July 9 - Well, I'm back. As many of you may have guessed, the bizarre medical problems that I was having got a LOT worse. My hopes for a quick, restful recovery went right out the window, along with my loud screams of agony. It was terrible. I eventually locked myself into the bathroom, just to keep from scaring the neighbors. For the entirety of the 5th and 6th, I was completely incapacitated by truly blinding, searing pain that encompassed the entire left side of my head, including even my tongue! I know, I know; I should have gone to the doctor. Quite frankly, as miserable as it was for me (and it was really, really miserable), my perfectly rational (and well-founded) apprehensions regarding our local hospital, coupled with an incredibly high insurance deductible, kept me home. I did everything that I could think of to alleviate the pain, including such incredibly odd, but effective, tactics as running an indoor marathon (insane, I know, but while running laps in the basement for an unbelievable twelve hours straight, I was able to naturally stave off the worst of the agony - although I did wear out a pair of sneakers on the hard cement!), and drinking great amounts of water (literally gallons!). Needless to say, the entire experience left me extremely exhausted in every possible way. I could go on and on about how awful this was for me, but I prefer, instead, to try to focus on the fact that I finally got better...and just in time to have had two crazy, jam-packed days! Basically, at about 3:00AM on the 7th, it all just stopped. Just like that. I was so relieved, but also nervous because I had agreed to videotape the 7/7/07 wedding of O.F.O.WOMP Mark Hyde (to his betrothed, Linda), later that same day...and then was scheduled to draw caricatures of guests at the reception. Ugh! The wedding, which was in tiny Edgewood, Iowa (about an hour away from WOMP Central), was really sweet, but there was a problem at the reception; I wasn't planned on for the meal. I'd never sent the RSVP, so there was no place for me at any of the handful of dinner tables. Oh, well. To avoid any embarrassment, I snuck (sneaked?) out for about an hour, during which time I found a weird little place nearby called Bixby State Park. I gave it a cursory perusal, took a few photos to show to The WOMP Staff (who could not come with me), then returned to the party. Thankfully, no-one noticed that I'd been gone, so I just sat down and started drawing. By 10:30PM, my arm went numb, so it was time to leave. Back at H.Q., before I passed out, I showed the Bixby State Park photos to The Staff, who suggested that we drive back the next day (yesterday) to check it out. Bright, and way too early, on the 8th, then, we headed out for Edgewood. When we finally got to the park, we found that we were the only ones there. That's not surprising, since Bixby is a tiny park, "in the middle of nowhere," and has actually long ago slipped in status from an official State Park (as the weathered old signs still assert) to a State Preserve. It's right out of some sort of movie. The terrain is extremely hilly and marked by several striking gigantic stones jutting straight out of the ground like mammoth gravemarkers. Surrounding a modest "lawn" area are the crumbling remains of spooky old WPA-era stone buildings. We parked there, then immediately began hiking on a trail that led over worn stones across a rushing stream. Within minutes, the trail turned toward a series of steps carved into the cliffside of the nearest hill. As we climbed, we noticed what looked like smoke coming down toward us! Alarmed, but intrigued, we pressed on, only to find that the "smoke" was cold! It was the evaporating air from an honest-to-goodness glacial ice cave! Although long ago fenced off, we could still crawl right up to the rusty mouth of the cave to feel the stiff, cold breeze as it whistled out from the depths of the Earth! AWESOME! We are SO going back soon, this time equipped with a flashlight and a camera. We traipsed over and down a dozen more ancient trails, then headed for home. Just as well, since the events of the previous few days had made all of that rock climbing and hiking quite a chore (oh, my aching body). I thought that my physical exertions were complete for the weekend, but fate had different plans for me. As we drove only about a mile out of Edgewood, we saw an on-coming car take a sudden turn off the road, kicking up a cloud of dust. That's not unusual for dusty Iowa farm country, but seeing that there was no intersection where the driver turned? That's different. Sure enough, a young driver had gone off-road, down into a ten foot ditch. I passed her, turned around, and parked along the side of the road. "Are you OK?" I shouted. "I think so," she said...but I could see that she was in a pickle that she probably couldn't handle alone. I ran down to check on her. She was, indeed, OK (even talking to her now hysterical Mom on the phone), but her car was deep down in the tall weeds and as-high-as-an-elephant's-eye cornstalks. I asked her to go stand by our car with The Staff while I carefully drove hers up from its catch of brambles and back onto the highway. That was difficult, but somehow I did it. As I checked the car over, I could hear air escaping from the left rear tire. The wheel had struck the weeds so violently that some had forced their way between the rim and the tire. While it was still somewhat inflated, we escorted the gal (Alisha? Something like that) back to Edgewood, where I changed the tire for her, replacing it with the "donut" from her trunk. Even though she had a functioning car, was now just a few miles from her destination (a camp where she was to be counselor), and was going to be carefully followed by a pair of helpful strangers (us), my cellphone conversation could not convince her frantic Iowa City mother that she needn't drive two and a half hours to "save" her. Hmm. Oh, well. We did what we could, for which the gal was grateful (even offering to "send a note or something"). Sure that she was safe and had some cash, we left her at the gas station/pizza place and went our merry way, spending much of the return trip second-guessing our actions ("We should have told her Mom that she was closer than seven miles to her destination," etc.). When we got home, my Dad came over to borrow a cup of computer (his went kaput). While he was here, O.F.O.WOMP Eric Gillitzer made a surprise visit, accompanied by his - let's just say it - absolutely adorable progeny, Eli. While toddler Eli played with The Staff (and any number of omigoddon'ttouchthat collectibles), we three guys gabbed for some time. That was great! Eventually, after a much needed diaper change (I won't tell you whose, though), everyone left us...and we collapsed. I was so freakin' tired that I didn't wake up until about 2:00AM today, the 9th. Yes, as I watched the latest (and fantastic) episodes of Saul of The Mole Men and Moral Orel, I suppose that I could have mustered up some sort of WOMP-Blog entry, but how was I supposed to summarize all of THIS at that hour? So, here I am, "caught up," except for the "...Of The Day" features. And what's the theme for this month again? Oh, yeah...editors! You know, this isn't how I expected to begin this month (to say the least). I have a lot of work to do...and some surprises to give you! Lets' start that off tonight with a bonus Comic Book Editor of The Day - Bob Harras! Here, too, are the Comic Book Editors of The Past Few Days; July 5 - Al Milgrom, July 6 - Mark Gruenwald, July 7 - Howard Mackie, July 8 - Mike Carlin, and July 9 - Tom DeFalco!