Category Archives: Personal


Where the bad moods come from


From a Wired article by Jonah Lehrer:

…the basic idea behind ego depletion is that self-control and willpower are limited cognitive resources. As a result, when we overexert ourselves in one domain – say, when we’re on a strict diet, or focused on a difficult task for hours at work – we have fewer resources left over to exert self-control in other domains.

Consider this 2007 study: The scientists told subjects to refrain from eating a tempting chocolate donut for a few minutes. Then, they insulted these poor (and probably hungry) experimental volunteers. Not surprisingly, those who had successfully resisted the donut were more likely to get aggressive in response to the insult. Or look at the medical literature, in which people on diets are typically “irritable and aggressive.” (This is the so-called cranky dieter effect.) Although we’d like to be happy and polite, those positive moods take cognitive work, and our brain is too tired to care. We lose our temper because we lack the willpower to swallow our angry words.


Come 3:30 or 4:00, my kids experience myriad variations of “STOP! You must not hop on Pop!” in ever-increasing volume.

A guy tries to rein in expenses for a month…

It’s been that kind of a run of luck, the kind that ends up inflating your credit card bill to unexpected proportions.

Car repairs. Healthcare costs. Home repairs. It’s just been a run of months of big, big bills.

This month, I’d been hoping to get things back on track. We’ve hit the halfway point on our billing period and we’re on pace to bring it in under the desired mark. Just hold steady, and ride out the next 2 weeks with a low financial profile.

But then, one of the circuit breakers burns out. I call in an electrician because things look…odd in our breaker box. Electrician comes out and says that there’s corrosion caused by water leaking into the box from outside. Nearly a grand to get that work done. But, hell, I’m not going to live a day longer than I have to with water running into a place where you don’t want water running into!

So it goes.

Then, we discover that my cat, Shub-Niggurath, has a tumor between his toes. Take the poor guy in, and then get served up with a $200 initial exam fee, and then are looking at another $800 to $1000 to get it removed!

It’s a relatively benign tumor thing, but it’s got to come off. So I’m glad it’s not anything life threatening, but still. Ouch.

But seriously, universe? In the space of 2 days, my A-OK financial month goes south to the tune of about $2000? I’m trying to be frugal here.

My Vacation

The wife and I had a vacation this last week.

We shipped the kids off to their grandparents for three days, and Erin took the week off from work.

We had grand ideas of sleeping in, going out for a leisurely breakfast, taking in a host of movies, having a jaunt or two about town, and just enjoying an all-around relaxing and rejuvenating time.

And it started off well. Monday night, we went out to dinner at the Highland Park Punch Pizza (where we had what was technically our third first date way back in 2003), and then we took in the very entertaining Toy Story 3.

And the next day, I woke up with a cold. Nothing serious, but enough to hamper my enjoyment of a quiet day. Erin was off with friends, so I spent most of my time, cooling it in front of the computer desperately trying to finish Dragon Age, so I was no longer distracted by it. I managed to enjoy a meal out at Doolittle’s in Eagan, one of our more reliably enjoyable places to eat out every couple of months.

But when Wednesday came, it brought with it a debilitating surge of illness that left me completely drained of energy.

I managed to participate in one of our planned outings, a nice breakfast out at the Edina Grill (most of our eagerly anticipated activities focused on going out to eat, I guess). But afterwards, I was so fatigued, that I was incapable of doing anything other than lie in bed, watch movies and read comics (love that iPad!).

Thursday, the day the kids returned from their exile, I felt like I may have been on my way to a speedy recovery, participating in the construction of a new sandbox by holding boards as they were drilled and lugging 16 50lb. bags of sand into and out of the Camry’s trunk.

But Friday announced its arrival by placing sandpaper in my lungs, and making it difficult for me to breathe. This didn’t stop our planned picnic trip to Como Zoo which was fun and hot and hot again, but, boy, I paid for my brazenness by continuing to suffer on Saturday (which is the day I’m writing this post).

All in all, I got the rest that I needed, or at least the time away from chasing childrens. And the truth is, I got to do nearly everything that was on my list of desired activities. I really only missed out on going to downtown St. Paul to get some saltwater taffy from Candyland and a beer ‘n burger from Great Waters.

I may have been ambitious enough to post some zoo trip pics on my Facebook page, but who knows?

Summer will be spotty

I think that the arrival of summer will mean that my output of work will be spotty at best if the last 10 days or so were any indication.

I was kicked out of my house for most of last week due to more home improvement projects, and I was out of town for the entire weekend, hence no comics OR bloggings last week.

And while it was kind of refreshing to be away from home and it’s nice to have a freshly repaired kitchen ceiling and repainted dining room, this output drought…it’s getting a bit ridiculous.

The fact is that since I’ve come to rely more and more on the weekends to finish art and to write scripts and blog posts, and since summer weekends get quickly and densely booked with family events and other obligations (and maybe some fun stuff, too…maybe), I might not be able to keep up a steady pace.

My plan is to decrease publication to one Winchcombe page a week for the summer, and see if I can maintain that.

So, no comics this week. They still sit half-finished on my computer, but I’m planning to get back on the horse this week.

Recover from bad sleep habits

A Lifehacker article on rebooting your sleep cycle. If only I could actually follow through on some of this advice…

Nothing can stand in for a good night’s sleep. Today we’re not going to show you how to scrape by with less sleep; instead, we’re going to help you reboot your sleeping habits so you get the sleep you need (and deserve).


How to Reboot Your Sleep Cycle and Get the Rest You Deserve

Again, no comics

So, no comics this week either.

Yeah, I know it was a long weekend, but it was also a long weekend that included the 3rd birthday of my daughter, who had also been sick. Which meant that everyone else more or less got sick, or at least really damn tired.

Complaint Department

Here’s where I complain a bit and feel sorry for myself while making excuses about the whole thing:

I have been touching the next two strips every day. I have lettering and pencils done for the first, and nearly done for the second. However, each scene takes place on the patio in front of The Winchcombe and feature some relatively in-depth backgrounds and some crowd shots. When there are lots of backgrounds and lots of people to draw, things take longer.

To make matters worse, I suffered an ill-timed bout of insomnia on Monday night, and it caused my motivation and creativity to disappear, leaving only a desire to simply sit on the couch, yell at kids, and sometimes whack them with a stick or throw a shoe when they came within range.

I chose to take a shower during one naptime, which while earning the appreciation of family, also served to keep me from drawing for a few minutes on Wednesday.

But the biggest detriment to my output this week was that I chose to sleep in a few days this week (still have trouble accepting that 6:30 is considered sleeping in) rather than get in a morning session at the desk.

A peace offering

So to keep you coming back, here’s something funny but potentially not safe for work (a captioned photo that DOES feature the “F” word prominently). It made me laugh.

F you, flowers!


The Big Caption