Showing posts from 2020

166. The Karening of the Dead

We got horror movies so wrong. These past few months have taught us that we will have a significant amount of people whose ignorance will be worse than any threat. We will be riddled by people that believe that zombies are a Bill Gates ploy to get us to buy Windows products, people who think that George Soros is behind alien attacks and people who think that god and prayer will guard them against werewolves. These people are everywhere. They’re the real infestation of our times and I have no idea where they came from! 
Somebody needs to make a horror movie with what we know now. How the biggest monster will be ignorance, stubbornness and privilege. 
Extra panel:

Worst case scenario

165. Giving Him the Bird

I embraced Social media when it hit the world. For an introvert like me, it felt like a good way to be connected with the world. But then something terrible happened: it got populated. 
Facebook is riddled by ignorance and silliness, but at least I can ignore or block most of it relatively easily. Twitter, on the other hand, just has everybody's opinion with no consequence. I applaud their recent efforts at curtailing fake news, but I don't think it will ever be enough. If you've seen a city hall open mic, you can see why it may be problematic to give everyone a voice. 
Young-me would be appalled that I do not consider every voice equally important. I don't really give AF what you think, young-me! Why should anybody care that the limo driver next door is dubious of the world's roundness? He should meet like-minded people in mysterious subgroups. Why is his voice equal to that of a geologist or an astronomer in a conversation? I'd love to hear his thoughts on the …

164. Flame Buoyant

I remember the ‘92 LA riots. If you don’t, there’s a brilliant documentary in Netflix about it (LA 92). At the time, the loss of property and all the literal flames made me question if the response was balanced to the cause (Rodney King’s beating.) 
Now, I don't even pose the question.
I can never know what it is like to be culled and focused on so adamantly. Sure, other minorities get some crap. But there’s something about the image of a black individual in society at large that scares white people. An angry white man doesn’t generate the same fear and reprisal that an angry black man does. An armed white man? Well that’s just Walmart in a Friday night! An armed black man is a death sentence. 
I’ve only experienced racism a few times, and it only happens when they hear my accent. Instead of cops, the institution that treated me like dirt was Homeland Security in airports. They mocked my accent, they questioned my motives, and they generally made me feel powerless.However, I never fe…

163. Lost and Found

I don’t want to give the wrong impression. Things before Roxanne had their place. It’s just that I favored pragmatism over aesthetics. Shoes were strewn near the door, keys were in the previous day’s pants waiting to be swapped out and the cheese knife lived with the cheese in the fridge. 
I believe everything should have its place. At least generally, I believe in that. I also believe that life would be boring if everything was always in its place! Do you know how many unrelated things I’ve found in the pursuit of my keys, wallet or shoes?  Half eaten candy bars, photos of a life that doesn’t exist anymore, cards, college diplomas, quarters, all kinds of things surface when you start unearthing.
On the opposite side of the banal, we have to talk about the current state of events. Just like with many of you, I have been moved to action to support the BLM movement. I completely agree with their pains and the root cause of a society tainted with systemic and institutionalized racism. As a…

162. Conan and Xena


161. Misdirection

It’s been over three years of this, and the media doesn’t seem to get wise to it. Sensational insanity from the prez always trumps (sorry!) the actual shady stuff happening in his administration. Ad Nauseam.
Speaking of nausea, how many of you thought that your gastric juices would stop maelstorming every time you heard this imbecile talk? I for one, thought we would be inoculated by now. 
It’s really difficult to focus on the enduring damage he is doing to the institutions that have held this country together, when he says the loony things he does. Neither of the possible truths looks good for him or his supporters. He’s either a con man or absolutely insane. 
Another 4 years granted to him by a scared, ignorant and hateful populace would be just so 2020. I hope I’m wrong.

160. Covicious Cycle


159. Mary

This post is a guest post by my wonderful wife, Roxanne, about her mother, Mary. We both love and respect Mary very, very much. 
“My mom did not fit the mold of our small rural town in WAY up north Michigan. She painted her fingernails different colors (sometimes just the pinkies) and wore silver rings all up and down her fingers. She walked long distances all over town, before it became a fitness craze, and while she walked, wore a big old camo jacket she got at an Army surplus store. She also had a fashionable and sophisticated wardrobe that was the envy of even her young high school students. She drank whiskey and water out of a plastic tupperware cup, and she swore like a sailor, all while constantly correcting our grammar. She spoke French and loved to turn up the hi fi and sing out loud to Neil Diamond while we danced. She is a yooper transplant that can help my dad butcher a deer one day, and go model for her local artist’s life drawing class the next. 
All the things that made h…

158. Transparency

There’s no words to describe how crappy our toilet paper is. But I’m going to try.

The toilet paper we found is malnourished. This toilet paper is like sliding spider web on your butt ravine. It’s like scraping waste with the Emperor’s New Clothes. It’s like using Casper The Friendly Ghost’s face to clean the evil remains. It’s the LaCroix of toilet paper. It’s like using graphene to dig up gold nuggets.

And we have enough of it to survive two apocalyptic events.


Extra Panel:

Look out Halloween!

157. Gag Reel

Obama was a bit drone happy. Hillary was a bit hard to relate to. And I voted for both of them. The thing that surprises me the most about the Trump presidency is how his supporters don’t even acknowledge his faults.

This week the president suggested that we look into putting disinfectant inside our bodies. Fact. Even the dumbest among us know how dangerous that would be.

And the Trump defense force has been strong this week. Their defense is the most hilarious thing I’ve seen, and I consume a lot of comedy. Their argument is that Trump isn’t actually doing it, he just wants us to consider it. The highlight of my week was a Trumpian saying it was fake news and providing text that would exonerate the President, but the idiot forgot to change the words and provided the actual words:

“And I then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute, and is there a way you can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs, an…

156. Not Ideal

There are no bad ideas, indeed. How often have we seen this, my cubicle warriors of today? In many of my attempts at facilitating a brainstorming session, I have seen leaders do a version of this. Why is it so hard to just let the ideas flow and pass no judgement? I've failed at it numerous times. I believe our ego is partly to blame, as is the desire to go for what is known and tried.

To me the whole point of a brainstorming session is to allow employees to leap out of the boundaries set from the first day that they entered an organization. It's also a great opportunity for leaders to coach and guide their employees as they try and navigate the intricate ways to get things done.

Often, it just becomes another way to exert our ideas downstream. I've been doing process improvement for over 15 years and still, the most enduring and easily implemented ideas have come with a combination of employee problem solving and leader guidance.

Extra panel:

Or we can just keep doing th…

155. Time Off

This week, I am not anxious. I find that extremely surprising, given the weird apocalypse-adjacent adventure we are experiencing. It really is about knowing that we are all going through the same thing that gives me strength. By this point, we all know people who have been affected physically by the COVID, or someone who has been left behind in the economy. We are all helping each other as much as we can in the most uncertain times many of us have experienced. I am not known for my optimism, but I truly feel we will come back stronger. We will appreciate communication more, we will be more informed about infection control and we will focus on the important things.

This is one of my series of comics that have homunculi,  personified abstractions of my issues or my mental processes. I am often drawn to that style as I work through my demons. I hope you enjoyed the comic!

Extra Panel:

This harkens back to Awkwardo, my personified social awkwardness. He’s in heaven right now. Roxanne and…

154. Unmasking

The whole mask situation has been a little confusing. The CDC told you not to wear them at the onset of this pandemic and others have urged you to do the opposite. So what gives? Dr. Price, with his sexy oval face (like yours truly), mentions what I believe is the main benefit of getting a mask: It will train you not to touch your face. That's the main way he believes we are getting this disease in the community. How many of us just now realized how often we touch our stupid faces? Having a mask will bring awareness to that behavior, and prevent skin to skin contact.

I work in healthcare so I understand why the CDC recommended not using them at the outset. We are in a PPE crisis. There are not enough masks to protect the people who really need them, the front line caregivers. Urging everyone to wear masks at the beginning of this pandemic would have further disrupted that flow. If we couldn't get our toilet paper hoarding under control, just imagine the far more precious mask…

153. Et tu, Burritus?

Mediocrity in comics is my safe zone. I’m pretty used to the space I’ve come to conquer in this medium. Right there with the guy who draws horny dolphins and the girl making fan fiction about Ted, the guy who dumped her right before prom... 20 years ago. I like the small amount of followers through the diverse mediums I’ve gathered after this year of comic drawing. It allows me to keep practicing new techniques and styles (this is my first potty humor post) without repercussions. It allows me to put things out here that are, well, less than refined. I love you and thank you for letting me experiment! It’s easy to do so, I have no brand to protect.

Speaking of brands, this is the first comic that was bought by a brand! Yes, SLOOF, found me in instagram and paid me a few bucks for this comic! Thankfully they made a related product to what I was thinking!

Extra panel: SLOOF

Before last week, I had barely heard of SLOOF. But they are all over the place, with hundreds of affordable produc…

152. Faking It

I am not a fan of  “Fake it till you make it.” It implies a lot of things that are against my credo. It is inauthentic, it creates an unsafe environment and it hides gaps in knowledge. By this point in my blog post, I know I come off as a total party pooper so I am going to do what I do best: double down.

It is inauthentic to act like you know something you don’t. I am certain that being a faker mcfakerson will wear down your soul. The true way to learn how to do something is to fail, and fail a lot. And to ask lots of questions. I have a feeling that focusing on “Fake it till you make it” ends with  people getting the imposter syndrome. Think about it, con-men and employees use the same phrase. Do you really want to have the same philosophy as Bernie Madoff?

If you are prompted to “Fake it till you make it” in your workplace, your workplace may have an unsafe environment. A safe environment is one in which you can admit you know nothing and get the help you need to gain skills and k…

151. Plagued

Generations before us had widespread worldly wars, warm and cold.  Today feels like the anxious times we were told we were fortunate not to have. And there is some beauty to it.

My friends and family are losing their jobs. My job has become incredibly stressful and demanding (I work in healthcare).  Our parents and grandparents are at risk. This is some scary stuff. So it feels bad to make light of this situation. I am going to, but only because I am an idiot who doesn’t know how to cope with things.

There is something about this current ambiance that I am responding well to. There’s something to knowing everyone is going through anxiety together that I find comfortable. I always feel guilty for feeling anxious with such a privileged life. I have met the love of my life, I’ve achieved some economic success, and I get to do the things I enjoy. Guilt about anxiety, begets anxiety, begets guilt, begets anxiety. Today, though, I can feel that we are all vibing similarly. And we are hooki…

150. Waiting for you

Isn’t it weird how there’s always someone waiting at the bottom of the pit?  I know this is a snarky, cynical look at recovery but... I  don’t actually have a but, I’m just an a-hole sometimes. I don’t really care that people need culty things to help them get out of rock bottom, it’s that they become super annoying about it. Every person’s path is so completely different, what one person is lacking is not comparable to what most other fellow humans are lacking. And yet, you always get that guy that “Bro, do you even lift”’s you. Or that person that assures you, their church is different, their church is the true path. Or that guy with the five o’clock shadow that swears that focusing solely on work took him out of his despair.

No Chad, I don’t think going to the gym 6 times a week is going to solve this ennui that I feel right now. This transitory feeling that life is just an experiment conducted by an AI simulation and I am in the control group, yeah I don’t think I can just church…

149. Victim Blaming

It’s very easy to blame an employee for not knowing what to do. If you think about it though, isn’t it kind of the leader’s job to make sure that employees know what to do? 
Clarity is one of the best gifts a manager can give to an employee, absolute certainty about what “good” looks like. For some reason, it’s rare to find a leader who has internalized this. 
 More often than not, I see leaders that fail to see their role in the confusion of an employee. Saying things like “They should know better” or “It’s common sense” does nothing to grow and develop employees. Many times, leaders create a culture in which people are afraid to speak up. I’ve seen this, and it’s not pretty. 
 When there is a “Policy”, it is frequently  an overlong document that hides in file folders. If a manager is lucky, employees read it once when they get hired. Often, it is written by what looks like english lit majors. You don’t need a plethora of multisyllabic words (like plethora) to show people how to use…

148. Leavers

People leave. People stay. People come back. I respect their decision. Well, not every decision. There’s a few who seem to want to get away from themselves. Like a 90’s movie hacker they want to change their location rapidly so they are not traced. But they’re their own FBI. 
The thing is, as many axioms proclaim, you can’t outrun your own dumb ass. If you are not happy where you currently have a social network, what makes you think you will find happiness in a new place? I only truly have faith in people who are content with themselves when making the choice to leave. Then it is about an adventure, not about placing your salvation into the not-within-you.
In my life, of the people I know who said they wanted to leave:

3 out of 5 never left, but kept complaining.
1 out of 5 left and come back, with lessons learned.
1 out of 5 succeeded in finding a better life elsewhere.

Unless you are a Venezuelan, in which case 4 out of 5 of us successfully left that decaying soil; out of sheer necessity.…

147. Signs

My job is hard to explain. Some days I am a leadership coach. Some days I am a project manager. Some days I am a business analyst. And all of those things require additional explanation and modulation. I often cherish the simplicity of people who can say they are dentists, janitors, or cops. A few syllables is all it takes for them!

Additionally, I don’t like talking about work when I am not at work.  What’s the point of my meticulously separated buckets if I allow people to pierce through them with the World’s most popular small talk question? We are what we do, but sometimes our work isn’t even a third of what we do, contrary to what the clock may say.

So I am particularly dodgy about that question. I like to think it adds a sense of mystery, but it also gives me space.

Extra Panel:

Another point of view

Also, I’ve made some magnets so you can make your own crazy scene in the fridge! Get them here! 

146. Hey Listen

It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that my ear bones constrict systematically during a conversation. Medical experts have often been baffled by this phenomena, a first in its kind. They may call this condition Banal Ear in my honor. It’s true, trust me, I’m a guy on the internet.
My lack of attention is arguably a more famous aspect of my personality than my penchant for providing impromptu and improper sound effects to mundane things. Arguably. Every teacher I had gave me the spiel about how much better I’d do if… by that time my attention had ran its course so I never got to hear the “if”. 
It’s probably no picnic to my chosen one, Roxanne. It likely comes off as selfish. It likely IS selfish. 
Material possessions are not my goal, it has been replaced by becoming a better me until the day I die. I have oceans to cross, but this is one of my most important journeys. How do I become a better listener to my wife and loved ones? That’s the question I will answer as the journey unfolds. We’v…

145. Sick Day

Roxanne and I have two cats rooming with us. They are both females and they both eat though their mouths and defecate through their butts. That’s were the similarities end. 
When we use a laser pointer on them, our muted, brown tortoiseshell cat looks straight at the pointer and then straight at our souls. She knows what’s up.
The white fluffy cat, she is still waiting for the laser dot to come back in the place she saw it last. 2 weeks ago.  I am certain she will start a new religion around the phantom dot.
The brown cat, or Khaleesi, as she likes to be addressed, is a shrieking nightmare, all gnawing and all knowing. She inspires comics like these.
The white cat, or Eris, she is a needy nightmare. She is all wanting and all demanding. She inspires comics like these.
And yet, Roxanne and I are all about them. They're the best non-humans we know. 
Extra Panel: 
Eris would make a very cute Sikh, if it wasn't for her selfishness, neediness and lack of self control.

144. Gross Difference

I like fake violence. I can't stand real violence. To me it's Fake Violence >>> Dr. Pimple Popper >>>>>> Real Violence. In fact, when fake violence looks too real, it loses it's appeal. There's something to the artistry of fake blood and guts that has always appealed to me, probably since my dad traumatized me by showing me Carrie at 6 years of age. That desensitized me to gallons of movie blood real quick. Thanks, dad.

As I see it, I'm living proof that video games don't cause violence. My brain, and I expect most others, can flip the switch of 'real' vs. 'not real'. Mortal Kombat on the Genesis was my babysitter for a while and never have I ever wanted to rip someone's spine from their body. Or see it happen in real life.

My wife was switching channels and landed on Dr. Pimple Popper once, and it was one of those times when I can spot a huge rift between us. While it definitely grossed her out, I could feel a pa…

143. Beholder

I am squalor blind. Last week I was on kitchen duty. We had just etched out our 3.2 version of the kitchen checklist. I had to load the dishes, clean the counter, make smoothies and clear the traps on the sink. I would have rated myself a 10/10. In the morning, I got to see how wrong I was. There were entire kernels of corn in the traps. Somehow they are invisible to me, like oh so many vegetables and stop signs.
This makes me really think about the reality of the space that we are occupying and co-occupying. My physical reality is different than the physical reality of the person closest to me. Can you imagine how different it is from that of a Trump aficionado? 
If positivism in sociology and the sciences was based on believing in one truth, an objective truth, palpable by our ever increasing utilization of the scientific method; today seems to be marked by the realization that there is not one truth to be experienced but as many as there are people around. And I am becoming more and …

142. Topsy-turvy

Uncertainty is a way of life for me. At work, I don’t assume I know the right way to proceed. Because I don’t. All I know is what  has worked in the past, under different circumstances, with different people. That’s not enough for me to be like, “yeah, this is what needs to be done.” 
And yet, many leaders I have met exude certainty. And for some of them, it works. They sell me on their vision and their tactics and I gladly serve that higher purpose. The true test for me is when they screw up, which will happen to everyone. This will be the mark of a true leader. Will they respond to data and change course? Or will they produce a Friends spinoff feauturing Joey?
That’s why I can’t stand President Trump. He is not one to show uncertainty. He has never admitted to being wrong. He never changes course. I have no faith in his ability to learn and adapt. From the very beginning, I would not follow this guy to an open bourbon bar. 
Sometimes I envy the simplicity of knowing exactly what you ha…

141. Venezuelanisms

These are a collection of the colorful, and often savage, sayings of my people. For all I criticize my people sometimes, I have a lot of respect for their wordplay and creativity. Growing up in Venezuela was, for the most part, a great experience. The weather was nice, people were very hedonistic, and I had a very comfortable life. Perhaps a bit too comfortable, if I do say so myself. Which I just did.

The first one is "Camaron que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente. [Shrimp that sleeps, the current takes.]" It is a cautionary tale about not being on top of things. Lest you be taken by the current. Thing is, a little bit of current hopping is not bad. What else is life, just constantly fighting against the tide? Nah, can't subscribe to that magazine. By the way, "Can't subscribe to that magazine" is copyrighted by Banal Hemorrhage productions.

The second one is dark as hell. "Cria cuervos y te sacaran los ojos. [Raise crows and they'll leave you …

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