Login with Patreon
Login with Patreon

Larry & Suzette, of Borg

Today’s toon is strictly for the Star Trek nerds.

It’s always sort of bugged me that Picard got the name “Locutus of Borg” (“loquor locutus”, if I have my latin right: to say, speak, tell). Why the unique identity? Why the personalization? What up with that, basically? It makes no sense in the context of the Borg.

The writers tried to save it in the movie “Star Trek: First Contact”, saying Picard was a “special” Borg. But I say boo to that. I say the writers blew it on the first go ’round…and tried to explain it away later.

But anyway! The whole thing got me thinking about distinctive personalities within the Borg collective…and I started chuckling at the thought of Larry and Suzette, of Borg. They’re sort of a happy-go-lucky midwestern couple in their mid-40s. Larry works for Deloitte & Touche as an in-house corporate accounting consultant, and Suzette sells Amway in her free time. They drive a Chrysler Sebring, and have a three bedroom, two bath house in the suburbs. And of course, they’re both Borg.

If it could work for Locutus, I say why not for Larry and Suzette?


Related sidenote: I’m a gigantic nerd for even finding this funny, aren’t I?

Best Lumber Response

My previous blog post about “That’s a lot of lumber” generated a LOT of very funny e-mails about folks trying it out (or trying to try it out, and failing in funny ways).

But my favorite and least expected response came from German Sheldon reader Jörg, who writes:

“There’s a German idiom which goes: “Das ist eine Menge Holz.”

Which is the exact translation of “this is a lot of lumber”. In German it is usually used in reference to money.

Person A: What did this yacht cost you?
Person B: 5.000.000$
Person A: Wow, das ist ‘ne ganze Menge Holz/this is a lot of lumber

Of course, a lot of lumber could also be five bucks, it depends on your income and what the five bucks were spent on. 5 bucks for a chewing gum would certainly be a lot of lumber!”

Jörg, thanks for writing. That is complete awesome-sauce that that phrase already exists in German.

“That’s a lot of lumber.” Try it at home today!

That’s a Lot of Lumber

Relevant to nothing at all, I wanted to share a completely-random-yet-incredibly-useful non sequitor that my wife came up with. It’s one of those out-of-nowhere statements that come in very handy when you need some conversational filler.

I share it with you in the hope that you’ll be able to use it in as many odd situations as I have.

And here it is: “That’s a lot of lumber.”

Not particularly funny, you say? I say try it out, and experience the secret joy that is “That’s a lot of lumber.” For example:

Co-Worker: “The boss says we’re gonna need to come in on Saturday.”

You: “Phwew! That’s a lot of lumber.”

Co-Worker, 30 seconds later: “…um, what?”

It’s utterly nonsensical, but sounds like it’s apropos to something, so folks don’t quite know how to process it. I’ve been using it a lot lately…but got the best response while waiting in a line today. The woman in front of me was making kind but overly enthusiastic small talk, and at a key moment I chimed in “Wow, that’s a lot of lumber.”

My super-favoritest part? She said “Sure is!”

If you do use it, and get a funny response, make sure to e-mail me.


On a separate note: a hearty and happy birthday to my compadre-in-arms, Kristofer Bartholomew Straub.

New Jersey, Revisited

Today I learned that making fun of New Jersey is a great way to fill up your inbox. Lordy! Reactions to Friday’s cartoon broke down in roughly this manner:

1. People Who Have Never Visited New Jersey: “Ha!”

2. People Who Have Visited New Jersey Once or Twice: “Ha!”

3. People Who Grew Up Outside of New Jersey, But Who Now Find Themselves Living in New Jersey: “Ha!”

4. People Who Grew Up in New Jersey, And Love Their State: “I am going to bust your kneecaps.”

Good times!


…I actually got a lot of funny, informative e-mails on New Jersey, on its fine gardens and verdant flora, and a few e-mails on the state’s Federal “Superfund” cleanup sites. The e-mails ran the gamut!

And if you’re a New Jersey resident who still wants to hate me, please don’t. I’m such a lovable guy. Seriously. The cheeks on me…so pinchable. And here’s the sad truth of it: I only make fun of other states because I have a governor who can’t pronounce the name of the state he governs.

(Today’s Tip-For-My-Governor: it’s not pronounced “Gal-ee-vornya”)

New Jersey

I’ve always loved how New Jersey is called “The Garden State”.

That’s the equivalent of saying “Mississippi: The Education State!”

The State-of-the-Strip Speech

The tenth week for the new site has come and gone, and that’s about as good a time as any to take stock of the new site. We’ve made it through the site launch, the book launch, the holiday crush of sales and shipping, and the New Year birthday art extravaganza. And now that things are finally calming down, it’s a good time to reflect on what’s going right with the new site, and what improvements are coming in 2007.

For me, the greatest pleasure of the new site has been the increased interaction with readers…through the blog, the Sheldon forum, and through e-mail. As a cartoonist, you’re often operating in a vacuum, sitting at your drawing desk eating M&M’s while Radiohead or The Shins play in the background. But with the new site, I’m diving into way more conversations with readers, and really starting to get the sense of a community forming on our forum…and that brings a whole new joy to my cartooning that’s really unexpected.

When I moved Sheldon to this independent site, it was for the express purpose of making a living from the strip. And on that front, I’m happy to report that the first ten weeks have provided enough income for four months of living expenses at the ol’ Kellett house. Which is amazing to me, as my insecure side was deathly afraid that no one would even follow the strip over from Comics.com. But you did follow the strip, and you ploughed through the archives, and you showed your support at the Sheldon Store. And because of your support, I can continue to create new Sheldon daily strips for readers all over the world. And that is a wonderful thing.

So, with the future looking good, let’s review some of the things coming down the pipe in 2007:

1.) Appearances:
So far for 2007, I’ll be making four appearances: in Seattle, San Diego, New York, and London. I’m hoping to meet fans in 3-4 more cities, though…so if you’re a convention organizer and would like to get a little Sheldon at your event, drop me a line.

2.) Teaching:
It’s not 100% firmed up yet, but it looks like I’m finally going to get to use my two Masters degrees in cartooning…lecturing to university students on the art and history of the comic strip. More news on that in the months ahead!

3.) Books:
There will be one, and possibly two, new Sheldon books coming out in 2007. I’ve always liked the two-book system that newspaper strips use, as you get one in summer, and one just in time for Christmas. But my schedule will be a big roadblock in getting two books out, so I don’t want to overpromise on that one. One book, definitely. Two books, hopefully.

4.) How-To’s:
One of the things I’d like to put together are some free, downloadable teaching materials for teachers and librarians on the comic strip, on comic strip creation, and on sequential art in general. We all know how much the arts get the shaft in school funding, and I’d like to put together a little pdf day-project that educators could use with the youngin’s. Have ideas on that? Drop me a line

5.) Sheldon Street Team:
On a more self-serving note, I’d like to develop a little reward system for Sheldon fans that help spread the word about the strip online, to friends, on their campus, or in their office. This is very much a nascent idea in my noggin, though, so if you have an idea on how it could be implemented, e-mail me.

6.) Paintings:
As I mentioned not to long ago, the oil painting is a go for 2007. The supplies are bought, the easel is ready to go, and now I’m just finishing up my new studio space. Look for pics of finished paintings starting in February.

7.) Strip Transcriptions:
I’ll be honest, here: I’m still the logjam in the transcription process. But the good news is, you kind folks continue to plug away at transcribing them. My goal is to have the finished/approved/posted transcriptions up within the first half of 2007. So make sure you hold my feet to the fire on that one…as a fully searchable archive is gonna be awesome.

8.) Caption Contest:
In the not-too-distant future, I’m going to be holding a caption contest for a Sheldon strip, which is something I’ve never done before…but sort of excited to try. If it goes well, we’ll do it once a year. The grand prize will be the completed original art with *your* punchline, and copies of both books. Second place will be a high-five. Third place: a kick in the teeth.

9.) Second Strip:
This is something I’m loathe to talk about until it’s actually finished and ready to go, but I’m shooting to start a second strip in 2007. I actually have ideas for two more strips…but there’s no way in the world I can do that, so I have to narrow it down between the two. “Which story am I dying to tell more?” is the question I’m struggling with now.

10.) Writing Projects:
My wife and I have been chomping at the bit to start two writing projects, and this year, we’re finally going to write them. It’s not anything you’ll hear about, at least for a couple of years, but it’s something we’re very excited to get started on.

11.) Full-Time Cartooning:
This last one has me the most electrified: I’ve given my notice at my job of 8 years, and will finally be going full-bore on my cartooning, starting Feb. 5th. I’ll talk more about it as we get closer to the 5th, but for now, just know that it means more time to devote to the strip, the site, and to all the projects that I’ve listed above. In these last 8 years, Sheldon has been created on the periphery of my life: at night, on weekends, on vacations. But now it will take center stage in my waking hours…and that should be an awesome change.


But now it’s your turn: What have you liked about the strip in 2006? About the site? What would you like to see in 2007? What projects, storylines, merchandise, or grand schemes would you like to see come to pass? Let’s talk about it, over at the Sheldon forums.

Apple Missed Step 5

Step 1: Develop amazing mobile phone/music/pda/internet device
Step 2: Run a trademark search on “iPhone” (www.uspto.gov)
Step 3: Discover that it’s been owned by Cisco since 2000
Step 4: Enter into talks with Cisco over the use of that name
Step 5: Complete talks with Cisco, and sign a dang contract
Step 6: Launch product

Many Items of Interest

Lots to report today:

Item The First: Like every well-meaning and loving husband everywhere, I can be a bonehead sometimes. Example A: I forgot to mention that Monday’s episode of “How I Met Your Mother” was written by my awesome wife. Well it was! And I forgot to mention it! Which in no way diminishes her awesomeness…but which assuredly diminishes mine. Dang!

Item The Second: In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, Neil Patrick Harris brought “The Good, The Bad & The Pugly” on to last night’s episode. You may remember that Neil kindly bought a few copies at the book launch party for himself and family…which already put him in solidly in the “awesomeness” category for me. Seeing him holding a copy on the show now solidifies his awesomeness.

Item The Third: Lot of awesomeness being handed out, today.

Item The Fourth: A few readers have e-mailed asking me if my paintings will be for sale. After stewing it over, I guess they probably could! Awesomeness! But as I said in e-mails and on the forums, it’s going to take me a half-dozen practice paintings before I’ll even be ready to share photos…so don’t expect fireworks before February.

Item The Fifth: A few flummoxed readers have asked what last Saturday’s cartoon was all about. Why is Flaco in Kiev? Why is he hopping a train? The answer is that I’ve been itching to tell a little side story for Flaco, and have decided to tell it on Saturdays. It started two week’s ago, and continued this Saturday. It’s an experiment to see whether a Saturday-only side-story can work. I’m as curious as you are to see if it can. I’m even more curious to see if Flaco can get to space. He’s made it Kiev, already, so he’s off to a good start. (Sidenote: curious about the Baikonur Cosmodrome?)

The Failure of the “Do Not Call” List

I’m not sure if this is localized to Los Angeles, or perhaps even just to my house…but man-o-man, the federal “Do Not Call” List seems to really have fallen apart in the last few months.

Don’t get me wrong: it was workin’ like magic at first. But I’m suddenly getting 2-3 calls a day from unregistered numbers, or sales calls masked as non-sales calls, and it’s kinda bugging me.

Have smaller phone-based sales companies suddenly realized they can operate under the radar of the “Do Not Call” list…or am I the only one receiving these calls?

Oil Painting, We Meet Again

So, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to pick up my brush and start oil painting again. I haven’t painted in about, oh, ten years, so this should be fun to dive back in.

But man! Oil painting supplies are ‘spensive! All my old paints (and a lot of my tools) were in not-so-good shape after a decade, and replacing them set me back a cool $350 bucks. Lordy! If there’s one thing that’s gonna make me stick to THAT resolution, it’s my wallet being 350 clams lighter.

But the shame of the last decade is that I absolutely love painting. I completely lose self-awareness when I paint. I remember looking up at the clock at my old studio, and seeing that it was 3:30 AM. I had started painting around 4 in the afternoon, and had completely skipped meals, bathroom breaks, and sleep. That, my friends, is an engrossing form of art. I can’t wait to get back into it.

Anyway, I’ll be sharing photos of paintings as I get them finished. I think I’ll do a Rex Chestington riding into the sunset, after a few practice paintings.