Friday, August 18, 2017

So you think I'm brainwashed

Because I agree with people who think helping refugees causes less terrorism than the opposite, I'm often told I'm a mindless drone sheep of the establishment. And it's unbearable to me when people are wrong, so let me tell you a bit about my childhood.

I learned to read before I turned six. Because my mom got a throat condition and couldn't read to me for a month, and I craved stories. I read The Brothers Lionheart and Spider-man when my friends watched cartoons. I read science books for kids when my kindergarten mates played war. I had ideas, and I was pushy, and I'd often lead the group and teach them to build better lego guns or to play doctor, but I wasn't one of the gang. I was the one they made fun of because I didn't know boys shouldn't play My Little Pony or know the words to the He-Man cartoon theme song or know you couldn't eat houseplants. (How are you supposed to just "know" that without trying?)

And this continued when I started school, with the major difference being that the bullies could hit me harder. I was the only one who didn't want to play soccer. I was the only one who was turned down when asking a girl to be my girlfriend. (Ah, second grade was a simpler time.) I was the only one who wanted to be friends with the black boy next door. I was the only one who cared to paint over the swastikas that covered the playground one day, sneaking out at night when no one would see me. I was the only one who moved to a different school because I was bullied so much.

That was in third grade. My family moved out to the country soon after, and I began to learn the true shape of loneliness. Not that I didn't have any friends. The village and four or five neighboring villages had a loose group of maybe seven boys my age, mostly held together by racism. Really. I spent much of my teens with people who listened to bands like Somalia Kickers, put Confederate flags on their bedroom walls and told jokes along the lines of "I met a she-negro today and she wanted to shake hands. Lucky me I was wearing gloves."

This happened in 1995. We didn't have the Internet. These were the people I knew. I made up imaginary friends and daydreamed about killing my real ones and about saving the girl - I idolized the one person of color in my school, you see, and hated the way people treated her. I had actual plans to go around the world and bomb white power concerts. And I got this way without ever having an opportunity to speak to a single person like me. Without suspecting anyone like me could even exist.

I figured things out for myself because I had no idea you could do anything else. I was like 24 years old when I first began to realize some people have "groups" that they are "part" of. So don't try to tell me I'm a groupthink victim.

It turns out people can independently work out prejudice is bullshit.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Optic Drugs Attack Waffles #6

I'm a big fan of Doctor Queen General Organa, to be sure, but of all the things the Star Wars universe inexplicably shares with ours the Latinized names for achievements in formal education for some reason strikes me as the funniest so far.

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

If you could make your hair do that you would too

Yes, the comic is one week late this week. I probably need to push myself harder.

I have a story about that, actually. How I hurt my back rediscovering the thrill of life:

I've been walking the forest trail next to my house at night for a while. Trying to make it a regular thing, for the exercise. It's two kilometers of twisting dirt path, covered in pine needles. No sign of human life if you go there at 2 AM. I find it pleasant. This night, some ten days ago, I decided to take my exercise to the next level: Light jogging. After ten minutes of breathing hard I saw the first sunlight hit the crowns of the trees and felt fine, except my legs were burning with the effort of holding my speed back to the minimum I judged I could handle to keep it up through the whole trail. So I went faster.

Before I really thought about what I was doing, I was running as fast as I physically could, desperately mindful of the ground right in front of me to place my bare feet away from roots and pinecones. I was keenly aware of how easily I could seriously hurt myself - one time I have found broken glass on the path, and since I went over 110 kilos I have felt I could as easily break my ankles as twist them. And I was able to find some kind of steel under all this fat. Steel that once upon a time let me walk a slack rope five meters over the ground, let me sit down and untangle my foot when caught under water and out of breath, let me make decisions faster than I could think at times when I had to save life and limb.

I had almost forgotten how easy it is to be in this state of genuine fear. Everything's so clear, everything fits together. The faster I move, the better. You can see how one could get addicted to it. I now have to weigh my motivation to get in shape against my fear of addiction.

But anyway, then I couldn't sit straight for the rest of the week.

So, notes on the comic:

*Anna Regn's hair has probably grown more than can be justified by moving the air around it to give it volume. I just like drawing it.

*The twins tend to stand in this order: Leon left, Anna Regn right. They started doing it just to keep people from mixing them up, but there's probably some symbolic significance in the particular order they choose. 

*The existential conflict between the lasting and the ephemeral is probably not going to cause as much drama as it could, despite the twins's fundamental difference in artistic doctrine. 

*Anna Regn clearly can't help herself from pointing fingers at the camera at the slightest provocation. Stop it. Nobody likes a foreshorteninger. 

*I still don't have a real model for how these characters should look. In fact I don't even know how their noses work. But at least I have a vague system for word balloon shapes to convey voice. And those faces in panel 8 are p. great. If I may say so myself.

*Leon's on like four or five levels of irony when she quotes Monica Geller's catchphrase "I know!" Kids watch old TV shows in different ways than we did. But I mention this just so you can hear it in that voice.

PS. It's come to my attention the comic may appear shrunk on some monitors. This raises several questions, and having done everything I can to answer them my conclusion is: I miss having websites that would only put code in your pages if you wrote that code, and if you're not seeing 1000 pixels wide comics try clicking on the image. (This should take you to imgur, where you have to click the image again to see it in full size.) (Sigh.)