7/14/2014
We typically release a new comic each Monday.
What's ALL THAT RACKET?!

May 19, 2014

Here are two links I think you should check out. Each link is about a 20- to 30-minute time investment. They are about people struggling to deal with their emotional/mental challenges. They are great stories, and I think it's brave of them to share.

But there's another thought I want to explore after. If you can, read/watch the links below:

HappiLeeErin, a manga reviewer, talks about bi-polar disorder.

After disappearing, Goblins' online comic creator announces, "I Quit!"

I hope you managed to read/watch most of that. If you're like me, there's a lot to admire and learn from what Tarol and Erin shared. Erin's video in particular helped me understand a lot of what I was going through a while back. I'm not bi-polar, but the negative drumbeats she was describing sounded very familiar. It was a relief to realize I was not alone. And Tarol, whose comic I FEVERISHLY look forward to every week (seriously, you should read it if you like anything remotely D&D), defines all the best aspects of what a one-person-produced web comic can deliver versus a branded, company-owned print comic. His very talented creative voice is clear and beautiful to hear.

That said, here's my thought (if you haven't guessed).

Music and dance.

I read a blog or watch a video like this and it makes me think about music. Can you guess why?

Because patterns.

In each of their stories, Tarol and Erin describe how these negative thoughts just kept coming to them (for whatever reason; I'm not looking for fault), saying the same things over and over, beating on them, increasing in volume or depth, and in Erin's case, eventually screaming at them, until they (Tarol and Erin) were rendered practically helpless mentally and/or physically.

World English Dictionary

music (ˈmjuːzɪk)

– n

  1. an art form consisting of sequences of sounds in time, esp tones of definite pitch organized melodically, harmonically, rhythmically and according to tone color

We value our thoughts like gold. We revel in the "absolute" control we have over this ONE thing in the world. Yet the patterns we create with them, the "sequences," the "tones" we adopt, the "harmony" we project, the "melodies" we craft, our minds are full of music and we are dancing all the time.

And sometimes, yes, the music gets away from us. Like a natural disaster, it grows to something beyond our control, and we are forced to dance steps we don't want to.

But if we're lucky, like Tarol and Erin, we have some friends or a partner who is willing to share their music, teach us a different tune, even grab our hand and take the lead for a while.

I highly recommend finding a great dance partner. I also recommend listening to inspiring music.

In the meantime (while you decipher my oh-so-clever metaphors), thank you Tarol and Erin for sharing your music and your dance.

It's inspiring.

And as always, thank you for reading,
Luis

How to Joke the System

April 7, 2014

We're on vacation and I'm driving, so my kids decide to tell jokes to pass the time. My oldest two deliver some good ones – "What do you call a pig that knows karate? A pork chop!" and "Knock, knock. Who's there? Interrupting cow. Interrupting c...MOO!!!"

Then my 5-year-old, excited, decides to try, "Daddy! Knock, knock! Who's there? Cow! Cow who? MOO!" And she laughs and I laugh, but the older kids were silent and my wife just smiled and we drove on and told jokes and some were funny.

And it got me thinking, if there is a system for telling jokes, as my 5-year-old daughter clearly understood, couldn't you make an algorithm that defines it? Then you could create an app, name it JOSHUA (Joke Output Simulating HilarioUs Automaton), and sell it for millions to large entities that need it most, like corporate networks whose writers go on strike (or don't), foreign regimes that shoot people with a sense of humor (like Canada), or Conan O'Brien?

I think you could.

Which got me thinking even more about systems, how they're everywhere, like:

  • Computers – operating systems, database systems, security systems, gaming systems, Christmas lights
  • Biology – pulmonary systems, nervous systems, endocrine systems, reproductive systems, bad breath
  • Weather – global winds, air masses, fronts, jet streams (all systems of air that create larger systems), Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, Obama
  • Government – dictators, democracies, republics, communism, socialism, theocracies, galactic empires, the IRS
  • Businesses – stock markets, production models, HR, executive training, retirement, vacation, forced vacation, cannoli, offers you can’t refuse
  • Religion – Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jewish, Vegetarians, Environmentalists, Bronies

So I start asking myself, since they're everywhere, how easy is it to let systems take over? Some you have to respect, like the weather, or your body, but you don't let them run your life, right? But how often have I let systems determine the places I end up in life? Like getting caught in an ocean current or a roundabout – once you're in, there's no telling where you'll get out.

I didn't like the answer. So now I ask you.

How much of your life is determined by the country you live in? The education you had? The religion you grew up with? The values you were taught? The technology available to you? The jobs you've had? The job you have? The amount of money your family had? The amount of money you have? The people who raised you? The people you grew up with? Your leaders? The people in "charge"?

Like I said, I didn't like the answer.

I'm not implying you should "fight the system" or go off the grid, or wear an aluminum hat, or pee in a jar. My point isn't to say systems are bad or good. They can be either. I just mean that honest answers to those questions will tell you that too often we let the "system," the way things are or the way things are done, take over for us.

And sometimes, I think the "system" prefers it that way.

My young daughter told a bad joke, according to the joke system. But according to a different system, I laughed at it and all her other jokes, and she was happy and so was I.

And Conan O'Brien is way overpaid.

Thanks for reading.
Luis

Kidratic Equation

February 5, 2014

I'm four kids deep; basketball, soccer, ballet, school every single day and it just keeps piling on. My wife and I went out for a date the other night...without the kids. We didn't know what to talk about. We had to find our "groove" again. That place where you're comfortable being you without all the little yous running around.

But shouldn't "you" be you regardless of where you are or who you are with? I know, different people, different needs, "you" use different voices. But somewhere, shouldn't there always be a "you" you? How does raising kids, giving everything you got to them, turn into losing the "you" you thought you were?

Maybe you never really knew "you" as well as you thought you did.

(And by "you" I mean me. But you can be "me" if it helps.)

I do believe that hardship reveals character (that's why I try to avoid it). And stories, really great stories, are FULL of hardship. But it's easier to read or watch hardship than to live it, cause that's them, not "you"..."me"...me?

···

I know this: my high school calculus teacher, in response to complaints and whining from us about homework and quizzes and all the things you complain about when you're a stupid, selfish bundle of teenage potential train wreck, used to sing as he wrote equations on the board:

If you don't know me by now,
you will never, never, never know me."

And since I am both "you" and "me."

···

Man! He was teaching us on so! many! levels!

Maybe I should just solve for "x."

Thanks for reading.
Hug a teacher.
Luis

Previous Blogs

Comic Archive

  1. Sleep Over
  2. The Leap
  3. The Leap 2
  4. The Leap 3
  5. Passing the Torch
  6. Step It Up
  7. Monkeys on the Bed
  8. What Dreams May Become
  9. Inception Exception
  10. The World According to LARP
  11. Larger Than LARP
  12. Nightmare On My Street
  13. Take Your Pick
  14. Baby On Board
  15. The "Bedding" Technique
  16. Cut To...
  17. Memories
  18. 'Jammies
  19. Modern Technologies
  20. If You Build It
  21. File Under
  22. If It Ain't Broke
  23. Old Sayings
  24. Ambiance Chaser
  25. Heart of a Man
  26. Smell of Victory
  27. Time Off For...
  28. LARPing along
  29. New Shop on the Block
  30. The Muffin Man
  31. Jurassic Muffin
  32. Feathers Down
  33. Bored: The Linen Rebellion
  34. Bored: Boss Gettin'
  35. Bikers Soft
  36. Night Court
  37. Adjustable Georgia O
  38. The Set-Up: Incomplete Transmission
  39. The Delivery: Unknown Threat
  40. The Break
  41. The Fallout: Anime Style
  42. Ambrosia
  43. The Truth, She Hurts
  44. Poor Fluffy
  45. Old School
  46. The Summons
  47. Court in Session
  48. Keep Your Eye...
  49. Nature's Beauty
  50. Princess Elite
  51. Recycling Gary
  52. Head in the Clouds
  53. Too Much Labor
  54. Assuming the Positions
  55. Hybridity
  56. A.B=E.L.
  57. Returning Cast
  58. Bored Again - Olympics
  59. Sleeping Beauty Secret
  60. Aggressive Problem Solving
  61. Gamer's Delight
  62. Thanksgiving Turkey Nest
  63. Thanksgiving II - Family Sized Bucket
  64. Christmas - It's good for business
  65. Christmas - The sound of "cookies"
  66. Christmas - Explained
  67. New Year's Treat
  68. Resolution's Resolution
  69. A.B.U.
  70. Driving Miss Crazy - Part 1
  71. Driving Miss Crazy - Part 2
  72. Driving Miss Crazy - Part 3
  73. Driving Miss Crazy - Epilogue
  74. Welcome Home Party
  75. Occupy Your Sheets
  76. Crucial Conversation
  77. This is What is Wrong with Society Today
  78. The Perrrrrfect Bed
  79. Settling Down
  80. Yeah, But He'd Never Come Out
  81. Break
  82. Unplugging
  83. Bored Again - Amazing Graces
  84. Bored Again - Dizzying!
  85. Bored Again - No Contest
  86. Growing Pains
  87. Jammies Take 2
  88. The Lunch Games
  89. What's the mark up on...
  90. Sleep Science
  91. War Masks
  92. The Times, They Are a Chang'n...Clothes
  93. Exiting...With Style
  94. A Good Old Flashback
  95. It Was Destiny...Dressed Up Like Fate...Playing the Role of the Universe!
  96. The Real Thing?
  97. While You Were Waiting...I Got On With My Life
  98. I Flashback in 3D!
  99. One Thing Leads to Another
  100. The Once and Future Movie
  101. Dream BIG
  102. BAAH! HUMBUG ACTIVATE!
  103. WARNING! Santa Has Been Sighted Heading East...
  104. Men of Action
  105. YO! YO! YO! DEL!
  106. Why Pay More?
  107. What a Feeling!
  108. It Doesn't Matter - Harmony
  109. It Doesn't Matter - Hammer Time
  110. Look Where Logic Gets Ya!
  111. If You Build It, He Will Succumb
  112. Digging Deep
  113. Imagination Station Might Get You 20 to Life
  114. It's All Connected
  115. In the blink of a... SQUIRREL!
close X