sketch diary 12/10/07

December 11th, 2007 | Uncategorized

improv detail

I’m visiting my mom, so don’t have proper drawing equipment with me. Or a scanner. Or, as close readers of this blog may recall, the cable for uploading photos from my camera to my computer. But I felt compelled to share with you a moment from my day in sketch diary format.

So here it is, drawn feebly with my finger on the trackpad of my laptop.

improv at the unimart copy

42 Responses to “sketch diary 12/10/07”

  1. Deena in OR says:


    Your mom rocks! And for what it’s worth (not much…) you can tell her so from me.

  2. Nick Mullins says:

    That’s so great.

  3. zeitgeist says:

    AHH HA HA….Your Mom is a riot! She should show up in the regular strip!

  4. towheedork says:

    Hee! Bravi tutti.

    (reaction to first glimpse of teaser: “lumpy Sydney? wha?”)

  5. Hmmm. It never occurred to me before, but my mother IS Sydney.

  6. Ellen O. says:

    AB wrote,

    Good Lord, it’s horrendous and amazing what revelations surface through our art, isn’t it?

    I was also fascinated by what changes and what remains the same when you change mediums. Would I have recognized these drawings as yours had I not known?

  7. Tone says:

    Yesterday my local newspaper in Bergen, Norway, had a full page of gift recomendations for Christmas. All cartoons or graphic novels. There were recomendations for what to give your father, mother, sister etc. For your “dearest” (kjeareste – the term used for girlfriend/boyfriend/lover/partner) what other than Fun Home was redommended! It has even been translated to Norwegian recently!!! I must admit an ambivalence towards this. One one hand I am happy more people get to discover Allison Bechdel and that she (hopefully) earns loads of money, on the other hand it’s annoying that it’s not my “secret” cult-books anymore.

    The thing about Allisons mum being Sydney certainly rings some bells after reading Fun Home!

  8. Breena says:

    Wow! I’m impressed by your ability to draw with your trackpad. That’s not easy.

  9. Alex the Bold says:

    I thought it was a Sydney/South Park crossover!

  10. Ginjoint says:

    Awesome mom! And your mom as Sydney…hmmm…plus, I bet she’s really good at a pointed glance. I’m trying to figure out if, as Ellen O brought up, I would’ve known these were your drawings had I not known beforehand. I’d like to think so – maybe it’s the Tin Tin hair that’s the givaway.

  11. Duncan says:

    You’re amazing, Alison. I wish I could draw that well *with* “proper drawing equipment.”

    I agree with your mom, by the way, on the way people blabber their “private” lives to all bystanders while on their cellphones. It’s something like the way they think e-mail or the Internet is “private.” But that reminds me how much of “privacy” involves things that take place in public, but which by common agreement people choose not to see. Children taken out in public often violate this agreement, in Emperor’s New Clothes moments. Still. Maybe sometime I should do like your mom did. “Hi, we’re going to the doctor after this so I can get my colostomy bag fitted…. Yeah, yeah, projectile diarrhea. The doctor says it’s because of all those years of anal fisting. Yeah, yeah, later.”

    By the way, I just got Juicy Mother 2. I enjoyed your jam with Camper, Hilty, and DiMassa. I’m still reading the rest of the stories; one thing I like about JM2 is that it’s 150 pages long, unusual length for this kind of collection. One thing I don’t like is the general inadequacy of most of the stories. I was about to put it down to the new artists’ age, but then I thought about your early strips, which are so much more intelligent and interesting. Most of these folks just don’t seem to have much to say…. Maybe I’ll review the book on my blog…. Yeah, yeah… I have to pick up a new pack of Depends at CVS… later….

  12. laura says:

    great!!!! you are amazing! (but that we knew already). AND your mother is. Thanks a lot

  13. June says:

    Your mom and I are on the same page about cell phones–I think people use them for performance art (albeit sometimes unwittingly).

    Two performances that stick with me: On Sept. 11, 2001, I was on a train from London to Manchester. Brits seem to love to have personal conversations on their cell phones even more than Americans, and I was being forced to listen to a whole bunch of them. Then a guy got a call and was talking about planes hitting the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and I was sure that he was doing performance art–making some big statement about public conversations. (And, interestingly, suddenly everyone stopped making phone calls. People were madly texting, trying to figure out if what he was saying was true, but no one made a voice call to ask about it until he got off the train, at which point everyone did.)

    On another occasion, I was on a plane that was stuck on the Tarmac. Passengers were allowed to use their phones while we were holding, and a woman in the seat in front of me had a long conversation in which she thanked someone for a great night of passion and then proceeded to ask him to leave his wife for her. A little while after she hung up, she went to the bathroom, and everyone in a three-row radius yelled, “Was that for real?” I prefer to think it was a narrative laid out for our entertainment.

  14. E.J. says:

    I guess it is clear where you got your amazing sense of humour!

  15. NLC says:

    Concerning rude folks broadcasting TMI while talking on their cell phones:

    A friend of mine had a wonderful way to handling particularly obnoxious cases (which, I’ll admit, I’ve always been too shy to emulate): I.e. he would join in the conversation.

    The first time I saw him do this was in a restaurant where the woman at the next table went into a long, detailed monologue about some embarrassingly personal incident in her –the speaker’s– recent past (sadly, I don’t recall the details…)

    The speaker then asked the listener (whose name was, say, Suzy) some advise-seeking question. She then went into a five-minute listening phase –regularly punctuated by “Uh-huh”, and “OK”– during which my friend started at her with obvious ever-increasing interest. And when he could (apparently) no longer contain his (feigned) interested he interrupted the speaker and asked her “So, what did Suzy say?? Are you going to leave him??”

    (Typically this brought some sort of “Do you mind!” response at which point he would shift into a slightly astonished innocence –he was expert at this– explaining that, since she had just been making the most innocent details of her life available to some two-dozen random strangers sitting in this section of the restaurant, he just assumed she wanted us in on the conversation.)

    (Later, his explanation/rationalization to us was that he was really doing these people a favor. Did they _really_ realize that they were broadcasting the details of how they contracted their current yeast infection to the world at large?)

  16. kate mck says:

    HA HA HA! Alison, remember when you said that of all of the DTWOF characters, it would be Sydney you would go for, hands-down?

    And now it turns out Sydney is your mom. TOO FUNNY!

    We can’t escape. My lover turned out to be my Dad, although to look at her you’d never expect it. I was horrified! An urban dyke, my redneck Dad?

    Ah well. It’s what it is.
    I had a good laugh.

  17. Xena Fan says:

    I’m always amazed how people go into their own little worlds while on a cell phone. I remember a girl’s conversation in the restroom and hearing her explain that she was in the restroom, the noise was someone else flushing, she’ll be done in a few minutes, and YES, wasn’t it great she got reception in the restroom. I kept waiting for a more in-depth report….

  18. hla says:

    alison, how are you doing the text in this? it looks like maybe you created a font from your handwriting, is that the case? so cool.

  19. Pam I says:

    Oedipus, Schmoedipus – so what does it matter so long as you love your mother?

  20. Suzanonymous says:

    That’s amazing work via trackpad. I imagine the details were accomplished via a fingernail.

    And what a wit mom is. :0)

    NLC, hilarious.

    I’m always hearing this conversation: “Hi. Yeah, I’m on the bus. Okay. I’ll be there in about five minutes.” Such a necessary call, because no one can wait five minutes. But one day I got on the elevator with someone who was pushing about 100 buttons to make this call: “Hi, it’s me. Yeah, I’m in the elevator.” They couldn’t wait the half minute until they were there, so all that button-pushing was worthwhile.

    The Helsinki Complaints Choir complaints includes one about cell phones. I think this video has it:
    In any case, it’s a good time of year to watch it.

  21. Feminista says:

    I share the same annoyance with cell-phone mania. I use my phone sparingly and privately,cuz I like,well,privacy and not annoying background noise when I converse. **Hrumph**,said Mary Poppins.

    If I may be so bold,I think Syd looks more like,dare I say,Amy R. There was a great strip last year,I think,with AR flossing her teeth just like SK.

    Echo what Suzan said about the Helsinki Complaints Choir. In addition,there are 2 in England,1 in Germany,1 in Russia and a few others. Helsinki is the best,and my sister concurs. That link will show some of the other complaining videos. (“I want my money back,my llfe’s like a cul-de-sac,and the bus is too infrequent at 6.30. Why don’t they pay me more, life was good before,and I’m thirsty…”intone some of the Brits.)

  22. Anonymouse says:

    The ‘hyuk’ is so understated. I love it. I keep scrolling back up to look at it. It says it all!

  23. April says:

    Go Mum!!!
    Your mum basically rocks, AB. Mine is trying to win over all the Mormons on her island to the joys of alcohol. She sends me updates 🙂

    Great stories June. Somewhere between poignant and “I made a pig-snort noise”.

  24. shadocat says:

    that was funny

  25. Heidi says:

    I had that kind of bathroom experience again yesterday. A woman was on her phone asking someone to do her a favor to which they clearly weren’t amenable while she peed and then flushed. I’m sure the person on the other end felt valued and respected.

  26. Xena Fan says:

    I used to feel self-concious when someone was using a cell phone in the restroom. Now, I try to make as much noise as possible and try to flush when I think the conversation will reach a lull. This way, everyone can share the experience.

    AB, buy your mom a cell phone for the holidays. It doesn’t have to be hooked up to any service. Just have her make notes of what she said and people’s reactions. She might come up with an idea or two for the strip…

  27. Blue says:

    You did this with your finger?!


  28. noraneedles says:

    Or she could just use the nearest banana.

    Duncan, that made me snort out loud – all those years of anal fisting. *sigh*

  29. Porlock Junior says:

    The great thing about the Helsinki choir’s reaction to cell phones (around 2 minutes in) is the tune to which they sing about annoying ring tones, and the fact that they’re in *Helsinki*, the capital of Nokia-land.

  30. Olivier says:

    I’m with Blue 3 posts above: I am speechless.

  31. martinet says:

    “Hyuk” is actually what I would recognize as Alison’s, even if I didn’t recognize the drawing. I don’t know of anyone else who uses that particular word, with that particular spelling, although I’ve seen it in DTWOF several times.

    I also think that the woman ahead of them in the line looks (at least in the first panel) like Jennifer, Sydney’s “stepmom.”

  32. LondonBoy says:

    I used to love reading your mom’s stuff, but I can’t find it any more. Is she still writing ? Please encourage her to do more – she writes beautifully. ( And please tell her that if she wants the recipe for canned fruit cocktail cake that she mentioned in December 2005 I’m happy to pass it on. )

  33. Jaya says:

    I believe the “Hyuk” is also a frequent DiMassa laugh, too, no?
    We didn’t have cell phones back then, but I have an embarrassing mom/daughter story. Apparently, when I was five or six and learning to spell (or when spelling things out around me for privacy was beginning not to work) my mother and i were riding up in an elevator to see Santa Claus at the local department store. The elevator stopped and a very large woman got on. Apparently, I grinned, looked up at my mother and stage-whispered, “F-A-T, huh, Ma?”.

    My mother nearly died of embarassment. But since that point, its been a family “thing” to try to zing each other like that when we’re in crowded public places, and my mother does it better than anyone. Kudos to evil moms!

  34. Roz Warren says:

    My son and I used to join in on overheard cell conversations. The two of us would comment on, crack jokes about and generally mock whatever the Phone Slut was saying. Compulsive cell phoners are so clueless it usually took awhile for them to realize we’ve joined their discourse. But it would usually shut them down. I also recommend cell phone blockers. They’re illegal, of course, but terrific fun.

  35. Feminista says:

    I was at a locally-owned card and sundries place this afternoon,which included this for sale: a small pad of very specific “cell phone violations” to check off and give to the offernder(s). Great idea!

  36. Anonymous says:

    brilliant drawing: reminds me of early DTWOF.
    no opinion on the talking on “cell” phones – we call them “mobiles” in UK. doesn’t bother me. in fact i probably do it myself. as long as you’re not shouting, who cares?
    but maybe i’m a twat…
    Barbara UK

  37. Ed says:

    Cell phones are great sources of coemdy.

    Ellen Degeneres does a wonderful cell phone bit. And I doubt Family Guy is to many people here’s liking, but there was a wonderfully wrong bit on the show when Stewie was trapped on an elevator with a man yakking on his cell. It did not end well.

  38. Donna says:

    Public cell phone conversations, if they are loud enough and the person’s tone and subject matter is not agreeable to my ear, add to the noise pollution and make it – for me – just that much more chaotic of an environment to be in.

  39. GenderNeutral says:

    Took me awhile, but having seen “Hyuk” in the strip a few times, it takes me back to the very first comics I ever read, those being my brother’s Archie collection. It was something Reg, Jughead, and Archie would utter, usually doubled over.

    Come to think of it, is there just hint of an Archie influence in the strip, AB?

  40. twyla says:

    is that “uni-mart” as in unity or universal? whatever, it seems to be a place where people unify either for or against unifying (unifying=talking to someone, however boring, whether by phone or standing in line…)

  41. clinton county represent says:

    Uni-Mart is the real name of a convenience store chain located in Beech Crick 😉 , and elsewhere, in PA.

    Of course, I can’t speak to whether there were other layers of nuance intended by the artist…

  42. kattacruz says:

    Now I can see where you got your social commentary skills!