Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Last Dose of Dangle (Here Anyway)

Life goes on here at the Dangle ranch. The tankless water heater is not working properly. The dishwasher is shot. We have a leak under our sink and the cheap-ass IKEA cabinet is bloated and splitting at the edges. There’s a wire hanging down from above in our front yard. There’s some kind of unexplained phenomena in the bathroom (maybe a ghost) that makes it always smell like pee. The front of the house badly needs a face lift including a replacement for a 1950’s aluminum window unit that leaks all winter. In short, we have about a hundred thousand dollars of repairs to do around here in order to get things up to a reasonable level of repair. Sometimes I wish we rented one of those characterless loft spaces where everything was poured concrete and brushed steel.

Up and down the block, one after another, houses are getting broken into during the day. Whenever I go out for coffee, there are police cars parked up and down the street. Our next door neighbors got hit last week by a guy dressed as a workman. I’m always here in my studio behind the house when all this stuff is going on but I’m unaware.  I took that old sign that Bay Alarm gave us and pounded it into the middle of the front yard. Very prominently. The other day I heard the gate rattle while I was working in my studio. I sprang forth to see who was trying to break in but it was just my friend Penn Phillips coming to give me some of his family-grown mushrooms. He told me his a special recipe for Portabellas. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, slather that all over them, then apply a a slice of mozzarella cheese and grill ‘em. Delicious.

The Kingfish

Also in the neighborhood, the old ramshackle bar in the neighborhood called the Kingfish Pub is up for landmark status. It was slated for demolition before the real estate market took a dive and put all the condos on hold. My friend Karthik wrote a fascinating essay about it.

Thanks to all of you who sent me exercise tips. They were all very sensible ideas but I, you should know by now, am an unsensible person. Instead I signed up with a young and attractive hardbody named Bambi to be my personal trainer. Bambi has me doing every kind of squat and lunge possible as well as rowing and other back exercises. I’ve also been walking ten-thousand steps a day and occasionally I go on a boy scout hike with my son. I am a fantastic physical specimen after three short weeks.

My pal Geoffie is in Mississippi, undoubtably fighting poverty and racism or scouting locations for one of his movie ideas. Hasn’t called me for months. I thought he was pissed at me. My dad is doing fine, mired in anxiety and Fox News as always, but exercising, going to bed early, and keeping his spirits up. My sister has been very involved in the recall Scott Walker campaign in Wisconsin.

Oscar turned ten and Hae, in addition to making the cupcakes for his class at school, made him a cake designed to look straight out of Oscar’s favorite video game, Minecraft. It was awesome. Hae was completely stressed out over it but it all came together. I helped a little, I ran out to Safeway for frosting in the middle of the night. Then Hae took on a project making the fourth grade’s submission for the school’s fundraising auction, a tile mosaic of sorts, another endeavor that, because of her intense perfectionism, left her overwrought and panicked.

All my projects are top secret. I can't talk about them and they can't go in my portfolio.
I’m under some stress too, a small amount, but enough to keep me up in cold sweats.  It has to do with all those proposals I was writing. Five of them came through at once so now I am in the midst of a storm of activity. Just keeping all the storyboards sorted out becomes tricky. It’s all top secret corporate cartooning work. Fearing corporate espionage they require me to lawyer up and sign dense legal documents. I’m not allowed to talk about where I travel. I must pass naked through the scanners when I leave the “campus” so that I am not smuggling out any secrets or sketches from inside of the powerdome.  I have to guard my iPad at all times and carry a million dollars worth of insurance. The price of well-paid corporate hackery.

Somber Ending
This post will be my last update to (sob). Thank you to all of you die-hard Troubletown fans, especially ones who continue to follow the strip even nine months after it’s been dead. Like you, I’ve found it difficult to ween myself, but now it’s time. You can continue to follow me at my new blog: and my slick website (about to get much slicker) is still:


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