Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hissy Fits and Giggles

Remember that long, whiny email I wrote, like, three days ago?

Voice of Reason: “You mean the one where you were having a hissy-fit over an ever-so-slightly delayed shipping schedule? The one where you had a Bieber-esque tantrum about having to wait for three seconds? The one where you felt a suffocating load of stress crushing you like a fat horse sitting on top of a marshmallow Peep but it was actually just a thing that didn’t happen and thereby ended up being a (shudder) normal-in-every-respect-week? That email?”

Me: “Uhh…yeah. That one. So…you remember?”

Well…Good news! The books came!

They were delivered by an honest-to-goodness trucker named Kelly. 1,500 pounds (680 kg) of pure, un-cut Saturday, baby. Hey, by the way: did you know I can lift 1,500 pounds? I mean, not all at once (heaven forefend; I have delicate illustrator’s wrists). But broken up into very small increments, I can lift that much weight. Eventually. To be fair, I had help from a neighbor who is, fortunately, not an illustrator. He’s a construction worker who also plays rugby. Which worked out real good for one of us.

We moved the books inside (my everything hurts today) and then I spent the next eight hours unpacking, signing (180 books! My delicate illustrator’s wrists!), and re-packing. Today, my totally awesome parents drove an hour and a half in bad weather to help their miscreant adult son pack boxes. We worked like beavers who are just about to get fired from beavering and are terrified because they have beaver bills and a beaver mortgage to think about.  And then I spent several hours at the Post Office where a group of employees with saint-like patience helped me mail them (well, there are a few left).

They’re on their way to you (unless you didn’t fill out your survey, tsk tsk finger wag tsk). I don’t know when they’ll arrive. Particularly if you live outside the US. Hopefully before the holidays. In the meantime, I’ll make something you can print up and give to people in lieu of the book in case it doesn’t arrive in time (thanks for the great suggestion, David O.).

If you live in the United States, Thanksgiving is Thursday.

I just realized what a stupid sentence that is. Even if you live in another country, the American holiday of Thanksgiving is STILL on Thursday. Your geographic location does not effect the date of a major holiday in another country.

Let me start over.

Hey, Thanksgiving is coming up!

And what better time to count one’s blessings? That’s totally the point according this made-for-TV docu-drama I saw on the WB network. It had that guy from “Saved By the Bell” (not the main guy, the other one) and I think I remember it was really touching or something. Anyhoo, I thought I’d make a list of the things for which I’m grateful, in the spirit of the docu-dramas:

-Books that arrive eventually.
-Construction workers/rugby players who are amenable to helping lift heavy things.
-My parents, for pretty much everything, ever.
-Patient Postal Workers
-My (totally condescending, uppity, I-told-you-so) voice of reason.
-You (you know why; let’s not make it weird, ok?)
-Sleepy time.

Ok. I’m going to go soak my everything. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You helped make this possible. And someday I hope it gets portrayed in a made-for-tv docu-drama starring that guy from “Saved by the Bell” (not the main guy, the other one).


Saturday, November 21, 2015

The way-yay-ting is the hardest part.

The Waiting Game

Have you ever stopped to think about how many types of game there are (board, video, wild, etc.)? I’ve played my share. My favorite is probably Ticket to Ride. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a phenomenal board game where you pretend to be a railroad tycoon bent on world-domination. This is only slightly different than my everyday disposition, so it’s not much of a stretch for me to play the game. I just don my beaver-pelt top hat, grease the curls of my mustache and forge my rail empire one stretch of track at a time, preferably on the backs of opposing players. Mwa ha ha ha.

But for every great game there have to be at least three crap ones. Operation, for instance, is grotesque and traumatic. You attempt to remove foreign objects from the open wounds on an angry patient with a clown nose (who, I might add, is fully awake) without triggering the nerve-grating sound of the buzzer. Monopoly is a game where you can mortgage yourself back to the Stone Age in order to drive your fellow players into poverty and homelessness. And then there’s “Sorry”, the only game that apologizes in advance for the dearth of fun waiting for you.

But I have to say my least favorite game is the waiting game (with the possible exception of the crying game). Seriously, who thought up this game? I can picture the Milton-Bradley meeting now:

Boss: “So, what are our ideas for new games, people?”
Phil: “What about ‘The Waiting Game?”
Boss: “How do you play it?”
Phil: “Well…you just wait. You pick something to wait for and then you just… wait for that thing.”
Boss: “I’m not sure I get it. What’s fun about that?”
Phil: “Oh, nothing. It’s actually pretty awful.”
Boss: “Well, what makes it a game?”
Phil: “It says ‘Game’ in the title.”
Boss: “Well…it still sounds better than ‘Operation’.”

I’ve been playing the waiting game for weeks now, and my stress level is at a fever pitch. It feels like I showed up to school without pants on test day while the dentist in clown makeup maniacally revs the pneumatic drill in the background. Last week, the books were going to arrive Monday. On Monday the date was moved to Thursday or Friday. On Thursday, it was moved to Monday or Tuesday.

Why am I so nervous? I guess “Saturday” feels like my child. A child that took me almost ten years to create. And then I found a company in Hong Kong with a reputation for manufacturing quality children to make a large number of them all at once. And now they’re done and on their way, having been sent overseas on two pallets in an unheated cargo ship and sat in customs for a while. The metaphor sorta falls apart pretty quickly, but I think you get the point. Or, at least, I hope you do, because I’ve lost my train of thought.

Suffice it to say my best-laid plans have gone awry. I was hoping to has the books by now. But I will has them. Hopefully soon. And once here, “Operation Send-Books-To-Super-Awesome-Kickstarter-Backers” will resume. At this point, it looks like the clunkily-named operation will resume at the tail end of this month or early in December. Past the deadline by a goodly amount, I know. But I had zero control over this part. Still, I apologize for the delays.

While I’m on the subject, here’s something to keep in mind: Since the campaign closed, I’ve been cobbling together boxes, labels, addresses, and a pile of other things to get ready to send the books (I was hoping for some cobbling help from magical elves, but I guess their union only allows them to work on shoes). I’ve done everything within my limited mental and financial capacities to make sure the books get to you safe and sound. The boxes are sturdy, the labels meticulous and clear, and the bubble wrap will hug each book like an ugly, squeaky sweater. But once mailed, they’ll be literally and metaphorically out of my hands. Fingers will be crossed, lucky charms will be employed, and hope will be hoped against hope (whatever that means) that the books arrive in a timely and undamaged manner. But I can’t promise either. I would hand out every book in person if I were A.) A guy with unlimited money and time and B.) Not slightly afraid of air travel after this one flight I won’t get into but that made me pee a little bit. Since neither are the case, I’ll have to ask in advance for your patience and understanding (both of which you’ve already given generously and for which I’m grateful).

I know: You’re waiting, too. And in the grand scheme of things, being a bit stressed out about the arrival of the books is no biggie. It doesn’t always feel like no biggie, but I know it is. I’m impatient to share “Saturday” with you.

So, TL;DR: The books aren’t here yet, but hopefully will be soon. I’ll send ‘em out soon as I gets ‘em. In the meantime, here’s some of what’s waiting for you inside:


Friday, November 6, 2015

Maps, Stacks, and Flapping Yaps.

Oh, hi there.
You ever have one of those days where it seems like you’ve been doing nothing but assembling boxes and making labels in order to ship out your over-sized book about a creative and depressed little girl named India McGreevy?
Huh. Well, I have. A bunch of them, as a matter of fact. Stacked one right on top of the other like…like cardboard boxes. I’ve been so wrapped up in the rigmarole and mishigas of preparing to ship that I completely forgot to bore you all to tears with a long-winded, hyper-verbose and over-hyphenated update.
Well, let’s rectify that right now, shall we?
First off, I’d bet you’ve been just dying to hear about boxes. “Oh, man,” I hear you gripe to your significant other/cat/potted fern as you pace a hole into the orange shag carpeting/linoleum/floor of the International Space Station, “if that guy…what’s his name? Doctor McDraws-a-Lot or something? If he doesn’t tell me about those boxes pronto, I’m going to write a sternly-worded letter to my congressman/member of parliament/fiesta cruise director.”
Calm down, Sir/Madam/Your Grace. The boxes are done. 145 (insert colorful descriptor) boxes. Finally assembled.

Assembled while I watched TV.
Assembled while I had my tea.
Assembled and it was a bore.
I do not want to do no more.

I’ve also just finished the labels. Take a look at this:

Each dot represents 10,000 books (minus 9,999 books).

This is everywhere the outbreak has spread. As you can see, major parts of the Eastern Seaboard have been heavily infected. Wait, that’s for a different presentation. Disregard. These dots are everywhere a book is going. I have packed them each a little snack and pinned mittens to their tiny jackets because books are dumb and often lose their own mittens, regardless of how many times you remind them not to.
29 states (U.S.) and 16 countries.
It’s been super cool to see how far away the book is going. The number and variety of locations is fascinating to a bumpkin like myself. Of course, there is some unpleasantness: There are many parts of the world where no one wanted a book. Entire continents, in fact. I’m looking at you, Greenland. Ahem. And don’t give me that crap about your Internet being down, either. What? You’ve got Comcast? Oh. Well, I guess that’s a different story. Carry on, then.
Speaking of things sent overseas, look what came in the mail last week:

That glare is the spot UV. It cost extra. You're worth it. And you smell nice.

Calm down, that’s just the advance copy. And there’s only one. BUT, I DID finally hear from the printing company. The full shipment of books is supposed to arrive at my door November 20th. Now, there’s a big asterisk next to that date. Things happen. Shipments get delayed, clerical errors are made, there are sea monsters that look like weird, badly-drawn pigs with horns that spout water and sometimes attack seagoing vessels according to this map I found in an old book. You know: the usual stuff.
But if I actually do receive the books around then, I should be able to send them on to you a few days after. Which is why I’ve spent the last several weeks entombed in cardboard boxes like a grouchy pizza.
What will I be doing in the meantime? Customs forms! 30 individual government forms in triplicate so that I can send “Saturday” off to distant lands.
Grousing aside, have I mentioned that I’m fairly allergic to expressing sincere emotions? I am. But here goes anyway: Thank you once again, to everyone who supported the campaign and is excited about the book. It’s coming sooner rather than later.
Ok, I have to go grab my epi-pen.
The Grouchy Pizza