romance #1

Everyone has a first. This is my first. Goofy, absurdist comedy with little point or depth, only there is point, there is depth, only no point, but interpretation of a point and Jesus, I’ve been listening to too much Night Vale.

All hail.

Target: 200 words
Written: 792 words, comic: Romance #1

Read: 5 Steps To Controlling High Blood Pressure, Mayo Clinic (not be confused with the Mustard Wellness Centre)
Comics: Mind The Gap 17 (damn it, McCann, give us the rest of the story! I'm hooked. I have questions! Questions that demand answers, damn it! Once more with feeling!)
Music: Question The Answers, Mighty Mighty Bosstones (that's fucking soulmusic right there - spaceless intended)

one man’s war

Is another person’s bowl of Corn Flakes he doesn’t even realize he’s eating.

I started writing Romance as a one-shot goof-off. Now, I realize it’s a one-shot goof-off as metaphor for how doing something in one person’s life can feel like fighting World War 3, while in another’s, it’s something they do by rote and forget they even did seconds later.

One man’s Everest is another man’s small puddle.

Probably why so many “nice” guys feel so entitled; the mental and emotional struggle, the days of build-up, the pining, the obsessing, the fantasies, the creation of a mythos around a particular girl that has no bearing in reality to who she is, what she’s done or what her motivations are… when it doesn’t work out, it’s devastating.

From the other side, the woman might be aware of the guy’s infatuation, she might not be. It might be an irritation to her or something that goes completely unnoticed because, you know, she has her own life and it’s not up to her to play the role of trophy for some dude. Unless she’s specifically using him for free shit or whatever, there’s no blame on the person for this (and I’ve known women like that – one in particular who knew damn well who had the hots for her and turned it to her advantage for all kinds of free shit).

Ultimately, it’s up to the dude to reconcile fantasy and reality; to control his mind so that he doesn’t put so much stock in something that likely isn’t attainable, or at the very least, won’t be what he thought it was. The onus isn’t on the woman. Even the user, taking advantage as she was – it was the boys that had the power, really.

They just had to decide she wasn’t such a big deal, that there were other opportunities, other women, ones more likely to be interested and to be compatible. You know, someone that actually wants to be with you and treats you well, and who you want to be with and treat well in return.

They exist.

They’re just not that one.

Target: 200 words
Written: 3756 words, comic: Romance #1

Read: 5 Steps To Controlling High Blood Pressure, Mayo Clinic
Comics: Mind The Gap 13-16
Music: Quake, Nine Inch Nails (why??)


Life’s full of them.

See what I did there?

Target: 200 words
Written: 2190 words, comic: Romance #1

Read: Get It Done When You're Depressed, Julie Fast
Comics: Mind The Gap 9-12
Music: Quadrophenia (Soundtrack), The Who ("is it me, for a moment?")

for a moment…

for a moment…

for a moment…


I love the absurd. More specifically, I love absurd that knows it’s absurd and leans into it. I don’t like weird for weird; people being weird but taking themselves seriously over it.

But absurd and knowing it? Not caring and laughing along? Leaning into it?

It’s why movies like Evil Dead 2 and Army Of Darkness were so brilliant. It’s why once Legends Of Tomorrow realized how ridiculous they were, the show got infinitely better, contributing one of the single best season finales I’ve seen on any show ever. Beebo, anyone?

It’s why Airplane, The Naked Gun and Major League were instant classics. It’s why Monty Python works. It’s the basis for Seinfeld and Community.

To embrace the absurd is to embrace ourselves, our foibles, our fuck-ups, our downright stupidity. It’s to understand the utter ridiculousness of the human mind and human condition and find a way to laugh along with it. Humanity is exposed by comedy; our self-importance is flayed by absurdity.

There is no one more at peace than the one who is not only perfectly comfortable being absurd, but perfectly aware of how absurd they are.

Target: 200 words
Written: 389 words, comic: Romance #1

Read: Get It Done When You're Depressed, Julie Fast
Comics: Mind The Gap 5-8
Music: Quadrophenia, Discs 1 and 2, The Who

romance is nice though, right?

And funny? I’m not sure romance can exist without laughter. If your romance doesn’t involve a lot of giggling and/or full out hysterics at times, well, it’s too serious.

Life’s too short to be serious. Love is fun and playful, as well as committed and supportive, protective and helpful. All in, as they say.

Laughter is often about ourselves; it’s about growth, about forgiveness, about letting go of worry and enjoying the absurd. Life’s a torrent of insanity, to have someone to laugh through it with (and cry with, as necessary), that’s a blessing.

Target: 100 words
Written: 250 words, comic: Romance #1

Read: Get It Done When You're Depressed, Julie Fast (because, duh)
Comics: Mind The Gap 1-4
Music: Zooropa, U2

rejection what?

It’s funny. I started writing a one-shot goofball comic about a guy trying to ask a girl out (romance!) and having to jump absurd hurdles to do so, and somehow, it’s not about romance.

It’s about rejection.

It’s also about hope.

It’s also about the crushing of hope, and how, after enough, sometimes, it’s best to give up.

Fuck it, right?

There’s no point in chasing the unattainable, especially when the unattainable isn’t even aware of your existence. What’s World War II to one can be unnoticeable to another, a leaf skittering past on a busy street.

Such is the nature of the universe. We think ourselves and our stories as all-consumingly important, but the entire existence of our species is a boson lost among countless others in the grander scheme of a universe filled with red giants and black holes.

Our importance is vastly overrated, to all but ourselves.

We jump through the hoops because of self-importance; we let go when it doesn’t work out only if we recognize it really doesn’t matter, and life’s too short to obsess.

Am I right?

Or do we cling on until all hope is lost? Obsession feeds on itself, doesn’t it?

Target: 100 words
Written: 185 words, comic: Romance #1

Book: Choose Yourself, James Altucher (ugh, the worst example of self-help - too busy being self-promotional and espousing financial success as the only measuring stick while pretending to spirituality - all is love, but fuck everyone, get yours!  It's clear he's full of shit through and through.  Never trust anyone who repeatedly tells how great they are, but only provides concrete examples of the opposite).
Comic: Pretty Deadly: The Rat 3-5 (and one of the big reasons I'm thinking about obsession today, thanks KSD).
Music: Zig's on 2004-07-01, State Radio (bootleg!  Sorry, guys, get back together and I'll come see a concert - you're vastly underrated)

working for disappointment

Rejection is a thing. I’m a wannabe writer and I’m not Brad Pitt or Wayne Gretzky, so naturally, rejection comes with the territory. Nobody’s beating down my doors because I’m so good at what I do or because I have a terrific eight-pack or symmetrical face.

Interlude: I’m married to a wonderful woman, so don’t take that as looking. It just means pre-wife, things weren’t so super easy. I did okay sometimes, but yeah. Nice guys finish last for good reason (and I have a lot to say about the mistaken belief that somehow the “nice guy” is getting screwed by the “asshole” – it’s a largely false narrative propagated by John Hughes that ultimately drives a level of delusion and entitlement in normal men that is absolutely toxic. Thanks, John Hughes, for inspiring incels).

Ultimately, it has nothing to do with nice or asshole, anyway. Lots of “nice” guys are actually dicks, and the “asshole” may actually be a great guy. The asshole may also be an asshole, and the nice guy may be a nice guy as well, just super insecure or shy. Like I said, false narrative.

Anyway, #rantoff. Back to writing.

Target: 100 words
Written: 182 words, comic: Romance #1

Read: Choose Yourself, James Altucher
Comics: Pretty Deadly 9-10, Pretty Deadly: The Rat 1-2
Music: Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Zephyr Song (like, 3 different single versions. I have a problem.)

the ineffable hat

“This hat is ineffable,” he said.

She had to agree. The way it contoured his head, at once enlarging and somehow, amplifying his cranium, struck her as near impossible. Unexplainable.

“Might I try it?” she asked.

He agreed, but only on the terms that she have a hat of her own. There was a flash as the man spun in a wild, enthusiastic gambol. Light emanated from atop his head. She held up her hands to shield her eyes and something dropped into her lap – a brand new hat. She picked the newly formed hat up in her hands and examined it closely, before placing it on her head. There was something wonderful about the hat, at once masterfully complex and wonderfully benign.

The hat was indeed ineffable, she decided, faceted as it was to astutely represent the whole of the deftly transcendent and the undeniably simple. How like life, she thought, as the man bounded away, hat both askew and not askew – a multifarious and crystalline explosion, reflected and refracted in impossible planes and colours through infinite refinement, on simplistic foundations. She adjusted the hat on her head. A passerby smiled at her.

“Nice hat.”

“Yes,” she returned the smile. “It’s ineffable.”

Target: 100 words
Written: 213 words, short story: The Ineffable Hat

Read: Choose Yourself by James Altucher
Comics: Pretty Deadly 5-8
Music: Waltz #2, Elliott Smith, Zeitgeist, Smashing Pumpkins

flower is a flower

A flower is nothing but stem, leaves, roots and seed. But the variations are endless and can range from medicinal to delicious to fatal.

When we talk about a flower, we all know what mean. It’s simple.

But when we think of the multitude of different types, their functions and forms, how they interact with the ecosystem around them, from feeding bees to eating flies, their symbiosis with the soil, air and water in the world around them… it’s grandiose in its complexity.

Simple to complex. These are the things that make me happy.

Target: 100 words
Written: 844 words, short story: The Ineffable Hat

Read: Ice Cream & Sadness by Cyanide & Happiness
Comics: Pretty Deadly 1-4
Music: XO by Elliott Smith


I’m a bit obsessed with systems, I’ll confess.

There’s a profound beauty in a well-designed system. The base is always a simple concept; in the variations and expansions, there comes complexity.

But it all boils down to a simple flow.

Systems based on complexity break easily. It’s like building a building without understanding the concepts of squares and triangles, circles and arches. Like saying the best way to describe a circle is to start with a Moebius strip.

I think that’s why I have such a difficult time getting into things that bow too hard to pretense and cleverness; people doing weird to seem smarter or cooler or whatever; it’s all such a show and a pathetic one at that. Like complex for complexity’s sake, it’s a thin premise that collapses easily.

Target: 100 words
Written: 211 words, short story: The Ineffable Hat

Read: Hot Sex by Jamye Waxman, Emily Morse (nice visuals, appreciated the inclusivity, but yeah - still read like a bad Cosmopolitan article, as though they'd Googled the answers, instead of living them).
Comic: Wytches 5-6, Wytches: Bad Egg (such a terrific series with very personal themes on parenting; I wish the makers had more time for it).
Linkin Park - Xero (early LP, pre-Chester.  Very similar to later LP, post-Chester).