Saturday, December 31

All good things...

I'm sitting back, looking at the year in review...trying to keep track of everything that's happened to me...

And 2005, well it's been a wild ride.

2005 is a year of transition. Whereas I know 2006 will be the year of change.

2005 Started with the strip. Really and truely, it did. 2005 was my finding my voice. Anywhere But Here was a self referancial story which was my way of venting the things that irked me in life. Dating in North Dakota, the lack of culture, the feeling that I'm being strangled by a town that just does not understand the things that are important to me.

In all Honesty, Anywhere But Here is my "novel". It's a story with a great ending, a story that will continue on through at least ONE strip, and possibly another past that one.

And it marks a transition in MY life. It means that I was stepping away from something and moving towards something else.

A year in transition...

2005 was the first time in about 4 years that I took a vacation. A real, honest to god, "THIS IS MY TIME, time for JUST ME, to do whatever I WANT, with no responsibilites to answer for." Vacation.

And in all honesty, most of the time I take "vacation" time, it winds up going to something else. It's just time off to focus on another project away from work.

And that adventure...both to NYC and the smaller one's I've taken...they've reminded me of something VERY important.

What I love is seeing things, new things, new places, new people. I love being surprised by beauty, the intricate...soulfull beauty of the world.

I saw Lavurne Minnesota for the first time in my life, and was completly overwhelmed by the perfection of it. I saw Minnetonka Falls for the first time in my life, and was amazed at how beautiful it was. I saw New York City, and was amazed at how much it felt LIKE I BELONGED there.

I saw wonderous things, things that have left me amazed, things that left me breathless.

A year in transition....

I found someone who just makes me smile...uncontrolably, unconditionally. I haven't found someone who does that to me in YEARS. And I STILL do not know what that means. I'm still sorting that out. Because, like all things in life, it's complicated.

But I've remebered who I am, I REMEMBER what I am.

The funny thing about this person is, they've awakened something in me. Something that's been DEAD for about a decade. Something that friends, friends who have known me for YEARS can look at me and realize that the old Jason that they remember growing up with, has come back to them.

And...even though there is NO possibility of anything coming from the relationship. It' very NICE to be back. It's SO VERY GOOD to once again be what I should be. It feels GOOD to be back.

A year in transition...

My life in Fargo is coming to a close. My father is dyeing, My grandfather is on his way out...

I'm wrapping up my work with the Non-Profit Organization I founded here. I'm prepairing for a move.

My family, without knowing that I'm moving, have been giving me momentos of home. This year, my mother gave me a scrapbook of my entire extended family. All my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, neices, nephues...grandparents.

My mom gave me a present for my birthday that's letting me take my family with me.

In November, my grandmother gave me an afhgan quilt. Something I can wear around my shoulders while I type. Something to walk around the house heirloom. A reminder that will be with me for quite some time.

This Christmas, my sister gave me a Roger Maris jersey. Roger was a Fargo Boy who did good. Played for the Yankees, earned the Golden Glove, had the home run record for nearly 50 years. Roger is Fargo to me. I've played on the basketball court he played on, he's buried less then 300 feet from my grandparents.

I have a reminder of home....

And my mother, this christmas gave me a cookbook. A family cookbook, with recipies contributed by my aunts and uncles. All the food I've grown up loving. All the food that reminds me of the times I've spent with those people. Family thanksgivings, and Christmasses. Easters, Fathers Days....

I'm taking it all with me.

This year, without ANY of them knowing that I was debating leaving Fargo...they gave me pieces of home that will come with me. They've given me reminders, momentos...they've given me something tangeable to remember them by.

A year in transition...

This year, I met with some VERY good friends of mine. Some very OLD friendships. I was able to say goodbye to some VERY important people in my life.

God, 2005 has been the year of wrapping up loose ends, and laying the foundation for the year of change.

Here's a dirty little secret. I belive in God.

That's right, you can quote me on that. I BELIEVE IN GOD.

I don't belive in the Judeo Christian God, I don't belive in a wrathfull God. I belive that God is the purest expression of human nature. Deeply personal, and yet, willing to let us fall flat on our faces because it's most likely the best thing for us.

And what I belive is that this year, 2005, he's been setting me up for something life changing.

2006 I'm moving, right now it looks like Sacrimento.

Yeah, it's MONTHS away, I'm not leaving untill September-October...but God has been putting an AWEFUL lot of hints on my plate that Sacrimento is where I need to be.

It comes up in conversations, conversations out of the blue...someone will just bring up Sacrimento or San Fransisco. Two weeks I was watching Television and PBS was airing a special on the building of the Bay Area Bridge.

I hadn't watched Television in MONTHS (Honestly, I don't, I play DVD's constantly, but actuall broadcast Television is a rarity for me.)

And the very first thing I saw was a special on the Golden Gate bridge.

The kicker is this. My brother in law's Grandmother...she has a house in Downtown Sacrimento...and she rents out a bungalo above her garage...and she's been looking for someone to take the place of the ex-convict that she's renting to now.

THIS little piece of information came right out of the blue from my sister. I informed her that I was looking at moving out of the region, and that New York, Los Vegas, and California were all possible options.

To which she asked which part of California. I told her probibly around the Sacrimento area...and she informed me that I had an apartment there...if I wanted.

Yeah, weird shit like that happens more and more. EVERY fucking day.

I belive in God. I belive that there are forces that act upon us that we can never understand.

Honestly, I see God as a writer, drawing each and every one of us along a rather wonderfull story...if we'ld just LET ourselves listen, and trust the get's easier.

And I'm listening, and I'm trusting.

A year of Transition...

2005 is the year that I remembered who I am, what I am, and why I am...

I do not know what 2006 has in store. Not exactly....

Oh, I have my hopes. Ironically, the very first business day of 2006 I have a meeting with a local "independant" paper who gave me a callback on my strip.

I may be starting off 2006 with an ACTUAL published strip. Anywhere But Here may very well see print.

That may very well be the start of everything right there. The true start of the Year of Change.

A year of Change

Here's to a year of Change, here's to new people, new places, new faces...

Here's to trusting the unseen hand, and letting it move me where I need to be moved to.

Here's to life, and all that it intails.

Happy New's to all that it may bring.

Wednesday, December 28

I'm finally ready to talk about this...

My father is the type of man that I can only HOPE to become.

And my father is a work horse. It runs in the family I guess. I suffer from it too...doesn't matter what's on my plate. If there's someplace I HAVE to be, something I NEED to do because I feel people are depending on me, I do it. I don't give myself any choice.

November was one of those months...

Novemember I had taken on Nanowrimo. I had committed to writing a novel in a month. I was writting 3 pieces for my winter drum line program. Even with a 40+ hour worrk week, even when I was RIGHT in the middle of the Parrell Views, Paralax Error MEGA strips...

BOTH my father, and my Grandfather were hospitalized. BOTH in the same bloody week. I found out about BOTH of them going in on the same day, when my mom called and wanted me to know about it.

I had a breakdown. I had a fucking breakdown.

And I'm not bragging about this, but this is one of my nuroses. I HAD TO FINISH MY SHIT. Even with everything on the plate. Even with both my father and my grandfather in the hospital, even on the EDGE of a nervous breakdown (which, I cannot thank you enough Kelli for that night that you just TALKED to me. Just normal "my job is boring" have no idea how much that ment to me)...I WOULD NOT take a day off. I would not stop cartooning, I would NOT stop writing music, I would NOT stop writing that damned novel.

I don't think I slept much more then 2 hours at a time that whole week.

And it IS a nurosis with me. I cant QUIT when I've started something. Call it Catholic Guilt Syndrome. Call it "Bastarditus", call it "being a fucking german fuck"...but I do not go quietly, even with the world against me. I see something through.

Part of "being strong" to me, is shutting out everything else and getting the damned job done. Part of being strong for my family is NOT burdoning them with other things. Because if I'm still awake, if I'm still able to function, I CAN do something.

And it's in my father as well. And my grandfather. It's genetic I think.


This month, My father went back into the hospital. Ironically, it was December 6th. The same day I got Snarked, the same day an article ran on me in the local paper for doing the novel. That very same day, I got a call from my mother that he was back in the hospital. He has some sort of unidentifiable viral infection that keeps attacking his heart. It has been since July...and he keeps plugging along.

That VERY SAME DAY. 6:00 at night. He went back in.

In the past four months he's COMPLETLY REMODLED the Fargo Parish Rectory. There were days he'ld be calling from his HOSPITAL BED to make certain that the crew was getting the job done. There were days he SHOULD have been at home resting, he was remodeling that damn mansion.

That's my father for you. He's a bastard to the core.

He SHOULD be dead. Personally I think he's just waiting for me to be married off and for the missus to push out the first rug rat so he can hold his grandchild before passing on. And I cant blame him for it, because what the man's been though, he's deserved that.

In the meantime, I've been helping my parents with their business. Which involves a LOT of snow removal and some light remodeling duties. It's tacked an extra 15-20 hours onto my week. It left me near exhaustion for three weeks.

And this is "me" time right now, it's not about the strip. It's not about anything relating to the creative process, and a part of me doesn't even want to publish this.

But this is for my father. Whom I think I'm becoming more and more like every fucking day. My father who is STILL going into the hospital sporatically. My father who may NEVER beat this thing, a man who...

This is for my dad. And it's for me. And I guess I'm finally ready to bring it out to the open.

Thursday, December 8

For future referance

The Roger Ebert film glossary.

A new sick addiction...

Wednesday, December 7


This has been one absolutly INSANE week.

First, I got snarked...which has caused my readership to nearly triple.

Secondly, I got interviewed for writing the novel. Which only mentioned my comic in passing, but not in name. This led to my name being plastered all over the paper, and consequentially, getting a number of phone calls from relatives and FRIENDS that I haven't seen or heard of in years.

What's even odder is that I'm hearing from old high school friends. People that I probibly haven't talked with in almost a decade, who are now stopping by to read the strip.

And I'm's weird.

I'm the quiet type. More or less... I mean, when I open up a bit I'm a charming bastard, I truely am. I seem to be quite good at holding down a conversation and throwing out the quips.

But I just am not use to it.

I've always been the quiet one. ALWAYS. I've never done anything really that would scream out "look at me! HERE I AM!"

So now having my e-mail inbox flooded with people cheering me on, having friends that I haven't heard from in ages say "Wow, color me impressed."

It's just weird. I'm not complaining at all, I'm just saying, it's very...different.

Anyway, cheers to all of you. Those of you who enjoy this strip, who enjoy the characters, who enjoy the humor, and who enjoy the hope and drama...I'm glad I could give you something that resonates with you all.

Peace out
-The Bastard