The webcam doesn’t lie, kids. I’m back from Vegas. And as they say, “It’s nice to leave, but it’s good to come home.”
This was my first outing to Sin City and I think I’m still digesting it. Nothing can really prepare you for the 24 hour assault on your senses. It’s like every receptor in your head is fully engaged in some reactive, spastic twitch.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
Things didn’t really get off on the right foot when we tried to leave Des Moines. Our plane was 7 hours delayed. No, that is not a misprint.
We booked a flight with Allegiant Air because they were the only airline with a direct flight to Vegas. We didn’t know when we arrived at Des Moines “International” Airport at 1:30 that we had actually booked time in Hell’s waiting room.
Why the plane was so late was never clearly explained to us. First they said it was mechanical. Then they said it was weather. We found out later that they did close the Vegas airport for an hour due to high winds and (snicker!) rain, but that doesn’t add up for the monstrous delay we experience.
Still, you gotta keep these things in perspective. If you think languishing in an airport lounge eating warmed over pizza and drinking a $7.00 beer is bad, just think about those poor souls stuck in the plane coming BACK to Des Moines. No doubt they were forced to stay on the plane. And then, to add insult to injury, they end up in DES MOINES!!!
Our flight was supposed to leave at 2:00, but we didn’t get off of the ground until 8:30. Factor a 2 and a half hour flight, waiting an hour for our luggage, securing the rental car and driving to the hotel – our first night in Vegas was pretty much screwed. All that was left over was to climb into bed and nurse a migrain that had been developing over the last 12 hours.
All that aside, Vegas was a very enriching experience. We stayed at Treasure Island – a great hotel once widely known for it’s prevalent pirate theme. However, they’ve recently abandoned the skull-n-crossbones routine for something a little more upscale. I guess that’s okay. But the kid in me longs for swashbucklin’ action!
Our first day we spent “rollin'” up and down the strip – hitting every major casino within eyesight. It’s alarming how large these buildings are. Can someone please explain to me why I have to walk 3 blocks just to make it to the entrance of Caeser’s Palace?
Besides drinking, gambling, and shopping, we engaged in a lot of the touristy things. We rode the Big Shot atop The Stratosphere (an experience I hated, but Cami loved) and soaked up the view from the 1/2 scale Eiffel Tower at the Paris Casino – which offered a great view of the water show at The Bellagio.
A big highlight for me was seeing Hoover Dam. I don’t know why, but I’m always a sucker for engineering marvels of the 1930’s.
I didn’t have a chance to hit up any Vegas clubs – strip, dance, or otherwise. We did so much walking, I was bone tired by the end of the day. I did get some time by the pool, which was nice.
In the gambling department, I suck eggs. I lost every dollar it put into every slot machine. The gambling gods refuse to even humor me with the slightest notion of winning.
Some people gamble and they’re up, they’re down – sometimes they break even, sometimes they lose it all. But at least there is give and take. Not me. Insert a dollar – SUCCCCCKKKKKKKK! – I never see it again. It’s as if I just threw it into a brightly lit hole.
Cami, on the other hand, at least had a little something going. She was $30 up at one point, then added another $20 to her tally. That would have been enough for me to feel like a winning right there.
Of course, maybe the reason I don’t win big is because I don’t bet big. Whenever I go to a casino, I always make a bee line for the 5 cent machines or the $2 minimum bet blackjack tables. They should just label them “wuss bets” and be done with it.
There’s still a bunch of stuff about Vegas I didn’t get to mention, but I figure I’ve bored you long enough. If you want more details, hit me up in the forums.
Just know that I had an awesome time and plan on going back sometime soon!
Before I wrap things up, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who submitted guest strips while I was away. You guys got to see 4 while I was out, but that wasn’t the extent of the submissions. I’m sitting on 3 more that I’ll probably display on the bonus materials page – so look for those in the near future.
Another thing to look for in the near future is a new strip from me on Wednesday! See you then!
So you’re probably wondering why today’s comic looks slightly different. Please excuse my rudeness for not providing a little forewarning, but I’m taking a little break from the comic and you guys get to benefit from a few weeks of guest strips!
Basically the situation is this: Cami and I will be traveling to Texas to visit relatives on Wednesday and coming back next Monday. Be jealous because I will be attending a NASCAR race! (note playful sarcasm). As a partial effort to cover my absence and a partial effort just to give me a long overdue break, I solicited my friends in the web comics community for guest strips!
I was overwhelmed with the support I have received!
Today’s guest comic comes from Michael Lalonde. That’s the creator of Orneryboy to you and me. You should really reward his kindness by visiting his site. Michael updates every Monday, so there’s actually a fresh comic waiting for you there now! Of course, it probably won’t make much sense as it is slightly out of context. It’s part of a bigger storyline that started here. You should definitely read the whole thing. It’s quite hilarious and one of my favorite Orneryboy arcs.
Michael is a busy guy, so he’s had to scale back his work on Orneryboy. I’ll be the first to step up and say “I don’t care.” As long as I get a weekly fix, I’m good. Michael is too strong a talent to let slip from view. So be sure to tell him that you appreciate his work. Here’s to hoping he will continue his work on Orneryboy for a long time to come!
Incidentally, today’s strip marks Michael’s 150th comic. He plays it down, but it’s a big deal. His artwork and storylines have been some of the most consistent in web comics. I’m lucky to have him as a college!
Can you tell I’m a fan?
Anyway… about my absence. Like I said, I will be gone Wednesday through next Monday. So you can at least expect to see me trolling around the THorum for a little while. And who knows? You might even be able to e-mail me and I’ll respond.
Guest strips will run all this week and all next week with a regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. I’m giving myself a little buffer before and after my vacation not only to catch up from the real-world stuff I will miss while I am away, but to also take my comic-making time and convert it into site-redesign time.
Yes, I know I’ve been threatening a site redesign for a long time. But I’ve finally settled on a look I love. Don’t worry. It’s not that drastic a change up front. What it will revolutionize, however is how the site operates behind the scenes. My hope is that this effort will make the site easier to update in the future. It is my goal to unveil this new look when I return to making comics full time. It is also my goal to reopen the store with a bunch of great new merchandise as well as some old-favorites that have been missing for far too long!
In other words, if you’ve been aching to get your hands on a Spoiler t-shirt (which has been off the market since – geeze? – December?) you may soon get your change to make a pre-order!
As I said, I hope to have these new changes instituted when the guest strips conclude!
In the meantime, please visit Orneryboy and also please continue to vote for Theater Hopper. I will be drawing incentive sketches of my collaborators creations as the guest strips run. So that means you get to see my take on Orneryboy by clicking this little link. Have at it!
Again, many thanks to everyone who is helping me this week and next!
If you’re checking out his site, you might be curious as to why the styles don’t match. Comet7 is a comic created with original pixel illustrations similar to Diesel Sweeties. However, Kidnemo’s comic is far more surreal. Sure, Diesel Sweeties has robots. But does it have a talking water cooler? I think NOT!
Why the switchover to hand drawn? You got me! But that doesn’t mean the comic isn’t any less funny or that we appreciate it any less.
Frankly, my feelings mirror Kidnemo when it comes to Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher. Even with Jason Lee and Morgan Freeman in the cast, the book was much, much better.
Our little guest strip session is just getting into full swing, so be sure to come back on Friday to see another hilarious interpretation by Sam & Fuzzy creator Sam Logan. You won’t be disappointed. The punch line is a killer!
Also don’t forget to check out the original art auction I’m running while I’m away in Texas. It’s a Sin City inspired piece you can learn more about by just reading a little further!
Have a great Wednesday!
Today’s comic comes to us from another Dayfree Press alumni, Sam Logan
*THE REST OF THE BLOG POST WAS LOST WHEN THEATER HOPPER MOVED TO WORDPRESS IN JANUARY 2009*
You’d have to be blind not to notice the distinct style of today’s guest comic author. It’s the one and only Mitch Clem of Nothing Nice to Say!
I love his strip today. Not only because it’s the first full-color strip he’s done since coming back to the web comics fold, but because it does a great job of capturing the playful, sometimes elitist bend to my characters.
Thanks muchly, kind sir. You comic doth rocketh my world.
Hopefully you guys are aware that today is the last day for you to bid on the Sin City-inspired original artwork I’m auction off on eBay. You should scroll down a little ways if you want to learn more about it.
I’ll actually be back from Texas at some point tonight. So if you’ve been sending me e-mails, or anything, I will try to get to a few of them this evening.
Guest strips will continue even though I’m back from vacation. I’m taking a little well-deserved time off to work on a site redesign and opening up the store again with new merchandise. I haven’t taken any time off since last July, so I feel it’s a little deserved.
Be sure to come back on Wednesday for another excellent guest strip!
Hey, everyone! I’m back from Texas!
First, I have to say thank you to fellow Dayfree Press alumni Jim Burgess of Able & Baker for his great guest strip today. For some reason, I’m really excited by the idea of “Office Wookie.” Do you think NBC is desperate enough to film a pilot?
At any rate, check out Jim’s comic. It’s criminally underrated. The writing is sharp as a tack!
Second, since I’m back home, I have a new sketch for you guys to check out if you vote for Theater Hopper at buzzComix. It’s my take on the forementioned Able & Baker.
Thanks for keeping Theater Hopper up there in the rankings while I was away, guys! That was very awesome of you!
As a reward for your dilligence, I’ve posted a HUGE message recapping my whole trip right here. It might take a while to load – there are about 30 pictures – but I think it’s kind of a fun read and you get a little insight as to what I was up to for the last 6 days.
Need a little preview? Okay, try this on for size:
I must stress for the record that I am NOT DRUNK in this picture. They caught me mid-blink, okay?
I have more thoughts, but I’ll save them for later. I’m tired after posting that huge message in the THorum!
I’ll be back later!
I’m handing out major props to Josh Meinzer (AKA “Fenris) the write and artist of Aikida for today’s excellent guest strip.
Josh’s comic is one of my absolute favorite on the internet and it was a real treat when he said “Yes” to do this for me.
If you’ve been following Aikida at all, you know that Josh is telling a MASSIVE new storyline right now. He’s introducing new characters left and right. Fleshing out his existing characters. And doing all of it in an inventive way that doesn’t feel convoluted at all. Top it off with the fact that it’s emotional when it needs to be and laugh-out-loud funny when it wants to be and you’ve got a winner.
The thing I always admired about Josh’s work is that he is able to add layer upon layer of detail to the characters and it always makes perfect sense.
I’ve been actually re-reading his archives and what started out as a kind of gag-a-day gaming comic with occasional cheesecake drawings of the ladies has turned into a very rich experience. It’s like these character have always existed in his head as fully realized creations and he’s been unfolding them in front of our eyes very slowly.
I admire the hell out of him, if it isn’t plainly obvious. If you want in on a little secret, reading Aikida is what inspired me to flesh out Jimmy’s character back in September when he lost his job and also inspired my introduction of Charlie.
The Jimmy storyline went well, I thought. But introducing Charlie was like driving with the parking break on. Meanwhile, when Josh adds new characters or adds layers to his existing cast, it’s like spreading jam over toast.
At any rate, for today’s buzzComix incentive sketch, I drew Aikida in her demon form. I hope you like it. I think it turned out pretty well, but I had hoped to have had more time to work on it. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (which opens this weekend) that leads into Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (which opens May 19). I want to get to the story ideas I have soon so they’re still timely.
I will probably burn through the remainder of the guest strips next week and post a new one every day until I run out. Be sure to check the site every day next week. You won’t be sorry. I have some “big-guns” lined up. Some of these strips are to DIE for!
Incidentally, you might have noticed some of the advertisements on the site have disappeared. That’s a temporary thing. I basically let the ads I have run out before the site redesign and am currently not accepting new ads. The dimensions and locations of the ads in the redesign are different, so it would be moot to take on any new clients at the moment.
So, if you’ll allow the expression, “pardon our dust while we renovate to make things better.” I think once I slap a new coat of paint on things, you guys will be pleased. Things will also be better organized. I’m really looking forward to unveiling things.
Thanks for your patience and thanks for supporting the site!
I wanted to start this week off right by showcasing Zach Miller’s great guest strip. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Zach pens and authors Joe and Monkey and he is a fellow web comic creator that I happen to consider a good friend. Zach’s always been there in the clutch and he pulls though again!
To show some of my gratitude, I’ve drawn a sketch of Joe and Monkey that you can view when you vote for Theater Hopper at buzzComix. Ironically, Joe & Monkey is creeping up on us on the Top 10 list – which I think is great. When you’re done voting for Theater Hopper, go on over to JaM and vote for Zach’s comic.
I’ve been enjoying Joe and Monkey more and more since Zach got back into the web comic game last year. I think he might really be onto something. Like, something you could syndicate. It’s that good. It’s as wholesome as Peanuts, but without that subversive religious subtext. But the comic also has a mean grip around strong non sequitur. Much more so than the actual comic Non Sequitur, authored by that web comic hatin’ meanie Wiley. Booooo!
Anyway. Quick recap. Joe & Monkey = Excellent. Non Sequitur = Crap. Got it? Good?
I have more thoughts to share, but frankly, I’ve been sitting at the computer far too long tonight burning Henry Rollins spoken word CDs that I have to overnight to Mitch later today. He asked me for copies when we were together in Kansas City so he could listen to them when he moves from Minneapolis to Austin. Well, that move is taking place on Thursday, so I needed to get off my ass and help a brother out!
Anyway, I’ll be back later in the day with a few more topics to discuss. I’m listing them as follows in hopes that they will serve to jog my own memory when I come back.
1. Seeing The Interpreter over the weekend and the mouth-breathing Abercrombie & Fitch rejects behind us that wouldn’t shut up.
2. Progress on the site redesign.
3. How many more guest strips will there be, anyway?
4. How frighteningly close Zach came to pinpointing aspects of my stamp collection.
RIVITING STUFF! See you soon.