Posts

270. Bubble Trouble

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I find the language of comics fascinating. In Venezuela, while everybody in the United States was reading Garfield or The Far Side, we had Condorito from Chile. It's about, a ... I'm guessing a small anthropoid condor?  Every time there was a punchline, the characters did a Face Fault  (warning, that’s a TV Tropes link, so there goes your afternoon). It came with the onomatopoeian caption: PLOP. Here’s an example: In that comic, the bird-like character asks -“what are you doing” , the dumb looking guy says “looking at a map of Italy, why do you think it’s shaped like a boot?” And the small Condor says the punchline “Because all the people wouldn’t fit in a shoe” . Solid. Faint-worthy. Just for the purists out there, that is not Condorito, it’s Cone, the nephew of Condorito. Cone is to Condorito as Scrappy-Do is to Scooby. Ok, enough Condorito lore-dumping. I’ve seen the PLOP system here and there (like in this recent comic from the brilliant Marko Rassina,  Nerd and Jock ).

269. Origin Story

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We’ve had two chihuahuas since Covid. Since then, at least a third of my comics have been about this non-sensical breed. I apologize profusely. The fact of the matter is that I still stare at these organisms and wonder how they are evolutionarily possible. And apparently they’re one of the oldest breeds out there.  Our particular twosome are in okay physical shape (except for a few tumors and skin tags), even though they spend 95% of the time in bed or on my wife’s legs. Their emotional shape, however, has a lot of room for improvement.   The male specimen, Conan, can go from looking like this: To looking like this, in a nanosecond. He will bite you. Thankfully their bites are harmless, because they have the worst teeth ever granted to canines. The female one, Xena, looks like she was caught farting on a hot mic all day, every day. But in all honesty, I can’t overstate how much these guys have made our lives better. Sometimes, you just have to say yes to things you never may have thoug

268. Social Transitions

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Do I have social anxiety, or do I simply get anxious when socializing? I don't know. Labels aren't always that important.  When it comes to socializing, I’ve found success by forcing myself to go through the whole thing. The whole sweaty palms and quickening pulse of it. Therapists call it paradoxical intervention (it's very much like systematic desensitization for behaviorists), and it really works. Past that anxiety wall there’s been more good than bad in my life. Anxiety, like the state of Ohio, gets better when you power through it. I know I pick on Ohio, but driving through that state is when I realized Trump would win in 2016. Even so, after all these years, my body still thinks there’s danger wherever I am in a new social situation. All the lights in my dashboard start blinking. Much like with conservative radio, I'm better off ignoring the hyperbolic warnings. This comic is about something I really wanted as a kid; glasses that would make me forget that I’m an a

267. Failure to Thrive

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We know that we are not the center of the universe, that we have a common ancestor with animals that are mostly known for their poop flinging, we know that DNA holds much of what we can achieve. Why the hell do we still stand around and fight and kill and ravage and vilify. Why are we still fighting over land written in long-ago books? Calling each other names over the internet and murdering in the name of ghosts and fictional characters?  If there is extraterrestrial life out there, and they could see our crap show, I understand why they haven’t sent us a text. This whole time I could’ve disappointed extraterrestrial women as much as I disappointed terrestrial ones. But no, we have to be always in conflict, always pointing the finger at the other, always struggling.  As you may know, I don’t believe in gods. I have had a passing interest about religion throughout my life, however. One religion I did a cursory dive on lately was Buddhism (thanks to my friend Roger). I really like how c

266. Collateral Splashing

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We recently installed a bidet in in our toilet. It was one of those external thingies you install between the toilet lid and the base. It was a fun project for us, we learned a lot about fighting in confined spaces.  It took me a few weeks before I could use it without giggling. This thing has no chill, you either preserve your butt integrity or you get blasted a couple of inches into undiscovered country. After a couple of weeks, though, it did become part of my routine. I soon noticed the collateral splash and I haven't stopped mentioning it, to my own (and only my own) amusement. This comic is an homage to Larry David’s humor and lasting appeal.  Like many of you, I’ve been on a Curb your Enthusiasm joyride lately. For some reason, I wasn’t interested in the show until recently, even though Larry David rants are extremely and historically resonant with me. I think my favorite part of the show is Cheryl’s disappointed/harried face and LD’s inability to detect it while riffing on

265. Puppet Show

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Let me begin this by saying that in the current contest, I will vote for Biden happily and heartily. I am a Biden apologist, I’ve liked him since the Obama years. His gaffes are the gaffes of a boomer who has seen the world evolve and is trying to stay with it and not against it.  That said, he’s old AF. Trump is old AF. This makes me out to be an ageist, I believe. In my defense, most of my friends will be octogenarians. Here’s the thing, I don’t think that these candidates are too old to do the job, I just think that the crown could have been ceded to a properly coached and introduced successor with enough time. They’ve both experienced their share of success, shouldn’t the goal be to show humility and sweep the floor in front of newer generations? I don’t know if it’s because of internal polling or because of ego that Biden is considered the best choice for the United States. Whatever intel they used may have been flawed. In my mind, I dreamt of a Biden introducing some of his favor

264. Hellscape

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You know the secret to having a successful webcomic? Don't make comics about 700 year-old Christo-propaganda work of art.  Last month I started reading this book of poems, The Divine Comedy. Why? No frigging clue. I may just be grasping for any vestiges of meaning on this cosmic toilet that is election year 2024 in the United States. The book acts as a barely disguised philosophical argument for embracing Christianity and yet it's fascinating to this atheist's mind.  It's internally consistent, and you have to commend the workmanship and world-building accomplished here. It's another win for humanity's ability to create art and another nail in the coffin to the belief that books like the Bible or the Quran could only come by divine hands. Human hands are plenty capable.  The nine circles of hell according to Dante are:  lust , gluttony,  greed,  wrath , heresy , violence , fraud, and  treachery.  I'd like to suggest that there's room for more. How about

263. Scents and Sensibility

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So, I wrote and drew this one under the debilitating effects of sobriety. As we approach the end of our self-imposed experiment (dry January), a few of things are apparent. First, it was difficult. It being difficult was the point. I think it’s important to realize what has a hold of you and to what extent. I use alcohol for destressing and sometimes to enhance other things, like dining and gaming. Second, I can see why some people choose the chaste path of sobriety. In general, I found  myself to be more emotional and a bit down during this period. Before figuring out more about the effects of boozing , I think I need to understand more about the effects of sobriety. Why did I find myself so sensitive to despair and negativity this month?  I had to live with it for a whole month, without the seductive embrace of alcohol. What is affecting my mood so?  For all intents and purposes  I have a life that has exceeded my expectations. I get to travel and eat weird  things and play with uniq

262. Game Theory

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  I'm not a catch. If you've learned anything from reading my comics, is that my only saving grace is that I'm self-aware. My life's journey is to be a better catch for my invisible judge. It just so happens that my invisible judge, when I squint my eyes, looks a lot like my beloved Roxanne. Being a better person is a reliably fun goal to have. The popular ones are fine, like losing weight, making more green and getting swole. However, being a better human will never stop. You will always have room for improvement. And if you’re like me, you can have multiple lifetimes of goals!  Some of the goals I’ve had: Be less judgmental, be less of a smarty pants, meet new people, be present at dinner. I’ve supported these goals with some environmental queues, like this in my mirror (you may need to zoom in): One societally normalized thing I’m doing this year is participating in dry January. I’ve long been aware that I use alcohol to make up for my introversion and shyness. The e

261. Growing Pains

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Listen, making fun of old people isn't right. I'm old people. The best-case scenario for each and every one of us is to become old people.  My comedic wrath is being brought upon the group of people born in the United States at around the same time who are currently old. The people that were Woodstock adjacent, yet aged to show the same prejudices and pearl-clutching that they endured as young people. They lived through Stonewall and are now going to school boards complaining that there's books telling kids that it's ok to be gay.  I will never understand how someone born in the 50s or 60s could be considered the reliable voting block for Donald Trump in the United States. Their parents fought or survived WWII, they witnessed civil rights history and yet here they are, stanning for proto-Hitler. As an immigrant, let me tell you, the fact that Trump is back on the airwaves hasn’t been fun. Direct assaults to the quality of my blood were not on my 2023 bingo card but her

260. Poker Face

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I only have one-panels in my mind lately. With my free time being a little sparse as I learn a whole new job, my brain is just shrinking my creative focus to a single frame of comedy. They do say that brevity is the soul of wit, and perhaps this will help me focus in my job as well.  Perhaps, there’s an actual benefit from this hobby of mine as it applies to work. Haven’t found it yet, but perhaps it’s out there. I’m fine with them being two separate aspects of me as well. Things don’t always have to make sense.  Hoping you all have a great fall, enjoy your non-brief existence!

259. Caribeaned

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Ok guys. Not my best work. But what can I do? I’m in the Caribbean and an easy life creates easy comics.  The apple story with sir Isaac Newton is more of a parable, I know. And it’s likely he didn’t get beaned by one, I know. But this is all my overindulged and overdrunk and over-relaxed brain can muster today. I can’t promise anything good for next week either, because I start my new job.  Still looking for a source of inspiration as my well is drying soon!

258. Wonderland

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You guys won't believe this but this and a separate variation of this (coming soon), came to me in a dream. I didn't dream of the comic, I dreamt that I was in Wonderland and that the Cheshire cat was trolling me. It just happened to make a great comic. How do I get my brain to be more receptive to flashes of insight like this? Is there a way to induce a dreamlike state to be awash with inspiration (ideally without opioids and hallucinogens)? While we are talking about this, I don’t want to hear your armchair analysis about what dreaming about cat buttholes really means. Probably economic anxiety or something. I had a blast trying to recreate John Tenniel's illustration style. He's been dead for a while but I wonder if he would be upset at my creation. I'd like to think he would be cool with it. During the research for this I leaned that this work really burned him out, so perhaps he wouldn't mind me poking a finger at his art, literally. Here's an animated

257. Banal Headlines

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I’m getting tired of market headlines. They are nothing but the conjoining of two separate facts with the illusion of being connected. This index rises as that happened, this went down as that didn’t happen. They are clever to never use “because”, they know that nothing is certain in the market.  If you had a dice and roll it thrice you can make your own headlines! Try it!

256. Procrastinkation

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Pre-soaking isn't a thing. Every once in a while, maybe, a pot needs a little water before cleanup but I'm entirely convinced it's something that me and people like me made up. As an ex-bachelor I can absolutely admit that there isn't any science behind it. It's just a way for me to put off my duties for a little longer. So I'm sorry roommates, mother, girlfriends, wife. I'm sorry about this abhorrent practice and I will indeed be better. Laundry doesn't need time to rest before being brought up. It certainly doesn't need to slowly make it's way to the laundry room . Socks aren't having a grand affair . I'm just lazy. Again, I'm sorry. The funny thing about drawing Xena, our female dog is that when you grab her, she really looks like that. A stiff uncomfortable mess. It looks like I was making a shortcut but, no, that's what she looks like! In author news, this week has been very momentous. I have a new job! I announced it this

255. Urge to Purge

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My wife is a planner. She moves into the right lane as early as she can for a right turn, which could be 10 blocks or more away. She tests camping equipment weeks before camping. She has a paper planner... in the year of our lord 2023. She often checks menus before getting to the restaurant. She receives the first dose of the flu shot available in the United States every year. That's why I find these events hilarious. She knows she has a bladder and she knows that it needs to be emptied. And yet, in a few occurrences, she waits right to the seconds before a deadline to get it done. This happened last weekend as we were taking a train from Chicago to Kalamazoo and we were waiting for a whole hour before the estimated time in which we would be escorted single file into our train. Well she got the urge to purge seconds before we were escorted! And I, being the dependent (non-ticket having) husband, had to wait for her. The end result is never bad, but my anxiety gets a jolt. It's

254. Arrhythmia

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Social anxiety sometimes rears its ugly face even in moments when you are supposed to let go.  One situation that triggers me a lot is with music. You see folks, I was born with no rhythm.  Granted; that's not uncommon, but I was also born Latino . A Latino who can't dance is in the "Latino who doesn't like soccer" levels of social ostracizing. Which reminds me, I don't like soccer either.  People tried. So many patient girls tried to get me to step in beat with the songs. It didn't take. I may be able to keep a beat for a bar or two but my mind wanders and dislodges from any semblance of order. This is a post about social anxiety, not my lack of rhythm, though, so I wanted to talk about a strategy I learned over the years. I talked about booze and drugs in the previous post , but here's my next strategy; a healthy one that will not cut your life short: controlled embarrassment. It's like microdosing social anxiety, inoculating your system a little

253. The Walking Dread

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  Me and social anxiety are BFFs. We have been tightly wound together since my testicles dropped belatedly (according to my locker room observations) . My anxiety  peaked in high school, in which it took a worrisome spike. Walking through the hallways of that fountain of anxiety we call high school, I remember thinking that I had zits pulsing and oozing and generally Akira-monstering throughout my face and that everyone was staring at me.  Narcissism and social anxiety can sometimes meet in the middle.  They meet in the Venn's Vagina, as I like to call the space between two circles.  I was in the Venn's Vagina during high school. If I recall correctly, the only vagina I was in during high school. My social anxiety got better after high school, but as everything in the mental health realm, it's never totally gone. I'm a recovering nervous Nellie. Or do we guys have nervous Ned? This comic is based on the thoughts that flutter wildly in my head, thoughts I’ve learned to c

252. Friendsheep

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The alliance between the GOP and the Libertarian party is one of the strangest things in a country full of strange politics.  A libertarian in the United States in 2023 has two choices to make an impact. Either play with the Democratic party or play with the Republican party. The Democratic party wants the government to be big enough to intercede on behalf of people, with systems like affirmative action, social safety nets, food stamps, Medicare for all. They believe in the freedom to love, marry and bang any consenting adult your heart desires. They want women to have private choices. They trust citizens to make their own choices regarding some drugs. They realize the United States is made of immigrants and they want to improve the pathways to citizenship we have. Read their platform , it's available for all. The Republican party wants the government to be small, but big enough to investigate women's ovulation patterns, disallow people from doing marijuana, build big walls and

251. The Call of the Mild

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Once, a very long time ago, I was in a bar somewhere. Through sheer luck, the vagaries of the night life and stars aligning, I found myself making out with a pretty girl in the bathroom lines. Out of nowhere, a weird but absolutely swole bodyguard type came up to us and said, "Why this guy? Stop it!" He had a face of consternation, like he was completely depressed that people that weren't him were having fun. We left and had a good laugh about the poor guy and how jelly he was. However, maybe he had a point.  Why was a pretty girl making out with me, a noodle-armed, balding, pear-shaped homo sapiens? Wouldn't millions of years of biology favor the bulbous hominid with the muscles? I mean I'm not complaining, but should I be worried about the human race? I never wanted to reproduce, I have no actual rhythm (which counts double against me as a Latino), and I have a mental health gestalt that I would call a wee bit below average. It's a miracle I have attracted a

250. Asset Skirmish

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One of the biggest tenets when doing continuous improvement work in a company is that unused assets are a waste. One of the big ones, too! A lot of my work was basically Marie Kondo-ing different places in hospitals. I mean, it makes sense... if it's not adding any value (or "bringing joy" in Kondonese), it's just wasting space. Recently, I switched over to being a leader of a business unit so I brought this little nugget with me.  I soon realized why people hoarded their old equipment and supplies. If other processes in the company aren't stellar, you may be waiting a long time for a replacement. People hoard things because once you need them, you have to wait or go through an arduous process to get a new one. And time is money. I want my valuable employees busy, not waiting for a computer! Because I am first and foremost a continuous improvement professional, I am returning any excess inventory my team has collected over the years (to the unceasing chagrin of my

249. Wretched Impermanence

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  The original idea for this comic was different than how it turned out. I imagined Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Piaget  having a drink in a bar, both in  their 70s. Piaget goes, "Have I told you about the stages of human development I've discovered?" and Sartre goes "When do they learn that people suck?" I was going to title the comic "Jean Therapy", because I can't pronounce their names in their native tongues. If I was able to, it would be titled something like "Jeanalyze This". I am very aware that I shouldn't be left anywhere close to comedy, but it shows my process of just having these intrusive thoughts that become comics. Over the week, the idea became more about a baby having existentialistic thoughts when their solipsistic brain was left alone. Is it funny? No. Is it clever? No. But is it of significance? Again, no.  And yet I can't stop.

248. Cuppa Cop-Out

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As a young person, I loved evading responsibility. At one point as a child, that's all I wanted to do, avoid any and all responsibilities. I did pretty good there for a while. Somewhere along the way I messed up and got a few degrees, a couple of 9-5s, a wife and a few dogs. In my mind I'm still running, but in reality, I'm in the quicksand with all of you. The thing that stopped me is that I didn't want to be an abandoner. I know a lot of people don't care, but straight up walking out of your job often leaves a few innocents under duress, and they don't deserve that. As my marriage is teaching me, abandoning my responsibilities means hurting my loved one. And I need to be a better man. I guess to really succeed at having no responsibilities, one must have no one else around. I bet that’s why I love sprawling open-world video games. I can fantasize about having a super important, urgent quest, but choosing to collect leaves for the herbologist or clearing a base

247. Deus Sex Scandalum

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I've always been interested in mythology. It's often I wonder why the myths and legends from Egypt, Greece/Rome and the Norse get relegated to the fictional status of mythology, but the Old Testament, Buddhism and Islam became religions of current relevance. What made people go like ‘yeah that's too out there, I'll stick with my magic trumpets and the guy who turns water to wine and makes zombies.’ If you’re into mythology, I highly recommend Stephen Fry's audiobook, Mythos . He knows the subject incredibly well for a funny man, and he combines a breezy narrative with minute details around etymology and even disentangles competing narratives.  Learning mythology is one of those few things in this Post-Post Modernism that can make you say, 'our reality could be far worse'. Can you imagine, not only dealing with stupid, greedy humans but also with stupid, greedy deities? Not that crazy, come to think of it, as present day billionaires DO have some supernatural

246. Doggy Pile

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Someone remind me what a real dog is like. I have two of the most ineffective beings at dog-ing that I can think of. Pooping is one category in which our dogs choose to be different. Specifically Conan, the boy dog. He can’t compete in size (his poops are Hershey Kiss sized) so he seems to compete on area of coverage.  He chooses a little patch of land to coronate with his defecate, and he does it with the theatrics of a conquering Visigoth.  A thing I left out in the comic, because I respect my viewers, is that he consistently gets an erection while planting his pigmy pies. Every. Single. Time. So he’s balancing in two legs and skipping about with his butt shadowing his next target while sporting the most unsightly of anacondas. Fun fact about this comic, if you arrange the poops in a musical staff using an algorithm and play it back in an accordion, it sounds like crap. 

245. Scar City

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I'm a 45 year old, and the only things that have made me bleed are avocados and Cats. How proud my ancestors must be. Fought on the great wars so I can pierce the palm of my hand while cutting the symbol for a privileged life. God damned avocados.  I was also mangled by cats... beings that are 1/4th of my size.  And yet, every cat that has moved in with me has rendered my skin useless at some point, rent by savage claws. One of the worst ones almost required stitches.  And how? Most of the time the perpetrating action is simply kneading lovingly. But there are others... like the one time I was drunk and fell on the stairs while carrying Loki. I woke up and thought I'd been mugged. Or separating Khaleesi from the chihuahuas, Conan and Xena. Or surprising Eris while drinking from the toilet (she was drinking from the toilet, not me).   And yet, like the little evil scorpions that they are, we accept their nature. Part of their charm is that they could end you if they so chose, bu

244. Buzzkill

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Buzzkill is one of my favorite kinds of comedy. Whether it's Dana Carvey with his Open Wound Man , or Dracht in Debbie Downer  I can't have enough of these characters. It's where comedy goes to die and I'm all in. Probably explains why my comics are so globally unpopular (womp-womp)! One of my faves of all time: Steve Carrel an Kristen Wiig at an awards show.   Steve Carrel didn't break character!

243. Lizard Brains

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 Trying out one of my old comic ideas as a one panel.

242. Beauty Standards

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In college, late nineties, I wrote a sophomoric paper about beauty standards and how the size of the ideal woman was shrinking. My whole life until then things were standardizing down to skinny and pale. Heroin chic was a thing. I believe that things are changing a little bit. Back then, the attempts to revitalize beauty standards were led by Benetton, a company whose solution was to jam together skinny girls of all colors.   Lately, you are seeing different bodies, faces and even skin conditions in billboards and, man, does it give me joy. One day even a pear shaped boy like me could be seen sporting tighty whiteys for all you ladies out there!  It only took like 40 years. I wonder why it takes so long to curb some things. Or should I say 'curve' in this context? Next in my list of things that I would love to see before I die: Metric system adopted in the US Tipping culture cancelled (fair wages) LGBTQ humans don't have to fight for their basic rights  Enragement doesn'

241. Killer Formula

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I blame our base impulses. “Making a Murderer” showed us all how much we wanted to believe in people’s innocence against the police. The little guy was a victim of the shoddy and authoritarian police force! Yes, that may have been true in part but the victim is also an animal-torturing, woman stalking person who extremely likely did the murders when all the evidence is presented.  It started a wave of documentaries casting doubt on totally guilty people. We all want to believe the little guy against the system, like in Serial and others. But honestly, some of these peeps are bad mofos and do not need our defense.  What's next, a 7 season long doc on WW2? "Hitler: Victim of Nuremberg or Authoritarian Genocidal Maniac" Are we not entertained enough?

240. Seeking Truth

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This is another of my fantasies in which I'm not at fault for my sloppy household skills.  I usually avoid gender stereotypes. I believe every man can be as strong as an average single mom and every woman could be as evil as your toxically raised man. When it comes to the phenomena described in today's comic, I have my doubts. When have you seen the perceptively poor behavior occur in a woman? When has it been a woman, by biology or by identity, the one who says "I can't find it?" Never! Whether it is a husband to a wife or a boy to a mom, it is only males who fumble about and give goofy glances and fail to find things. If there's one thing I know at age 45 it is that men, boys and adults are not good at looking for things and that it is in our gender. I imagine some of you may be thinking that this is a lazy cop-out, but I am confident that academia will find proof of this self-evident assertion!  Thus, I implore women, have pity on us.... there may be somet