I love cemeteries.  I love walking in them… they feel safe and comfortable to me.  They are places for memories and moments of peace.  There is a river through Oconee Hill Cemetery, and as an attendant in a truck informed me, they don’t allow photographs.  Very insightful.



I’ve been drifting this year.



It has not been comfortable.
I love where I live, but I’ve been snatching at chances to get out of town like they’re my last breath.  I’ve gone into every trip hoping the new vistas would trigger some revelation that would put my whole crappy year into perspective.  It’s been a bad one, folks.  I confronted my childhood abuser, and in doing so, distanced myself from a whole bunch of people I genuinely love.  It was empowering to estrange myself from the person who hurt me, but life and generations are a river.  My guess (and I really don’t know for sure) is that the person who hurt me was hurt by someone else.  I could not separate myself from him without hurting the people who are connected to both of us.  There’s no part of the river that isn’t affected by every other part, through ripples and currents.



So to cope, I hold myself still.  Traveling is a way to do this.  You’re static, the observer.  Especially if you’re as big a camera-happy tourist as I am.  With your camera, you’re removed by a step; don’t mind me, I’m just documenting.  And what are cartoons but a camera?  Mine reduces the world to simple lines, but this year I’ve added innumerable shades of gray. 

I’ll be honest; the grays are my favorite part.  The shadows overlap, the ripples touch each other; the layers of mood, of diluted object, give even the empty spaces reason and significance.  There are a lot of places in which we can exist. 

Did I exist more vividly, in Georgia?  In Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, San Diego?  I’d been waiting to, and each time I’ve come home and left my suitcase unpacked for a disappointed day, like I’m not ready to accept that this trip didn’t change my life.  Nope; it still needs tending.


I still have work to do.


Mary is Jeanette’s roommate.  I wish I was their roommate, too.  Like Starland Vocal Band, my motto’s always been “when it’s right, it’s right,” and lounging with Mary on M and J’s couch watching the DVDs I brought of 90210, season four, felt so right.  I feel most tv shows benefit greatly from some additional dialogue provided by the viewers.  I feel the same way about movies, which makes people not want to take me to the movies very often.  I’m okay with that because I have restless leg syndrome, yes, just like in the commercials, and movies in theaters mean hours of leg pain for me, AND I am not allowed to make witty comments?  Forget it!  The court of Louie the 14th would never have stood for it, and I don’t stand for it either.  But I WISH I COULD, because then my leg pain would go away!  Ha! ha!  You see what I mean about me and wit? 

Watch 90210 on the couch with me, but don’t take me to the movies.  Don’t take Mary to the movies either.  You’ll be missing out.  The girl made up a voice for Brandon’s eyebrows.  They do not make enough people like Miss Mary here.


Mary and I met up at the UGA library to get the bus home together.  I’d spent the whole day wandering Athens and sketching these little cartoons.  It started raining buckets right as we were walking to the door.  Someone said “it’s a real Georgia downpour!”  I guess downpours are about the same everywhere.

This was not the same night; this was a night it didn’t rain.  Jeanette worked late, so I had Mary all to myself.  We talked about cooking food from the farmers’ market—we even WENT to the farmers’ market—but we ended up going out for pizza.  If you ever want to really impress me, take me for pizza.  I am a Chicagoan.  Pizza is in my blood and makes me weep.  I have an appreciation for all levels of pizza, from the super-fancy brick oven artisan pies you can get at Boot and Shoe or Pizzaiolo, to the true Chicago deep dish of Giordanos (we’re talking three inches cheese, one millimeter sauce), to the lowly Safeway brand frozen five-dollar thin crust.  The only way to really anger me where pizza is concerned is to try to convince me that some type of pizza is superior to all others.  People*, THERE IS A TIME AND A PLACE FOR ALL PIZZA.  Don’t hate.  Respect.

*Haha, I almost wrote “Pizza” there.


I got a record player this year.  Great decision!  I am an old fart in terms of music and technology.  We had a record player when I was a kid, and I loved ver-r-r-y carefully changing the records, lifting the needle, and placing it just so. 

No more Burl Ives for me; these days, I look for 60s soul and French pop, and Motown.  Unfortunately, so does everybody else.  The soul revival that took off with a vengeance in SF seems to have spread, and the good stuff was just as hard to find and/or expensive in Athens as back home.  But you know what’s readily available?  Gospel.  I buy tons of gospel. 

But then I like religious music.

I found this great old bookstore that reminded me of my neighborhood used bookstore in college.  (Wow, I can’t believe they have a website.)  I used to walk down there from my apartment….. often.  I was a bigger buyer of books then.  Since I started working in libraries, I hardly buy any.

What I do buy: comics, and Golden Books.  I like the old old Little Goldens, but better still are the Giant Goldens.  Some of the best popular art of the 40s and 50s came out in children’s books.  I love Gustaf Tenggren, an artist you probably know better than you think.

Sneebody Snarchives


Ok, so I promised “Sneanette” I wouldn’t say the name of her workplace.  Suffice it to say, it is a library archives, hosted by UGA, that collects material pertaining to a similarly-named yearly award for television and radio.  Among the cooler things they collect are promotional items and press kits.  Mad Men had some of the best swag. 

I realized, while I was keeping this cartoon diary, that I was writing a lot about Mad Men.  Well see, I do this thing, when I get into a tv show, where I watch only that tv show, ad nauseum.  MM was winding down its fourth season while I was on this trip so it was heavily on my mind.  This is just me, folks.  I did the same thing with Deadwood and if you read my piece in Not My Small Diary #15, you know how that turned out for me.