(Posted originally on January 15th, 2007)
I just can’t seem to get any faster in drawing these comics. And this one was just a “remastered” version of an old comic! Well, enough about that. I can see that I haven’t written anything here in almost two months. It’s about time for some bloglog updates...
So, this one is a rather accurate description of what may or may not have happened (hope you’ll never read this, mom) during three days in August, 1997. The guy on the front page actually looks quite a lot like me. Although at the time I didn’t actually own a Stratocaster, I just couldn’t draw myself playing the guitar that I had, a cheap Charvel-copy by Westone, my first electric guitar.
A lot of you people might not know what macaroni mush is. It’s something my sister calls “mohno” in Finnish and I find it hard to translate. It’s macaroni, mixed with pan-fried ground beef and onion, plus a bag of frozen vegetables (peas, red pepper and corn; the standard mix in Finland). Mohno is served with kethcup. Simple, cheap and reasonably good, especially when you’re a poor student. I will get back to mohno / macaroni mush and its variants when I start drawing stories about student cuisine.
In order to protect the guilty parts, I will not give any further information about the first scene in the story. All I can tell you is that it wasn’t something I / we did frequently, which sort of made the whole pot-food-and-music evenings very special. Joanna told me to change at least Anssi’s name to something else, so that he – a man of irreproachable reputation – wouldn’t be associated with no-good drug abusers. I figured he wouldn’t mind.
Staying in bad habits, even if I didn’t smoke that much weed, I did go to the gun range quite often in 1995-1998. There was this gun dealer with an indoor range, where you could rent pretty much any kind of hand guns and shoot to your hearts content. We would always rent some large-caliber pistols and revolvers and blast away. The .44 magnum made the whole room tremble, which irritated the olympic pistol (.22 LR caliber = small) shooters to the point that we practiced in shifts. The gun range kept a record of their customers and if you went there often enough, you would be eligible to buy your own gun (the police wanted to see your record, of course). The place was closed after an incident in a similar shooting club in Helsinki, where a woman killed three others for no particular reason. I’ve heard that they are trying to open a shooting club again; it wasn’t illegal or anything after the incident, either, but their landlord, a large bank, terminated the lease contract in fear of new shootings, or something.
The event going on at the river bank is “The Night of the Arts”, which started out as a civilized one-night city festival with all kinds of cultural activities, but in a few years it turned into a boring street party with not very many people paying attention to anything else than beer in plastic cups. I guess they don’t arrange the night of the arts anymore in Turku: too little art, too much pissing in street corners.
In all honesty, the meatballs in the last chapter weren’t all that great. I remember them, because they were so large and therefore very hard to cook so that they wouldn’t be black on the outside and red inside. That evening taught me to roll smaller meat balls.
A number of people, none of whom are shown in the comic, are named in the sequence, where I’m trying to call for dinner company. At the time we were good friends with Joanna, but weren’t dating yet. We used to do things together, but she had a summer job in Helsinki, which was a bit of a drag. Then there was Hanna, on whom I once had a serious crush and we had a short relationship. We sort of remained friends for a while even after she dumped me in favour of her old boyfriend, whom she then soon left and found a new, serious (as in marriage-material) boyfriend. Maybe I have to draw a comic about her someday, because the whole thing felt a bit movie-like at the time. I really liked her, but I also knew that she wouldn’t hang out with me for too long. Which was exactly what happened. Tiina was my first real girlfriend. We were together for three years. As a matter of fact, we even got engaged, which now seems unbelieveably immature and stupid, but we were young, romantic and... immature and stupid. We broke up pretty quickly after we moved to the city of Turku to study. Lots of interesting, new people, and so on. It all went rather peacefully and so we kept contact even after she moved in with her new boyfriend – now her husband. And Danne, or Dan, was a friend of mine but we’ve lost contact. We were quite close, but then we weren’t in the same class anymore and both started to find new friends and then he did the classic stunt: find a girl and completely vanish off the face of the Earth. Why am I telling you all this? Don’t know, I just think it’s sort of part of the story. It’s a rather personal story, so some parts might need a bit more explanation (and isn’t that what this blog is for?).
The funny thing is that this is already the second (or actually, the first) comic with James Hetfield of Metallica singing in the last picture. Odd thing, considering that Metallica isn’t really my favourite band, maybe not even top three favourite, but very good anyway. Will the appearance of Mr. Hetfield in the end become a trademark of mine? THAT would be weird...