The adventures of Neatstep the funny parking officer.

The weekly web comic relates the humorous encounters of a downtown parking patroller.

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Keep Calm and Carry-On – if you can!

Every time we depart from our local airport it’s a fiasco going through security with our carry-on baggage. I thought I would be able to stop writing about this long ago, but the saga just continues with every trip. The question is, “how can you keep calm if you have carry-on?”

We knew already, before we entered security, there would be problems and sure enough, we weren’t disappointed. I dumped everything possible in the little tray but the detector still beeped persistently. Then came the good news. “You’ve been randomly selected for an additional security check.” “Oh, no! Not me!” “Would you like the full body scan or the pat-down?” “I have no idea. What works best?” “We’ll do a pat-down. Just strip in front of all these people and leave it to me!”.....

Europe: Going… Going… Gone?

We recently decided on a last-minute trip to Europe. There was a pretty good flight deal which made the decision easy. On departure, all was well until take-off. The engines were fired-up, the plane lurched forward for a while and then we suddenly slowed down and taxied comfortably back towards the terminal building. Then the pilot announced, “Sorry about that. We had a minor technical issue, but we've fixed it now, so we’re going around to have another try!” I was curious. What kind of technical issue can be fixed while you’re coasting along and anyhow, what does he mean by, “have another try?”…..

Achtung – Everything is Kaputt!

It’s been a long time since we last visited Germany so it was no surprise to find that, in the meantime, a lot had changed – some things for the better and some things, well… not for the better! The most obvious change was the extent to which automation has crept into every aspect of modern day life. Everything which could possibly be automated, has been automated, together with every other thing which should definitely not have been automated, but has been anyway. The results of this are exactly as could be expected…..

Trains versus Planes - The Amtrak Experience!

Everybody wants to travel these days, but as Neatstep always says, “traveling is expensive and dangerous!” What people don’t tell you about their holiday, is usually much more interesting than what they do tell you. Having said that, we just returned from a family reunion in California. After a week in our favorite city, San Diego, we needed to get to our meeting place in San Francisco, a short flight away. That was before my wife had the brilliant idea of going by train…..

The Smartest Guy in the Room

This year, I received an unexpected Christmas present from my family. They bought me a SmartPhone. I guess they were thinking, “This guy is so dumb, he needs some extra help!” The advantage of this new phone is, it’s bigger, it’s heavier and the battery drains much faster. Anyway, it’s a big improvement on my old phone, which was not so smart, mainly because I had dropped it several times and if you were dropped several times from a great height, you wouldn’t be so smart either, so there!

Now all I need is a Smart-Computer, because when I connected my Smart-Phone to my Not-So-Smart-Computer, it dumped all the contents of my computer onto my new phone. That’s not my idea of smart! I had to spend several days discovering how to remove all of this not-so-smart data from my SmartPhone and disable all the smart software, written by all those smart people, clogging up my not-so-smart computer!.....

Rules are for Other People

If you are a person who doesn’t like rules then you would really appreciate our city. It didn’t take me long to discover that nobody here was following any rules except for me. Whether it’s motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, neighbors or anyone else, the motto appears to be “rules are for other people”. One way streets – which way! Red lights – I’m colorblind! Pedestrian crosswalks – only for dummies! No dogs on the beach – hey, my dog can’t read! No cell phones while driving – I’ll drink coffee instead! No cycling – hah hah! No parking – well, that’s an issue for Neatstep! .....

All Quiet

Summer arrived very late this year. Whilst it was hot and unbearable everywhere else, we had rather wet weather until the end of June. Now that is very unusual indeed! On the positive side, it meant I had more time to stay indoors working on Neatstep. It’s been a very quiet time since the last blog, with no major incidents to report. That’s probably because we didn’t do any traveling. As we all know, traveling is dangerous, but it’s what everyone wants to do these days – except for me, possibly. I prefer to spend the summer downtown, mingling with all the tourists, enjoying the variety of entertainment and soaking up the general atmosphere.....

South of the Border

We just returned from another eventful trip, which started with our usual pirate taxi (this time in Las Vegas), then snow in Arizona (not what we were expecting), some anxious moments in Acapulco and a bit of excitement on our Mexican Riviera cruise. Finally, our luggage was thoroughly demolished upon arrival, so now I know what it means when the airline asks, “how many pieces of luggage do you have”?

I filed a damage report and the clerk asked, “How many pieces of luggage do you have”? I said to her, “Did you mean before, or after the flight?”

Originally, I was given the choice of three trips. My fourth choice (stay at home and relax) was apparently not acceptable. So I opted for the least adventurous itinerary, or so I thought.....

Hot off the Press

I was hoping for some publicity this quarter and it eventually happened. However, they do say “be careful what you wish for” so it was unsurprising that it wasn’t Neatstep featured in the local paper, but rather myself. I would have much preferred it the other way around but maybe Neatstep’s time will come!

One notable occurrence during this time was the local Comic Convention here. Amazingly, we do have such an event in our small city and it was very interesting. It’s good to see so many different artists and styles all coming together under one roof.

The other interesting occurrence was on the GoComics website where lesser-known comic artists have now been more fully integrated into the whole GoComics offering via ComicsSherpa. This is a generous move which provides aspiring new artists with more exposure to a wider comic audience. Neatstep can definitely benefit from that, although I’m not sure about the readers!.....

Autumn… but it’s still Summer

September has ended but the good weather here continues and the tourists are still around downtown. I’ve spent much of the last quarter updating my earlier comics with the new characters. Whilst this may seem totally unnecessary to most people, it has been an important exercise for me and I have learned a lot from it. Most of all, the whole comic strip series now looks much better.

I recently experimented with a clever web-based program which allows rapid production of professional looking newsletters and magazines. In the near future, the plan is to use Zinepal for creating a regular Neatstep Weekly Maga(zine). If you fancy yourself as a news editor, then you might like to try out this website too. It’s easy to use and a lot of fun.....

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