Sunday, July 29, 2012

I am in a Cool, Dark Forest with Joe Manganiello...

Forgive me my pensive moment. I mean, I draw comics and post TV reviews here, so this rambling musing is going to seem a bit out of place, but I'm hoping for a little blog catharsis action, so ...

This is the first of many woefully misleading bears to appear in this blog.
Original image found here.

I am a peaceful person at heart. The kinder, softer aspect of my personality is the part of me that makes me proud of myself. I like to compliment people and I like to make them laugh. I hate to see someone in pain and I feel very protective towards people who seem vulnerable to me. I like these things about myself.

If I could hug the whole world, I totally would. For serials.
Original image found here.

The aspects of myself that I struggle with and loathe are those harder tendencies that we all have as humans: the tendency to be jealous, spiteful, angry, and mean. I work very hard not to indulge these tendencies, because I don't like the way others indulging them at my expense make me feel, and I don't like how I feel about myself in the aftermath of having lashed out in spite of my better judgment. But it's really hard. I've tried all manner of tricks, like making myself think something nice about someone for every mean thing that slips into my consciousness, or being even nicer to people I'm inclined to be unkind to, but I'm not a saint, so I screw up. And then self-flagellate for a good several days afterwards. It  turns into kind of a vicious cycle. The older I get, the more I find that I have to force myself to find a way to make up for the bad energy I let slip out into the world. And the more often I get too tired to try and make up for it at all, even if I still hate that I did it.

I hear they have cookies, too.
Original image found here.

My cure for feeling overwhelmed by the world has always been to withdraw from it, to shrink my presence down to the point where I'm the only one aware of it on a daily basis, at least in real life. To feed my need for human contact, I usually go eyeballs-deep into the internet, hunkered down like a quiet spider in the center of the worldwide web and sending the occasional tremors down the line just to reassure myself that I still have company of sorts. I get the feeling that this may not be a healthy coping mechanism. Nonetheless, it's tried and true, so it's how I do things.

"Step into my chat room," said the spider to the fly.
Original image can be found here.

The thing is, after going into "quiet spider" mode for a while when I was living in Fort Lauderdale, I've tried to start tiptoeing back out into the world. It's always hard readjusting. Being so long in my own company, I have the charm and conversational prowess of Wednesday Adams on an off-day. I end up having to try and relearn how to relate to other people and carry on a conversation. There's a FAQ-style prompt that pops up in my brain during social interactions, noting "this is where you say something nice back" or "now ask this person about his or herself." Essentially, I end up trying to regrow social skills with about as much success as Dr. Connors in "The Amazing Spiderman" had at trying to regrow his hand before he stumbled across Peter Parker's handy equation. (Let's just pretend that that pun was intended.) It's exhausting, and I end up having to take long breaks in between bouts of being a social creature again, because I just don't have the endurance to sustain a consistent level of charm for too long before I revert to that quiet weird girl who doesn't say much again. It's like I'm Cinderella and when the clock strikes midnight, I turn back into a pumpkin. Not into a mildly stunted chick living a life of enforced servitude, but into a big orange gourd filled with quivering goo.

At least, in this scenario, I still have my inner goo intact. This poor soul wasn't so lucky.
Original image can be found here.

Eventually, it does get better. But in the interim, ye gods, it's like learning to talk all over again.

What I always end up realizing during this process, while always still struggling in the background to discourage the less admirable aspects of my nature, is that surprise is my worst enemy. I tend to not see badness headed in my direction. There are probably clues, hints of trouble on the horizon that I miss in my daydreamy state, but the point is, I don't notice them. I often don't realize people are upset or angry with me until it comes to unpleasant words pouring from their mouths. I don't necessarily think the same way that other people do and I don't get bothered by the same things, so I usually have a Sheldon-esque moment of, "wait, was I supposed to know that?" while I'm in the midst of being dressed down for some perceived slight or indiscretion. The difference between me and our friend Sheldon Cooper (aside from him being a fictional genius and such) is that I actually care. I don't like upsetting people. I seldom actually meant to in the first place. But it is really difficult, when I'm startled or hurt by a rain of unexpected badness I never saw coming, to drum up any of those premeditated little charms that keep me from responding in a way I can't feel good about later. It's kind of like a turtle reflexively ducking back into his shell or a porcupine stiffening his quills. I feel like I need to protect myself, to deflect, to fight back, or seek aid. And I never feel good about anything I do when in defensive mode.

It should probably worry me that this is one of my role models.
Original image found here.

At the end of the day, I end up taking to heart both everything that hurt me about the other person being angry for the thing I didn't realize I was doing and everything I actually know I did wrong in response. I realize that this is fairly unremarkable, because I'm pretty sure just about everyone feels this way and those who don't are either lying to themselves or are sociopaths. Where I feel like I go the extra mile is in my utter inability to let things go. I just do not bounce back that well, choosing instead to stew over every negative encounter in this determined effort to figure out how it happened, where I went wrong, and what I can do to avoid it happening or at least see it coming the next time. But being oblivious is far too much a part of my nature, so no answer I've ever come up with has been able to help me avoid the storm of suck that keeps happening, or at least be properly braced for it.

This has started to make me yearn for a mountaintop somewhere far, far away where I'd have to drive a few hours from my well-provisioned cabin in the woods to encounter another human being. I'd take my dog, my colored pencils and my sketchpad, an armload of books, and my laptop.

Obviously, this is my daydream, so I have the elven ability to walk on snow like I have invisible snow shoes on.
Original image can be found here.

Once comfortably ensconced in a battered leather armchair, wrapped up in a warm knit blanket and surrounded by these few precious items, I'd be overjoyed, for a while, to hole up in peace and quiet and create things that make me happy. I'd draw things that made me laugh, and pictures of people who I admire and characters I made up in my head, and tape them all over the inside of my cabin walls. Between fits of immersing myself in the pages of a good book, I'd also take to my laptop and sculpt my own intricate worlds to play with. And this would soothe me, and restore the kind, peaceful parts of me back to being fully functioning again, and all would seem right with the world. At least until I got myself eaten by a bear. Or until I realized that there's no reliable internet connection in the middle of nowhere and died of Twitter-withdrawal. But, man, up until then, it would be a blast.

Somehow, I feel misled by Hanna-Barbera's suggestion that all a bear really wants is your "pic-a-nic basket."
Original image here.

Unfortunately, like most of the folks in the world, I cannot afford to leave work unexpectedly and go hole up in a cabin. And being as all that I recall from 13 years as a Girl Scout is that you must wear your bandanna at the fire pit and that there are no snipes at the snipe hunt, I rather think I'm romanticizing the concept of being one with nature in my cabin in the woods a bit too much. Nonetheless, my odd little dreams have always been what keeps me going no matter how frustrated I am, so at least in my head, I'm going to go to keep painting a picture of that cabin in the woods, and that peace and quiet, until everything stops seeming so very, very shitty.

Ah, there we are. Catharsis.

Author's Note: Hopefully, you recognize the soothing mantra of the title as a bastardization of the exchange in "Wayne's World." The actual exchange went like this: 

 WAYNE: OK, you're in a forest.
 GARTH: Forest?
 WAYNE: With Heather Locklear.
 GARTH: With Heather?
 WAYNE: And you're very warm. Very...
 GARTH: ...warm?
 WAYNE: Warm.

Original image found here.

For more "Wayne's World" nostalgia, check out this on-line version of the script.Or, uh, watch it or something. I think it's on DVD by now, right?

The Visual Guide to Redneck Burns

Ok, so maybe it's just one redneck burn in particular, but nonetheless, just in case one needs a visual aid...

Burn on who? That's right, burn on you, Jimmy.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

In Reedus We Trust

Now you know what people really mean when they speak of spending a "pretty penny."

Plus, A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Nerd:

This is my "yeaaah" face.

Oh, just a general note: feel free to use my drawings elsewhere, but please do link back. It's just proper netiquette, right? And while anyone who so chooses has my permission to display the pics with proper attribution, please don't do anything profit-y with them. That wouldn't be cool. And I am a licensed attorney, after all. ;)

***EDIT: I sent the original of this drawing, plus a t-shirt made based on the "People in Hell want Slurpees" picture to Norman Reedus and he put them on his blog. Click here to see with your own peepers.****

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Prediction for Walking Dead, Season Three

Merle's coming back next season, and of course, the hand-related puns just write themselves. Of course, I'd as soon mock a badass like Merle Dixon as I would try to tickle a polar bear, and I assume in both cases I'd get eviscerated. Nonetheless, I just had to express these notions in a little comic strip. And because Glenn is the perfect candidate for the insert-foot-in-mouth moment, well, this is the result.

UPDATE: I gave this picture to Steven Yeun at Dragon*Con 2012 and he was very sweet. He insisted that he was going to tape it up immediately and kept saying, "that is so good!" *blushing* Was very gratifying. Albeit, I tweeted at him later that I forgot to sign it, and he tweeted a thanks back, and then I looked at this blog and went, "Oh my God. I did sign it. I am SO blonde." So, you know, hopefully he didn't think I was just being a total attention whore. :P

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Puff, the Magic Dragon, Lived By the Sea

Somewhere along the line, though, he lost the drive for frolicking in the autumn mist.

Disclaimer: The author of this website thinks the idea of a stoner dragon is funny, but is in no way endorsing the use of illegal drugs.