Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's an honor just to be nominated

Some years ago, while trying to pass long hours of downtime at a freelance copyediting job, I stumbled on The Comics Curmudgeon, a blog dedicated to one of my own favorite pursuits -- exposing and mocking the inexcusably low quality of many (most?) newspaper comics. I read my way through the archives that week, and I've been reading faithfully ever since. (I wrote about my joy here, and also here.)

One of the things I like about The Comics Curmudgeon are the cheerfully hilarious comments -- it's among the few blogs where the comments actually add value. (Although reading them can also be a chore, now that they routinely run into the hundreds on a given post.) Recognizing this, proprietor Josh began a "Comment of the Week" feature to call attention to particularly noteworthy contributions. I am proud to say I've been a runner-up a few times in the past (I boasted about one such occasion here; you can see a few examples here), but I've never taken the top honors until now. Behold, my day of glory.

Mark Trail, for those of you who don't know, is a comic strip about a park-ranger-type guy (or "well-known outdoorsman," although I believe his official profession is "nature journalist"). He goes around stumbling onto mildly nefarious plots to harm nature and busting them up, usually with his fists. The strip is the work of Jack Elrod, who is very good at drawing animals and not so great at drawing people, or writing stories or dialogue. His pursuit of the comic-strip form is pretty obviously just an excuse to draw some animals. As Josh has faithfully chronicled, Mark Trail himself seems to suffer from some kind of mental/social disorder; he speaks as though it pains him, yells for no reason, and interacts as little as possible with other human beings. Still, he has proven capable of great feats of heroism, and he knows a lot about nature, and licorice. (This recent strip is a perfect example of some of Mark Trail's most reliable tropes: bad guy kicking a helpless animal; Mark addressing the problem with his avenging fists; lots of shouting all around.) If it weren't for Josh I wouldn't even know Mark Trail existed, so this little triumph is a reminder of how very much richer my life has been these past few years. Thanks, Josh!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chair situation resolved; everyone resume shopping

I know you've been dying to hear how the whole office-chair debacle turned out. Well, I'm pleased to say that I ended up being assisted by not one but two helpful people at Crate & Barrel, and after more emails back and forth they ended up having a replacement height-adjustment mechanism sent to me. It arrived this week, and it looked identical to the one I received originally (they told me they have changed the design), but I was hopeful that this one would work. So I immediately set about dismantling the chair in order to swap out the old piece for the new one.

This is where the story gets embarrassing (and probably boring, but I figure I owe you all the details).