Friday, August 8, 2014

Want a cookie?


I'm going to take a little time off next week. And, as usually happens right before a scheduled vacation, my mind drifts back to thoughts of just one place. That's right, Interlochen, Michigan.

You see, Interlochen was my first trip that I had taken out of high school without my parents and other family members being involved. It was my first voyage away from home without any adult supervision.

"Why Interlochen, Michigan?" you may be asking yourself. Well, back in high school, I had a couple of buddies that I hung around with the majority of the time. We'll call them Glenn and Dan. Dan was multi-talented in many areas of culture and the arts and had a particular affinity to music. (He could play the theme song to "Hogan's Heroes" on his trombone like nobody I've ever heard before or since.) With this interest in music, he managed to get a summer job working at a band camp located in Interlochen, while Glenn and I stayed home, baled hay and shoveled manure.

Well, as a young man, you can only shovel so much before you start thinking that you need a break from it all. So Glenn and I decided that we would take a break from our busy lives and go visit Dan in the Wolverine State for a short weekend visit. We would get to see our friend and have a nice relaxing weekend away from the farm chores.

As we left the safety of our nice snug homes on that beautiful sunny Friday morning, both Glenn and I were filled with the youthful exuberance that the promise of world travel brings about. I imagine that we felt about the same way that Columbus or Magellan felt as they were about to leave port. Plus, Glenn's mom made cookies! Chocolate chip cookies! Possibly with nuts!

Today, as I look up the directions to Interlochen on my computer, I see that it is listed as being 413 miles away, and one should expect the trip to take somewhere in the area of six hours and 21 minutes. I can tell you that 30 years ago, it was much, much farther away and took a whole lot longer than that. Especially when our mode of transpiration was an early-1970s, red Volkswagen Beetle.

Volkswagen Beetles aren't really constructed for traveling long distances. What they lack in legroom, they more than make up for in engine noise. Additionally, these particular cars didn't have the best radios, and Glenn's was no different. To counter the lack of radio signal reception, Glenn had amassed a large amount of audio cassette tapes for his and the passengers' listening pleasure.

Evidently, when we were packing the car, and in our haste to make sure that we had room for the cookies, one of us (for argument's sake, we'll say it was Glenn) inadvertently set the brown, Naugahyde-covered case containing his massive cassette tape collection outside of the vehicle. It didn't make it back in.

So all we had to listen to for the next 413 miles was the one tape that happened to be in the cassette player when we left the driveway. To this very day, whenever I hear anything off of the album "Get Lucky" by Canadian rock super-group "Loverboy," I tend to get a little twitchy.

By the time we hit the Indiana state line, we both knew every song on that cassette frontwards and backwards. Halfway through Michigan, I couldn't take it any longer. Just as we were coming to the rousing chorus in "Working for the Weekend" for literally the umpteenth time, I glanced over at Glenn and noticed that he was getting ready to belt it out — again.

So to keep him from opening his mouth, I did all that I could think to do at the time … I offered him a cookie.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that it is totally against my nature to offer a cookie to anyone. I like cookies. But this situation was dire, and it was all that I could think to do. As he sat there chewing on the delicious morsel, with the oh-so-sweet crumbs covering his T-shirt, I knew that this was only going to be a temporary fix. There were only so many cookies.

But a miracle occurred! Somehow, I made the cookies last the rest of the trip. It was similar to the whole loaves and fishes thing in the Bible. Arriving at the music camp to the strains of "Lucky Ones," I said a silent prayer of thanks for the cookies holding out. As we pulled into the parking spot by Dan's cabin, we had finally reached our destination. It was then that we heard a loud clunk. And it wasn't Loverboy.

For some reason, at the exact farthest distance we were from our nice comfortable homes, the clutch cable on that trusty old VW broke. There we were, 12 hours, 3,247 miles from home, with a broken car, and no cookies.

To make what's turning into a long story less long, we spent much of the next day tracking down parts in nearby Traverse City and installing them without any proper tools. Actually, Glenn did all the fixing while I continuously licked the cookie plate.

By the time it was fixed, we had developed a bad taste for Michigan in general and band camps in particular. We decided it was time for us to head back. So we waved at Dan, backed out of the parking lot and headed out for our 32-hour, 11,416 mile trip back home. I don't think that the radio knob was ever turned on.

Next week, I'm not going much of anywhere, and I'll be spending some time out at Glenn's workshop, and we'll undoubtedly talk about that trip and what we remember from it. In other words, we'll be shoveling some more manure.

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Please be sure to check out my comic strip "Nothing is not Something" on the Go Comics website. You can find it by clicking here. The more subscribers I get, the better. Thank-you in advance.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
If you get a chance, please check out some of the other stuff I've got going:

"Nothing is not Something" on GO Comics.
"Nothing is not Something" on Facebook.
"Nothing is not Something" on Twitter. 

Greg Wallace Ink on Facebook
Greg Wallace Ink on Twitter.

Sawdust & Paint on Facebook

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Whatever ...






Gotta love those comments. I knew when I was drawing today's comic strip, there would be a certain percentage of readers that would, for some reason or other, find it offensive. I must be getting old and crusty because that doesn't bother me like it used to. In fact, there is something strangely amusing when I think that someone took time out of their busy lives to type out a comment pointing out why something didn't exactly tickle their funny bone.

Just for the record, I really don't find the act of ivory poaching to be funny either. However, I do catch a whiff of ironic humor when I imagine that a sweet, supposedly innocent little pixie that enters children's rooms in the dark of the night and pilfers their molars and bicuspids, might have at one time been involved in the illegal trade. I really don't think that this particular comic strip celebrated the slaughter of elephants and I don't think that any member of the pachyderm family would be that upset. The Tooth Fairy however … I imagine that she's pissed.

Anyway faithful readers, don't give up on my evil soul just yet. I'm sure that there's a Ziggy-like cartoon promoting peace, love and harmony just waiting to burst forth from my pen.

Whatever …

 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Please be sure to check out my comic strip "Nothing is not Something" on the Go Comics website. You can find it by clicking here. The more subscribers I get, the better. Thank-you in advance.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
If you get a chance, please check out some of the other stuff I've got going:

"Nothing is not Something" on GO Comics.
"Nothing is not Something" on Facebook.
"Nothing is not Something" on Twitter. 

Greg Wallace Ink on Facebook
Greg Wallace Ink on Twitter.

Sawdust & Paint on Facebook

Friday, July 18, 2014

A couple of goats



I'm giving somewhat serious thought to the possibility of reading a book. OK, in reality, probably only semi-serious thought. Actually more of a passing notion now that I really think about it. On second thought, I might not have time.

I haven't read a book in awhile. If I remember correctly, the last one that I did start and finish (after a couple of months,) I really liked. It was a book about this guy named Sam who didn't like the idea of eating eggs and pork-based products that happen to be green in color. He wouldn't eat them in a box with a fox, in a house with a mouse or even on a boat with a goat. He just didn't like them. It was a nicely written piece. The author was a doctor.

These days, I just don't find the time to read. It seems like too big of a commitment. Usually, when I have tried starting a book, I look at the clock, read the first page or two, look at the clock again, check out how many pages are in the book, roughly calculate the amount of years it will take for me to finish the book (adding in time for bathroom breaks, snacks, television interruptions, summer and all months that contain the letter "r") and then I set the book down to get on with my life. Usually with snacks.

Apparently, I don't have the attention span to enjoy a good bo … Hey look! That penny is really, really shiny! That could possibly be the shiniest penny that I have ever se … oh, wait … what was I talking about? Oh yeah … apparently I have a low attention span. Anything with more words than the common mattress tag, takes me multiple sittings to get through it.

Now my wife on the other hand, is what I like to kindly refer to as a power reader. She is one of those people that when she picks up a book, she intends to not put it down until it is finished. My daughter and I know not to disturb her during these sessions. She sits there in a somewhat comatose state for hours on end, just staring, scanning the pages, flipping them every so often. She has been known to start a book early in the evening and read until the sun lights up the pre-dawn sky. During the great Harry Potter binge of a few years back, she subsisted primarily on a diet of Chicklets and Razzles. I wanted to ask when it was that she took her restroom breaks but I was afraid of the answer that I might have gotten.

I was at my parents' house last week when I saw a book laying on the table out on the porch. It's titled "A Nice Little Place On The North Side" and was written by the famous syndicated columnist George F. Will. According to the dust jacket, it's about the history of my "hapless" Chicago Cubs and predominantly about their iconic ballpark, Wrigley Field. "Hapless" was the word the publisher used, not me. I prefer "stinky."

Since I have always been a Cubs fan and also an admirer of Wrigley Field, I was kind of interested. I asked if it was any good. Mom told me to take it home and read it. I gave her one of those, "Awww Mom! Do I have to!?!," looks that I have perfected over the years. Dad said that I would really like and that it contained many interesting items. He also suggested that I take the book with me. I slumped my shoulders, begrudgingly picked up the hardback and gave dad one of my, "OK, if I really have to." looks. One would think that after all this time, these particular people would be much more attune to my "looks."

Well, evidently, 162 games a year of misery and torture isn't enough. I now have a compelling need to expound upon that anxiety by another 194 pages. This composition is now in my possession. It is my sincerest desire at this particular moment in time, to completely read and possibly enjoy this entire printed volume. I have been warned that it contains big words so I'm already leery.

I will warn you, if there is not at least one chapter devoted to 1970s-era, Chicago Cub outfielder Jose Cardenal and his huge afro, I am going to be soooooooooo upset. (You can tell how angry I'll be by the inordinate amount of o's.)

His exclusion from this opus could very likely cause my newly inflamed passion for reading to come to an abrupt conclusion. No, I will not like it Sam-I-am.

Just like the last book I read, and as a lifelong Cubs fan, I'm afraid this book will also make mention of a goat.

 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Please be sure to check out my comic strip "Nothing is not Something" on the Go Comics website. You can find it by clicking here. The more subscribers I get, the better. Thank-you in advance.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
If you get a chance, please check out some of the other stuff I've got going:

"Nothing is not Something" on GO Comics.
"Nothing is not Something" on Facebook.
"Nothing is not Something" on Twitter. 

Greg Wallace Ink on Facebook
Greg Wallace Ink on Twitter.

Sawdust & Paint on Facebook

Technical Difficulties






The image above is how my comic strip was supposed to appear on the GO Comics website this morning.


This is how it actually appeared, complete with the gray bar across the bottom and everything. Evidently, somewhere between the windswept plains of northern Illinois and Kansas City, cyberspace has lost a portion of my work. As usual, I blame Iowa.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Please be sure to check out my comic strip "Nothing is not Something" on the Go Comics website. You can find it by clicking here. The more subscribers I get, the better. Thank-you in advance.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
If you get a chance, please check out some of the other stuff I've got going:

"Nothing is not Something" on GO Comics.
"Nothing is not Something" on Facebook.
"Nothing is not Something" on Twitter. 

Greg Wallace Ink on Facebook
Greg Wallace Ink on Twitter.

Sawdust & Paint on Facebook

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sunday, fuzzy Sunday


I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't have seen it. I now know what it's like to have seen Bigfoot. Or maybe a Yeti or even the Loch Ness Monster. Or the last time the Chicago Cubs won a World Series. You know - crazy, far-fetched, unbelievable events. The stuff that legends are made of.

For my family and friends, and those of you who might be casual readers of this column, you are probably aware that my father-in-law has a history with squirrels. As a recap for those of you who don't know, during the early 1980s or late 1970s (legends can be rather sketchy), my father-in-law had an incident involving a silver-colored Ford Granada and a squirrel-colored squirrel. Following an unsuccessful swerve attempt to avoid the aforementioned beast, a tow truck had to be called to pull the wrecked Granada out of the ditch. As bad as the car was, the squirrel was worse.

This event occurred several years before I ever became part of the family. But I think that I was informed of it the first time I showed up at the house. I have also been reminded of it every time I enter my in-laws domicile. Over the years, he has literally received hundreds of items of squirrel-related paraphernalia. There are squirrel statues, squirrel posters, squirrel T-shirts and sweatshirts, squirrel Christmas ornaments, stuffed squirrels (fake and real), squirrel underwear, etc. …

It used to be that it was a small feat to find a picture of a squirrel on any kind of a greeting card, but now it's like you can't swing a dead … well ... squirrel around without finding one. My father-in-law, I believe, is responsible for all growth in the squirrel-related greeting industry. The card racks are full of them. Many involve the hilarious use of the word "nuts." Tee, hee, hee, hee … nuts. (I am actually giggling while writing this.)

Up until now, for me, the squirrel story has been merely a tale of lore. Something that I have heard about many, many, many times, but I never had any real, concrete, personal connection to the story. Until last Sunday.

That was the day that he offered to take me fishing in his boat. As we eased down the driveway to leave his house that sun-drenched afternoon, he stomped on the brakes. I looked at him to see what was the matter, he had a visage of panic upon his face. He told me that his steering was acting funny. He inched forward a few more feet and stomped on the brakes again just as we were about to enter the roadway. He said that he had no power steering whatsoever.

At that point, we exited the 2003 midnight-blue Ford Ranger to see what the problem was. At first we checked out the tires to see if we had a flat. They all looked fine. It was then that I popped the hood. I noticed some fur floating in the summertime breeze.

I'll never forget what my father-in-law said next. He said, "Oh shucks! It's a squirrel!" or something to that effect.

Evidently, the unlucky critter had crawled into the motor compartment of the truck and got caught up in the serpentine belt which powers a whole host of things on the vehicle including the power steering. The belt was knocked off of the pulleys and the squirrel … well, it did not survive. Fortunately, I think that the end came rather quickly.

It was somewhat surreal as we started cleaning up the mess and figuring out how to put the belt back on. All I could think amongst the fumes of singed fur coming off of the manifold was that I finally had my own connection to the family legend. I had seen Bigfoot. Well, actually a little foot and part of a tail, but you know what I mean. It was just like 30 years ago, a deceased member of the tree-dwelling rodent family and a Ford that didn't operate properly.

It was then that my father-in-law looked directly at me, and again, he had an ashen look of sheer panic on his face. He said something to the effect that this happened in front of the wrong person. I asked him what he meant by that. "I'm afraid this is going to end up in the newspaper," he said in a trembling, fearful voice.

I told him in my most reassuring, comforting tone, "Don't be afraid. Of course, this is going to end up in the newspaper." He said, "Oh shucks!" or something to that effect.

I'm sure that the poor guy will hear about this incident for some time to come, and for that, I feel somewhat sorry. However, I consider myself to be the official chronicler of this ongoing epic saga, and it would be a travesty for me to not tell this story.

To be completely realistic about the whole thing and to put it in the proper perspective, apart from any animals bagged during his numerous squirrel hunts, these are the only two documented squirrel deaths attributed to my father-in-law that I am aware of. Two over a 30-year time period isn't too bad. I'm pretty sure I've got more than that under my belt.

As a side note, this Monday happens to be my father-in-law's birthday. So if you see Dave Schindel around this weekend, wish him a happy birthday.

But if you're a squirrel, you might want to hide your nuts. Tee, hee, hee, hee …
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Please be sure to check out my comic strip "Nothing is not Something" on the Go Comics website. You can find it by clicking here. The more subscribers I get, the better. Thank-you in advance.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
If you get a chance, please check out some of the other stuff I've got going:

"Nothing is not Something" on GO Comics.
"Nothing is not Something" on Facebook.
"Nothing is not Something" on Twitter. 

Greg Wallace Ink on Facebook
Greg Wallace Ink on Twitter.

Sawdust & Paint on Facebook

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Another Box





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Please be sure to check out my comic strip "Nothing is not Something" on the Go Comics website. You can find it by clicking here. The more subscribers I get, the better. Thank-you in advance.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
If you get a chance, please check out some of the other stuff I've got going:

"Nothing is not Something" on GO Comics.
"Nothing is not Something" on Facebook.
"Nothing is not Something" on Twitter. 

Greg Wallace Ink on Facebook
Greg Wallace Ink on Twitter.

Sawdust & Paint on Facebook

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lewis Flyers


Here are some bag boards that we recently completed at Sawdust & Paint.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Please be sure to check out my comic strip "Nothing is not Something" on the Go Comics website. You can find it by clicking here. The more subscribers I get, the better. Thank-you in advance.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
If you get a chance, please check out some of the other stuff I've got going:

"Nothing is not Something" on GO Comics.
"Nothing is not Something" on Facebook.
"Nothing is not Something" on Twitter. 

Greg Wallace Ink on Facebook
Greg Wallace Ink on Twitter.

Sawdust & Paint on Facebook