Every Day I’m Shoveling


The HE Podcast is back! Episode 84 is live! 

Grammar Dalek T-Shirts are in and shipping now!  

GenCon is right now. Hit up Blind Ferret (booth 119) and you’ll be able to pick up some of my shirts and books. You can also bother Randy.

Toronto Fan Expo is very soon!  I’ll be there with Blind Ferret. The week after that I’ll be at Dallas Animefest with Rob from Explosm.

The Fancy Sketch ends this Friday. Every Fancy Sketch and donation in the month of August goes toward helping me buy a new air conditioner for my home.

I hope you enjoy this comic as much as I enjoyed drawing that raccoon. What weird, stupid animals. Hoboes, I mean. Not raccoons. Raccoons are majestic, like antelope and those bleached cow skulls that cartoons would lead me to believe are randomly strewn about the desert. Raccoons, or “Land Piranha,” are nature’s bitning machines. They say a raccoons bite brings good luck… I mean disease. Good disease. No, that’s not right either. HORRIBLE disease. That’s it. What I’m saying is they’re great and I bet they want to be domesticated and walked around parks on leashes and to NOT eat your face off the moment you let your guard down or remove your raccoon-proof helmet cage. Protip: NEVER REMOVE YOUR RACCOON PROOF HELMET CAGE BECAUSE THAT IS WHEN THEY EAT YOUR FACE OFF. Can you tell that I’ve been awake for 2 days? I CAN’T!

COMMENTERS: Have you ever gone up against a wild animal? Were you toe to toe with a particularly nasty fainting goat? I ferret bit through the meat of my finger once. Have you every known anyone that tried to domesticate a wild animal? Did said animal eventually drag that person around by their genitals before ripping them off? No? Then I bet it wasn’t one of those diaper chimps thats always doing that sort of thing.


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  1. I once kicked a seagull that refused to move from in front of the car, since I didn't want to a) kill it and b) spend a day cleaning dead bird off the car. May not sound that grand but around here they grow to about the size of a capybara and have been known to steal full pizzas and unattended children. Best way to describe it is that it was like kicking an angry winged basketball.

  2. I hit a raccoon in my Mini Cooper at about 60mph. Basically ripped off the bottom of my radiator, overheating and killing my poor poor Mini. Now i hate Raccoon's. Vigorously.

  3. Well, I'm not sure if this counts, but on my university campus there were these squirrels who would sit in a specific group of trees and whip acrons at your head as you walked by. It never came to fisticuffs, but I seriously considered chasing one down the day I got hit in the face with a pine cone! Little furry bastards.

    • Wow…sounds like the squirrels at IUP where I went to school… Those little jerks nailed me in the head with acorns as I walked through the Oak Grove all the time. You'd look up and see those crazy eyes staring at you, challenging you to do something other than duck-and-cover. My friends and I were determined that they'd ob you blind if you took a nap under the trees.

  4. When I was in Jr. High we were having construction done on our house. A squirrel managed to get in the roof and into the house. I woke up one night to find my mother using a kiddie gate and a broom to try to coax it out the backdoor. I attempted to help her. At some point, the squirrel got away from the door and ninja/matrix leaped towards us. It barely missed by face before being chased by our cats and dogs towards our fireplace where it climbed up the rockwall around the fireplace and disappeared into the ceiling. We never saw it again, so I'm assuming it got out the same way it got in. I've never forgiven it or other squirrels since though.

  5. My poor husband has a opossum story. We had a cat who lived outdoors and had a food dish on the back patio picnic table. He would come home at night, pet the kitty for a minute and then come inside. Bear in mind – no lights on the back patio aside from the moonlight.
    He came home one night and was about 4 inches from petting "the cat" when it hissed, and he noticed it was a opossum eating the kitty's food.
    From that night on, he hates opossums. When driving, we steer TOWARD them, to save humanity from the mangy beasts.

  6. About a month after we moved into our new apartment here in Chicago, one of our neighbors left the back door open and a raccoon made its way up to our third floor apartment, where we had set a bag of trash outside to take it out later. (It was winter.)

    I was slightly terrified at first, though it did explain why our cats were scratching at the door going CRAZY. We considered calling our landlord (who lived in the basement apartment) because (a) we're wimps and (b) outsourcing animal control is one of the reasons one pays rent rather than owning property. But my fear of seeming like a scaredy cat homosexual stereotype won over my common sense (even though I was, indeed, a scaredy cat homosexual)

    Once I got out into the hallway, I realized the thing was much, much more terrified of us than I was of him, and as soon as I got the bottom door open, he was out into the wild and hustled down the alley to his next adventure, having not even ripped open the bag of garbage we shouldn't have left on the back stairs to begin with.

    I have a possum story that involves waking up when a rabid one with babies at my window when I was a teenager. (That's basically the story, except it was very terrifying.)

  7. My father apparently had a "pet" raccoon on the farm for a number of years that lived in a haystack. It never killed anyone or any of the other farm animals but as far as I know wasn't really pettable or anything. It eventually didn't show up one spring and was presumed dead.

    I put it at domestication level ~= 30%

    • Which both? Monday and the dog?

      … aaand back to our regularly scheduled program. Sorry about your motorcycle, J. You OK?

    • Not fair to kibitz and run… as kids, a buddy and I were riding our 10-speed bicycles full blast down a suburban street when a toy poodle ran out to bark at us. It stopped in my friends' path and he hit it broadside. His bike came to a complete stop. He flew over the handlebars and crumpled in a heap against the curb, some 20 feet away. The poodle barely coughed and trotted off, victorious as hell. Amazing. They must have fed it cinder blocks.

  8. I stared down a rattlesnake once.

    Someone scared it off in much the same way Boxcar Pete is wielding that shovel before I could win the staring match.

    I was winning, though.

  9. A rat dug a nest under my patio. Now, I just rent, so I wasn't about to exert myself getting rid of this rat, nor did I want to put out poisons or traps and then have to deal with a dead body.

    My solution was to carefully throw my dog's enormous turds down the front entrance of the den. I called it "creating an inhospitable environment." It worked! And it was free, and I was gonna have to move those turds anyway since they couldn't just sit on the lawn, so.. it's a win-win-win.

  10. "It was only after he had cooked and partially eaten his kill that Boxcar Pete realized he had shovel-chopped off and devoured his own foot. He uttered one word, "YOLO," and kept eating."

    View source for the win! (quote marks screw up the HTML, thus the cut-off)

  11. I grew up in the desert, and house bathrooms are nice warm, humid environments. Guests we found in there included a scorpion and a tarantula. The spider was probably a couple of inches across but in my memory (tempered by a young age and fear) it was the size of a dinner plate.

  12. Once as a kid a rather ornery goose cornered me in an electric fence corner meant for keeping horses in. After being shocked once and trying to kick the goose a couple times, I was rescued by my aunt's dog who couldn't stand someone threatening his favorite toy (me).

    • Don't fuck with geese. The pond in our town had some who would terrorize any kids who hadn't yet learned not to fuck with geese. Ducks run away, geese hiss and bite.

      • Agreed, they are some cranky bastards. Even worse in the spring when they've laid eggs/hatched goslings. Geese don't give any fucks about size advantage.

        • I played golf on a public course where most of the fairways were "owned" by geese. You did NOT put your club away as you walked toward your ball. Cranky (not fancy) bastards, indeed.

  13. Trust me, porcupines tend to lose their cuteness rather quickly when one is hucked at you by your asshole cousin who thinks it'll be hilarious as hell.

  14. I actually did find a bleached cow skull out in the desert once, complete with horns. I think I still have it somewhere…

    I don’t remember this, but my parents say that when they lived in FL when I was a toddler there were two wild chameleons that basically adopted them. Dad says he used to torture them by moving them from the plaid couch to the floral curtains, just to see them freak out until they changed color again.

    • There is a bleached cow skull in front of our apartment complex here in New Mexico. I don't know which was here first, the cow skull or apartment complex.

  15. In my back yard, I have squirrels, finches, sparrows, swallows, redwing blackbirds, stellar jays, and raccoons.
    A few years back, one of the squirrels would walk into our house, and tug on my father's pant leg when it wanted peanuts.

    While doing wildlife photography last year, I had a male Canada Goose try to chase me off, posturing aggressively. Apparently he thought I was too close to his mate's nest. Got some cool photos though!

    In 2009, I was on a camping trip in the Rockies. My father and I were going down a trail that began to show signs of bear activity. Just as we were going to turn back, a bush 3 feet from me shook, and a sharp huffing of breath was heard – the bear.

    We froze, then carefully made our way about 250 feet back down the mountain… backwards.

    …Damn, I really do live in Canada, don't I?

    • Oh yeah, and last spring I had a red-tail hawk hang out in my backyard for a couple of hours, taking care of the rat problem. I live around a block from farmer's fields, so eagles and hawks nest in the area.

    • Walking in the canyon behind our house my dad once saw a wild cow. He was slowly moving past it when he heard a rustling, and turned around to see he'd just walked between her and her calf. He says he never climbed a cliff face that quickly before (it's one of those rocky volcanic ones whose difficulty is mostly finding footing and routes that don't end in pits, not a sheer basalt cliff).

      I had one close encounter with a marmot at Mt. Ranier, it just snuffled around my 8-year-old self for a bit and then wandered off. Then on a hike in NM with my scout troop we saw a marmot and one of my scoutmates gave it some trail mix. It chirped a couple of times and suddenly there were chirps all around us as the other marmots came out of hiding wanting food. We throw the trail mix one way and ran the other.

      Also for a few years our yard was home to a gopher snake. Fascinating guys, they look similar to rattlesnakes but aren't venomous and only eat critters like gophers (so great to have around our garden). When threatened they'll press their head into the ground to flatten it like a rattler's, shake their rattle-less tail and hiss to sound like it's rattling. Absolutely incredible what evolution comes up with. Of course we also had plenty of raccoons, elk, coyotes, foxes, et cetera, especially after a large wildfire in 2000 drove them looking for food.

      Critters turn up everywhere, and one doesn't have to live in Canada to have stories like yours, just a bit outside of cities.

      • Cool encounters man. Don't get me wrong, I don't think we have the monopoly on wildlife up here, I was just joking about the stereotype of Canada being one giant snowy forest, with no signs of civilization 😉

        • Oh yeah, NM's the same just with desert. There's a bit of accuracy there, but there's also a lot of variety in the kinds of desert/low water environments. I grew up in "go to the middle of nowhere, then turn left and drive for another 20 minutes." Middle of Nowhere was where we went for anything other than groceries. Then again folks from out of state can walk out of the Albuquerque airport and say "what a quaint little town, where's the actual city?" Everything's built low, dusty, and spread out.

  16. My backyard is home to a godzillion rabbits. They're always lounging about, chewing, chasing one another around and binkying all over the place. I guess that isn't too terrifying.

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