Friday, October 29

Some Jokes Can't Die

Another strange hotel visitor appears. This is tooo weeeeird!

Wednesday, October 27

Tired Traveler

Maybe it's just Halloween time, but there seem to be some strange folks around.

Friday, October 22

Wednesday, October 20

Square Bob French Guy

I saw many interesting things during my European tour, including old windmills in Holland, enough cathedrals to satiate a bus full of nuns, and the Mona Lisa. However, two things stand out as particularly memorable to me.

The first is the giant steel structure in the shape of the inside of an iron molecule, standing 335 feet high, called the Atomium. Created for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, its gleaming steel spheres recreate the 1950's view of a glorious future for cheap ubiquitous atomic power, a future that never materialized, like levitating cars.

The second is an example of graffiti on a door in Paris. Although surely ignored by most people who daily pass it by, it caught my attention for its goofy optimistic charm:  a little man with wings instead of arms, who wears a tie, and smokes, as many in Paris do. I call him, "Square Bob French Guy".

Tuesday, October 19

France Is Special

The day we are to leave France for the USA is the day of the big protest strike regarding the two year hike in the retirement age. We try to reserve a taxi, but there are few taxis available.  The trains to the (Charles DeGaulle) airport are one out of four.  They are jammed, we hear, so we go down to the nearest taxi stop, and as luck has it, a taxi pulls up, and we are off.  We are leaving with plenty of time for delays.  The traffic moves slowly, but unlike in the USA, they do not 'stop and go', as they have learned how to bob and weave.
All during the drive, our taxi driver complains sarcastically about the big shutdown and strike. He says that  France is 'special', i.e. spoiled stupid.

When we get to the airport, we learn that another United flight has the crew delayed in traffic. I hope ours is on time to the plane, as we will need them for take off.

The good part of the drive to the airport was the music, (see photo).

Wednesday, October 13

Play With Dickie

This afternoon in Brussels, I walked to the Belgian Comic Strip Center, at 20 rue des Sables, where I was pleasantly surprised by the large number of glass covered easels with original sheets of comic book art. It was an impressive museum and book store, primarily specializing in European comics in book format.

One odd comic book that caught my attention was one of ‘Mrs. Walker’, an American Civil War nurse, in hardback, written in French. What’s the market for that?

I especially enjoyed seeing the artists’ error corrections done with white-out, or cut and pasted onto the page, as well as their lettering, which I need to study and practice.

They had one exhibit where visitors could arrange comic strip panels in their proper sequence, starting from an initial jumbled presentation. For a reason unknown to me, it’s called “Play With Dickie”. An initial jumbled sequence is shown in the picture at left. Perhaps, if you are clever, and can see the images well enough, you can figure out the correct sequence yourself. One clue, the white dog looks like a famous Belgian comic dog, "Snowy". Click on the photo to see it larger. Let me know what sequence you come up with, in the comments.

I designate initial panels as:
top: 1 2 3, middle 4, 5, 6, bottom 7, 8, 9.

Thursday, October 7

My New Look In Amsterdam

Aside from trudging around with my tour group, nobody has spotted me for an American.  As you can see from my picture, I look quite European.  I must be looking good, because some nearly naked young ladies in sidewalk windows have been winking at me. Is this a great place, or what?

Today, I've been thinking of calling my friends in California, so I can say, 'Oh, I didn't realize the time difference was nine hours. Sorry, go back to sleep".

Monday, October 4

My Problems With Going To Europe

Earlier this year I had arranged to go to Ireland.  The day before our planned flight, the problem became 'The Volcano'. Yes, the unpronounceable volcano in Iceland began to get active again.  So I cancelled, not wanting to be stuck somewhere in some airport or hotel for days, like the thousands of travellers just before me.

This week I'm going to Europe again, and what do I read in the newspaper?  The U.S. Government has issued an official travel alert, warning Americans to be alert for terrorist activity.  Seems there are unspecific threats especially for the UK, Germany, and France.  Of course I'm going to be spending almost a week in Paris, which is the prime target in France. And of course, I will be spending my time with a group of Americans, and going to places Americans usually go to.

However, I have a strategy: I will be wearing spiffy walking shoes, a scarf, and most importantly, I've grown a goatee.  That makes me not look like an American.

Unfortunately, that makes me look like either a German psychoanalyst or a French Impressionist.

C'est la vie.

Friday, October 1

European Trip Coming Up Soon

Next week, I'm flying to Amsterdam to begin a tour through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. I will be part of a small group of people who will be staying in Amsterdam, Brugge, Brussels, and Paris. I'm pretty excited, not because pot is legal in Amsterdam; only partly: it's the plethera of bicycles and young blonds with pigtails and wooden shoes.

If I have the opportunity, a big highlight for me will be a visit to the Belgium Centre for Comic Strip Art, in Brussels. 

Since I've only recently begun to draw the strip, I don't have a back-log of strips to post during my time away from home.  But, as time and technology permit, I'll upload some fresh photos from my trip, when I get back to my hotel room (no pun intended). In any case, I will continue to post, so please check back every couple of days.