I Am a Wave Laughing at the Ocean

Hey. This is kind of nice.

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Important Change to Thwapstack Levels and Example of Play

The term “Indoor” for the second style of play for Thwapstack was always a bit contentious. The electrical tape Thwapball is hard, and definitely able to break a window or a knickknack if wielded by an enthusiastic player. Therefore, the new styles of play are:

  1. Outdoor/Gymnasium
  2. Basement/Garage
  3. Indoor/Seated

Obviously, it can be argued that a basement or garage can be considered indoors, but the main thrust is that it is meant to be an enclosed area with more space than a kitchen or living room but not as large as a gymnasium.

With this new style of play demarcation in mind, I present an round of indoor Thwapstack:


I’d really love to see YOU play a game!

As always, thanks for reading!


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Welcome Back, Thwapstack!

Over a decade ago, I wrote up some theoretical rules to a game called Thwapstack. The game was all centered around these things I was making called Thwapballs.

A Thwapball was made by taking an object around the size of a tennis ball and wrapping it with approximately 70 yards of duct tape. I loved the idea that once the duct tape was added you had no idea what the original object was. I also discovered that the Thwapball was heavy, and felt a bit dangerous. With that in mind, I envisioned a sport that involved building stacks of objects and then rolling the balls to knock them down. Obviously, the name of the game would be Thwapstack. I made rules for the largest, most dangerous version first. Then, I scaled the rules down for a slightly less dangerous indoor version. Finally, I scaled the rules down once more for a seated, more casual version.

The rules were written academically and then largely forgotten about by me until the COVID-19 outbreak. In lock-down, I realized that the rules of this mostly two-person game would make it pretty easy to play. Aside from the Thwapballs, the equipment can pretty much be sourced around the house. As I write this, I have just uploaded the latest version of the rules, which are a bit more forgiving to block dimensions.

I’ve also cleaned up some rules regarding how sides are chosen and changed the stack violation rules to be clearer.

I’m hoping YOU will make a set and play with those with whom you are currently with for my birthday, May 15th.

As long as I’m maintaining this site, you can find the latest version of the rules here:



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Looks Like I Have a Dang Website

I have been staying away from most social media for a while and I am very much enjoying it.

That said, the dangerous honeypot that is Twitter continually tempts me. In order to make my experience a bit more palatable, I reduced who I followed to people that follow me and locked my account. In addition, I updated my profile. In the midst of doing that, I found out that WordPress had put ads on my site.

Bad ads.

The type of ads I hate.

I know that I have fallen completely into their trap. When I went to delete my site in anger, I saw that I could get rid of the ads for an annual $36 payment. I was still going to delete my site in anger, but then I thought of all the content I have, and started looking at past things I had written on here.

My pride whispered to me, “Isn’t it worth it?”

My ego added, “Think of those two people in South Korea who visited your site yesterday! Won’t they be disappointed if they return to discover that your site is gone?”

So, now I have a website again.

This website.

I might even update it.

Who knows?


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Folks, seven years ago, I tried to find a comedian I had seen in the late 80s, early 90s:



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The Maladaptive Podcast

Howdy, folks!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.

I want to let you know that my wife and I have started making an audio fiction anthology called Maladaptive:


We’ll be updating it whenever we want with whatever we want.

Currently, there are only two pieces.

Tin Can: Water Station 12 is a “proof of concept” improvised scene about two people on a space ship.

Troy, IL: Myrtle is a scripted scene with the following description:

Rookie officers Jansen and Ken have been handed the biggest break of their careers on the Troy, IL beat: An interview with a homicide suspect. Myrtle, however, may be more than they bargained for.

This is all fun. Thank you for listening.





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Illinois Reads!


It is with great pleasure I announce that “When Elephant Met Giraffe” has been chosen for the Birth to 4 Year category for Illinois Reads!


You can find out more about this great program here:


Illinois Reads is a product of the Illinois Reading Council


Thanks to all of Giraffe and Elephant’s friends for their support!




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Are Giraffe and Elephant Are Friends Electric?

The day is here!

As you know, Giraffe and Elephant first came into being as a web comic more than a decade and a half ago. Recently, they gained new life as a printed property at Disney/Hyperion.

At long last, ebook versions of “When Elephant Met Giraffe” and “A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant” are available.

We are talking all major formats: Paul Gude’s G&E books from @DisneyHyperion are now available at all major e-book retailers. Get them on Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks, and B&N Nook!

Why the heck not?!?

As a special incentive, send a picture of your ebook to @GandEAreFriends on Twitter and you will receive a “signed” picture of your ebook back in an @-reply!

Thank you for supporting Giraffe and Elephant for over fifteen years! 


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A Very Nice Interview

I had a very nice interview with Paula G. of Baltimore County Public Library’s “Between the Covers.” 

You should totally read it!


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Paul F. Tompkins: True Gentleman

I cannot express how deftly Paul F. Tompkins handles a potentially mortifying situation. 

The amazing people who run Russel E. and Fern M. Hettenhausen Center for the Arts booked Paul F. Tompkins to come to Lebanon, IL. The population of Lebanon is around 4,000.

The venue, however, is excellent. I did not know this when I set out to buy tickets. I only knew about its existence from a FaceBook post from Paul. By the time I went to buy tickets, it was nearly sold out . I was excited to learn that there was a panel discussion moderated by my friend Nicole Hudson before the show. However, I realized I wouldn’t be going to the discussion. Why? Because my daughter would never sit through that, and she really wanted to meet Paul F. Tompkins.

Imagine a comedian your parents constantly listened to when you were a child. I don’t know how old you are, so I’m not going to give a specific example. For them, though, the person is an entertainer. For you, they were an institution. They were a fact of life. 

Every single time he appeared in one of her shows, I would talk about it. “Hey, that Cupid guy is Paul F. Tompkins! Hey, that were-skunk is Paul F. Tompkins!” It got to a point that when I asked her, “Hey, guess who THAT is?” Paul F. Tompkins was one of her default answers.

That is to say, in cartoons. Images of Paul F. Tompkins were unmistakeable to her, due to his, “Old-Timey Suit.” She did not like it when his mustache was not present, perhaps an extension of the betrayal she feels if I shave or even trim my beard. I will say that there have been some false positives in the past. Basically, if you have a suit and a mustache and are from an era earlier than the 40s, she may mistake your photograph for one of Paul F. Tompkins. 

Obviously, she had to go. 8:30 is normally her bedtime but there was no school the next day and he was going to be in Lebannon! A half hour away from our house! I saw him at Re-Bar once for my birthday. When we left Seattle, I had simply figured I’d never see him live again unless he came to St. Louis or I happened to visit Los Angeles.

Betty had school, I had work, and after a brief dinner we went to the car. I brought along Freak Warf for Paul F. Tompkins to sign and some of my Giraffe and Elephant books because I of course want the comedian I like to like my things. He also works with Jeremy Carter, a person who had expressed interest in the books but for whom I had been unable to secure an address. So, I brought extra. It’s the equivalent of buying someone a gift that you want them to have rather than something they’d like and then asking them to distribute other gifts to people. Actually, it’s exactly that. I’m a monster.

There was brief drama when all the routes the GPS takes us on were closed. There were brief reunions with friends I haven’t seen in decades. There was the show itself, both funny and heartwarming, where Paul F. Tompkins described his relationship with his wife. When the show ended, we hung out in the lobby to see if Paul F. Tompkins would do a meet and greet. He did.  

I was in line and my friend Steve told me to hold his place. I turn to look down at Betty, saying “That’s my friend Steve!” I had told her Steve’s name earlier, but parents get to annoy their children by repeating the same facts constantly. 

Of course, Betty was not there.

At this moment, I was struck by the fact that Paul F. Tompkins had described a very similar situation in his act. I suspected this might be a funny note I could bring up to Paul F. Tompkins, or the police.

 As a veteran parent, however, I did not panic for long. I simply looked for the worst possible place she could be. In this case, she was right in front of Paul F. Tompkins after line-jumping many many  people. 

I couldn’t hear what was going on, but she said something and everyone laughed. Paul F. Tompkins resoonded and everyone laughed harder. Taking a deep breath, I walked up to retrieve Betty. 

“I’m BETTY!” Betty yell-sang at him.

Paul F. Tompkins replied that he was Paul. Betty informed him that I was also Paul, to which he replied:

“Paul from Twitter, right?”

I confirmed. Always a horrible business person, I put the books down on his table and said, “Jeremy Carter. Also you.”

Paul F. Tompkins made eye contact, smiled and nodded.

At this point, an usher asked me to take Betty and get back in line. I took her by the hand. The usher was asking me to take my books, and That old mortification feeling was creeping up on me.

Then Paul F. Tompkins saved the day.

“Bring Betty back,” he said. “I want a picture.”

He posted it on Twitter.

I made a vine of it.

He went to shake her hand and she missed it. He handled it like a pro.

I made a vine of that, too.

I was worried that I accidentally gave Paul F. Tompkins three of “When Elephant Met Giraffe” and only one of “A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant.” The picture seems to indicate I may have gotten the ratio correctly. Right now, I feel relief in a way that only someone foisting their wares upon a beloved idol in correct proportion feels.

So, a big thank you to Paul F. Tompkins for making a potentially awkward situation into something great.

One final image:

As we were walking back to the car, shivering against the cold, Betty turns to me and said:

“Well, I’m probably never seeing HIM again!”

I take this as a sage balm against egotism and presumption rather than a dire warning.

Bless you, Paul F. Tompkins, and safe travels.

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