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Sometimes I wish I had a virtual self, especially now, as I write from the small town of Gescher, Germany, sitting at an old, flickering monitor, using a mouse with lumpy ball and a clunky keyboard on which the Z is where the Y should be. I feel like I've time-warped back to the early 90s. I worked in Germany then, as the resident Mac expert in a Windows-based design firm and service bureau. I was always wrangling with foreign and awkward technology.

Now, over 15 years later, the technology is smooth and sleek. Resolutions are high, mice use lasers, hard drives are measured in gigs not mbs. Yet it is the very accessbility and effortlessness of technology that creates its own burdens. We can receive and send information instantly, far faster than we can absorb or create it. Thus, the burden becomes virtual not physical. We never have enough time to fulfill the demands of our tools. We sacrifice community and family in order to be up-to-date, to respond just-in-time to our work's demands.

Here on vacation, without online access in the apartment in which I'm staying, I steal a glance now and then into the online world when visiting friends and relatives. I feel the lure and miss the rush. But I am here, in part, to remember a time when the clunkiness of technology formed a thicker wall between the physical and the virtual, a time before I had a backtop.



You can see a more extensive portfolio of my work at the blog, including This Bright Future, a distilled and partial continuation of Weltschmerz, Turtle Creek, a daily comic about a turtle and a computer, and Footprint in Mouth, a quarterly cartoon I draw for Alternatives.

Weltschmerz in Print

Weltschmerz ran in Toronto's Eye Weekly from 1997 to 2007. It ran in weekly papers in southwestern Ontario, Ottawa and Edmonton between 1995 and 2008.

Notes on Writing a Comic Strip

I wrote this 17-page, 4 MB PDF document for my workshop at the 2006 Eden Mills Writers' Festival. It details the creation of one strip and gives tips on writing comics.

Politics and Environment

Monbiot | Guardian columnist and Heat author George Monbiot's blog. Not only about global warming, but expect plenty of refutations of the flat-earthers. His writing is witty, incisive and bang-on.

Desmog Blog | An indispensible (and Canadian) resource that "clears the PR pollution that clouds climate science."


Weltschmerz playlist at CBC Radio 3 | Some of the music I listen to while drawing this comic -- independent and Canadian.

This American Life | Radio documentaries that hit the heart, brain and funny bone.

CBC Podcasts | I don't listen to much live radio. Now, podcasts allow me to catch a lot of what I miss. I listen to The Current, Ideas, Spark and Search Engine while inking.


Diesel Sweeties by R Stevens | Witty repartee between guys, girls and robots drawn in a pixelated yet surprisingly versatile style.

Scott Pilgrim Manga-style indie-rock romance by Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley | The most fun I've had in a comic book in recent memory. Highly recommended.

Dykes to Watch Out For | Alison Bechdel's brilliant weekly strip has been ghettoized because of its gay themes but deserves a wider readership.

Doonesbury | Garry Trudeau is still great after all these years.

Kevin Heuzenga | Enviable drawing style and dry wit. Start with Time Travelling.

Graeme MacKay | The editorial cartoonist for the Hamilton Spectator has a distinctive, addictive drawing style. And he makes me chortle.

Friends and Neighbours

Blog Guelph | Hometown photos and events.

The Narrative | Riveting photoblog. Matt O'Sullivan is at the right place at the right shutter speed.

Breast of Canada | A calendar promoting women's health.

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