Episode 41: Monsters in Your Head

Alright, the comic returns!

It should’ve been posted earlier, but I had a wicked gut-ache from all the overeating I’ve done on my birthday weekend, and could hardly focus on anything. But that’s another story.

I know I said I wanted to do a whole week-long marathon dealie when I started the comic back up, but I think instead I’ll take advantage of being a couple comics ahead and try to stick with a Monday and Friday schedule instead.

-I’m going to go mainline some pepto bismol into my abdomen now. So glad I took today off too. Gurgle.

sic

A resolute New Year

WELCOME TO THE FUTURE!!!
Ever since the turn of the millenium, I’ve wanted to say that instead of Happy New Year, while waving my hands in grandiose fashion, motioning to whatever happens to be behind me.

But I don’t. Maybe I’ll start actually doing that in 2010, it’ll just feel extra futuristical then.

I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions in at least a decade, not because I’m ‘too cool for your sad-ass traditions’ (which is the vibe I seem to get from a lot of people who choose not to better themselves this time of year) but rather because it’s always felt like a recipe for failure. In fact, the common belief that New Year’s resolutions are doomed to fail makes them that much harder to commit to, and give a person an easier out if they cannot follow through.

“New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, hahaha”

“Yeah, well, you’re still an overweight chainsmoking, uncharitable baby-punching, alcoholic asshole.”

“Well, you’re right, but hey, there’s always next year!”

The whole notion of resolving to change things about yourself on January first, while noble and brave and ideal and timely, simply becomes tainted and cursed by the pressure and stigma of being some grandiose NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION thing.

So unless you’re the kind of person who is willing to take charge in spite of internal obstacles and struggles, and can stick to a change with little difficulty (in which case you probably make resolutions all the time, and accomplish them without even thinking about it and I hate you) then you are probably like me, and are fairly certain that making a resolution is just foreshadowing failure and self-loathing, and I don’t know about you, but I get enough of that foreshadowing in my daily life, so why magnify it when it’s a brand new year?

So now that I’ve said that, I’m about to sort of contradict myself a little bit, but not really.

Like everyone except for maybe David Hasselhoff and Lindsey Lohan, there are things about me which I would like to improve on and change, and personal goals I would like to work towards. I’d like to work on adopting a healthier lifestlye, lose some weight, exercise more, do more writing, be more creative, the usual kind of shit.

But instead of making blanket statements of resolution, I thought maybe a more productive approach would be to find ways to help me start the baby-stepping progress I require to get me moving in the direction of achieving some of my goals.

Fortunately, I know what some of my major obstacles are;

I’m oblivious: You can ask my poor suffering wife about this one. I’ll see a commercial on TV, and laugh at it, and she’ll look at me like I’m a moron.

‘We’ve seen that commercial a dozen times already.’

‘This is the first time I’ve seen it.’

‘No, it isn’t.’

‘Hmm, well, it’s the first time I’ve noticed it then.’

It’s tough to achieve goals when I’m almost totally oblivious to what’s going on around me. I just sort of ladeedah through life, until something important steps on my face and makes me notice, and a person’s goals rarely step on one’s face, nor do they fall into one’s lap, at least, not very often. I need to try to pay more attention.

I don’t care: While I usually enjoy having a pretty much [I]laissez faire[/I] attitude about life in general, and I think it’s important not to get too stressed about most of the shit that life throws under your feet, there’s a time and a place, I think, for at least giving a shit, and when it comes to goals, my attitude traditionally is to not give one.

‘The world isn’t gonna implode if I don’t get a comic done this week’
-True enough, but what could happen for me, for my creative mind, for my personal sense of success, and perhaps some kind of monetary success down the road if I DID get a comic done every week? I know what happens when I DON’T follow through with shit, so maybe I should explore the opposite of that for once.

‘I want another slice of Ikea cake,(it’s sooo good, and gluten-free!) so I’m going to have one, it’s no big deal.’
-Well, sure, but maybe if I instead got up and walked off the first piece, and eventually dropped some pounds and gained some fitness, I wouldn’t feel as old and crappy and worn out as I do. But hey, if I don’t care, and just lay on the couch all evening, I don’t have to worry about feeling all that until I climb the everest that is the staircase and wheeze myself to sleep once the advil have kicked in.

I need to start taking an active role in my own life, care a bit more about things worth caring about, and find ways to hold myself accountable that include the least amount of pressure and guilt possible, because I don’t work well with either.

So, the first step in my process to embettering and ingoalanizing myself is to track myself (in the way that doesn’t involve investigating the footprints and scat I leave behind, though that can be a pretty fun time). With not caring and being oblivious comes the inability to hold ones self accountable, for better or for worse. For me, before I work to change, I need to see where I’m at, and with any luck, in the mere process of tracking my actions, or lack thereof, I will find myself caring and paying attention and even doing a little bit of the work to change in a positive direction. If I know myself at all, (and if my scat doesn’t lie) this is one of the best ways I can think of to get my balls rolling, as it were.

So far, I’ve found 3 little web applications that are helping me do this. Lifehacker had a bunch of links to things that help one stick to Resolutions, and most of them weren’t for me, but a few looked promising enough for me to use.

The first one I’ve been using I saw mentioned in a 2008 Procrastinator’s Organizer that we got the nephew for Christmas, and it is called Fitday. Fitday is a tool that lets you enter what kind of lifestyle you have, height and weight, and any goals you have as far as weight is concerned. Then, you enter the food that you eat on a daily basis, as well as activities that you do throughout the day, and it gives you an easy glimpse of what you’re doing to yourself, for better or worse (in my case worse)

From there you can generate different reports on your progress and all that, but my main purpose is to simply have that food and exercise diary that so many people say is helpful in the endeavour to lose weight and gain fitness. It’s easy to use, and for me, it really helps me both notice and care about what I’m shoveling into my maw. Having to do that extra step of adding the food to the tracker forces me to think a second time about everything I eat, and I think that even in the few days that I’ve been using fitday, it’s probably prevented me from eating crap I otherwise wouldn’t have even realized I’d eaten.

The other 2 apps that I’ve taken a shine to are brilliant in their simple execution; Joes Goals and Don’t Break The Chain

Essentially they have the same idea, to track on a daily basis whether you do or do not accomplish a task. Don’t Break The Chain comes from productivity advice that was originally handed down from that guy who always wanted to know if you’ve ever noticed the same things he noticed, Mr. Jerry Seinfeld. In order to ensure that he was always working on his comedy, Seinfeld challenged himself to work on his writing (and presumably his noticing of things) every day, so he bought one of those big wall sized calenders, and for every day that he worked on his writing, he would mark the day with a big red X. After that, his goal was to get as many X’s in a row as possible on the calender, and not to break the chain. So the site is basically just a calender that you can set up with multiple goals, and X them out on the days you complete said tasks.

Joe’s Goals is similar, except that you can place positive and negative tasks, and for each positive task you complete, you get a point, and for every negative one, you lose a point, making somewhat of a game out of it. You can also put multiple checks or x’s on a given day, so if your goal is something as noble as ‘giving footjobs to homeless blind people’, and you manage to find three willing jobees in one day, you get three points, as well as feet covered in bumcum. Hooray for winning!

Of course, any of these three sites could just as easily be done on a piece of paper. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I was raised by video and board games, or just pure laziness, but for me, these little apps are much more interesting and easier to stick to.

So this year, instead of resolving to do anything, or to NOT do anything, I guess I’ve chosen the route of trying; trying to pay more attention, trying to care, and trying to hold myself accountable for the things I do and don’t do.

Well, that was long and probably boring, but hopefully it was informative and a touch inspiring to somebody, (or gave some hobo with internet access and a foot fetish a little hope and wood) and whether you’re resolving, trying, saying fuck it, or still too bloated on gravy, pie and booze to come to your senses, I hope 2008 brings you all a little bit closer to your goals then you were last year.

Derailed By The Shoulder of Doom.

So I finally updated misplaced on Friday, which felt really good. I also managed to redesign the whole comic portion of the site, with some extras and some brief cast profiles. It’s really looking cleaned up and simplified, which is completely what I was going for. Hooray for me.

Now I had lofty goals for the weekend, to get more of the rest of the site falling in line with the comic pages, design-wise, and get another episode ready for Monday (tomorrow). Unfortunately, after bathing, brushing, trimming and tooth-brushing the dog this morning, my left shoulder, which has been intermittently fucked for a few years now, decided to flare up, making me pretty much useless.

Well, more useless than normal.

So far, I’ve used this super-menthol power muscle rub, ice packs, heat packs, a massager, and codeine, and all it’s made me is stoned, smelly, beat-up, and still in pain. I think the only real solution left for me is to sharpen an ice cream scoop and go to town with it on my scapula and whatever evil lurks beneath.

In happier news, as of Thursday, we’ll have all new kitchen appliances, and we’re very much looking forward to that. About 2 years ago, our dishwasher started making sounds like a garbage disposal with half a toddler jammed in it, and when I investigated, it looked like pieces of the pump had become damaged and bound up in the pump itself. Thought about having someone take a look at it, but for what it would cost to have a guy come out, inspect, come back again with parts and repair the thing, we figured we might as well just get something new.

As for the fridge, about two months ago it started to make a loud noise every time the compressor turned off, and that noise has turned into something similar to a semi-truck gearing down. And the stove we have has a timer that doesn’t work (in fact it took some creative jiggling of the thing to keep it from going off at random) and neither the burners nor the oven are consistent. We have to use thermometers inside the oven, because when it’s set to something like 300 degrees, it will magically heat up to over 600, and other times 250. This can make baking a less than successful ordeal.

Again, maybe repairable, but we found a great deal on all three new, better brand name appliances, with warranties, delivery, removal of the old ones, installation included, and from a very reliable place we’ve dealt with before.

Long story short, as of Thursday, no more hand washing dishes! Magical!

The codeine is making it more difficult to remain conscious, so off I go. Tomorrow I’ll have to tell the story about the magic vampire…

Oh, and I know the design of this blog sucks right now, but as soon as I get the feel for editing wordpress, it should become more my style.

Episode 39: See you next fall.

After a hell of a long time away, it’s back! And with a horribly punny title, but what else would you expect?

The sad thing is, I shot the pics for this one back in march, but I just lost whatever drive I had to update, and that combined with a very busy summer made it easy to neglect the whole thing for a while.

Also, I had planned episode 40 to basicaly be the end of this part of the story arc, and last ‘season’, so after the next comic update, there may be a bit of a break while I sort out the next part of the story, but I plan to make it up with another week-long marathon ‘season premier’ week.

Enjoy the comic, and the new look, and whatever other goodies I have in place by the time you read this!

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