A Creative, Inspiring, Lovely Lobster!

Have you ever read someone’s blog and thought to yourself, “How are you so witty AND talented AND positive?! It’s just not fair!” Well, life’s not fair. But that’s okay. The way I see it is, it could go one of two ways; either life IS fair and we’re all just carbon copy caricatures of the exact same prototype, or life’s NOT fair and we get amazing people like Danica Piche. I think we’re doing alright.

Recently, Ms. Piche (I have no idea if that’s a pseudonym or a foreign phrase or a real name. Not that it matters, I’m just sayin’. Also, of course you can call me Mike) nominated me for a Creative Blogger Award:

I’m honored and humbled and a little horrified, thank you so much. Go, read her, be amazed and jealous, then sit around all smiley. I insist!

On with the show!

The rules for this award are:
° Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media/blogs
° Thank and post the link of the blog that nominated you
° Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers
° Pass these rules on to them

First, the nominees! (and some random musings about each…)

Sarcastic Goat!

They may not be the goat we need, but they’re the goat we deserve. For a very long time, I thought then blog was just about randomness and hilarity; then I realized that occasionally they will drop something pretty serious/thought-provoking. Also, they seem to be as uncomfortable with awards as I am, so “HAHA!”

Carnack!

This man is a writer, and a genuinely good person. I recently took a break from blogging, something like 1-3 months (more on that later) and was dismayed when I returned to discover his old blog was gone. Also, WP has been unkind in the past week and I hadn’t seen his more recent posts, and I missed out on the opportunity to have a good conversation about unnecessary censorship and the state of comics in general. (FWIW, I’ll just add that I gave DC a pass when they ruined The Authority, but their neutering of John Constantine was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me) Since his own triumphant return, he’s only got 9 followers. That’s an injustice that must be set right. This man, his thoughts, and his writing deserve better. Don’t take my word for it, check him out.

My Friday Blog!

I know he no longer accepts awards, but cancer-survivor, husband and all-around rock star Josh Wrenn is not the boss of me! (Please don’t block me, I love reading your stuff! Also, I have no idea how blocking works on WordPress…)

Maggie’s Blog!

A beautiful dog with the soul of a poet. She also happens to be much smarter than some humans I’ve known.

Zen And Pi!

Lisa thinks a LOT. She’s incredibly smart and talented, and you should definitely give her a read (maybe especially if you’re dumb and inept).

Aubrey Dix!

Another blogger with a criminally low reader count. Aubrey writes about everyday life, crafting, her family, celiac disease; another incredibly positive person who I love to read. Her life is very normal, and I didn’t have that, so I enjoy it immensely. (Although, now that I think about it, maybe that’s weird…is it weird?)

A Ghost Dancer!

I haven’t been following Michelle long, but she’s very inspirational for me. She’s lived a real life (not that anyone reading this has led a fake life; I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about her) and is not afraid to write about it.

Last but definitely not least:

Work For The Cause Not The Applause!

I think most people probably know someone who’s deeply religious, and every time they see them they may think, “ugh, it’s them again…here we go!” Melissa is NOT THAT PERSON. I believe that if more people practiced their faith the way that she does, the world would be an infinitely better place. I don’t like to gush, but she’s awesome.


 

Honorable mention and another heartfelt thanks goes out to Nerd In The Brain! She already has ALL the awards, but that’s because she deserves them. Also, she sent me an iTunes gift card for winning her first cipher competition, and it came with a sweet, science-themed Valentine’s Day card that included a glow-in-the-dark sticker of the moon (which now adorns my laptop!).


 

That’s right, everyone gets exclamation points.

Five Facts About Me: (notice: some facts may be recycled. this is for the benefit of new readers and has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I’m running out of facts about me!)

1.

Tomorrow, we leave for a family vacation to New Orleans. I’ll be there with S. and her mom and step-father (who are incredible people and understand that the way I am is just the way I am and is not something that can be changed and is in no way a reflection on them or their opinions of me, which are mostly positive…) I haven’t been to New Orleans since shortly after my marriage failed, years and years ago. Nick and I went for two weeks, which I remember as nothing but a haze of booze-fueled debauchery. We briefly toyed with the idea of relocating there, but agreed that if we did we’d accomplish nothing with our lives; so we returned home, where we both fell into drug addiction, he eventually ended his life, and I became a bitter, soulless ex-junkie. I’m cautiously anticipating a good time.

2.

I have a real problem with time, which is why I can’t recall how long or even how long ago my blogging break was. I know I could find out by checking the gap, but it doesn’t really matter to me. It’s a running joke around here that everything occurred either “last week” or “about three years ago”.

3.

I hate to sound like a hipster, but so many things I see today make me think, “I did that before it was cool.”

When I was “about” 22 (see number two above), I remember walking through the mall with my then-girlfriend on the way to the theater. We passed a group of young girls (about 14-16) and their mothers exiting a shop which was a sort of precursor to what Hot Topic is nowadays. The entire group was ooh-ing and aah-ing over their new piercings, which were located in various visible places; eyebrows, lips, noses, etc. I excused myself, stepped into the men’s room, and removed the 7 facial piercings I’d had for years because ugh, just no. I was required to wear a hat at every job I had because colored and/or wildly patterned hair wasn’t accepted like it is today, and years before men began painting their fingernails to “subvert societal norms,” I did it because I was a sneaker-whore with a ton of shoes and I liked that I was able to match my nail color with whatever shoes I happened to be wearing.

I’m not surly or resentful about these things, I actually think it helps to reinforce the entire idea of my blog. You ain’t special, but only because no one else is either.

4.

I will never blog about domestic violence, and I will sum up why in a few short sentences. I was a victim. I was stabbed and nearly killed. I was arrested. I am a man.

5.

I really like tattoos, and eagerly anticipate getting more. More specifically, I’ve always said that the only comic-related tattoo I would ever consider getting would be The Joker. Seeing as how it’s his 75th anniversary this year, that’s my next one. I’m fairly certain that this; combined with the fact that I’m a white male atheist who enjoys video games and comic books; will, if the online attitudes are any indication, actually transform me into the Anti-Christ. LOL

Bonus Fact!

I suck at social media because I hate it; both the social and the media.


 

That was so much fun…I have to go wash away all these feelings.

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Comics Like Batgirl Shouldn’t Require a ‘Good Feminist’ Seal of Approval

youretheworst:

Remember! Almost nothing is about YOU! :)

Originally posted on TIME:

A backlash against a Batgirl comic book cover some perceived as sexually violent has caused the cover to be withdrawn — leading to a backlash against perceived censorship. Sexism in popular culture is a valid concern. But when feminist criticism becomes an outrage machine that chills creative expression, it’s bad for feminism and bad for female representation. Making artists, writers, filmmakers, and even audiences walk on eggshells for fear of committing thoughtcrime against womanhood is no way to encourage quality art or enjoyable entertainment — not to mention the creation of good female characters.

The controversial artwork, by Rafael Albuquerque, showed Joker smearing a bloody grin on Batgirl’s frightened face, his arm draped over her shoulder with a gun in his hand. This was an upcoming variant cover for an issue of the Batgirl comic, part of a series of Joker-themed comic covers for the iconic villain’s 75th anniversary…

View original 934 more words

Never?

Whenever I hear or read any variation of the phrase “violence is never the answer”, I get a little twitch in my left eyelid. The first thought that usually springs to mind is “Doesn’t that kind of depend on the question?” Say, for instance, you’re at your favorite dive bar and the local coke dealer has an issue with you because you unknowingly “stole” his best friends girlfriend. This guy’s 6’6″ and over 300 lbs., and no amount of reasoning or rational thinking is making the space between him and the door any clearer, no one will attempt to calm him down because they don’t want to run the risk of being excluded from the candy shop. Suppose he shoves you a couple of times, and no amount of pleading or cajoling from your mutual friends will calm him down? Then he throws a punch and misses; it’s a bad punch, laughable in fact. As you’re laughing, he tells one of his buddies to make sure you “don’t go anywhere, I got something in the car for his ass.” Is that a different story? Is violence the answer at that point?

How about if it’s a group of “punk” kids who spend their time living in a squat downtown, and you know the only reason they’re attempting to lean on you is because they won’t admit that it was a bad idea to host bare-knuckle boxing matches in their living room, and the ex-marine amateur boxer that you accidentally put through a window already told them to “get fucked” and they’re more afraid of him than you? Do you buckle and eat the cost of the window, or do you repeatedly tell them, in the face of their increasing threats, that you’re not paying for a window for an “abandoned” property and the first person who throws a punch is “absolutely, without a doubt, going to get the fucking worst of it”?

I’m not a violent person, but I can fake it. I grew up in a violent household in a violent neighborhood. I was always the shy, quiet kid with my nose in a book, I couldn’t have been a more tempting target if I’d painted a bulls-eye on my back. Maybe it was due to the fact that the internet wasn’t around, maybe it was because we all lived in abject poverty, I don’t know, all I know is we fought a lot. Most times, I guess, it just seemed like a welcome alternative to boredom. We fought each other, we fought kids from other neighborhoods, strangers, drunks, drug addicts; anyone and everyone, sometimes with good reason, sometimes with no reason at all.

Of course, most of us outgrew it by the time we reached adulthood; the ones who didn’t are mostly dead or in jail. Even as an adult, I’ve been in an inordinate amount of fights. Not nearly so many now since I quit all my bad habits, but that’s more to do with the sort of people I’m around. Even at my worst, I was never a troublemaker, just the guy people took comfort in knowing was around if there happened to be trouble. I’m more of a talker, I will always exhaust every option available before I even consider violence, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t comfortable knowing it’s on the table. I’m not cocky with it, it’s just something I happen to be good at; and sometimes people ARE NOT RATIONAL, no matter how much we wish they were.

I find it funny that nearly everyone I talk to has that story, you know the one; they always start off sounding kind of remorseful and humble, but the tale inevitably turns to “that time I had to unleash the beast,”  and holy shit was it glorious! Again, a question springs to mind; “What the fuck are you talking about?” I try to tell them, “That’s you, there’s no mythological beast, or uncontrollable animal urges bursting forth taking the place of you. You’re not The Incredible Hulk, someone just pushed you too far, too hard. That’s just the inevitable outcome.” Every single person I’ve ever had this conversation with denies it, like it’s something to be ashamed of; I don’t get that.

I am not glorifying violence. Fighting hurts, even if you “win”. I’ve got scars on my hands, on my head, I’ve been hit with just about everything somebody could hit someone with; bats, bottles, bricks, cinder blocks, bike chains, tire irons, etc., etc….that shit hurts. It doesn’t change the fact that someday it may be necessary. Some time you may find yourself in a place where there is literally no other alternative. If you’ve never had to fight, that’s awesome, I wish I had had that option. I just can’t believe that it’s “never the answer.” I’ll accept “almost”.


 

And…that’s my review of last night’s episode of The Walking Dead. Remember, you may not think it right now, but Rick is right!

 

The Elevator

We sat lined up on the curb — Nick, me, and Liz — sweating and tripping balls, mouths agape, surrounded by loud, boisterous youth as we watched the surreal scene play itself out across the street. A fight had spilled out of the McDonald’s, and several young men in their work uniforms were currently engaged in beating the hell out of another, larger gentleman. He’d ceased fighting, and instead seemed to be firmly focused on remaining upright while facing an assault from fists, feet, mop handles, and other assorted instruments. A few minutes went by and, with their target lying face-down in the gutter, the fast food employees shuffled back into the restaurant. We stood and turned to enter the liquor store when the revitalized sounds of the gathered crowd prompted us to turn around, just in time to witness one of the employees emerge with a large order of french fries. “You forgot your fries, motherfucker!” he yelled, dumping them on the head of the unconscious fellow.

Standing in line at the liquor store, there was definitely a party vibe in the air. Most of the patrons had just come from witnessing the hilarious fight, so there was lots of laughing and good-natured joking about french fries and bad customer service. As we waited for our turn with the cashier, snug as a bug behind their bullet-proof glass, a tall, skinny, shirtless fellow approached us. “You guys here for the convention?” he asked. “Y’all look fuuucked up.” The way he dragged the syllables out made me smile, and we all nodded. We made convivial small talk for a few minutes, then he reached over and tugged at my hoodie. “This thing,” he said, holding up the pocket with my Dead Kennedy’s patch, “I don’t know about everyone else, but this makes me a little uncomfortable.” Several other people echoed his sentiment.

Before I had a chance to respond, Liz started talking. “Actually, if you’d look closer you’d see the red line through the swastika, it’s obviously an ANTI- nazi patch. There’s no reason for anybody to be upset…”

Nick was rubbing his hands up and down her arms, attempting to quietly hush her, when our new-found friend turned his attention toward her, his smile vanishing in an instant. “Yeah, I got that, it don’t change the fact that some people just ain’t trying to see that shit.”

“It’s all good man, don’t sweat it.” I removed my jacket and tied it around my waist. “Ain’t the first time people had a problem with it, sure it won’t be the last.” We continued to talk, mainly about the city and various neighborhoods, as Nick and Liz procured the booze. Liz’s trip had begun to take a turn for the worse, so the three of us rushed out of the store and hurried back to the hotel.

Even at 2:30 a.m., the hotel was in full swing. The masquerade was still ongoing, and the lobby was full of colorfully costumed people in various states of inebriation. Liz sat on the floor hugging a large potted plant as Nick and I perused the white board hanging near the bank of elevators, trying to determine our next move. The elevator finally arrived, and we coaxed Liz away from her new friend the plant while several other folks held the door for us. She buried her face in Nick’s shoulder and babbled incoherently as we started the ride to the top floor.

Nick and I were discussing our options, trying to choose between “hammered DnD” and “all night anime, free party favors”, when one of the other riders spoke up. “Guys, we’re having a party, you should all come to room 614.” We glanced at each other, then warily eyed the group of strangers. Finally, Nick asked, “What kinda party? Is there a theme?”

The group, three men and two women, began to giggle like school-children as one of the guys said, “It’s a poly party.” As I was saying, “That’s not my scene,” and Nick was saying, “We’re good, thanks,” Liz chimed in with, “What’s a poly party? I went to Poly (meaning her high school)!” I groaned, and Nick began shaking his head as the speaker launched into an explanation.

“See, it’s like this, I love her,” he hugged one of the women, “and she loves him,” now pointing to one of the other men as the girl reached out to hug him, “and pretty soon, we ALL just love each other. He loves me, I love her, they love each other…”

Liz’s face screwed up as the realization hit her, “Ew, no thanks.”

The guy stepped in to close the distance between himself and Liz, placing his arm around both her and Nick. Using his other hand to sweep his greasy, unkempt hair out of his face, he grinned at them and said, “Don’t knock it ’til you try it. I think everyone should be open to new experiences.”

That was pretty much it for me. I’ve got a strict “no touching” policy. Some instances, like the guy in the liquor store, could be forgiven; but this was just too intimate. Grabbing his arm from around them, I shoved him back towards his friends and, attempting to appear somewhat diplomatic, said, “Keep your hands to yourself. All you motherfuckers look like you’re related, get out of here with that shit.”

Needless to say, the mood kind of died. Five sets of eyes, some filled with rage, others with shocked indignation, were locked onto me as Nick and Liz collapsed with laughter. Before anyone else could speak, I continued.

“Stop looking at me like I just burned down your fucking trailer park. I don’t know where you’re from, but I’ll just tell you straight out, y’all look fucking busted. Sure, that’s rude, but considering you guys just invited three complete strangers to your fucked up, inbred sex party, I’m okay with that. You’re all horny, and didn’t have a problem trying to make time with a chick who can barely stand up on her own, but I’M rude for calling you motherfuckers ugly. Yeah, okay…”

*DING*

Saved by the bell. The elevator opened onto the sixth floor, and the group of subdued, sheepish strangers made their way past us, not daring to make eye contact. “Y’all have fun now, and remember, lots of folks in the city aren’t as nice as me. Be careful.” As the doors closed, I turned to Liz and Nick, who were sitting comfortably in the corner of the elevator. “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready for some Dungeons and Dragons.”

/TRUESTORY

TL;DR?

Pretty privilege, motherfucker

 

 

 

This Is How You Do It!

 

According to the DEA, by way of HuffPo and Reuters, fentanyl is to blame for an “alarming” spike in deadly overdoses.

I don’t know anything about that, but I can’t help but feel the story is a little more complicated. As an ex-addict, I do know that fentanyl is available in “lollipop” form, and my friends and I all thought it was hilarious. I also know that myself and several friends would occasionally score fentanyl patches when we couldn’t find dope. We’d chew them like bubble gum (yup, pure dumbasses).

This is one of those few subjects I ACTUALLY have experience with. Recently, sometime last year, there was an “alarming” spike in heroin overdoses here on the Sun-Coast. It wasn’t caused because all the drug-dealers suddenly forgot how to cut their heroin, it was because the authorities stepped up their efforts to shut down the doctors who were operating their practices as pill mills, and didn’t bother to ramp up efforts to help the addicts affected by it. Heroin isn’t as big a thing down here as it is up north, and apparently lots of people who couldn’t get their hands on Oxy-80’s anymore thought that heroin was pretty much the same thing. It’s really not, and lots of ex-people discovered that there’s a world of difference between an easily obtained pharmaceutical and a twenty bag of raw dope.

Of course, it wouldn’t do for society at large to consider that too much. The last thing we need is people drawing unwanted attention to how woefully inadequate our nation’s approach to addiction and drug treatment is; let’s just go with “all the dealers forgot how to cut…” This isn’t actually news, it’s fucking damage control and spin-doctoring.

Burn It Down?

I really like the beaches, and I love the fact that in the off-season it’s pretty deserted. The other night as we were going out to have a cigarette, a 9-inch gecko fell off the roof, where he lives, and onto my foot, S. screamed, I laughed. Occasionally we’ll go outside and see an owl sitting in one of the trees, or perched on the trash can scanning the ground for vittles. They don’t fly off or freak out, but their eyes speak volumes. “Just shut up, I’m hunting.” We’ve seen armadillos strolling casually down the street. The other day we had to go to the mall, and spent more time attempting to creep up on a large (like 2.5 feet, easy) turtle that we saw chilling in the pond than we did actually shopping. There are places right around the corner where we can go feed alligators, in a park OR in the wild. Once, a bald eagle flew right past the car, and we were both shocked by how big they are in person.

While I can understand the dependence on tourist dollars, I don’t really appreciate the way the city and most of the residents bend over backwards to accommodate them. It reminds me of when I was a kid, growing up in a very poor neighborhood in the shadow of a large, well-respected university. It was a lose/lose situation. If some of us had trouble in a “nicer” neighborhood near the school (usually because, whether people choose to believe it or not, people who believe they’re special often act like assholes), it was all about “you thugs coming over here and starting shit with the ‘good’ folks”, and if one of the students or faculty happened to have a problem in our neighborhood it was “this is why you people can’t have nice things, you don’t know how to behave.” It’s just like that here, the powers-that-be are more concerned with appeasing the moneyed folk than actually doing anything to solve real problems.

The best example of this is the homelessness problem. After the city and county spent the money to bring in people to evaluate the situation and offer solutions, their proposals were ignored; not because the politicians were opposed to it, because the residents were, and they made it clear in no uncertain terms. Everyone agrees it’s a problem, and that it needs to be solved, but it’d be best if no one has to be burdened with it. They’d actually rather the homeless be living in the elements, being picked up and temporarily jailed for minor offenses, than allow the building of a “come as you are” shelter somewhere inside the city’s boundaries. It’s like, as long as they donate to the Sally (The Salvation Army), and get to wear their pretty clothing at “benefit” events for said homeless, they feel they’ve done their fair share. It’s literally a case of NIMBY-ism and “being concerned with seeming concerned.”

(This guy is a NOTABLE exception. If there were more people like him, the world would be a much better place. I have an aversion to hero-worship, but this man tests it.)

I’d never want to be mayor, because then I’d have to contend with a bunch of spoiled, elitist authoritarians as constituents. If I had to be, I’d institute better policies for dealing with the homelessness; more low-income housing and mental health services, more job-training and placement services, you know, shit that actually works; rather than playing a constant game of pass the buck.


 

YO