Confusion Of Conformity

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I made a new LoFi comic about Pacific Rim out of one of your Fancy Digital Sketch Drive sketches.

Joel has just experienced what people who go around quoting Pulp Fiction would refer to as “a moment of clarity.” A couple more flashback comics then we rocket full throttle to the present and a new storyline.

COMMENTERS: We’ve spent some time discussing places and clothes that made you feel super uncomfortable, but when or where did you know for certain that you ABSOLUTELY were in the right place or with the right people? What made you feel acceptance and “I fit in” more than any other time or place?

For me it was the first time I went to a comic convention. I had been making HE for 2 years and I had never been around other comic artists. I had hardly ever been around other creative professionals of any kind. Just seeing other people who did what I did being in their element afforded me this grand sigh of relief. Like I suddenly knew I wasn’t alone or COMPLETELY insane for trying to be a full time cartoonist. I also met a fan of my work for the first time. I met a few, actually. It was also the first time a comic creator I admired had told me they were familiar with and fond of my work. The idea that everything I had been working so hard on had not gone entirely unnoticed; that I was off to a good start and some people were paying attention was just enough validation to keep me moving in the right direction despite tremendous pressure to give up and get a regular job. Find your tribe, find your friends and you will find your home. 

Comments (37)

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Batya the Toon's avatar

Batya the Toon · 85 weeks ago

First time I ever went to a science-fiction convention. At the Masquerade, the emcee introducing the contestants had to stall between presentations for some reason, and told us so: “There’s an amber light on my console, that means I have to stall.” And after three or four minutes of filler, she announced “The light is green.” And I pavloved, out loud, “The trap is clean.”

… and so did thirty people around me, in unison.

I did not say out loud MY PEOPLE I HAVE FOUND YOU, but that’s more or less what I was feeling.

Greg's avatar

Greg · 85 weeks ago

When I went to Israel, which isn’t surprising given I’m Jewish. Of course all the locals were at best ambivalent to me ‘cos I’m British, which is the usual reaction when Brits travel (except to the US, where we’re worshipped as gods). But courtesy of being British, I was completely able to ignore local sentiment and happily assume everyone loved the pants off me.

4 replies · active 85 weeks ago

Ali's avatar

Ali · 85 weeks ago

That was my experience in Israel too (except I’m American :- ). It was nice to not be a minority.

(I have a question for you as a British person. Do all Brits watch Doctor Who? Because it seems to be a lot more popular, and part of mainstream pop culture a lot more than any American TV show is over here. In one class in college, there was a Scottish exchange student, and—without him saying anything about sci-fi at all—I found myself wondering if he was a Doctor Who fan, just because he was British. And the next day he was wearing a Doctor Who t-shirt. Was he an outlier or a typical Brit?)

Alex's avatar

Alex · 85 weeks ago

I am English, so I’ll give you an answer. Firstly, no, not all British people watch Doctor Who. However, it is a very visible part of mainstream pop culture here. Almost everyone knows of it’s existence and almost everyone over a certain age remembers watching it as a kid. (It was off air for quite a long time before returning, which is why the caveat “over a certain age”). Some people came back to it when it returned and some didn’t. Some don’t like the current Doctor, etc…
Stuey's avatar

Stuey · 85 weeks ago

Seconded from another Brit (Welsh this time!) Doctor Who is not necessarily universally loved even by geeks but things like a new Doctor make the national news and it’s part of our national consciousness in a way I can’t really think of an American comparison to

This is partly because of how long running it is. I’m 28 and my dad is 57 and we have had discussions about which Doctor was most important to us growing up etc and generally he only owns a TV to watch rugby (me Pertwee and him Troughton if you’re interested).

The mania is quite pronounced for me because I live in Cardiff and they have shot some episodes in the building I’m currently working in so it’s a big deal here

Candace's avatar

Candace · 85 weeks ago

I’m not Jewish, but I had a similar experience when visiting Stockholm. I have some Swedish ancestry, and didn’t realize how much it has influenced and affected me until I spent a few days in Stockholm, and felt oddly as if I were at home in a way I have not felt anywhere else I have traveled.
Bango's avatar

Bango · 85 weeks ago

About a week after I moved to the unnamed Caribbean island where I have lived for the past ten years I went to the DMV to register a car, and there in the line AT THE DMV was a man drinking a cold bottle of beer! And NO ONE THOUGHT THIS WAS AT ALL ODD! I knew I was home…

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

seriously's avatar

seriously · 85 weeks ago

Wise of you not to name your new homeland, or else you’d get a never-ending stream of Fancy Bastards looking to emigrate.
Candace's avatar

Candace · 85 weeks ago

Man, I so want to retire to the Caribbean. Everything is just so laid back, and it doesn’t get cold!
When I went to C2E2 in 2011, that was my first con. I nearly cried at the thought of being among my kind.

3 replies · active 85 weeks ago

I think I was there.
You WERE according to the photocomics, but the only webcomic I read at the time was Cyanide & Happiness. I distinctly remember seeing a guy I later learned was Zach Weiner staring at the long line at the Explosm booth.

In retrospect, I could have met a whole lot of awesome cartoonists that day; If I only read then what I read now…

Thats right. I was directly behind CnH. Im pretty sure that was when i met those guys.
zathael's avatar

zathael · 85 weeks ago

I actually found my tribe courtesy of Maura Wilson of Matilda fame, believe it or not.

I went to a summer camp with her when we were both teenagers. My only friend there had recently been sent back home due to alcohol consumption. I don’t drink and had been left behind at the party he was busted at.

One day I was on my way out the door of the dorms to walk idly around the camp when I heard Miss Wilson in the commons saying. “You know, I really liked Fellowship but I had trouble getting into Two Towers. Is book three really worth it to get through?”

I did a heel face turn and butted myself the hell into their conversation. Maura was a friend through the rest of the camp (though I fear I never kept up with her afterwards) but the people she was talking to taught me how to play tabletop RPG’s, introduced me to Homestar Runner and made me feel at home.

No one I socialize with reads comics or has the same interest as mine. But I introduce them to things that interest me. I consider myself the Christian Missionary of Webcomics! 😀

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

So, they hate you for it?
Ali's avatar

Ali · 85 weeks ago

A couple days ago, while introducing my new roommates to Supernatural, they made unprompted smartass remarks about Dean and pie. I knew then for certain that I’d moved in with the right people.

Also back in college, I overheard a boy inviting another girl in my programming class to join his D&D game because they needed a cleric. I butted in, joined their party instead of her (although she’s still a very good friend), and during the first session of the game I discovered that he and I liked the same Star Wars novels (X-Wing series and the Thrawn books). I ended up inviting him back to my dorm room to watch Deep Space Nine. We dated for two years and I still miss him.

Just Me's avatar

Just Me · 85 weeks ago

I am tribeless at the moment, and it sucks.

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

Fuck that noise. Go find ’em.
I’m fortunate to have multiple tribes:

– my immediate and extended family. We’re big, more than a little silly, but mostly we all get on well. I’m fortunate here, I know. So many of my friends in other areas don’t have that.

– The racers & race marshals I mentioned in the previous comic’s comments. This is a family-of-choice.

– My real-world friends from early life. Thanks to the magic of technology, I’m in touch with a lot of folks that otherwise were lost to me (and I to them).

– And certainly not least: the nerds, a generic term for those folks I first got to know on the other side of the computer screen, but includes the many I’ve since met at cons, at concerts/shows, on JCCC, at the game store, etc. Bound by our common love of loving something as much as we can (thanks, Wil), and appreciation for others who share that, even if their something is different than our something. That’s how I found you, Joel, and HE, and JCCC, and Marian Call, and the DoubleClicks, and Joseph Scrimshaw, and Zoe Keating, and so much more that’s made life a lot more enjoyable even when I’m not able to be with my tribemates in meatspace.

TJ "Kiltman"Anderson's avatar

TJ “Kiltman”Anderson · 85 weeks ago

I have never found that “right place”… However I seem to be accepted in both sietch and graben..

The wise paraphrased words of groucho marx.. I don’t want to be a member of any club that wants me as a member..

I enjoy comicons.. I also enjoy beer-making, guns, movies, politics, autoracing-that-isnt-NASCAR and
cruiser motorbikes.. but i have memberships in none of them

Candace's avatar

Candace · 85 weeks ago

I guess I was lucky. I found my tribe in college when I somehow accidentally fell in with a group CoSci majors, in spite of being in liberal arts and a musician myself. They loved Star Trek, Monty Python, and Hitchiker’s, as I did, and my boyfriend introduced me to AD&D, which I had been interested in getting into for a while. Being a musician, I kept trying to hang out with other musicians, and it usually didn’t work for some reason.

By the time I had finished university, I had (mostly) realized that computer engineers are my tribe, even though I don’t always understand when they start “talking shop,” because we share much geekery.

lou's avatar

lou · 85 weeks ago

For me, it was the year I first went to the GDC and FanimeCon. There are these huge gatherings of nerds and geeks all coming together to share and celebrate their fandoms, free of judgement. It was glorious!
Franz's avatar

Franz · 85 weeks ago

Hi Joel! Just wanted to say that I shotgunned all your archived comics in the last 6 days and loved them all! Amazing work! Really like the new direction! Much respect! Thanks to the guys at C&H for turning me on to your comic!
Andy's avatar

Andy · 85 weeks ago

My first Gen Con in 2000 was really the first large gathering where I felt “home”. SDCC is a close second
Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 85 weeks ago

If I could afford to buy clothes such as those, and (while we’re dreaming) I was about 100 pounds less fat, I would wear those suits multiple times per week. As it is, I can’t even afford suits from JC Penny, half the suits I have don’t fit, and the two that do fit (I was given these when my dad lost about 100 pounds) I don’t wear very often because I hate how fat I’ve gotten. But oh! For Comstock to have measurements on file for me! T’would be a dream come true.
David's avatar

David · 84 weeks ago

You should definitely consider an app for your comics. They would be great to read on the go without having to load the whole website for each new comic.

1 reply · active 84 weeks ago

Of course, you coming to the website is how I get paid.

The first time I walked into a bear bar, C.C.’s to be exact, I knew I had found my home.
PokeyPuppy's avatar

PokeyPuppy · 84 weeks ago

So late to this, but I remember in high school meeting my now-best friend who grew up all over the U.S. I grew up in Billings, MT in the 80’s & early 90’s before the Internet was really a “thing,” and I went NUTS when I saw his music collection. I had no idea there was music that fit me, that there was so much more out there than 80’s pop & techno! Punk music was a thing!

I’ve had lots of “this is my tribe” moments since then, but that was the first time I knew it was possible.

Will "Deadpool7100"'s avatar

Will “Deadpool7100” · 84 weeks ago

uh hi this is the first time i ever commented on any of these…
by the way this is entirely unrelated to your question up there.
but anyway i started reading your comics awhile back, cant remember where i saw them… probably a link off explosm or The Chive
but anyway i really got hooked on your style and characters and was really excited with your “big change” awhile back and you started doing more stories and recurring characters and the whatnot
at some point i became interested enough to start randomly clicking around your site and read at least most of your experiment stuff
it was really interesting and i would like to say i could compare but my extent of work in this area of “art” is building with LEGO on deviant art < My profile!
i have begun to write a story that i cooked up awhile ago and have started thinking seriously-ish about trying to publish it, maybe, eventually and i guess thats the most of any kind of link there

but yeah i just wanted to say keep up the good work!
pretty cool to see you making a living doing your dream!
always looking forward to the next comic!!!
dont really know why i felt like babbling 😀
did i mention i like your comics?

2 replies · active 84 weeks ago

I appreciate the sentiment and the encouragement. Work on that story, and don’t be afraid to put it out there. Most creative types rarely love the first thing they ever put out for public consumption, but it’s important to do it, and keep doing it in order to get the practice you need to really hone your creative craft. Make, do, go, repeat.
Will "Deadpool7100"'s avatar

Will “Deadpool7100” · 84 weeks ago

thanks man!
keep comic-ing!!!!

And They’re Certainly Not Showing Any Signs That They Are Slowing

Check out my new Experiment Video Blog post over on YourTubes! 

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Cummerbund & Co. represents a very real place that I was taken by a former boss. A place where men of means looked at things that cost multiple thousands of dollars and said words like, “I’ll take this one in every color, plus shoes, belts, ties, socks, etc.” And then other men that looked very much like Comstock would reply, “Certainly, Sir. Are you measurements on file up to date?” And then guys like me would go, “WHAT THE FUCKING SHITFIST IS GOING ON HERE IS THIS THE GODDAMN TWILIGHT ZONE IS EVERYONE CRAZY AM I IN A PLAY THAT I DON’T REMEMBER SIGNING UP FOR WHUUUUUUUUUT ISSSSSS HAAAAPEEEEENNNNNIIIIIIING?!?!?!?” 

It’s little revelations like that, learning that the path you’re on leads to a place you don’t want to go, that can cause you to reevaluate your choices. It is important that I make a distinction here. I am a proponent of following your own passion; doing the thing that you love to the fullest extent you are able to do it for as long as you are able. Some people are passionate about suits. I have friends that are passionate about suits. I do not begrudge them their love of wearing certain kinds of clothing, even extremely expensive, or fancy clothing, any more than I would begrudge a member of the 501st from saving up a couple grand for a super spiffy Storm Trooper outfit. It was the way in which this particular store was arranged, and how the particular people in it were behaving. It was soulless. “That is expensive and has the right label. Give me a bunch of that so I can feel like the kind of guy who wear’s that sort of thing,” was the vibe, and the vibe was gross.

COMMENTERS: Have you ever been to a place (a party, a club, a store, a business) that made every single particle in your body scream “THIS IS WRONG WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE!!!” 

I usually feel this way in shops where people with an excess of money are spending that excess on excessively expensive excess-ories. Another boss once took me in a Coach leather store to buy his girlfriend a purse. There were maybe 10 items displayed in an enormous shop, and none of them had price tags. He said something like, “I don’t know, she likes this kind of shit I guess.” I looked out the window of the shop at a woman passing by. She was pushing a stroller. I mouthed the words, “CALLLLL THEEEE POOOOLIIIIIIICE…”


Comments (59)

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UnderTheDark's avatar

UnderTheDark · 85 weeks ago

I have read that fic! Which fic was that? I feel the sudden urge to dig through my AO3 history…
I play with race cars. This requires money (old joke: “How do you make a small fortune in racing? Start with a large fortune”). I don’t have even a small fortune, so mostly I volunteer as a track marshal. This lets me stay involved with racing but without that whole sacrifice-everything-else-in-your-life-including-food-and-basic-shelter-for this vibe.

But my local race track is a country club, except that instead of a golf course, swimming pool full of nubile-but-legal daughters of wealthy members, and tennis courts like a “regular” country club, it has a race track and people wearing Nomex fire suits when they’re not in greasy workin’ on the car clothes. And not so many nubile-but-legal daughters. But that’s okay: by marshaling, I get track time when I need it and sometimes get paid to work events there. But there are two kinds of Premium Members: those who have metric fucktons of money, but you’d never know it except the dinner check disappears in their presence faster than you can reach for it (cool), and those who have metric fucktons of money and want everyone to know it.

The brand-name dropping is CONTINUOUS. “Well, I could buy this quarter-million-dollar McLaren, but then where would I park the Bentley? It’s only a month old. I guess I could let my stripper-girlfriend-assistant drive it.” and “I could get kicked out of the Porsche club if they found out I was even talking to you about that Ferrari!”, pitched loud enough to make sure everyone in the garage heard it.

Meanwhile, I drove there in my 14-year-old truck with 300,000 miles on the odometer (it’s not my newest vehicle. My newest vehicle is exactly 2 weeks newer than the truck and needs a fuel pump before I can drive it again).

You can guess which group of members I’d rather be around. The others, I just want to punch in the nards before running away.

6 replies · active 85 weeks ago

Yeah. That sort of shit.

The two quotes in my post? Real, except substitute “McLaren” for “Ferrari”. The guy has a 911 GT2 RS (one of less than 100 in the US) and the McLaren sales guy was pitching him the MP4-12C.

The guy with the Bentley and the stripper-girlfriend-assistant has a 911 GT3 RS and an older GT3 Cup race car and spent the day with his Nomex suit sleeves tied around his waist, showing his Cool Shirt. The girlfriend-assistant showed up later in a 2-generation-old Benz C-class sedan with a nearly-flat tire and the right side of it scraped off by what looked to be several encounters with a garage door opening. My party decided the Bentley’s half-life in her care was a week.

The guy who organized that particular event makes a good chunk of his money putting evangelical churches on TV. Ah, Texas…

If nothing else, it’s good for a laugh.

Richter12x2's avatar

Richter12x2 · 85 weeks ago

He can’t be real money, then. Everyone knows te MP4-12C is the poor man’s McLaren.
They had one to demo. The P1s haven’t hit yet. 🙂
That’s an interesting perspective. If the thing you love is a thing that ONLY comes in Expensive, REALLY Expensive and Unobtainable flavors it has to be hard to find your place within the culture that surrounds it.
There’s always the 24 Hours of LeMons crapcan racers. (There’s a rival series, ChumpCar, with similar rules but lacking the whimsy of LeMons.) $500 cars (exclusive of safety equipment), with oddball/obscure makes strongly encouraged, ill-advised engine swaps recommended, and bribing of the series officials with booze and goodies almost mandatory. The people at all levels are delightfully crazy. I worked a 24-hour race with them last month. Exhausting but tons of fun.

My race car is cheap (it’s a prepped ’97 Dodge Neon I got at a fire-sale price), but the expense comes from the cost of entry into the races with the club I run with (SCCA) — I can drop close to $500 just on an entry fee, and all told, that weekend will run me $800-1500 depending on whether or not I need to buy tires.

I got my start in, and still do when I can, a cheap(er) form of motorsport called autocross. It’s not wheel-to-wheel, but time-trials around tight courses set up with cones in big parking lots/airport aprons, that kind of thing. Entry: $25-40. And I can run most of a year on one set of tires. Still a lot of fun, because of the people.

The tribe of turn marshals is an entity unto itself. We look after the drivers, sure, but we look after each other first and foremost. Because of the danger (I’m sure some here saw the big crash at the Houston Indy Car race earlier in the month. That started about 10 feet from me & my team. I’m the Really Big Guy in white in many of the fan videos that litter YouTube and the official TV coverage), one of the highest compliments a marshal can give is “I trust that person to watch my back.”

It’s a lot like going to a con: we’ll share rooms, rides, resources, plan group trips to certain races, put up traveling marshals in our homes for local races, etc. One of my guys at Houston was part of a contingent of folks from San Francisco who came out for our race; and I put a friend from Tulsa up in my guest bedroom ’cause he’s out of work right now but wanted to come help (and he’s really good at it).

Which reminds me: I’ve got to email my pal B to let him know the extra bed in my room for the Formula 1 race in Austin is his if he wants it. My friends from Florida aren’t able to come this year.

Orf's avatar

Orf · 85 weeks ago

I feel this every time I visit my brother in Manhattan. Everything from the cabs “WHY DO YOU WANT TO KILL US OH GOD NO HELP ME OH THIS IS OUR STOP HERE’S A TIP” to the constant stream of humanity that never ends “OH GOD WHY ARE YOU STANDING THERE” makes me feel like the slow-walking, Western (US) outsider that I am. I got a coffee at a corner deli and they gave it to me in a paper bag LIKE THAT WASN’T TOTALLY FUCKING WEIRD! Anyway, Manhattan is a land of contrasts.

4 replies · active 84 weeks ago

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

I’m definitely a country boy, I feel anxious anywhere more crowded than the non-downtown parts of Portland.
Manhattan is super weird, but it’s the kind of weird that I enjoy visiting. It’s like taking a short trip to another planet in another dimension. Knowing I get to go home eventually allows me to enjoy the oddities. The idea of living there; raising a kid there terrifies me.
Tom's avatar

Tom · 85 weeks ago

Living in Manhattan (or in my case, Brooklyn just one subway stop away from Manhattan) is actually pretty awesome, at least when you’re single or married but childless. My wife and I are having a great time. But I totally agree on the idea of raising a kid here. We’re getting the hell out before that happens.
Junkyard's avatar

Junkyard · 85 weeks ago

“Comstock” is a sufficiently rare name that I can’t hear it without thinking of crazy preachers.

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago


I think of pie filling.


My (limited) experience of expensive restaurants and hotels suggest to me that there are 2 types of them: “wannabe” establishments, which want to be seen as upper-class and exclusive, and therefore look down their nose at anyone who seems to fail to meet their standards of dress/money/etc, and “authentic” establishments, who are sufficiently secure in their own identity that they happily accept anyone, regardless of their appearance, and make everyone feel welcome.

3 replies · active 85 weeks ago


One of the amusements of living in Houston is that you can’t really tell if that guy driving the white F350 is a lowly oilfield roughneck living in a trailer or the wildcatter/rancher living in a gated mansion. The result, however, is that I can walk into one of the most highly-regarded restaurants in the country in my work polo and Levis and be treated with the same courtesy as the guy in the suit at the next table. Yes, there are some “traditional” fancy places (notably some of the old-school steakhouses) were you need to dress accordingly, but there are more and more places here where that’s gone out the window because the owners of those places, typically younger themselves, would rather make good food (or sell you that Lamborghini) than be caught up in pretense.

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

I grew up just outside Santa Fe, and it was almost creepy. You go from the main town to the “old town” tourist areas and it turned into a parody of itself. In some cases it wasn’t much of a visual change but everyone just seemed to be trying harder to be laid-back and southwestern.
Las Vegas is that taken to an extreme. It’s a plastic scale model of parts of the real world, carefully assembled into a machine dedicated to separating tourists from their money. Whenever I’m there, I keep waiting for one of the locals to spot me, drop his human guise, and talk into his watch: “We’ve got one who can see!”
42C's avatar

42C · 85 weeks ago

Somehow I found myself involved in choosing between to major software systems for our company. The 10 hour sales pitches and demos nearly made me reconsider my carreer path entirely. The most awkward part were the fancy meals with the sales people. Sitting at wearing my Kohls brand shirt and tie with a bunch of old men wearing expensive suits eating $250+ meals was way outside my comfort zone. The dinner conversation was prorbably the worst, listening to a bunch of rich white men talk politics when they don’t think anyone not “like them” is around can get pretty sickening. In truth it wasn’t all bad but the idea that I was on the fast track to becoming a part of that bunch was a little frightening.

I have since moved on to world without suits and ties with a much more interesting and diverse group of people. I’m not entirely sure if I made the right decision but not being creeped out by who I’m becoming is definitely a perk.

I feel that way about spas. Spas totally creep me out. From the ridiculous array of totally organic chemicals designed to make you naturally look like nothing nature intended to a bevy of people who get paid to touch you in ways that make you feel good but totally aren’t borderline prostitutes.

I have tried to do the spa thing a few times. If other people are willing to spend goo gobs of money on this stuff, it must have some redeeming value, right? I mean, I have learned that expensive suits are worth the money, if you put value on looks and comfort. But I still can’t get comfortable with anything resembling a spa.

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

supercalisto's avatar

supercalisto · 85 weeks ago

Ha! That’s funny as I work in a spa at the front desk. Most of the money your paying for at the spa is for the skill of a good therapist (most of our services are massages) and that’s nothing to do with making you look good but making you feel good. In Canada we can claim massages on our health insurance so most people don’t end up paying crazy money because they just claim it back. The only thin close to what you describe above could be facials, but other then cleaning, scrubbing your skin I wouldn’t say it make you look unnatural. Makes me wonder what the hell kinda spa you’ve been to.

Personally I hate clubs I’ve been twice in the my lie and the music and type of people and their behavior made me hate it so much and I cant understand how anyone enjoys it.

Im the opposite. I LOVE spas. Were I wealthy that is probably the one “pampering” type thing that I would pay for with reckless abandon.
A friend of mine was looking to buy a club chair. We walked into a furniture store on the main road and went inside for a look. Right as we entered the store they had a club chair next to the front door. We looked at the price and said “Ops! Wrong store.” And walked out. The chair was over $1000 and we didn’t even like it before looking at the price.

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

My wife and I have done that dance before. The problem is that good furniture, stuff that will last for more than a few years just IS expensive. $1000 for a chair is a lot, but $500? If it lasts for 10+ years that’s super reasonable. The living room furniture we spent $1500 on almost 8 years ago is just now starting to fall apart.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

I got to go furniture shopping with my dad when they moved this year. Went to an Amish furniture store. The prices were high, but the last Amish table they had still has my teethmarks from 30 years ago.
stand's avatar

stand · 85 weeks ago

I get that feeling in Las Vegas. The airport, the casinos, restaurants, clubs, pretty much anywhere. It’s filled with people like that. Everyone tries to project this image of being really important. I can’t understand why anyone thinks of that as fun.

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 85 weeks ago

It’s much like Chris Hardwick says: “As a sober adult, Vegas from far away looks like a glittery stripper pole, but when you see it close up you just see a stripper pole covered in tears and feces.”
Allen's avatar

Allen · 85 weeks ago

They mean stock portfolios.
I bet he knew that.
Ceri's avatar

Ceri · 85 weeks ago

When I was in Rome on a two-week language course in my *mumblecough*th year at uni, some of my housemates talked me into going clubbing with them. I was about 10 years older than most of them at the time, and the last time I had been to a club was in high school. We ended up in the queue outside a dark door guarded by velvet ropes and a massive, bulldog-faced bouncer. All around us were tall, skinny, barely dressed Italian tween girls. I was wearing my least scruffy t-shirt and jeans and suddenly became extremely aware their sneers at my overweight-and-old-ness. I had to get out of there STAT.

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

I have extremely limited experience with “clubs” but I’m positive I would react the same way. The only exceptions are when the club or club-type environment is filled with people who are all there for the same reason. Once was on JoCo Cruise Crazy 3, and again was during the Cyanide And Happiness Banana Bar Crawl in Toronto. When everyone is there to have one, no one is trying to get laid by a stranger and everyone shares a common interest, it’s much easier to let go and have fun.
The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 85 weeks ago

And, it’s probably better than the gay model of going to bars to S&M: Stand & Model.
I’m sure straight people have scenes like that as well. 😎
Bemmie 's avatar

Bemmie · 85 weeks ago

I was recently in Paris, the homeless people made me feel underdressed and out of place… Was ordering dinner and after ordering food and drinks was asked, “and for wine?” I said no wine thanks, after that I’m not sure if she was looking at me or a cat who had vomited up something and died,

Never felt more like I didn’t belong, in a few cafés it was fine… Maybe in 50-60 years when I can afford to go again, we’ll go outside Paris…

HikingViking's avatar

HikingViking · 85 weeks ago

Growing up in Orange County, CA felt like that. I can relate to your story about the excessive-ness of a store. But imagine this Joel: when you leave that store, you’re still in a land of excess. You might think, “Oh, I just need to get out of this overpriced shopping center with faux Spanish roofs. Maybe once I get on the road I’ll feel better.” But you’d be wrong. Instead, you’d be in traffic, stuck behind hundreds of the newest cars leased by people who feel the great need to show them off. Maybe you’d stop for lunch. You’d try to find a low-key place, but no matter how low-key you went, someone would be talking very loudly about INSERT BIG NAME HERE. And it would go on…and on. Until you left Orange County.

4 replies · active 85 weeks ago

Rheinman's avatar

Rheinman · 85 weeks ago

I’m guessing those half circle red terra cotta tiles that figure prominenetly in the Taco Bell school of architecture
Dallas is actually a lot like that, only more spread out and no one is talking about Hollywood like they’re “in the biz.” There’s still an obscene amount of money down here and people do seem to enjoy flaunting it.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

I used to like Whole Foods and their quality, back when my mom was paying for it (and deciding where we go, I wasn’t some whiny kid throwing a tantrum about organic produce). These days Safeway is fine, and less painful.
Steve's avatar

Steve · 85 weeks ago

Once when I was younger, I was at an area mall. Despite the fact that it was one of the last malls in a hundred mile radius to boast an arcade, I still felt ill at ease there. I seldom go back, though the feelings of dread are replaced by sorrow that the place’s anchor store is a Hobby Lobby.
Fengor's avatar

Fengor · 85 weeks ago

My mother and I went to London this past summer on a shoe string budget,and one of the things she really wanted to see was Harrod’s department store. Not only was this place like the Wonka Factory of malls (sadly I did not see any Oompa Loompas) but every store, every freaking store, made you feel poorer than the last.

Their collection of every Lego set ever made, was alone enough to make me realize that this was not a store where the common folk made purchases.

4 replies · active 85 weeks ago

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

Once visiting my grandparents in Chicago we went to an FAO Schwartz. It felt like a toy store for the rich and famous who would never even think of doing something so crass as playing with their toys.
HAH! I know EXACTLY what you mean. There’s almost nothing there an actual person could even purchase. $5000 stuffed elephants and $2000 Powerwheels cars. Who is that stuff even for? You can’t play with a 15 ft tall stuffed animal.
Fengor's avatar

Fengor · 85 weeks ago

Well…I can think of a few things one could do with a 15ft tall stuffed animal, and most of them are creepy or illegal.
Steve's avatar

Steve · 85 weeks ago

Miley Cyrus beat you to many of them.

…ooooo, too soon.

If you’re going to work to earn all this money, you might as well use it to enjoy yourself in the limited time you have.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

For me it’s restaurants. My brain goes along the lines of “25 bucks for a steak dinner? I could buy for meals’ worth of steak and potatoes for that much. Granted since I’m a fat bastard it would last me about two meals but the point still stands!”

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

I’d say above $25 a head for a “special occasion” is where my comfort zone ends. Otherwise I want to feed my family of 3 for $35 with tip.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 85 weeks ago

Yeah. I pulled the price off of when we were celebrating my cousin getting a college professor job. Delicious steak, but my personal quality/price scale tends to steer me toward “as long as it’s edible and doesn’t actually taste BAD.”
For a variety of reasons, last year I let a younger friend drag me to a college party. I discovered that although I’m still firmly in the middle range of 20’s, I am too damn old for that nonsense. Although, much like any club I’ve ever briefly gone to, I was never much of a fan in the first place.

I Can Show You The World

There’s a new signed print and poster in the new HE store! 

The Fifth Element meets Calvin And Hobbes” [PRINT or POSTER]
hijinks ensue calvin and hobbes fifth element print poster

COMMENTERS: Has anyone ever tried to share a place, store, food, experience that they ABSOLUTELY LOVE with you, somehow ignoring the fact that you ABSOLUTELY HATE that sort of thing? Did it broaden your horizons or further alienate you from something you already despised.

Have you seen my wife’s Etsy store, “Science and Fiction?” Check out her Tetris earrings!

Tetris Earings!


Comments (27)

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Kirby's avatar

Kirby · 86 weeks ago

No, it’s usually me doing the showing and I end up feeling bad about things I like.

D&D, card games, video games, everything else I like… 🙁

I need to get to know some non-nerds.

1 reply · active 86 weeks ago

Kirby's avatar

Kirby · 86 weeks ago

Er, I mean nerds. I only know non-nerds.
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Candace · 86 weeks ago

The only thing I can think of is when a friend turned me on to Dr. Who. I was pretty much already a science fiction geek, but was always dubious about Dr. Who because back in the ’70s and ’80s the special effects looked extra-cheesy even for cheesy sci-fi series. He convinced me to give it a shot, though, and once I started watching, I was hooked.

I’m not sure that really counts, though, since I was already into other science fiction series (original Star Trek, etc.) and other nerdy pursuits like AD&D. It wasn’t really completely outside my box, it was just deeper in than I’d ventured before.

I did try golfing with a family member once, which, although I didn’t develop a burning desire to start getting into golfing, caused me to develop a new respect for the game. (It’s harder than it looks. I didn’t do well. :-D) That was my choice, though – no one talked me into it – I just thought I would give it a try since I have multiple family members who are into it, and I figured I should try it out to see if I was missing out on something. (It was OK, but not compelling enough for me to decide to spend time and effort getting better at it.)

Megdanger's avatar

Megdanger · 86 weeks ago

I am a nerd and my boyfriend is decidedly non-nerdy and all up in every sport ever, which I’ve dutifully ignores my whole life. Early on when we were dating he took me to a hockey game because it’s seriously his favorite thing and he wanted to share it with me and I didn’t want to be a jerk and long story short: hockey is awesome. It’s like ice skating with with violence!
R. W.'s avatar

R. W. · 86 weeks ago

Mmyeah, this is pretty much how I feel about all sports-related things all the time.
Adam D.'s avatar

Adam D. · 86 weeks ago

I have never been a fan of Indian food… it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just… it’s never appealed to me. One of my former co-workers would go, every Friday, without fail, to a local all you can eat Indian place. He begged me for months to go with him, and finally I relented one time, if for no other reason than to keep him from continually asking.

As soon as I stepped in, I knew I had made a mistake. Maybe it was the type of curry they were using, maybe it was the quantity… but the place absolutely REEKED of curry. I know intellectually when you go into an Indian restauraunt you will smell curry, but when it smells like everything was boiled in it for about 6 hours… not so appealing.

After a tortuously long hour, we departed, with him excitedly asking “So, would you like to go again?”
“Um… no thanks, I prefer Sushi on Fridays…”
“Sushi? man, they don’t cook the food there… there’s no smell.”
Never asked me again, blessedly.

(Anecdotally – I tried the Chicken Tikka Masala Curry from the British Beer Company, and it’s delicious, though true indian fans will berate my choice of the McDonald’s of curries)

DuckAmuck's avatar

DuckAmuck · 86 weeks ago

I feel like my husband does this crap to me all the time. I used to listen to pop music – now I’m totally a metal-head. (don’t get me started about radio metal)
There are a lot of TV shows or movies I don’t have an interest in, or have tried and didn’t stick with – but since he’s watching it and won’t shut up about it, I end up sitting through it. (wouldn’t know Whedon without it)

Never ever ever goes the other way, though. “You STILL haven’t watched Breaking Bad? And you don’t feel like you’re missing anything?”

Eleanor's avatar

Eleanor · 86 weeks ago

Every encounter I have ever had with any Anime fan. I have watched my fair share, and I don’t care for it. Didn’t hate it…..until the 25th Anime fan yelling at me that I just haven’t seen the RIGHT Animie yet kicked the toggle switch in my brain. Now someone just mentioning they like Anime is enough to start the eye twitch and the fist clenching and the stabby-stabby.

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

My father had 4 box seat season tickets to Mets stadium first and second row right behind first base. He had them for about 25 years. I went four times. Each time all I did was watch the teleprompter and look for the snack vendors to get closer. 😉

2 replies · active 86 weeks ago

PokeyPuppy's avatar

PokeyPuppy · 86 weeks ago

Oh man, my family is NUTS for the Yankees. And I just can’t stand baseball, bores the crap out of me. I’ve tried, multiple times – don’t like playing it, don’t like watching it. Means I make more of an effort with the sports I do kind of like, though – basketball, volleyball, soccer…
I throw a super bowl party every year. I have a 70″ flat screen (for video games) and I never watch football. Makes me the perfect host for cooking and putting out the food. I never know who is in the super bowl until I get to the party store and buy super bowl themed paper plates. 😉
Spescase's avatar

Spescase · 86 weeks ago

All the time, I’m pretty willing to try new things usually, so when it comes to something I think I’ll hate I feel guilty not giving my friends at least a chance. MLP was something that alienated me more from it, because it was EXACTLY what I expected, a kids show, but then there is redneck culture which, as odd as it sounds, is actually kind of fun from time to time. They know how to party and I’ve only been involved in a few drunken brawls with them. Usually it’s all better in the sober anyway.
seriously's avatar

seriously · 86 weeks ago

Back when The Wire was still on I had a girlfriend who ranted and raved about how I needed to watch it with her. Never watched a single episode, and still feel like I missed nothing.

Although I did eventually turn her into a hardcore sci-fi nerd, so I guess I won that one.

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

thebpm's avatar

thebpm · 86 weeks ago

I have a friend who has tried to get me into bubble tea on several occasions with different vendors, and each time I think, nope, texture’s still ALL WRONG.
People keep trying to get me into Homestuck. I think the concept is super neat and exciting, and it’s awesome to see someone doing something unique online, mixing media, etc. But I find the storyline really tedious, and if I need to slog through 100, 200, 300, etc updates or installations before something “gets good,” then the author has failed as an author. This is true for books and tv shows, too… If your entire first season is ass, I’m not going to watch it, you know?

1 reply · active 85 weeks ago

Runcibletune's avatar

Runcibletune · 86 weeks ago

Um, I’m not sure if this is a thing that has anything to do with your site, Joel, but when I clicked the comments link I had a page load that told me I had the wrong version of Java. I was about to click the “Save File” button before I realized that was a REALLY dumb idea. I do in fact have the correct version of Java, and that page seems to have been a malware thingy?

2 replies · active 85 weeks ago

teddy's avatar

teddy · 85 weeks ago

same thing just happened to me
Seems to be a thing that’s going around. I have alerted the proper tech authorities.
Jesse's avatar

Jesse · 85 weeks ago

Why am I seeing Evil Fox Executive?

2 replies · active 74 weeks ago

He may or may not be based on someone I may or may not have worked for in the past. #mayormaynot
I would arson that place at most and at least, I would leave
that guy's avatar

that guy · 85 weeks ago

pretty much anytime I am asked to meet at one of those chain restaurants that caters to families or “business types that want to pretend to be hip, but wanna really be safe”. Few friends that really love those sorta places, but they just make my skin crawl.

That and “the mall” in general.

I think there may be direct correlation be hair products/brand names and eww factor for me.