Slumber Partly

I will be at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto this weekend with Blind Ferret and Randy Milholland of of Something*Positive. I will be at booth #844. More info HERE.

Doesn’t the army have a gum that Navy Seals chew to stay awake for like 72 hours? I’m pretty sure I read about that one night… morning… possibly afternoon. When you never sleep, it all sort of bleeds together. Working for yourself and working from home is a deadly combination. There’s no one telling you that you HAVE to do anything at any certain time and there’s nowhere that you have to go where your bed and TV aren’t. Despite this ease of procrastination, I often find myself working 3 to 4 five plus hours “shifts” in a day. Any time that I’m not producing feels like loafing because I am always physically AT WORK. I’m here, I’m awake, why am I not working? Dinner? That’s for gold brickers! TV? Well sure, I’m going to watch a lot of it, but I’m going to feel guilty as all hell about it.

Anyway, I’m not complaining. I’d rather be going to bed at 5am, sleeping until 2pm and feeling out of phase with reality everyday while drawing cartoons for a living rather than getting up at 6am just so I can spend 10 hours in a place I don’t want to be, with people I don’t like, doing a thing I don’t care about just so I I can get home at 7pm, eat dinner, watch 2 hours of guiltless TV then go to bed and do it all over again. To reiterate: I AM NOT complaining.

COMMENTERS: Do you get enough sleep? Does anyone? How do you quiet the demon to-do list in your head? What are your tricks? Potions? Spells? Booze?


Check out these Tetris earrings my wife made! 

Tetris Earings!


Comments (20)

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Miles's avatar

Miles · 95 weeks ago

Booze, sad to say. As a student, I need to sleep, and often, I drift off, and get a text from some godless idiot (or my brother) that wakes me up and my brain will no longer shut off. So, my secret potion is booze. Maybe a Vodka martini (I have a bottle of Stolichnaya on my desk). Maybe a Rum and tonic. If I drink just enough, in a half hour I get that buzz going and my brain stops sabotaging itself, and I can achieve sleep without having a hangover the next day.
Needless to say, tonight, I both failed to imbibe, and am failing to sleep.

1 reply · active 95 weeks ago

The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 95 weeks ago

You know, they make a function that turns off the noises/vibrations on them thar cell phones. They also come with an “OFF” switch.

But, perhaps your liver will thank you for your home sleep remedy eventually. Good times there.

Chamaco230's avatar

Chamaco230 · 95 weeks ago

Stop complaining!
I get enough sleep. However, I’d sleep ten hours if there were no witnesses.
Booze? Sure.
But when my head is wondering and I can’t sleep after an hour, I just get up and do whatever is keeping me awake. Then I usually fall asleep two hours later.
Becky's avatar

Becky · 95 weeks ago

To get my stress levels under control and NOT have a heart attack by 35, a health coach (which is a nicer-sounding name for behavioral therapist) taught me how to deep breathe right before I went to sleep. Took a couple of weeks of practice for me to feel like I was doing it right, and another couple of weeks for me not to feel like a right idiot when doing it, it manages my stress well. And, bonus side effect, it seems to have cured my work-guilt-induced insomnia – I count back from 100 on every exhale and have yet to make it to 50.
I learned I have to force myself to follow standard work hours: I work from 8ish to 5ish and that is all. I do not allow myself to work in non-work hours, and I don’t let myself loaf (too much) during those hours. Of course, having two school-age kids helps enforce this – they get on the bus, and I work until they get home. After following this pattern for a few years, I started shifting the time I felt most creative from the inconveniently located late at night to the daytime.

P.S. re: the comments about drinking to fall asleep – be careful. A friend had insomnia, and ended up in the hospital after unintentionally combining a drink with sleeping pills.

I have several friends who work from home, and one thing I’ve heard that works very well for (almost) all of them is to have a, well, a commute.

See, they designate a certain part of the home as their “workplace.” When it’s time to work, they go to the workplace, and when it’s time to stop, they leave it. The trick is to make sure it’s not an office or den or other area where you do other things besides work. Sure, that’s not practical for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be much either. Maybe it’s a chair or table that you only sit in when you’re working.

My friends who’ve tried this say that it’s really weird and dumb and HOLY SHITBALLS IS IT EFFECTIVE. They know it’s a stupid brain trick, but it actually does help them mentally separate “work time” from “home time.”

Ali's avatar

Ali · 95 weeks ago

I don’t know about the Army having gum for Navy SEALs. Probably the Navy has gum for Navy SEALs.

1 reply · active 95 weeks ago

The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 95 weeks ago

It’s a gum the Army uses to seal the Navy into boats.
I’m one of the soulless ones who works overnights in a grocery store. So I sleep when I get home for about 4 or 5 hours then take a nap before I go to work. Seems to be working after 15 years.
Cori K's avatar

Cori K · 95 weeks ago

I’ve started doing online crossword puzzles right before bed. When I want to sleep, I work on crossword puzzles. And over time, my brain has made the connection “puzzles=sleep.” It works almost every night now; I start playing, I get drowsy, set the laptop down, and fall asleep.

And those Tetris earrings are fantastic. I believe I will be acquiring some in the near future…

When I worked nights and kept abnormal hours I usually took melatonin to help me sleep. Since it’s the hormone your body produces to make you sleepy, it’s reasonably “natural” and I did not find it habit-forming. Now that I keep normal hours I find I rarely need or want it and sleep fine; and some days I’d get home from work and was so tired that damn the sun I just fell asleep at once. It’s far less expensive than any prescription sleep med and you won’t half wake up and try to make coffee with salami or something like people do with ambien.
I also find that valerian root helps to quiet the incessant shouting in my head about all the things I haven’t done (today; in this lifetime; whichever). It’s also usually cheaper than melatonin; both of them are at the CVS or Walgreens. Valerian doesn’t really make me sleepy, it makes me less anxious. From what I hear that’s almost what normal people feel like, but I wouldn’t know. It smells like bad asiago cheese, though, so keep some listerine around.
Candace's avatar

Candace · 95 weeks ago

I have trouble getting my brain to shut down long enough to get to sleep, and I don’t even work at home. I’ve always had trouble getting to sleep, but, once upon a time, once I got to sleep, I could sleep non-stop for twelve or more hours. No longer.

Several years ago I hurt my back, and could hardly sleep at all due to the pain, and even once it started to get better, and I was able to get to sleep more easily (or at least with no more trouble than I ever had), I was unable to stay asleep long enough to get a “good night’s sleep,” and would end up waking up every few hours. These days, my back problem is under control, but I never have recovered the ability to consistently sleep through the night (or day), without waking up frequently, and sometimes being unable to get back to sleep for a couple of hours after I’ve woken up in the middle of the night.

I’ve tried valerian and chamomile to no avail (although chamomile has helped me with other problems.) Melatonin sometimes helps for 4-5 hours, but not long enough for a full night, and sometimes causes me to have odd dreams. Booze also sometimes helps for a few hours, but can be counter-productive once I metabolize the sugar in the alcohol, and end up being wide awake in the middle of the night. Red wine tends to be more effective than other types of alcohol, but isn’t foolproof.

So far, I have yet to find that “magic bullet” that will solve my insomnia problems. Luckily, my insomnia tends to run in cycles, so eventually, I will sleep. I just never know when, and, of course, I never seem to be able to sleep when I most need to.

1 reply · active 95 weeks ago

Khel's avatar

Khel · 95 weeks ago

I have to agree about the Melatonin, I get maybe four hours on it and all of them are filled with really weird dreams. I have to take it on my work weekend (fri 10:30pm to 6:30 AM then sat and sun 2:30 pm to 6:30 am) The good news is after 6:30 on monday I can pretty much sleep whenever I feel like it till the next weekend rolls around
I’m not privy to the latest in combat pharmaceuticals, but I have heard that the military is really fond of Provigil (modafinil) because it’s a lot safer and vastly less likely to cause dependency problems than amphetamine. (There’s also the fact there’s some tantalizing evidence that it increases attention span instead of fracturing it.)

As for sleeping… something I find helpful for “Brain Chasing Its Own Tail Syndrome” is L-Theanine, the calmative amino acid naturally found in green tea. A friend of mine who was going through a great deal of stress described it as “nearly as effective as Xanax – and since I don’t have to worry about getting hooked, on balance it’s better”.


If you are going to New York Comic Con, find booth 950 (Blind Ferret) and pick up some of my t-shirts while you’re there. After you pick them up, take them over to one of the nice gentlemen behind the table and exchange money for them. Then you can take them home!

I am a chronic procrastinator. It’s one of my character flaws that I have decided not to fight anymore. Life is quite short and I have plenty of other flaws that I stand a better chance of improving upon over the next 50 years or so. It’s good to let a few of the minor ones win so you can focus on the really self-destructive ones. I hear people say they “work best under pressure,” where as I “work ONLY under pressure.” If I have 6 months to complete a goal (at home, in business, internally, whatever), I will find no reason to act upon said goal until roughly 94% of my allotted time has expired. Somewhere around 70% time expiry, I begin feeling like shit and constantly chastising myself for NOT doing the thing I’m nearly out of time to do. Despite my self-berating, my lizard brain knows that I still have more time before things get super critical and refuses to let me act. Once I hit that final 6% of time remaning I go into hyper-stress mode where I continually talk about the thing I have to do, talk about how I’m NOT doing it and talk about how stressed out I am because of all the things I’m not doing. Then, usually the night before the thing is due, I do the thing. Then I feel good for maybe a day. Then I have a new thing to NOT do. And such is my mobius of frustration.

So it should come as no surprise that this is also how I handle my taxes. My CPA knows to file an extension every year, and I end up turning my raw data into him (data that takes me about 12 hours to collect, collate, categorize, etc… data that would take about 1 hour a month if I handled it all throughout the year instead of all at once) about a week before the IRS would send me to jail. I did it this way this year, and last year and every year before since I was technically self-employed. Get a paycheck from a faceless global corporation makes your taxes SO much easier. Then again, you can’t right off business movies, or business Twizzlers or business Twizzlers Pull’n Peel which are better than regular business Twizzlers and require a separate form entirely if you intend to report them to the IRS.

COMMENTERS: Are you a procrastinator, procrasturbator (someone who looks for things on the Ineternet to distract them from the work they’re supposed to be doing), or a get-up-and-goer? Anything particular thing/habbit/app/site/device that kills or aids your productivity?

Robotripping At The Gates Of Hell

UPDATE: New Lo-FiJinks Comic! 

Episode 88 – Wizardo And The Hot Dog Guy

As I mentioned earlier on Twitter, I can tell if I’m more sick today or just more annoyed about being the same amount of sick as I was yesterday. The result is the same. I make a lot of “UNNGH…” sounds and generally feel like fuck on toast. Two days ago I couldn’t decide if this was an actual legitimate illness or just an allergy attack. I decided to hedge my bets and take some allergy meds and chase them with some cold meds and toss in a little headache pill action just to balance things out. I will give you exactly zero guesses as to how bad of an idea that was. I’m being so stingy with the number of guesses because they aren’t required because I will come right out and tell you THAT IT WAS AN AWFUL IDEA.

Zyrtec and Sudaphed (the good “you have to give your driver’s license to get it” kind) are not pleasant bedfellows. I spent the next 8 hours or so just sort of floating 4 feet beneath my giant balloon head. Every time I would turn to look at something, I would have to wait for my eyes to actually turn the same direction as my face which was usually about a 10 – WAY MORE THAN 10 second delay. The most accurate analogy I can muster for the haze my brain dwelled in that day is this: my mind felt like my eyes do when I’m not wearing my glasses. It still worked and it still knew what was going on, but it was slow to focus and had a hard time pointing in one direction for very long.

COMMENTERS: Last time we shared our worst “here’s what I did while I was WAY too sick to do it” stories. How about your worst “I took some medicine to feel better and THINGS GOT MUCH WORSE!” stories? Drug interactions, poor attempts to self medicate, etc.

One time I had a sore throat and ate an entire bag of cough drops (the “every cough drop has 100% of your daily vitamin C” kind) in about 8 hours. In doing so I overdosed on one of the ingredients in said cough drops (possibly the vitamin C) and my entire body turned into one big swollen rash. It was FUCKING terrifying. I went to hospital and got a steroid shot at least a day AFTER I should have.

Another time an ER doc that wasn’t paying any attention to me at all just shot me up with some random painkiller without telling me what he was doing. Turns out I am allergic to it and I FREAKED THE MISERABLE FUCK OUT. I immediately had a panic attack (something I am not used to at all) and started to feel like I was in horrible danger if I stayed there. I couldn’t sit still or stand still and my every thought was focused on fleeing the hospital. I called my wife who was in the waiting room and she later said I sounded completely manic. I told several doctors over the course of the next couple of hours that something was wrong and I felt like I was losing my mind. They all dismissed me and went about their business. Finally a different doctor comes over and looks at what I was given (wish I knew exactly what drug it was) and says, “Oh yeah, that can happen.” Gives me some Benadryl and I instantly felt better.

Though I can’t really feel too bad considering the one story I saw on the Discovery Channel about the lady who took a standard antibiotic and all her skin fell off. ALL OF IT.

My Hands Felt Just Like Two Balloons

I’ve been sick for the last few days. This particular recurring, seasonal illness bares such a resemblance to both A) A REALLY bad allergy attack and B) actual viral illness that I never really know what I have. Luckily the treatment for both is the same. Lots of sleep, fluids, procrastination of work-related responsibilities, complaining and Seinfeld reruns. So that’s how I’ve been spending my time. Oh, and I also made you:

Episode 88 – Wizardo And The Hot Dog Guy. Listen to the ep, then check out Alex’s fancy Photoshoppery which deftly illustrate one of our bits.

To get into more about exactly how miserable I am, I would like to explain how unbearably shitty I feel. Sometimes (often in fact) my cat, Replay, will eat his dry food so fast that he almost immediately throws it up on the carpet. Never one to let a hot meal (how NOW, anyway) go to waste he usually gobbles down nearly all of the pre-eaten partially digested mess then goes about his marry way. These 12 hours naps aren’t going to take themselves, you know. I say he re-eats NEARLY all of the food, because he usually leaves somewhere between 10 and 15 nuggets of food to resolidify on the floor and become one with the carpet’s collective hive mind. I feel like THAT food. I feel like I have been eaten, thrown up, left to stew in my own juices and a healthy portion of feline bile for a few minutes, then nibbled at and pushed around with a coarse cat tongue for a few minutes, only to be ultimately judged unworthy of a second eating and left to crack and dry on the unforgiving carpet never to fulfill my purpose. The rejection at the end it what really seals the deal in determining which is worse: The twice eaten food, or the once eaten, once vomited, eternally rejected food.

In the next comic I think I’ll get into how much of a mistake it was to take a handful of allergy meds AND cold meds at the same time, hoping they would just figure it out for themselves. Listen to the podcast linked above to hear what I sound like while trying to forge coherent thoughts under their influences. This will be a short storyline. 3 or 4 comics at most.

COMMENTERS: What’s the worst thing you ever had to do while sick? Or rather, what’s the thing that you did that you REALLY should have stayed home from due to illness?

You Can’t Do That In My Sinuses

Sorry for the lack of comics last week, but the above panels pretty accurately (and rather unfortunately) illustrate what my life has been like for  7 or 8 days now. I thought I was just getting an allergy attack, but after several days it seems to have gained a malicious sentience and begun a full scale assault against my ability to not feel like a giant pile of undulating grossness. I assume that came across in the tone of the comic.

Nothing says, “I bought you some stuff from the Internet,” like buying people stuff from the Internet. 

The Doctor Is In T-Shirt, Funny Doctor Who Parody Shirt, Charlie Brown, Sci-Fi

I made the terrible mistake a few days ago of thinking, “I’m starting to feel a little less shitty, so I should get out of the house and have some fun!” I might as well have injected monkey pox straight into my eyeball. After my prematurely celebratory Friday night out I not only went back to sickness square one, but I seem to have super charged my cold/sinus infection/techno-organic anti-life virus into overdrive. Now, I’m basically sleeping all day and only waking every 12 hours or so to drain my face into a bucket. A sadness bucket. A sadness bucket full of hateful face juice. I am not kidding when I say this shit resembles Nickelodeon Gak in both color and consistency. I am scared that if I went to a doctor they would turn me over to the government, who would permanently detain me in an undisclosed location and harvest my mucus for spaceship fuel. Or at least industrial comet polish.

Ok, enough gross out, health related nonsense. When I was a kid I had a tub of Gak. I remember it smelling like burnt tires and carcinogens. It just reeked of petroleum and poison. I always wondered if the unpleasant odor lead them to develop “Smell My Gak.” I never saw that particular variation up close and personal, but I find it hard to believe that the “hot dog” scented variety was an improvement over the original recipe. I also get the impression that “Glow In The Dark Gak” was simply them giving up on trying to make Gak NOT glow in the dark. Like they had exhausted the world’s supply of cadmium attempting to mask Gak’s natural radioactive properties, so they had to introduce it as a feature.

I had grown too old for amorphous weaponized chemical gel-based non-toys by the time Floam and Sqand were introduced. I didn’t even realize that the “Here, kid, play with this biproduct of an industrial accident,” trend continued with products such as Smud, Gooze, Skweeez (with three E’s), and Zzand. SPUMG seems to fall right in line with these fine products. It’s terrible, it smells bad, it tastes worse, it’s is most definitely poisonous and you DO NOT WANT TO KNOW HOW IT IS MADE.

COMMENTERS: Continue the Nickelodeon product line! All you need is a few odd consonants and an improperly placed vowel or twelve. Something like SKROBZ. What does SKROBZ look like? How terrible does it feel? What is it supposed to do and HOW TERRIBLE DOES IT FEEL? Did you own any of the actual NICK family of chemical warfare play things? I had a GAK inflator. One time I made a stop motion movie using my friend’s camcorder of the GAK crawling out of its tub, oozing over to the inflator, blowing itself up then popping. In retrospect, I wonder if it was actually stop motion, or if I had simply managed to video the moment it became self aware.