The dog days of summer blog 7/12/18

Is it just me or does time seem to whiz by a lot faster the older you get?  We just launched this comic a couple months ago.  I remember the summer starting and it's already halfway over.  At least the Mets are halfway through their misery.  But as I contemplate the various vagaries of aging I think less about time and more about space.

No not the outer outer space kind of space.  But space or the lack thereof.  Recently, (okay not recently, 4 years ago) my wife and I sold the house because the kids were grown up and out of the house.  And because the school taxes where we used to live were out of sight.  We bought an apartment.  The thing about houses is you can store a lot of crap you don't need and will never use.  But when you downsize into an apartment, well, that's a different story. First, you buy a storage unit to store the things you don't need and will never use.  You have discussions like, MAN: Do we really need to keep three sets of china?  Really?  WOMAN:  Do we really need 4 tv's? Really.  

And then there are the day to day realities of not being able to buy in bulk. Oh my gosh, we're almost out of a)toilet paper b) paper towels c)bourbon.  Just kidding.  About the bourbon. And where exactly do we fit the 5 pound jar of (you name it) from Costco?  

Having less space makes you think about what you need and what you don't.  And you don't really need that much. Except for the three tv's.  And the bourbon.  But the battle for space and need keeps bubbling up.  Even when it comes to the comic.  What stays and what goes?  We only have four frames.  How much stuff can you possibly squeeze into one dialogue balloon?  Space and the lack thereof is bound to be new fodder for the New 60.  Stay tuned.


A peek behind the curtain. 6/29/18

The other day I went to the swimming pool in the complex where I live.  I was with my son who chatted up a very attractive lifeguard.  When the conversation got going it was revealed she was the little girl who was riding around on her tricycle in our neighborhood when my son was a teenager.  Oops.  Embarrassing but true story.  

Then I got it in my head to try something like that with our characters.  I pitched it to my partner John who immediately smiled and we got to work.  We thought we would take our character who's single, Craig and have him pick up a woman in a bar, only to have him realize that she is the now grown up daughter of one of his friends. And then he'd have to backpedal his way out of the situation. Funny idea, right?

But then we got to thinking, does that make him a dirty old man?  Do we want to have a strip of dirty old men? Can we make her 45 so that Craig's 65, doesn't seem so old?  How do you draw a 45 year old as opposed to a 30 year old and at what point does it become creepy?  So we didn't end up doing that particular idea.  And that's the back and forth of collaborating on a comic.  Where does the topic fit in the cultural zeitgeist?  Which one of our characters would be most likely to have this happen to them?  How timely is the subject?  Is it something that captures what it feels like to be in your 60's at this very moment in time (we ought to know)?  And most of all, is it funny?

When I was in advertising, my clients and my partner Frank used to tease me for saying, "That's a lot to fit into a :30," meaning, that it was a lot of story or content to fit into a 30 second commercial.  Now that has transformed into, "That's a lot to fit into four frames."  Except it's usually John who says that as opposed to me.  Because he's the one who has to fit all the characters, colors, words, thought balloons and dialogue balloons into each frame.  Sometimes you want them packed and sometimes you want them to breathe.

Ultimately, we want to reveal the inner truths of what it feels like to be this age in this time.  And we want our readers to have a laugh and say, "Yep, that's me," or "I know exactly how that feels."  To that end, we'd love to know what you, dear readers are thinking about our comic strips.  When you get a chance, drop us a line and let us know how we're doing.  We read everything we get.  Promise.  And please, if you like the material, share it with your friends.  

Have a great weekend.


FDOSB (First Day Of Summer Blog)

Let me tell you about Wednesday.  And being in my 60's. I played a form of golf known as a scramble with my brother in law, sister in law and nephew.  On an almost empty course on a gorgeous day.  A scramble means everyone in the group hits a shot.  And wherever the best shot lands, everybody hits their second shot from there.  Same with the third and fourth and so on.  It's an interesting format because it makes all the participants into a team. All pulling for each other. It gave everybody a chance to be the hero on different holes.  And it allowed us to shoot perilously close to par the entire day.  I wish the country worked like that.  Everyone pulling together for the common good, but that's another topic for another day.

After that, we celebrated my sister in law's big birthday with her cousin and husband at Blue Hill restaurant at Stone Barns.  This spectacular feast went from 9 pm to almost 1 am. On a Wednesday.  But here's the thing. Those of us at the table who worked, were established enough in their careers to sleep a little later and take a later train the next morning.  Those who weren't working or no longer working in a business not their own (like me) slept a little later and didn't have to tell anyone about it.

And I think that is the beauty of this time in one's life.  Sure, you've got aching bones.  You need thyroid pills and would a little statin be such a bad thing?  But It's a comfort that comes with knowing yourself and accepting your strengths and limitations.  (One of the limitations of being in your 60's apparently is not knowing how to share on social media or websites, but John and I are going to do something about that, by making a video and showing you how to share.) Yeah,  I know your mothers all taught you how to share already but that was a different kind.

So if you're in your 60's or even in your 50's (or even 49 like one of my friends who shall go nameless) or younger like John's and my kids, have a terrific summer and congratulations for making it this far without two hip replacements.  I hope you recognize yourself in these strips (or recognize your parents) and that it brings you some much needed laughter.  And thank you so much for following us.  We really appreciate it.


Musings from the New 60, 6/15/18

What does it mean to be in your 60's and working on your "second act?" It's a lot more fun than the first act.  That I can tell you.  But also a lot less lucrative, at least so far.  Being in your 60's means waking up to meet some friends to play golf on a Tuesday morning.  And then opening with a triple bogey.  It means getting pissed at the aforementioned triple bogey and then not giving a damn.  It means riding a bike without constantly hearing "on your left," because you're the only one on the path. It means working at 9 am or 3 pm or 1 am because nobody's asking, "Where were you?  Now only I ask myself, "Where was I," and frequently, I forget.  

Even stuff that's a pain in the butt like grocery shopping and doing errands are easier because you can do them when the rest of the working world isn't doing them.  It even means taking the time to try out new recipes.  And then saying "the hell with it and going out to dinner when it doesn't work out."  

Now that the World Cup has started, it means not having to sneak out of work at 11 am to watch a game in a nearby bar (as I had done on several occasions with my co-creator and fellow soccer buff, John Colquhoun).

And it also means staying up waaayyyyy too late because you don't really have to be up at 6:30 am the next morning.  I know I lot of people my age that say they can no longer sleep past 6 in the morning.  I am not one of those people.

Next week, we'll be back with a couple new comics, and I will have lived a few more embarrassing  situations to be fodder for future comics.  And I may even take a crack at baking bread. "'Cause if if it doesn't work out, I can always get a proper loaf on Arthur Avenue.

Have a great weekend


Our first blog

After over a year’s worth of work with my partner and collaborator, John Colquhoun, we have a comic, The New 60.  And a new website, which you already know because that’s the only way you could be reading this blog.

It's going to be dedicated to musings from John and me that relate to what the strip is about … what it’s like to be in our 60’s in this day and age.

So I could have written about the recent court case, where the parents of a 30 year old young man had to sue him in order to get him to move out of their split level house (true story), but that seemed a bit removed.

Or I could have written about how I stayed up until 1:30 last night watching the Mets actually win a game that was delayed by rain for 3 hours.  The Mets, for crying out loud.  But this is not a sports writing venue (that doesn’t mean I won’t try from time to time).

Nope.  Instead this is going to be about a trip I took to a golf superstore.  Now that I am not working full time, I have a lot more “me time.”  I got fitted for new clubs and the pro suggested I buy clubs with “senior shafts.” It may not sound like much to you if you’re not a golfer, but to me, it was tantamount to the guy saying, “Listen gramps, you’re old, you need a senior shaft. Get over it.”  But on my part, it was an acceptance of aging and even a grappling with mortality.

If you’re a fan of the New 60, you no doubt saw the comic strip we did around that subject, making a sophomoric dick joke, but the point is, the comic hopefully reflects what we all go through during this aging process (that we can sort of cheat with diet, exercise, medicine and botox.)

Life events like the golf store experience are simply idea starters. Then we play with them, add to them, subtract from them and tailor them to (hopefully) make them funny.  In only four frames.  With color. If we’re doing our jobs right, you dear reader, will say “Oh wow, that is so me!”

That’s it for now.  Feels good.  Had to get that first blog published.  Especially so you’ll have something to read when you click that header that says “Blog”.