GPF News Archive

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Howdy, gang. Once again, I have to start off a News post with an apology for how long it's been since I've updated here. Unfortunately, things in my life outside of GPF haven't slowed down one iota, so I've still been swamped beyond measure. I have a number of announcements to make in this post, some good, some bad. So settle in and get ready to read. This one's an important one.

For those of you who don't keep up with the blog (which I strongly suggest you start, as I update it much more frequently than I do here), things in my "real" life have been moving a hectic pace. On July 28th, my wife and I closed on our new house in West Virginia. (Read about the details in this blog post.) The movers delivered our worldly possessions the following week, and we started actually living full time in our new abode the next week, the week of August 7th. Thus, we accomplished one of our major goals of buying and moving into our new house before the baby's impending arrival on September 2nd (original News post here). However, with barely a week to domesticate our new domicile, things went from hectic to frantic. During a routine ultrasound on August 11th, my wife's amniotic fluid was found to be too low, and the decision was made to induce labor, about three weeks early. Our son, Benjamin Thomas Darlington, was born two days later on August 13th by c-section. (The gory details can be found in this blog post. Sorry I didn't post about this earlier, but, well, that's what this post is all about.) Since then, we've been caught up in all the usual "joys" of new parenting, such as the late-night/early-morning feedings and diaper changes, the multitude of doctor's visits, the pricey hospital bills, etc.

See, I told you you wanted to keep up with the blog. You just didn't know it yet.

Long story short, the past month has been unbelievably busy. Buying a house, moving 200+ miles from one state to another, semi-emergency surgeries, and fledgling paternal duties tend to suck up the vast majority of one's free time. Add to this the new job, which is doing well but which requires two hours of commuting every day, and I'm left with very little time to do anything but eat and sleep. (And thanks to Ben, there's very little of the latter going on. I've since discovered a new appreciation for coffee, which is surprisingly palatable with enough creamer and sugar to mask the taste.)

Where am I going with this? Well, my GPF buffer pre-new-job stood at about six weeks. Down from my ideal eight weeks, but still within my lower band of acceptable. My goal was to build it back up to eight before Ben was born, or even to extend it beyond eight weeks to give me a small bit of GPF paternity leave. Then when the new job happened, I found myself traveling from North Carolina to West Virginia every week, giving me no time to work on the comic. The house hunting, house buying, and moving ate into my buffer far more than expected. In my last News post, I dropped GPF from a seven-day-a-week schedule down to three, hoping to extend what little of my buffer was left. But the unpacking and unexpected early arrival of the new addition blew everything away. Today's strip is unfortunately the last one in my buffer, having been uploaded on July 18th. (That ought to tell you the last time I had fee to even think about comics.)

Ergo, effective immediately, GPF is going to do something I vowed never to do, and something it hasn't done in almost eight years of continuous updates: we're going on hiatus. Tentatively, the strip will return on the first Monday of October, the 2nd, continuing with the current Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. My suggestion for loyal fans will be to come back then and check on the site, as I will definitely post a News update on that day, regardless of whether new comics are available or not. However, it may take longer than that to rebuild my buffer to a satisfactory level. Thus, if October 2nd rolls around and I don't have a comfortable enough buffer to work with, I may have to extend the hiatus for another month, continuing ad nauseum until my life returns to relative stability. I will, of course, make every attempt to keep you updated on my progress during this time.

I sincerely apologize for this, guys. I definitely tried to plan ahead and prepare for every eventuality, but as the past few months should prove, no one can be prepared for everything. (Ironically, the Boy Scout motto of "Be Prepared" keeps gnawing on the back of my brain as I type this.) Life can be more unpredictable than you could ever imagine. I know most of you have been incredibly understanding during the past few months, and I'm incredibly grateful and honored by your continued loyalty. In fact, while GPF's readership numbers have dipped somewhat with the drop in schedule, they've remained must higher than I anticipated. I keep hitting the thesaurus, trying to come up with new words to use instead of "incredible" to describe you guys, but I think if I go too much further I'll end up going into hyperbole and cheapening the incredibleness. You guys are by far the best group of fans a part-time, semi-popular, exhausted cartoonist could possibly have.

I'll throw in a few last-minute assurances: One way or another, come heck or high water, To Thine Own Self... will eventually be completed. It will certainly take longer than I originally planned, and it may take months (maybe even years) more than I ever wanted. However, I positively hate starting something and never finishing it, so I can guarantee that it will be finished eventually. If I have to post unfinished inks, pencil roughs, or even text scripts, I will get the story completed somehow. And I have so many more ideas for GPF in the future that I can't walk away from it forever once TTOS is over. I may have to find a new artist, readjust formats, or something, but there's far too many ideas floating around in my head to keep me from this little comic forever. My fledgling little family will always come first, of course, but GPF is still a major factor in my life and I certainly won't abandon it.

I also want to apologize to PREMIUM subscribers for not updating Jeff's Sketchbook lately. This is yet another thing that slipped through the cracks. Since this is a PREMIUM feature and a perk for paying subscribers, I will make every effort to get it back to updating status ASAP. Since it only updates once per week, this shouldn't be too tasking.

As you might have guessed, I'm still terribly behind in responding to e-mail, and I'm currently only replying to messages that require immediate attention. I apologize for not being able to return everyone's well-wishings and such, but I hope you guys will understand. As previously stated, I have much more time to peruse the forum and I'm usually there at least once per day, so that's still the best way to reach me if you don't mind asking your questions in public. (Some regular forumites may be able to answer your questions more quickly than I ever could.)

Previous notes worth repeating: Don't forget that if you find yourself scratching your head over the current events in the comic itself, make sure to check out the News post from November 6th, which includes a bunch of notes and back references that should help clear up some of the confusion. Also, if you want to help out with our Oh No Robot transcriptions, look up the January 9th News post and the related Oh No Robot forum thread for tips, tricks, and rules of thumb (and possibly other digits). Also also, additional notes for the Official Unofficial GPF Wiki can be fond in this forum thread.

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