jen_babcock@hotmail.com                      Updated seven days a week
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11.03.12

Due to Hurricane Sandy I lost power for about 5 days. Most of the city stayed in pretty good shape, but some areas of lower Manhattan, Staten Island, and parts of Brooklyn got hit pretty badly. My neighborhood suffered some damage, but thankfully there was no flooding.

The night of the hurricane, I was working on CLV when I saw a green flash in the sky, which I had thought was lightning, but was actually the ConEdison transistor exploding on 14th street. Thirty minutes later, all of our power turned off. We also lost heat, hot water, and cell phone reception. Otherwise, however, all was well, and I'm happy to say that my friends living in other parts of the city are doing fine.

Every day I walked 40 blocks uptown to Herald Square or Times Square to find an open outlet from which I could charge my electronics. It was tiring and difficult to find an outlet, but thankfully people helped each other out as much as they could. I also have to thank my friends- namely Mike, Leah, and Ava- for allowing me to their homes when I needed a hot shower or a working outlet.

During the blackout, going downtown was like walking into a post apacolpytic NYC. Most of the East Village was flooded to the second floor of buildings, and everything was pitch dark. Cabs were almost impossible to find and many of them didn't want to venture south of 34th street, where traffic lights were not working. One needed a flash light to get around and it was important to try to get home before dusk to avoid any sketchy characters. Most of Lower Manhattan was completely deserted, though some business continued to run with the help of candlelight and battery powered lanterns. In contrast, Upper Manhattan seems to have been spared by Sandy. Every time I went up there it felt as though nothing happened, and as far as I know, no one living in Upper Manhattan lost their power at all.

Anyway, this morning I woke up with everything pretty much working again and I look forward to life going back to normal. So far, most of the subway lines are up and running again!

Jen

10.29.12

So I've been busy prepping for this hurricane, which is currently releasing its fury on the Northeast. I live in "Zone B," so we anticipate some flooding in my neighborhood. We were not required to evacuate, but we do have to be careful and we definitely don't have access to stores... since they're all closed, obviously. Anyway, yesterday and the day before was spent gathering supplies so we should be fine.

There's a slight chance that we may lose power/internet so if you don't see my comic up that's why. Tell the GoComics.com to not get their panties in a twist. A lack of update is not due to my unpreparedness or laziness. It's because there's a big ass hurricane.

So far so good though- it's super windy. The crane next to the Freedom Tower buckled a little but it's still standing. No flooding yet on my street!

Jen

10.4.12

Well the month of September has not been less busy than August. Let's have a run down!

1) I got sick AGAIN- but this time, it was just cold that has been running around NYC. It was pretty brutal though.

2) I had to serve jury duty last week, which was actually ok. I thought the process was pretty interesting and I actually would not have minded serving as a juror on this particular trial, which was a 2nd degree burglary case. It's probably better that I didn't, however, since it would have made teaching my class harder.

3) Just after I got over my cold, I started getting fall allergies, which I'm sad to have developped. I used to get spring allergies but have not had a problem with it for a couple of years. Anyway, taking Benadryl has obviously slowed down my productivity...

4) Still working on commissions... Sadly I've fallen behind a bit b/c I keep forgetting to resupply on some materials. Maybe I'll finally remember to do that today.

And now for the fun things:

5) Edouard and I went to DisneyWorld at the beginning of the month. I had never been before and there was a Groupon being sent around for some hotel specials. We spent about 4 days there and I did all of the DisneyWorld parks (except for the water parks) and also managed to make it to Universal Studios Orlando to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Pottery, which is awesome. We had a great time, but my heart will always belong to Disneyland. I just find it much more charming. However, DisneyWorld is probably better as a vacation *destination* since there's just so much to do there.

6) Edouard and I also adopted a rabbit friend for Chloe. His name is Ludwig and he is a grey lop eared rabbit. They've been getting along ok, but it takes some work to get them completely bonded to each other. Ludwig seems to have his heart completely in this relationship, but Chloe is much more aloof. She's one of those rabbits that KNOWS she's beautiful and therefore doesn't have to try (kinda like how some beautiful *people* are).

Other than that, I've started Mad Men on Netflix, which is really interesting to watch for its reconstruction of early 1960s America. I also love the fashion in it, but the show makes me grateful to live post 2nd wave feminism.

Jen

9.6.12

Well I've been busy. Let's have a run-down:

1) I was sick for most of August due to some weird parasite I got in Egypt and/or some toxic mold that was found in my bathroom (now removed). I am pretty sure it's the mold that made me ill, but someone else I went to Egypt with last fall also recently got a bad case of hives so heck... maybe I did have a dormant parasite!

2) Lots of art commissions all of a sudden. To the people waiting: I'll have your stuff ready ASAP!

3) Out of town guests visiting the past two weeks. This is not a complaint btw- I love seeing friends!

4) School just started again and while I'm no longer taking classes (I haven't for the past 3 years), I am a recitation leader for one of NYU's general education courses. I'm doing a class on Ancient Egyptian culture and civilization.

5) Finishing/Polishing up chapter 2 of my dissertation... onto chapter 3! I hope...

Other than that I'm still drawing comics while watching Netflix. This past year I've mainly been catching up on various television series that people have been nagging me to watch: Breaking Bad, Twin Peaks, Downton Abbey, How I Met Your Mother, and Wilfred.

Breaking Bad- Probably my new favorite TV show ever. I think I watched seasons 1-4 in about two weeks. Seriously, I don't know how I'm going to wait until next summer to watch the rest of season 5 (jerks broke up this season into two parts!)

Downton Abbey- I didn't think I was going to enjoy this. I mean seriously... a bunch of aristocrats lounging around in pre-war England? snoooozers! I admit I was wrong though... it's very compelling.

Twin Peaks- Season 1 and the first half of season 2 are pretty great... after that... eeeeeeh. I admit I have not mustered up the interest to continue.

How I Met Your Mother- my friend, Ava, has been telling me to watch this for years saying it's the most accurate portrayal of what it's like to live in New York in your 20s. Admittingly, I don't have a lot of experience with sitcoms but I think she's right! Also Neil Patrick Harris is awesome in it. I don't even think of him as Doogie Houser anymore.

Wilfred- I've only seen the first season of this show (season 2 is currently running, I believe) but I've enjoyed it so far. It's based on an Australian TV show and is about a really depressed man (Elijah Wood) who sees his neighbor's dog as a man wearing a dog suit. Kooky? Yes. But it's obviously up my alley...

Jen

8.28.12

Apologies! I thought yesterday updated but apparently it did it not!

The past month was a little rough for me health wise. It started off with me getting intense back aches and then hives from head to toe. The doctors put me on prednisone and some prescription anti itch medicine since Benadryl wasn't cutting it. After the hives were gone, I got periods of nausea and severe cramps and back aches. After speaking with an immunologist she confirmed that I didn't have an allergic reaction to something but was probably feeling the effects of a parasite or virus that had stayed dormant in my body for 8 months (she believes I caught them in Egypt).

Last week I took 5 different blood tests and it all came out normal (which is good b/c back in May the results came back saying I was suffering from some kind of anemia) so that's good.

Anyway, so I guess I'll never know what made me feel terrible for so long but I feel pretty good now so that's all that matters. Hopefully I'll no longer be out of sorts!

Also a happy anniversary to Edouard!

Jen

7.23.12

Sorry for the hectic updating schedule this month. I have been travelling a lot for my dissertation and major family and friend life events (like weddings), which interferes with my ability to draw comics as well as upload them onto various servers. That said, I try my best to get the comic up there ASAP and I don't believe I have been over 24 hours late getting the comic to you. Now that I think I'll be settled back in New York for the next few months, I don't foresee too many updating problems in the near future... which brings me to the comments on GoComics.com:

User Nabuquduriuzhur ponders if my syndicate will lose paitence with me for tardiness and missing days:

As far as I know they will not. They have not said anything to me and frankly I don't get paid enough to make this my number one priority. This is not to say that I don't care about the comic, since I make sure to get a comic out the day that it's due to appear, but if I have to choose between something that needs to get done with my comic vs. getting my dissertation research/teaching plan done, I'm going to go with the thing that guarantees my means of survival (believe it or not, Egyptology actually pays better). Also, as far as I know there is only one unaccounted day in the past 7 years (and I'm still not sure what happened to that one comic). Sometimes GoComics.com doesn't have all of my comics posted up- maybe b/c I accidentally formatted it incorrectly for their server or b/c they themselves had a server error... but everything (as far as I know- unlesss one of you readers can point out a missing one for me) is up on this website. Remember, if you see a missing comic or a glitch on either server, you are free to e-mail me and let me know! (Sometimes I miss these things)

Anyway, people are free to be annoyed that the comic's been late recently, but I will ask for some patience anyway. Thanks to everyone who have already been patient and understanding. As I mentioned earlier, I'm pretty sure updating will be on a tight schedule from this day forward for a good while (particularly on GoComics, which has an automatic updating system) and I will do my best to make sure there are no further disturbances.

In other news, an article I wrote was published in the latest volume of the International Journal of Comic Art. It's about my dissertation, which is about Egyptian art of course, while also proposing a contextual way to define what comics are. Go me! First academic publication ever!

Jen

7.14.12

Happy Bastille Day to my French readers! Part of my heart will be in Paris celebrating.

Another part of my heart is in SDCC with my cartooning friends.

And the last part of my heart is here, in Big Bear, CA, celebrating the wedding of one of my oldest friends.

Jen

7.4.12

Happy 4th of July to my American readers! Stay safe!

Jen

7.1.12

Sorry for the update delay! Was having internet issues in France (which is where I am right now!).

Jen

6.17.12

Happy father's day to all the fathers out there! A special shout out goes to my own dad, of course! I'll call you later tonight!

Jen

6.2.12

So last week I threw the most epic party I think I'll ever throw in my entire life for my 30th birthday. Last year, when I was lamenting the last birthday of my 20s (which was a harder birthday, I've found, than my 30th) I came up with the idea that I had to do something totally awesome for when I turned 30. I decided that I was going to charter a boat. Five months later, I decided on a theme: pirates!

Yes, me and some of my favorite people sailed around NY Harbor, harrassing passing ships ("ARRR, YOU SCALLYWAGS!") and drinking freely from our open BARRR. When our voyage was done, we made way to my apartment to celebrate with karaoke. The next day my apartment was a train wreck, and that's what I call a very successful AND EPIC party indeed.

Jen

5.25.12

It's the day I've been counting down to for a while now... my 30th birthday! While it's weird not to think of myself as a 20-something year old anymore, 30 so far isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I don't even think of myself as OLD. So yeah... that's good!

Today I'm not doing much, but tomorrow I'm having an epic day to celebrate the big 3-0. More on that later!

Jen

5.18.12

This weekend is Spectrum LIVE in Kansas City, MO, which is a convention for fantasy art and artists. I have two friends invovled with Spectrum. One is my friend Shena, who works for the Uclick division of Universal Press Syndicate, and who helped organize the event. The other is my friend Scott Murphy, who is showing his super awesome artwork at booth 802.

I met Scott in Egypt this past fall. He was the heads draftsperson for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Egyptian dept, which meant that every year he went to Egypt to draw limestone blocks and make sweet reconstructions of architectural decorative elements. About a month ago, he resigned from this position so that he can pursue an MFA in illustration and go freelance.

So yeah, if you're in need of a fantasy artist, you should check out his work b/c he's seriously good, ya'll. He also does illustrations for Young Adult books. If you don't have the money to shell out for original artwork, check out his Etsy page, where you can buy prints!

And if you're in Kansas City this weekend, you should go to Spectrum LIVE!

Jen

5.13.12

Happy mother's day to all moms but especially my mom. QUACK.

Jen

5.7.12

The semester is winding down and things are getting crazier. I've been hanging in there though.

In other news, my husband, Edouard, has decided to start a tumblr about karaoke. Every couple of days he posts a song he sang and talks about whether or not it rocked everyone's world or inspired an exodus to the smoking area of the bar. Another twist: he's been singing one song from each page of our karaoke DJ's song list, which is sizable. It's a pretty cool blog and I STRONGLY URGE FOR YOU TO CHECK IT OUT. It's a good window into the world of karaoke. He'll also include some tips on karaoke etiquette in the future (yes, there is such a thing!)

Jen

5.7.12

The semester is winding down and things are getting crazier. I've been hanging in there though.

In other news, my husband, Edouard, has decided to start a tumblr about karaoke. Every couple of days he posts a song he sang and talks about whether or not it rocked everyone's world or inspired an exodus to the smoking area of the bar. Another twist: he's been singing one song from each page of our karaoke DJ's song list, which is sizable. It's a pretty cool blog and I STRONGLY URGE FOR YOU TO CHECK IT OUT. It's a good window into the world of karaoke. He'll also include some tips on karaoke etiquette in the future (yes, there is such a thing!)

Jen

4.22.12

The best tip I can give to aspiring cartoonists/artists is to keep working. Hard work is what will make you successful in the end. I often hear people say that they don't have enough time, but usually it's a matter of that person not making the time. Be prepared to have many nights of not enough sleep and be prepared to stay at home on some weekends. If you can't do that, you're not ready.

Jen

4.15.12

For some reason I recently recalled a memory in which I went to an event with a person thinking that we were going as peers/colleagues only to realize throughout the day that this person thought that it was a date. Boy was that awkward!

I'm being purposely vague b/c even though I haven't talked to this person since that embarrassing day, there's still a chance that he might still be reading this webcomic. I don't know why I thought of that day back in 2006 or why I'm writing about it, but I just felt compelled to...

Anyway, like I said, there was an event in NYC that I needed to go as a professional and someone asked me if I wanted to meet up with him there. I had communicated with that person via online correspondences and since he was a fellow professional I agreed, thinking "hey we'll chat for an hour or so and then go on our separate ways."

Nope, it did not happen that way. Because he followed me. EVERYWHERE.

I tried to gently hint that I wanted to be on my own because I would say stuff like "Hey, I'm going to check out the top floor- I'll see you later?" or "Yeah, I think I'm going to step out and get something to eat"- basically making it clear that I wanted some me time. Unfortunately, instead of picking up on this and responding "Ok see you later!" he said "Oh, I'll join you!" I didn't want to be rude so I was just like "Oh.... ok...."

At lunch, it was becoming increasingly clear that this dude thought we were out on a date. He offered to pay for my food, but because I did not want him to see our interaction as anything more than it was, I declined. I also turned my body completely away from his and avoided eye contact (also b/c he ate with his mouth open). I could sense him feeling more awkward as I was becoming more distant... I felt bad about it but I didn't want to lead the guy on.

He still followed me around though.

At the end of the day I told him that I was leaving a little early because I had to buy a new dress for some other professional event that I had to go to. I was pretty relieved knowing that my awkward day with this person would be over for good. But it wasn't. Because he actually invited himself to go to the clothing store with me!

I remember looking at him quizzically and telling him that shopping with me would probably be boring and that he would have a better time staying at the event where we were, but he insisted that it would be "no problem." This is before I grew a set of New York balls, so being less assertive, I acquiesced and let him accompany me.

I remember going to some clothing store and pulling out some clothes that looked good for this other event that I was attending... but I felt incredibly awkward about trying them on knowing that this dude was outside waiting for me. I mean... that's a boyfriend/best friend job and this dude was definitely not my boyfriend... he was not even a friend. Finally, overwhelmed with feelings of awkwardness, I told the guy that I didn't see anything I liked and that I was going to go home. Thankfully he did not offer to come with me!

He did, however, ask me out to a gallery opening that was the next evening and I told him I couldn't but that we would keep in touch over e-mail (b/c he was visiting NYC from some other part of the country). I think he got the hint and we never talked again.

So some tips:

1) Don't make a professional event a date.

2) If someone tells you that they're going somewhere, don't continually invite yourself to come along. There's a give and take in relationships, you know?

3) If someone's working their hardest not to touch you or face you directly, they're probably not interested.

Jen

4.1.12

Well I've been very very absent from this blog but I swear I have a good excuse. For one, I've been really busy with work, comics, art, writing journal articles (I'm being published this July!), writing abstracts for conferences, and worrying about Ed's visa. The good news is that Ed is back in the United States finally and is now just waiting for his Green Card, which will supposedly arrive sometime this month. The bad news is that i'm still insanely busy. That said, I'm going to try harder to add stuff to this blog. I've just been distracted!

Jen

2.5.12

Hey all! Other than it being the Superbowl, it's Ed's birthday. Unfortunately, he's still in Paris and it looks like it will be another month before he can come back to the US. It's really sucky news and it's been getting me down a bit.

Thankfully, I'm pretty good at distracting myself, so I've been keeping busy rebuilding my buffer for this comic, writing articles, preparing for recitation sessions at NYU (I'm teaching again this semester!), taking French classes, etc. So yeah... I've been ok!

I've had a couple of crazy things happen to me here in NYC in the meantime:

1) A man and woman- who were complete strangers- got in a fight on my train going uptown. The woman swung her bag toward her opponent's head but missed, hitting me and this other, much older, woman in the head instead. Everyone in our car rushed to opposite ends to give these people room, but then an undercover cop broke up the fight! I had heard that cops go undercover on the trains, but I had never seen it before! BTW, this didn't happen late at night... nope, this was in the middle of the afternoon!

2) Some jerk stole my coat! Thankfully, it wasn't a nice coat and I didn't have anything important in the pockets... but dang, that was the first coat I had ever bought in NY. It was going on 7 years and still in perfect condition- pretty good for $35!

Seriously though, what kind of person steals someone's winter coat? I'm hoping it was an accident!

Anyway, happy sports day. Now that I have some allegiance to both Boston and New York, I'm not sure if I'll care about the outcome either way.

Jen

1.14.12

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't been writing in the blog but I've been very busy and preoccupied lately. For one, I've been travelling a lot and have been very tired. After going to LA to see my family, I went back to NYC for about a day and then went back on a plane to cross the Atlantic again to see Edouard in Paris. For the time being, Edouard is in Paris waiting for his visa interview with the US Embassy. That's going to take place on Jan. 31st. Unfortunately, during this time he cannot come back into the United States, which is why I went all the way back to that part of the world for Christmas and New Year's- I had not seen him since October 7th!

Anyway, I got back from Paris last Wednesday. I was exhausted from all of the travelling but I still had to do stuff like reestablish my comics buffer, clean the apartment, and do an assortment of other chores around the city.

It was a relatively easy transition for me to be back in New York after being in Egypt for so long. For one, I missed how everything in the United States functions properly (such as showers and electrical outlets). Furthemore, compared to Cairo, New York City is sparkling clean, and it is nice to know that at my next job, I'll actually have a toilet.

That said, it's still jarring to come back here. The standard of living in the United States is much higher, especially compared to rural Egypt. Americans take for granted so many luxuries that simply don't exist for many Egyptians... it's strange, and on some level disturbing, to realize this difference first hand. It's also difficult to move from an environment in which one is living with 8-10 other people to a completely empty apartment. While I do like my privacy (which wasn't too much of a problem in Egypt b/c I had my own room), I made friends with some cool people over there and it's strange not to see them everyday.

Anyway, I'm getting back into some sort of routine here so things are feeling more normal. It's still a little hard without Ed around though.

Jen

12.10.11

Back safely from Egypt. I'll be sure to write about the last 3 weeks there... but for now, I must get ready to go back home to LA!

Jen

11.21.11

Hey everyone! I'm still alive in Egypt!

I was actually in Cairo last Thursday and Friday, which is when this series of sit ins and demonstrations started. I had planned to go to the museum on Friday but this nice Egyptian dude at the front desk (who lived in Southern California for 22 years!) told me not to... that's when he told me about some people attacking the Copts in his neighborhood (Shouba). Other Egyptians told me to avoid downtown as well, so in Zamalek I stayed.

Zamalek is actually quite safe (possibly to due with the fact that numerous embassies are located there), and people have said that it pretty much stayed normal even during January's revolution. This proved to be the case on Friday, and today our field directors went and said that you wouldn't even know there was violence happening downtown.

As for the middle of the desert- things pretty much remain the same so far. It's still pretty quiet and dusty. We even played a round of bocce.

So yes, I'll be in touch- but all is well for now!

Jen

11.5.11

Sorry I've been so bad about keeping you all updated about my adventures in Egypt. Most of the time I've been exhausted, working, or hanging out with the other people on this dig. It's been a pretty good time so far.

This weekend is Eid, which is a Muslim holiday commemorating Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to God. Because of his willingness to follow God, God has Abrhaman kill a ram in place of his son (I think that's the story, anyway) During Eid, one sees a lot of sheep and other animals get slaughtered, which means a ton of blood in the street... with the occasional decapitated head. It's a pretty interesting sight to behold.

Eid also means that we folk at the dig house get an extra day off so we headed to the Fayuum to see some cool waterfalls and an awesome prehistoric whale bone park. If you're ever in Egypt I recommend joining a tour or hiring some guy to drive you out to Wadi el-Hitan to see it- not even for the bones but for the sweet sand dunes and desert structures. It's the kind of place that can't properly be captured on film. You're going to have to go there yourself to appreciate its majesty to the fullest. The hassle to arrange this trip is worth it for sure.

Jen

 

 

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