Calvin and Hobbes Great Return

SHORT VERSION (4-Twitter Size)

Inspired by a visit to Youtube (the facility, not the channel) and everything everyone told me there....and my love of Calvin and Hobbes...and my book-writing break - Growly and Austin was conceived, born, and breast fed by a large drooling mother-monster.

Thus, this.

Huzzah, and enjoy. 


As I wait for the omens to portend the perfect time for the publication of my next two books, I'm not quite in the mood to write a...fourth one.

What for now?

I needed something to do now. Creatively, that is. If I had pet elephants or kumquat trees, there'd always be the feeding  (and watering) of them. I don't, though, but there's still plenty to distract me from doing anything creative.

There's so much to do, in fact, that it's been almost a month since my last blog post.

I don't want to be creative with nothing to say, though. Sometimes I think what the world needs now is a Muslim-call-to-prayer-style-silence. I see a man on top of a minaret calling it, every hour on the hour (with one hour skipped, daily, for bank transactions and brief, to-the-point, declarations of love). He bangs a gong and yells: "Do you have anything NEW to add to the conversation? No? Then SHUT UP!!!!"

Especially online.

I don't trust people who put too much online. I think the ratio should be:

 Live, Experience, and Learn: 88.8%.

Tell other people about it: .02%.

Sleep: Whatever's left. (Hey, it's a free blog. Do your own calculations.)

My proposed ratio of living to expressing oneself is, I think you'll agree, approximately the perfect inverse of what most people – that is, out of those who do this sort of thing – do.

And it shows.

Just look around you.

Personally,  I'd prefer to be a diamond in a coal mine than coal in a coal mine. It's harder. But worth more.

Just saying.

• • •

I just got back from a large international city.

Which one?

I don't want to say.  (This unfashionable bit of petit privacy stems from my neo-Luddite perspective – neo-Luddite because it's not that I want to smash machines as the original Luddites did, I just want to extend Twitter's length while putting severe constraints on its frequency. As well as keep one or two things private, to myself.)


What I mean is, I don't have any desire to join the fully exposed hordes.

Anyway, the next trend – which I  hereby christen neo-Ludditism –  inevitably follows our current  exposing-everything-about-your-life-to-everyone-else phase. Someday soon, privacy will be cool again. Demureness. Et al.

(Not that you're everyone else, obviously. You're just you.  You cuddly creature, you. But just think of all those googlebots and things peering at you, with their glazed, steely, omnipresent, ever-watching, digital eyes. Gives me the digital shudders.)

(The international city I just came back from, by the way, is one in which there is a Youtube headquarters. Which narrows it down a bit.)

((More parenthetical comments than actual text is the new cool, too, along with Neo-Ludditism™.))

(And (now (parenthesis (within (parenthesis (within (parenthesis.))))))

* * *

The ideas I learned, at a party at Youtube (no boring conferences in conference halls for this neophyte blogger – but published, by jiggery – author) conspired in my ever-burbling mind to concoct this brand new notion: What if Calvin and Hobbes came back as a kind of conversation between me and my new friend, Growly.

Growly instantly agreed. (He's not normally so agreeable, but I seem to have caught him on a good day. Thank goodness.)

(Think. Think. That was funny(ish). Don't let these subtle wordplay puns go by at Twitter-speed. Think of this blog post as a babbling brook [well, it's babbling] [shut up internal critic, be damned!] in the summer. Let the light dance off its scintillation. Sparkle. Aah.)

If you want to picture the moment when Calvin and Hobbes awoke from their Rumpelstiltskin slumber, it looked like this:

"Huzzah," said a little voice inside me.

And so it was.  Austin & Growly was born. 

• • •

The technique of production is quite simple. Growly and I point cameras at each other, and talk.

The rather transparently fictitious conceit is that we are both in, approximately, the first grade of elementary school. 

Obviously, this can't be true. Most elementary schools these days don't accept non-citizens in their ranks. And Growly, for all his charms, lacks a valid US passport. 

I'm working with my Congressman to change this clear specio-centric prejudice, but in the meantime Growly's real education comes from Youtube, which, kinda, to be honest, shows.

I, of course, still am in first grade. I'm a slow learner, but a studious one (which is why it took several years to have wrought my George Washington book from the miasma of my mind.) The silver lining? I'm the biggest kid in my first grade class now. So, unlike Calvin, I don't need a tiger to protect me. I can take care of myself, thank you very much. (Not that Hobbes ever really protected Calvin. Just, y'know...)

• • •

I think Growly might want to learn to enunciate a bit more clearly when the camera is on – I can understand what he says in these early episodes, but maybe you can't. (Shh, though, don't tell him if you can't understand him perfectly. He's sometimes sensitive about his slobbery speech, but he is working on it.) Aside from that, (or, come to think of it, even while taking that into full consideration – even while trumpeting that from a mountain top, by jiggery) I think the first episodes of Growly & Austin are a not entirely inauspicious start to a revival of the spirit of Calvin and Hobbes.

• • • 

Obviously, Austin & Growly is not a direct copy. 

More a window into....that world. (If I could define what "that world" is I wouldn't need to evoke it indirectly. It's that intangible yet entirely, um, tangible thing that made Calvin and Hobbes special. To me, at least.)

I think it's a coincidence that Growly and Austin (Austin and Growly?) is primarily about two people (relatively speaking) talking to each other, with one of them being imaginary (in the case of G&A that's me, obviously.)

That's just a surface similarity.

Far more important is that intangible something underneath, that is consistently evoked. That's what Calvin and Hobbes was always about, for me, at least.

As for G&A, the best way I can put it, if more than a tad tautologically, is this: It's Growly's spirit that makes it so....Growly.

Grrrrrrrr.....AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! :D