Motion Denied

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I’ll tell you something else the Internet has changed. In the past, professional cartoonists could rely upon a steady stream of novices dropping in to learn the tricks of the trade. Most cartoonists graciously accommodated the newbies, although they weren’t called “newbies” in the day, because someone probably had helped them along in the same way. It was part of the fraternity dues. Today, would-be cartoonists can put their material directly on the Web for the entire world to see, and they no longer feel the need for instruction. Besides, if they do, that instruction is available instantly on the Internet. Who needs the advice of some old has-been who’s just taking up space and breathing air that could be used by someone else? I’ve drifted off into a rant, when what I really set out to do was give you a quick cartooning tip. See the last panel? See the water cooler? Sure, it adds interest and takes up space, but the real reason it’s there is to break up the vertical edge of the restroom door. You never want a line, either horizontal or vertical, to extend, unbroken, across an entire panel. It plays havoc with the composition, and it simply looks bad. Breaking it up just the least bit solves the problem. There, you read it on the Internet.

75 responses to “Motion Denied”

  1. It never ceases to amaze me how many times in public restrooms, if they have a towel dispenser rather than a blower, that they are out of towels. Especially when you see a sign that says ‘Employees must wash hands after using restroom’. Don’t they care that the towels dispensers are empty? That being said, I do like the motion detector dispensers much better. One thing less to have to touch.

  2. JJ-The Bob Ross of the comics world 🙂
    I can’t make those motion activated dryers work either.
    Frustrating all the talented cartoonists that can’t get their strips in the newspapers. My Columbus Dispatch runs repeats of Get Fuzzy, Peanuts and the For Better or Worse retread every day. Thank goodness for GoComics subscriptions.

  3. Good morning, Villagers. JJ, thanks for the compositional tip. I’m no budding cartoonist, but I am a budding artist and any compositional help is appreciated.

    Sideburns:we are both right. From Wikipedia: Ptolemy I Soter I (Ancient Greek: ?????????? ?????, Ptolema?os S?t?r, i.e. Ptolemy (pronounced /?t?l?mi/) the Savior), also known as Ptolemy Lagides,[1] c. 367 BC – c. 283 BC, was a Greek Macedonian general under Alexander the Great, who became ruler of Egypt (323–283 BC) and founder of both the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the Ptolemaic Dynasty. In 305/4 BC he demanded the title of pharaoh.
    His mother was Arsinoe of Macedon, and, while his father is unknown, ancient sources variously describe him either as the son of Lagus, a Greek Macedonian nobleman, or as an illegitimate son of Philip II of Macedon (which, if true, would have made Ptolemy the half-brother of Alexander), but it is possible that this is a later myth fabricated to glorify the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Ptolemy was one of Alexander’s most trusted generals, and was among the seven somatophylakes (bodyguards) attached to his person. He was a few years older than Alexander, and had been his intimate friend since childhood.

  4. We have the opposite problem with a motion-activated towel dispenser at work…the one in the female employee’s restroom will, completely at random and with no one anywhere near it, activate and dispense a section of towel. The Director of Plant Ops tells me there is an internal sensitivity adjustment, but somehow no Plant Ops worker has yet shown up to make the required adjustment. (Another department head told me she’d heard a recent report of one being seen somewhere on the main campus, but after we discussed it, we both agreed that was about as likely as a Sasquatch sighting.)

    I finally told my all-female staff I’d determined that their restroom was haunted by the ghost of a deceased perv named Marvin. Some of them seemed creeped out by that thought. Others seemed to be excited by the idea.

  5. Heh, I have no worries about Marvin. Our bathroom/sanctum sanctorum just has a crank-operated dispenser, supplemented ad lib by purse towelettes, handkerchiefs, and scrub bottoms. Standing office joke: “Somebody grope you or are we out of towels again?”

  6. Never use a blower! Those things add germs to your hands. If I am confronted with a blower, I wash my hands and take the opportunity to smooth out my frizzy mop. If you beat on the soap dispenser hard enough, you generally can get at least a little soap out of it. If not, I get the water as hot as I can, scrub, then locate the next closest restroom ASAP.

  7. Ghost, time has passed, so my comment is old… but I meant we wanted video of the stripper you had originally pictured. I do some wood working, and it always amazes me how a properly wielded belt-sander can remove unwanted surface! Hmm… maybe I could get the Boss of Lily’s life to apply a belt sander to my mid-section!

  8. [rant on]

    JJ, unfortunately it seems these days most young people entering the workforce reject anything that might smack of an apprenticeship. Asking an experienced artist for help improving one’s craft is too old school.

    The objective is to jump right out of college into a six-figure income (possible only if you are a spectacular software engineer or hardware engineer). Few young people are interested in trades and we’ve helped create a stigma by removing trades from high schools and trying to set everyone on a college path. Today, it’s rare for kid to choose to be an auto-mechanic, plumber, electrician, AC/heater repairman, or one of dozen other skilled tradesman. In Texas, if it weren’t for immigrant labor (both legal and not) we wouldn’t get much construction done.

    One of the things I’m doing to combat that trend is to support the Mike Rowe organization, MikeRoweWORKS. It is a non-profit geared toward improving the reputation of hard work by providing scholarships for training. The website says, “We award scholarships to men and women who have demonstrated an interest in and an aptitude for mastering a specific trade.” The idea is that we have lots of jobs available for people that have a specific skill and are willing to work. The website is:

    [rant off]

  9. Dang. This blog gets much more interesting spam than I do. All I get are ones with grammatically improbable subject lines and ads for Russian “viagra”. And before anyone comments, No, it’s not because I’ve been to any of “those” websites, because I haven’t, except for that one time and that was totally an accident.

    But just to be safe, and if you don’t need ads for Russian “viagra”, you probably shouldn’t click on the site that sent the above comment.

  10. Don’t worry, Ghost, you know how I am about clicking, especially obvious spam posts

    David, here in my small town, a lot of those positions get filled by high school dropouts. We have a lot of mechanics, machinists, etc. that never finished high school

  11. I worked for a time with a corporation which used gps to map out restaurants, motels and gas stations on the Interstate highways for information to use on the internet. As part of the job we got to rate restaurant, gas station, and rest area restrooms for additional tourist information. A scale of 1-3, 3 being great and 1 being hopeless. There were a few I would happily given a -100 to, outside gas station ones that you smelled first when you got out of the car. And there are a few restaurants I will never frequent again. Oddly type of restaurant didn’t always factor in. One fast food chain that starts with M consistently across the country rated a 2, while another fast food with the initials BK had a tendency to rate 3. I wish I could get my hands on those old reports when I travel across country now.

  12. I feel really moronic, sometimes I can’t make the motion ? body heat? sensor automatic faucets come on, which is handy after I already got soap

  13. Me (standing outside female employees’ restroom): “Marvinski! Are you sending me Russian wiagra emails? If you are, give me a sign!”

    (Sound of towel dispenser operating)

    Me: “Aha!”

    Voice from inside restroom: “Ghost, you perv! What are you doing standing outside the door while I’m peeing?!”

    Me: “sandcastler made me do it.”

  14. The high school where I work has always had some excellent “trade” offerings, including auto mechanics and construction trades. After completing our program and a couple off
    years at the community college, many of our grads have had industry certification and salaries that exceeded those of their former teachers. Biggest problem – parents who think that only college is good enough for THEIR kids!

  15. Charlotte, thank you for your sweet words!

    Ghost, we cannot do without you, ever; so you must stay here with us, always.

    And Jerry, sometimes I wish I was in Willoughby!

  16. And I meant to add… I’ve often said that most of us can go through life rarely needing a lawyer or some of the other prestigious professions, and we can often delay those encounters. However, when you need a plumber or an undertaker, you need them now!

  17. I pack much like the way I think – stream of consciousness. Whatever catches my attention gets packed. Roughly 90% of the boxes are identical, and 100% of all boxes are not labeled. I have a vague idea where most things might be, but the unpacking will be just as entertaining packing.

  18. The advice on vertical lines is probably less relevant with the color there, but I see the reasoning. And yes, lots of artists of high and low skill out there starting up webcomics in the past 15 years, with no need to impress a publisher. Of course, neither do they have any guaranteed eyeballs on their work like cartoonists who are published in newspapers.

    Though at this point, I read all my “newspaper” comics on the web too, so the distinction between the pros and the young web upstarts is less and less.

  19. Yeah, I used to open our newspaper every day while The Boss Of My Life was on the phone answering calls. I’d scan the headlines and then read the comics. I would get irritated by the ones I didn’t like (Doonesbury, Zits, Pearls Before Swine, Garfield, Get Fuzzy, etc.) and try to skip over them but I would read them anyway to get to the ones I like (A&J, 9CWL, Fast Track, Fox Trot). Nowadays I just click my bookmarks and not only do I avoid the annoying ones, I don’t get my hands all inky!

  20. Thank you, Denise Marie. And I’ll do my best to stick around for a while.

    Lady Mindy, I’ll venture to say your unpacking of unlabeled boxes will be more entertaining than the packing. Perhaps much more. 🙂 And if you said previously, I missed it…are you moving to another apartment?

    I gave up on our local newspaper a while back, but now we have a second one being published here. Imagine that, papers going out of business left and right, and we have two in our city. I have subscribed to the new one, partially because I know one of the reporters, and she did a wonderful posthumous article about something my sister had accomplished in life. But, sadly, mostly because I realized there is now at least one person I knew listed in almost every obituary section they print. Oh Time, thou art a heartless…well, you probably know the rest of that.

  21. I never hear talk of time flitting by but I think of Lord Dunsany’s story “The Cave of Kai”

    “Then said the King:

    “Yonder behold my gifts. Give back to me my yesterday with its waving banners, my yesterday with its music and blue sky and all its cheering crowds that made me King, the yesterday that sailed with gleaming wings over my Averon.”

    And Kai answered, pointing to his cave:

    “Thither, dishonoured and forgot, thy yesterday slunk away. And who amid the dusty heap of the forgotten days shall grovel to find thy yesterday?”

    Then answered the King of Averon and of the mountains and Lord, if there be aught beyond them, of all such lands as are:

    “I will go down on my knees in yon dark cave and search with my hands amid the dust, if so I may find my yesterday again and certain hours that are gone.”

    And the King pointed to his piles of gold that stood where elephants were met together, and beyond them to the scornful camels. And Kai answered:

    “The gods have offered me the gleaming worlds and all as far as the Rim, and whatever lies beyond it as far as the gods may see–and thou comest to me with elephants and camels.”

    Then said the King:

    “Across the orchards of my home there hath passed one hour whereof thou knowest well, and I pray to thee, who wilt take no gifts borne upon elephants or camels, to give me of thy mercy one second back, one grain of dust that clings to that hour in the heap that lies within thy cave.”

    And, at the word mercy, Kai laughed.”

  22. I prefer paper towels to hand blowers because towels dry hands better. I use hand sanitizers often in gyms and elsewhere, and would use them in patients’ rooms if my volunteer work involved that, but it doesn’t. As to germs on faucets, door handles, and such [and using compulsory plastic gloves in the Soup Kitchen], I think we’ve gone beyond the pt. of diminishing returns and maybe even of effectiveness. We all handle coin of the realm, occasionally touch or even use bannisters to avoid falls, and may shake hands and do hugs at church. We each had only one mate, which may have helped.

    I’ve cut way back on colds and unidentified bugs since I retired. Before then I exchanged aerial and surface germs w/ hundreds of students 5 days a week.

  23. Thank you Lilyblack. You have done me a favor today with posting that story. I have not read it before, and I liked it well enough to bookmark that site. I had not heard of it either, and new, free reading is a good thing indeed!

  24. MarK: I am glad you like it. I love, love, love Dunsany. When I was in the hospital and feeling sorry for myself, I would take out The Book Of Wonder or A Dreamer’s Tales and sail away to lovely lands where there were no surgical dressings, IV, or incisions. There was pain, but no boredom

  25. I’d never be one to advise anyone to not worry about disease transmission, but remember that we are literally swimming in bacteria almost anyplace we go, everyday. But if you are particularly paranoid about restroom door handles, here is a small section of an article from FITNESS Magazine.

    Dirty Door Handles
    Claim: The bathroom-door handle on the public restroom is the germiest place.
    False. Door handles actually have the least bacteria of any surface in public restrooms, according to a test by Chuck Gerba, PhD, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. That’s because, according to Gerba’s tests, 68 percent of people wash their hands before leaving the restroom. To pick up something like salmonella, which can cause diarrhea, from someone who didn’t wash up, you’d need a huge dose of the bacteria, says Larson. Also, most bacteria need a warm, moist environment to survive and can live on hard, dry surfaces for only one to two hours.

    But here is part of an additional section of the same article that may creep out some of what I suspect is a fairly large number of fellow office drones here:

    Unclean Office Objects
    Claim: Your office desk is way dirtier than a toilet bowl.
    True. The average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet bowl, simply because people usually don’t clean their desks on a regular basis, says Gerba.

  26. There is a study that shows that toilet water is much, much cleaner than those water reservoirs in those multiple-flavor soft drink dispensers in fast food joints. I believe it. I have seen those minimum-wage teenagers refill those things.

  27. Denise, As you can see, we are very glad that you are still around. Strange that we are discussing restrooms, but now that you mention it I must have been a little ahead of time with my blow dryer joke. It’s funny that it falls in the middle of an ancient Egypt discussion too. If you insist I will post it again later. I just wanted to mention a discovery that I recently made. If a faucet fails to respond to your polite request for water look to see if it has a small (very) lever at the point where the faucet meets the sink. This will be on the right side of the faucet. If the lever is pushed back then pull it forward and then place your hands under the faucet again. This obviously makes the no touch function kind of pointless and I don’t know how common this is. The restroom I was in had two sinks. One of them had it and one didn’t.

  28. We have a faucet that looks like that at the hospital. It is touchless and works with the little handle in any position. I thought maybe it controlled temp. but it doesn’t. The water runs cold for at least a couple of minutes. I’ve never waited to see if it ever runs warm or hot. Since the faucet turns on automatically, it has no other control. Many new ones [homes, institutions, businesses, have a single handle that you play with to get the temp. desired. Mostly, they work badly. I prefer mixing faucets with separate hot and cold handles.

    This one person restroom [large, making it handicapped accessible] was built six or seven years ago when the whole hospital was renovated and enlarged. It’s been enlarged again, mostly by an orthopod add-on. We’ve also had cardiac and cancer upgrades. Good outfit to live next to and volunteer at.

  29. I saw a comic strip once that touched on the automatic toilet flushers, sink faucets, etc. Two maintenance guys are in a restroom while a another guy is standing at a toilet. One of the maintenance workers tells the other, “watch this, I just disabled the sensors”. The most effective air hand dryer I’ve run across is from the Dyson company. It doesn’t use hot air but does dry your hands very quickly.

  30. While we’re still on the subject: An archeologist in the future finds a blow dryer and interprets the directions. “It’s some kind of prayer device. It says to place your hands together beneath it.” And he will be right.

  31. Good morning Villagers…..

    Mark, sometimes I think our hen house is haunted….like when there’s a wave of fluttering throughout the house, and then the hens are silent for about 4 or 5 seconds….then the clattering begins….spooks me.

    Second delivery of hens yesterday….should get the rest of them today….they are coming out of Ohio….need to check out the producer online….curious.

    And, I have a new Junior, heard him crowing somewhere near the front deck yesterday…I’ll find him, unfortunately…while they are putting the hens in the cages, they will find a few roosters….have to euthanize them….Boss doesn’t like feeding them because they aren’t productive.

    You all probably think I’m eggcentric about my job…..I am. Worked too many years in the corporate world….I like the solitude of this job….

    Good one Jerry 🙂

    Ya’ll have a blessed day.


  32. “You never want a line to extend across a panel.” The reader’s eye is tempted to parse the line as a panel border. And I see that Arlo’s thought balloon breaks up the left-hand edge of the door.

  33. When I was on the yearbook in college I learned that one should not have too much or too little “white space” and that no one should ever be looking off the page. When I work on the website for a group I am in, I always make sure to follow these rules.

    According to studies paper towels are more sanitary than hand dryers that require one to rub one’s hands together. Either is more sanitary than using one’s shirt. I solved the problem as I carry a very small bottle of hand sanitizer in my pocket (I don’t carry a purse) and use that. It has been found to be the most sanitary of all.

    Debbe – when we moved into our house I was alone in it for the first time doing all the sort of stuff one does when one has just moved into a house. I was in the basement and heard voices upstairs and was terrified. I then realized I was hearing Samantha and Darrin Stephens. That is how we found out about hot air heating and hearing through the vents. I had left the TV on the bedroom, 2 floors up) and it was next to the hot air vent. In the basement I was at the foot of that vent. (If I go in my upstairs bathroom I can hear if the washer and dryer are still running in the basement, also 2 floors down.) 🙂

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