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Showing posts from 2019

115. Murder, She Heard

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My wife took me to a live recording of  “My Favorite Murder” in Houston this year. It was a great show, but it was also very eye-opening. First of all, the crowd was 90% female. The hosts, too, are female and hilarious about this dreary subject. Not until recently had I noticed the connection between these kinds of shows and gender.

It dawned on me during this show that this is about female survival. By far, the victims in the murders discussed in the show are female and the perpetrators are male. It is something that I barely register in my daily life but is probably at the top of women’s minds frequently. There was a good episode about this in Aziz Ansari's show "Master of None" in season 1. Going home alone is a completely different experience for boys and girls and it sucks a lot. "My Favorite Murder" works with that and evolves it. There’s useful tips embedded in the show, like “f#!k politeness”,  a lot of the murders happen to people that felt something …

114. Facing Issues

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When I am walking down my work’s hallway, I see lots of faces. Sometimes, out of the blue, my processes break and I let out a mess of a face in return. It’s like a Jim face if Jim had diarrhea and was afraid people would notice.

Where do we learn to do these faces? I sure as hell didn't plan to develop this response to another human being. I must have caught it from some other awkward nimrod.

The people in my head are based slightly on Khaneman's 2 system theory. You can find out more in this earlier blog post.  Some days I love the slower, thoughtful #2 (blue) and some days you can’t but appreciate your instinctual, hurried #1 (red). The origins of these creatures can be seen in this popular post, as well.

I often think about these two theoretical processes. Number one is the one who types posts in twitter and starts fights with Trump supporters and horrible people. Number 2 is the one who erases these posts before they are sent.

Extra post:

It’s contagious.

113. Truth Bombs

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Having iron-clad thoughts written in stone is not as laudable as it seems. For some reason, people seem to idolize personalities with unwavering opinions. I feel it's a dangerous thing to celebrate. We should be ready to update our opinions with the introduction of new evidence.

Like most Venezuelans that escaped that socialist dystopia , I was a libertarian when I came to the United States. I believed that all people needed to do was to work really hard and they could make it in a place like the USA. I have learned a lot since then. I have learned that we are definitely not all in equal footing. I came across evidence that hiring practices were racist against black sounding names (This is a recent meta-analysis);  redlining has deprived many communities from prosperity and even children are disciplined differently in school. Over time, African Americans also get longer prison sentences. All this paints a picture that is particularly harrowing for black males in this country. Thi…

112. Career Fairy

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I thought of this one while my mouth was agape and being toyed with. I don’t dislike my dentist, but he could learn a bit about human behavior from his dental hygienist.

When I first started going to the dentist after a huge gap (in years, not in my teeth), I was a mess. I never flossed, my gums were very squirty and I brushed pretty unimpressively. Move forward a few years later and now I floss about 75% of the days, I use a cool electric brush and I take a lot better care of my dental health. All of this through the coaching and encouragement of my dental assistant.

Throughout those years, my dentist has not seen a story of improvement. Just another guy he sees for 5 minutes and still is not great at oral health. I feel he could use some lessons from my dental assistant about behavior change.

I see the same pattern in other professions. We are biased about what we do, so we expect others to be like us. Dentists see people who don’t give a crap about oral health. Doctors see people …

111. The Devil We Didn't Know

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Ted Bundy's mother told her son “You’ll always be my precious son.” just before the execution. I feel like I get it now. We have a feline Bundy in our home. Her victims are electronic cables and my wife's jewelry, but make no mistake, she is deadly AF. I have also never been so much in love with an animal that has wronged me so much. 

Khaleesi (yep, should've known) has cost me around one thousand dollars on electronics so far (including an expensive wired headset). She has ruined some of Roxanne's jewelry. And what did we do about it? We bought her a little throne to sit by the window.  I don't understand who I am anymore.

When she started ripping apart everything I hold dear, I was told so many different things to try. I was told to spray vinegar on the cables. She seemed to really enjoy the taste. Like adding hot sauce to your pasta. I was told to buy protective casing. They usually were no match to her entrepreneurial spirit. The only thing that worked was cha…

110. The Anniversary

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My dear readers, marriage was never in my plans. Since I had long decided to be child-free, marriage didn’t seem to be so necessary. I still don’t think it’s a necessary part of life, just do what feels right, people!

I had been with my partner for about 5 years when I popped the question. We were on a wonderful vacation in Asia and there came a moment in which I couldn’t think of anything other than asking her to marry me. I bought a cheap-ass (wow hyphens are important) ring from the street and popped the question out while in a pool by ourselves. It came out of nowhere, and as an absolute surprise to both of us. 
In terms of compatibility, I had never met anyone like her. She laughs at my shitty jokes, while belting out far superior material. She likes to kick ass at work and kick ass at relaxing. She has taught me many amazing things, from craft beer to spicy food. She is the person who I want to grow up to be, most of the time. She swims and splashes between the oceans of of bad…

109. Accidental Excercise

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I will never enjoy working out. I know that people in the self-help fields try to stay away from ‘always’ and ‘never’ statements.  Well in this instance, they are wrong. I will never enjoy working out.

However, I do enjoy walking nearly 10,000 steps every day and it is because I get to walk to work. So that has to count towards my fitness goals, right? Right? *crickets*

I like the concept of accidental exercise. Somebody should write a book about the micro-exercises that we could do all day that could have a non-infinitesimal effect.

Parking far away from your your destination.Standing up at work.Carrying weight when walking from meeting to meeting.Gesturing maniacally while talking.Forgetting stuff in your car a few times a day.Taking the stairs I hope someone writes this book that confirms my bias that I am doing ok.
Extra Panel:
One way to become more absent-minded.



108. Forbidden Fruit

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First of all, let me be on the record stating how complicated I find that in English the word for the burning spiciness is 'hot'. So a dish can be cold and hot (Like Thai Larb) because it's served cold but it is spicy hot. Or hot and not hot, like  pizza margherita. It's a little screwy and you know it.

88% of my Facebook page readers seem to like-a the spice-a, so I bet my love of all things hot is in not lost on you lot.

I find that my new found love for hot food is inspirational. I had spent my whole life avoiding that category of seasoning. I just didn't need it. When the love of my life introduced me to this, I felt for it instantly. Right now I think I eat even more hot food than her. It's not a competition, but I'm killing it. There's something about that burning, tasty, lingering feeling that comes with adding a few SHU to your meals. It has changed my life.

How many other things like this are waiting in the periphery of your mind? I discovered…

107. Happy.

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Authenticity. Most of the time when someone says something nice about me it’s about authenticity. When they say negative things, it runs the gamut: absent-minded, forgetful, weird, clumsy, childish.

I feel authenticity is a spectrum, however. Too much authenticity and you get the far-too-honest-asshole,  too little authenticity and you have the con or shyster. I try not to linger too much on the corners. Speaking of which, my wife and I are currently absorbed with the podcast "Who the Hell is Hamish". If you are interested in people with zero authenticity, it is a must listen.

Authenticity is defined by some psychologists as the congruence between your internal and external self. It’s hard for me to keep one from the other, so what you see is usually what’s going on inside.

I have never been able to shape my face to something other than what I am feeling, yet somehow it has been the appropriate thing to do for my entire life. So if you’re like me, frowning your worries away…

106. Uplifting

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Esteemed readers, I am not an overly ambitious person. That makes me a rarity among many of my friends and family. It took me a long time to discover that it is perfectly OK to be just OK in the dimension of ambition.

What I found to be true in my life, however, was that you can lack the classical ambition of things and status and yet have a yearning for making an impact. Currently I work with an organization that helps adults obtain the literacy skills that the system failed to grant. It fulfills me more than any promotion or more bundles of cash could. However, I’ve also discovered that I don't need to help assholes.

Psychological research warns us against the rat race of the pursuit of happiness. The jollies you get from achieving your goals are short and fleeting. So if you are not enjoying the journey, it will be all for naught. So, dear reader, if you’ve read this far all I want is to share that little nugget. Make sure you are not focused on other people’s goals. Choose a d…

105. This Place Sucks

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Ahhh. The internet. The promise of the library of Alexandria, but the reality of the Library of Babel. Gen Xers saw this whole thing unfolding. We saw how it started as a place with great niche information, interesting message boards and slow loading porn. We saw it evolve into a place supported by ads, shaped by your biases and with fast loading porn.

Today any idiot can have a webpage (what-what tens of thousands of hits right here, baby). Any idiot can write in the internet's pages. And every idiot does. I like to think about the messages that we put out there and try to make them sound like they came from a human mouth in a social setting. It's awful! You would just hear people saying stuff from their subconscious, consequences be damned. No real back and forth, just a bunch of people saying awful things about other people, other artists or other gamers. No one really comports themselves like this in a social setting. Except that one dude, but everybody hates him!

I'm…

104. Primitive Regression

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Dear readers, social behavior is like a muscle. And mine is as flaccid as your average GOP member's dangling neck blubber. I have always found joy in solace, happiness in oneness and validation in self-immersion.

I enjoy hanging out with some people. I really, genuinely, do. However, even the most interesting, laid back, and nice people drain me a bit. The only person who doesn't exhaust me is my wife. For some reason she just feels like an extension to me. Like an angelic ingrown hair or a serene wart, she is a part of me. Legally. She is bound to me legally. So if she is upset that I just compared her to a wart for shits and giggles, she would have to go through a lengthy process to get rid of me.

There has been years in which I venture out more than others. Years in which I say yes to social contact a little more freely. Those years seem to be also years in which I save up on bail money just in case.

In any case, here's the extra panel:

It's an homage to Mystery Sc…

103. Bilingual Fail

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Being bilingual is not always all fun and games. Some of the problems I've had because of being bilingual are:
Hearing people talk about me when they think I can't understand.Being confused by two sets of grammar rules that make no sense.Being the de-facto guide if travelling to a country that speaks a language I know. Becoming the target of racism. Yep. Racism. The only instances of racism that I have experienced in the United States are when someone detects my accent or hears me talking to someone in Spanish. In a very memorable one, a man with a red hat (pre Trump, there must be something about red) asked what the hell I was doing in his country. I answered "To take your jobs and bang your women". Some friends I was with defended me from what would have been the pounding of my drunken life.

The few cases where I've experienced this made me realize how bad some minorities have it. I've felt belittled and hated by another human due to my birth place, it is…

102. Adult Male Fantasy

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Dear readers, what makes one a failure at domestic life? I will tell you the formula that concocted me. Privilege + Unconditional Love. Back in Venezuela, I had a live-in maid. Many of us did. Her name was Aurora and she was, for all terms and purposes, family. I never realized the extent of my privileged existence until we left the country (admittedly with many of the fruits of my privilege).  I’ve been in the United States since 2003 and I could have learned to become a creature of domestic habit. But I haven’t yet.

My mom has been a source of unconditional love for me and my brother. She prioritized academics for us and she was lenient on our domestic duties. Through her, I learned to unconditionally love others, but alas, not how to mop the toilets or however that is done.  I think she went the right route. I am learning domestic habits now, but would I be able to learn unconditional love had I been bereft of it?

Now the challenge I’ve been working on: Unconditional Self-Love! My…

101. When cat people move in together

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People moving in together is a wonder. I consider it one of the biggest challenges of my life. So many different habits coming together into one shared space. After the initial conflict, there can be some great times together, specially when it involves cats. 
My wife and I spent so many years on our own before sharing a space. We both thought we were self-talking and cat-talking weirdos, but we realized shortly that we were matching weirdos. The challenge really came to be the domestic stuff like putting sponges were they belong and ontological discussions about bath mats.
My dear readers, it is still a journey. It has been less than a year since we've moved in. I’m getting better! Just last week I got a gold star on my report card!
The cat in the last panel is Twinkle and she is 22 years old. Never ceases to amaze me that she lived through Y2K!

Extra panel 1:

Extra Panel 2:

Extra Panel 3:

100. Penetrating Humor

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When realizing that I was nearing 100 comics, I thought about doing something special. I wanted to aggrandize the situation and leave a gift for my present and future supporters. Paralysis ensued. We are prisoners of our own expectations sometimes, are we not? Fear of success is a true thing, as ridiculous and pompous as that sounds. We all know successful people who are prisoners to their own success, somehow less happy and less themselves as they were when seeking that success. We’ve all heard of the depression and loss many astronauts feel after their missions. How do you one-up those experiences?

I am not here to tell you not to be ambitious, this world would be a sad place without it. I feel the problem is that some people see the world as a ladder instead of a spiral. If you climb to a rung you do not enjoy, going down seems like reversing. It’s not. It’s progressing. What IS dangerous to your health is advancing without happiness or joy just for fear of going back. The world t…

99. Peopled Out

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It may come to a surprise to you, my dear readers, that this infantile web comic author is an introvert. Like 99% of the people creating stuff on the Internet. Isn’t it weird how accepted introversion is these days? As a young man, no one talked about introverts and people most definitely didn’t self identify as introverts often. But here we are. Almost every web comic has tinges of social ineptitude, desire for isolation and comfort in blankets. Could it be that creating pictures for people attracts a particular personality type? Or is it that we are all introverted at some point, especially when perusing the world wide web? Alas, we may never know.

Fact of the matter is, I am an introvert inside and outside the web. And not the sexy type either. I’m the type that can isolate for long periods of time and become unkempt and bereft of the social graces. Some times I can braid my ear hairs and have nails to rival my cats. I am very lucky to know amazing people that understand me and eith…

98. Laundry Days

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Perhaps this will surprise you, gentle readers, but the creator of this sophomoric webcomic is not particularly adept at domestic duties. It is with that in mind that I share with you my laundry process, so others may learn from it. It is not a practical method, but it does end up with clean laundry at the end.

In the frames you can find Khaleesi, the brown, young cat. She is cute, dynamic, and the devil's armpit sometimes. She is the one that eats all my cables. I don't want to hear what you've tried... I tried vinegar water, lemon water and other internet-provided ideas. The only thing that works is reverting to an amish lifestyle with no cables. We are fine now, and getting good with the churning of the butter and stuff.

The white haired cat is Eris, and she is wonderful, adorable and hairy AF. She definitely was abused as a child, because she is ambivalent about being petted. She likes it, but she hates it and moves away from you at the same time.

Twinkle is the one i…

97. A Clash of Dinks

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Dear readers, my wife and I don't watch sports. We have similar political views. We even prefer the same Mystery Science Theater 3000 host. This is big. This is the biggest rift we've had in anything and I love it.

My wife is not crazy, she is not maladjusted, she is not pro-incest. My dear readers, she is pro Cersei because she is pro woman. I know there are other women on this show, but my wife partly loves the idea of this powerful, rich woman being in power in this depressing world of Westeros at the end of this season.

Here are her thoughts on the matter:

So, why after 8 years, as everyone’s beloved show comes to a close, do I find myself feeling that an apt ending for GoT could be with Cersei remaining firmly seated upon the Iron Throne?

For one thing, it would just be good, unexpected story telling. I can hear twitter crashing with the sheer outrage of it. She has been there (on the throne) an awfully long time now in the life of the series. She’s arisen from the ashes r…

96. Easter

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Sometimes the wife and I are so disconnected with the world of scheduled holidays that we forget some important things. Since we don't have kids, Spring Break means nothing to us. Since we don't believe in zombies with great abs, we don't celebrate Easter. However, we did celebrate, unknowingly, by eating a lot of sugar and overindulging as always.

Perhaps I don't care about religion, but I do care about you all, so I hope you had a good Easter! Or if not your cup of tea, I hope you had a great anniversary of Apollo 16 landing on the moon! Or whatever floats your fancy on April 21st.


95. Better Than Yesterday

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A few years ago, I was in an improvement kick. I wanted to become a leader at work and be fit as a fiddle and aggressively meditate and all kinds of things. At one point I bit off more than I could chew and decided to slow down due to the anxiety it was generating. Improvement is great, but you have to make sure you are heading towards the things you want, not what society wants of you. Some of the things I was pursuing were not me.

I find that what motivates me the most is looking into the rear-view mirror. It's not imagining a future that I don't know I will like. It's seeing how much you've changed in your journey. It's trends and bumps, not goal lines.

The cool thing about this hobby is that I can see the absolute entirety of my progress. And I love all of my pieces (even if the world doesn't). For some reason I have no feelings of regret or shame when looking back; like some artists have expressed. I think these pieces are all an accurate representation …

94. Instinctual Responses Suck

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Again, my two systems fighting against each other. It is extremely fun to say yes to everything! And yet, it is the cause of many breakdowns and anxious moments in my life. Saying no is very powerful and it may be the most honest thing you can say sometimes. I've always respected people who know their limits and walk away from the cliff.

My only advice is to listen to that voice that knows all the things you are working on. That voice is wise and can put things in perspective. I'm pretty sure in your deathbed you won't remember all the things you said yes to, but I'm sure you'll remember all the times you bit off more than you could chew!


93. Children's Museum

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This is a true story. Some events may have been exaggerated for comedic purposes (maybe).

I have always loved Children's Museums. We had an incredible one in Caracas, Venezuela. We didn't deserve how awesome it was. The architecture, the artistic design, everything was above and beyond children's museums that existed and have existed since. I went there well into my teens and early twenties. The art director was Jorge Blanco, who made a popular comic strip at the time. He often broke the 4th "panel" and he influenced me a lot (even if it took 40 years to make it's way to my fingers). Those characters in the walls were burned into my memory.

It is probably in incredible disrepair and I purposefully have not looked into it's current state. Like many things from my childhood it is probably better left in my hippocampus.

It is with those memories that I asked Roxanne if we could stop by the Children's Museum in Chicago. It was probably one of the worst i…

92. Never Google Your Doppleganger

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In my lifetime I have been told that I look exactly like some people that I would consider to be not perfect replicas of me. Maybe I have a better self esteem than I project, but I feel like I don’t look like “The Critic”; as was earnestly expressed by a girl on a (first and only) date.

Other twinsies I’ve been professed to have:

Steven Wright

Tony Hale

Stephen Miller (Aaaaargh)

Dr. Katz

I don’t know. Maybe I’m vain, but I always pictured me as more of a Luke-Perry-with-a-really-bad-hair-day type. It’s funny how I have a pretty sturdy love and acceptance of my own physique, and yet my self esteem about other things (like being a functional adult in this crazy world) is pretty dismal.





91. It was me all along

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As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, millennials get blamed for everything these days. Has it happened like this before? When we were young everyone blamed the older folks, but for some reason now everything is the younger folk’s fault.

Personally I agree with the murder of many of these things. I’ve never understood the fascination with golf or college football. I don’t understand how they are still a thing, and a huge thing at that! Unless they change the rules to allow robots or mutants, I don’t see myself getting into them.

Napkins are just useless in a world that contains paper towels. Debate me on this. I sincerely don’t understand why we must have both, so I’m OK with their demise.

Diamonds are forever stupid. When did we decide that they were symbols of love and wealth? They have felt unnecessary and gaudy to me all my life. What an unnecessary reason to pillage the earth and the workers who unearth them.

Chain restaurants and malls had their time in the sun. It’s ti…

90. Conflicting strategies

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#1 and #2 are based (loosely) on Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow". In it he describes (in a purely heuristic way) two ways our brains work. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and frequently wrong. System 2 is slower, more deliberate and logical. A good way to think about it is this: When you think of 2+2=4, you are using System 1. You already learned the concept and the operation to derive 2+2=4 years ago, by now it is automatic. When tasked with 56x33=X, you have to engage System 2.

In my real job, I have to teach people how to use System 2, because System 1 is often wrong when making assumptions, summaries or reflections. However, in my personal life I fall to the siren song of System 1 constantly. I like to see, hear and feel things all the time, which makes it hard to concentrate or remember things.

The homunculi in my head are taking their shapes! And yes, I am terrible at names and this at least makes me feel like I have an excuse.

Chart by my sister in law Leigh!

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These are on Fire for some reason!!!!

25. Scorched Michigan

87. Making Room

102. Adult Male Fantasy

113. Truth Bombs

115. Murder, She Heard

68. How do you solve a problem like Venezuela?

108. Forbidden Fruit