know that I have a perfectly good excuse for neglecting my blogger duties: I still continue to recover from my recent medical "crisis". I knew my recovery wouldn't be of the miraculous overnight variety, but I had no idea it would take this long! And, according to the medical professionals overseeing my progress, I shouldn't schedule anything on my dance card until early Fall.

This illness couldn't have come at a worse time. I have had to pass on several promising career opportunities, and delay several projects I was in the middle of when this crisis struck.

My social life too, has taken several hits. Not only is July the month of my birth, it also marks Perfect Wifey's Birthday and our anniversary. Not to mention our town's annual carnival. Not that I actually enjoy going to my town's annual invasion of Carny Folk, but this is the first year I can recall not attending it. I hope the lipless chain-smoker that sold Sno-Cones didn't miss me too much.

My biggest regret remains my neglect of this blog, though. Any of the above events could have been the basis for a memorable post. Especially our Anniversary. During this recent unpleasantness, Perfect Wifey has certainly lived up to her title. Her love and support have made this awful time a lot less awful. My number one priority when I am 100% again is to treat her to something special to make up for this lost time, and for all her sacrifices. Maybe I can find a skeevy carnival somewhere and buy her a Sno-Cone.

PW isn't the only one who has helped lift my spirits. A sincere thanks to all of my  regular readers out there who have sent get-well emails and cards, as well as those of you who sent me toys! Your kindness touched me to the core, and I appreciate the good wishes.

Okay, enough maudlin rambles. Hopefully, next time I'll be back with better news, and I can go back to posting unacceptable excuses as to why I don't post more often.

Until then...


Friday, June 8, 2012

Sick of Being Sick- AGAIN! -UPDATED

As mentioned in my last post, I am back home after a several day stay at the Hospital. It was pretty serious, but now that the whole experience is behind me I can look back and laugh. Or, I can look at what the whole thing cost us and cry. Really hard.

It all began a few weeks ago, when one day out of the blue, I started to have severe pain in my abdomen. I have had these pains before, and those pains had led me to a Hospital stay and the knowledge that I have a pancreatic mass that I will be carrying around with me forever (you can read all about that fun time here ). At the time I got the original diagnosis, I was told that if I followed the Doctor's instructions and took care of myself, I would not experience such pain again.

Well, big surprise, but I guess I didn't do so well following instructions and taking care of myself, because the pain was back, and it seemed worse than before. So I headed for my local emergency room, and, after it was established that I would be able to pay for treatment, I was pumped full of pain killers and left in a room to wait for further diagnosis. So I waited. And waited. And... Well I waited so long and the pain killers did their job so well that I didn't feel the need for further treatment. I detached the myriad of tubes connected to me went home. A stupid move? You bet! It didn't seem so at the time though: I felt great all weekend!

Me, heavily sedated, at the hospital staff's
request, I suspect
Then on Sunday, my Sister passed away. We held the wake on Tuesday and then prepared ourselves for her Funeral on Wednesday. It was going to be a bad day, but not for the reasons I expected.

Wednesday morning I awoke to find that my pain was back, and worse than ever. I tried to pull myself together  for the Funeral. I figured I could suffer through that, then head for the ER. Well, I couldn't, and was soon back at the same Hospital I had just so recently escaped from. The pain was so bad this time, and I was pumped up with such a dizzying array of drugs that I remember none of the next few days' events. Which is a good thing because according to Perfect Wifey (who had a front row seat to all this), I was not on my best behavior.

According to PW, in my altered state I, at various times:

• Was under the impression that I was a bad actor currently appearing in a B-Horror film, and I didn't think much of the crew (a.k.a. the Hospital staff).

• I thought I was staying at a vacation resort in Rhode Island. My Brother-In-Law said that it was with great pride that I pointed out how posh the bathroom was. It was a bucket in the corner.

• I told everyone around that at any moment now the 3 Stooges were coming for a visit.

Better get up soon. The Stooges will
be here any minute now!
I also tried to leave. A lot. So they finally had me restrained.

They also decided that what I officially had was a "Pancreatic Mass with a blockage in my bile duct". They would have to place a "stent" in there, but the procedure would have to be done at a Hospital in Boston, because they did not have the equipment for it there. On hearing of my behavior, I wonder if they really did have the equipment, but just wanted me outta there.

Whatever, off to Boston I went, to a Hospital that was actually the setting for the TV series "St. Elsewhere"!

At this Hospital,  they apparently didn't pay too much attention to the pain killer mix I had been given at the previous place, and gave me some of their own. My behavior got even worse. I was given a room that I shared with a very nice old man who was originally from Russia, along with his wife. I screamed my accusations that they were Communist Spies so loudly, I was finally given a room of my own.

Eventually, I was given the surgery and began to come around to "normal". After hearing about how badly I behaved, I felt terrible, and spent the rest of my stay apologizing to the staff. The "Communist Couple" had left, so I couldn't apologize to them. PW says not to worry about it though, as they felt sorry for me being so sick.

My adventures weren't completely over with, of course. In addition to the usual Hospital round-the-clock wake-ups to check my blood pressure, one morning I was woken at 4:30 AM so I could have my weight checked. Why they needed that info at that hour is something I never did find out.

Me as Fatty McButterpants.
Don't lift that jonny, if you
know what's good for ya!
I also almost got another room mate. I guess since I had started to behave myself, they decided to risk it. A crew was busily cleaning my room when a supervisor came in and told them to stop. They wouldn't need me to share my room after all, since my prospective roomie had died from their gun shot wounds! Boston Hospitals-YIKES! At my home town Hospital, the only reason you lose a room mate is because they foolishly walk out  of the Hospital because they get tired of waiting and they're idiots...

Also, since I had been so out of it and restrained for so long, I was fed by an IV drip. As a result of all that "nourishment" and inactivity, I gained 35 pounds, all in water weight, and all below the belt. I could barely move, and I guess it's gonna be a while until I am back to my "normal" weight and size. My legs and feet look like Fred Flintstone's. My slippers don't even fit!

So, my adventures in the world of medicine will continue for a spell. Not only do I have to lose all this weight (it's swimsuit season after all, and I wouldn't wanna disappoint the "ladies"), it turns out I need  one more surgery in August, so that they can put a "permanent" stent in. Why they didn't just put in a permanent stent to begin with I don't know. I'm just gonna do whatever they tell me to do and hope I recover ASAP!

And wait patiently for the 3 Stooges to show up.

UPDATE 7/3/2012-  I suppose some of you out there are wondering why there have been no more posts since I wrote the above. Well, a couple of days after posting, I awoke with a horrible burning pain in my left leg. It turns out I had developed an infection thanks to my previous "procedure", so it was back into the hospital for me.

Fortunately, the hospital I stayed at this time was far better than the previous one. The staff at this hospital actually got to the bottom of what was truly wrong with me, and put me on a plan that will eventually restore me to my former glory.

A strategically-placed giant cat insures the
patient won't roll off the couch.
Unfortunately, I had to stay in the hospital for two weeks (!) while they figured out my diagnosis. I also have to have another invasive procedure done on Thursday. I am home now though, and Riley and Rocco are just as attentive to my needs as any nurse at the hospital. Long story short: It may be awhile until you see any new posts from me. Fret not, though, I shall return, sooner or later with gobs of guffaws for your reading pleasure.

Now I gotta run. I have to make sure I have a clean johnny to wear on Thursday...

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Sad times strike the White Family again. On May 20, 2012, we lost our sister Jacquie to that pernicious little bastard cancer. She was far, far too young.

It's no secret in my family that my sister and I didn't see eye-to eye on many things, but she was my sister. I loved her and I'll miss her. Even though we didn't always get along, she was always there if I needed her. A fact that I am only beginning appreciate now. She was also an early fan of this blog, although she would, despite my requests, never recommend it to her friends (Gee, I wonder why?). I was touched at her Wake by the hundreds of  people, total strangers to me, who told wonderful stories about what kindnesses Jacquie had done for them, and how much they loved her.

Regular readers of this blog will remember that my Mother always hated it when you said "goodbye" to her. "It sounds so final", she would say, "like we'll never see each other again. Say, 'so long', instead".

So long, Jac.

What makes my sister's passing extra sad is that I never got to say a real farewell to her. I was at her Wake, but on the day of her Funeral, I myself was being rushed to the hospital with a life-threatening, surgery-requiring condition of my own! I'll save that tale for next time. Believe it or not, it's smile-packed tale of hilarity!

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

These ARE the Droids We Were Looking For!

Last week, Perfect Wifey and I happened to find ourselves touring Disney's Hollywood Studios, at the magnificent Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The DHS is a wonderful theme park, full of thrilling attractions, fun shows, marvelous decor and wonderfully themed restaurants that serve barely edible food. All of these elements make this a really great place to be (except for the food).

The highlight for me, though, is the "Star Tours: The Adventure Continues" attraction. This 3-D simulator ride takes you to many of the various hang-outs seen in the Star Wars films, and includes appearances by familiar (and beloved!) characters from the films. For those of you Star Wars fans out there that haven't experienced this attraction, all I can say is, put it on your bucket list. The ride technology really makes it feel like you are soaring through space in a galaxy far, far away, and since there are 57 different scenarios you can experience, you can ride it again and again and never get tired of it (PW disagrees with this opinion). Believe me, when Boba Fett, flying his ship, Slave I, started talkin' trash and fired on our ship, my lil' heart leaped, and when we engaged AT-AT's on Hoth, I had tears of joy streaming down my face.

Excuse me, I need a moment to pull myself together...

Okay, where was I? Oh yes! As thrilling as the Star Tours attraction was, I was even more excited to find out that the day of our visit, May 10th, was a special day. It was the day that the "Build-a-Droid Factory" was debuting at the "Tatooine Traders" gift shop, which is conveniently located at the exit of the ST attraction!

At the B-A-D Factory, you can choose from a multitude of droid parts, and assemble your very own personalized action figure! Allegedly, there are 71 different parts, and the possibilities for building your own unique droid are endless! Each figure costs about $12 each, or you can put together a 2 pack for $19. A bargain! (Again, PW begs to differ.) You also get a clam shell package to store your bounty in, and a sheet of  letter/number stickers that you can apply to the package to proclaim your  droid's "name".

I was thrilled to be able to be one of the first geeks on Earth to experience this, but of course, there were a few challenges to enjoying this experience to the fullest.

A fat guy stands on the head of a child he cut in front of,
and builds himself yet another droid.
For one thing it's a very small space, and there is only room for two people to assemble a droid at a time. For another, a lot of people want to build one.  The kids are delightful to watch: the look on their little faces as they assemble their own personal droid is priceless. Less-than-priceless, however, is the behavior of the adult Star Wars geeks with their massive sense of self-entitlement and their OCD need to build hundreds of  droids, oblivious to those patiently waiting behind them to build just one. As I was putting mine together, I asked one of the Cast Members if she had seen many adult geeks. She rolled her eyes and said, "You wouldn't believe it". Oh yes I would! Of course, she may have been including me in that group.

When I finally got a chance to build my droid, I was aware of the crowd behind me semi-patiently awaiting their turn. Consequently, I made some hasty decisions, but the result is something that I'm sure even George Lucas is kicking himself over for not thinking of first. I present: R2-PW:

All in all it was a great experience, and I can't wait to do go back and do it again.


And geeks, if you go to  this, give the  kids a chance, and don't make a greedy ass of yourself!

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Avengers: Go to the Movie!

I am off to Florida  for a few days, so there will be no posts here for a week or so.

Before I depart, though, I must urge all comic book geeks out there to see the new film, "Marvel: The Avengers". Not since "Superman: The Movie",  have I experienced such a geek-gasim.

This movie is a fantastic film, and even people who don't care about Superheroes will enjoy it. Perfect Wifey certainly did. Although I think she may have been a bit embarrassed by her husband weeping for joy during many moments in the film.

BTW, if you  take my advice, and go to see the film, stay through the credits. There is a reference to a character I recently mentioned on this blog!


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