Recommended Daily Allowance

My Patreon passed the $1750 milestone (THANK YOU SO MUCH, FANCY PATRONS), so my new podcast “Potter & Daughter” will debut in February. The first 3 episodes are edited and ready to upload. Expect the first one during the week of 2/9/15. You can learn more about it here.

COMMENTERS: What food will they find clutched in your cold dead hands when they drag your body of the crevasse that was once your couch?

Totally Unprovoked

In my home, I am beset on all sides but fuzzy dumbasses. Tivo, the brown and grey one, is a miserable, whiny grump whose terrified of essentially all things. He also doesn’t like to be touched below the waste. He SPECIFICALLY doesn’t like to be touched at the base of the tail. Naturally, I find great amusement in poking that spot like a sort of “whine button” whenever he’s getting on my nerves. The first few pokes elicit a whimper, the second few get an angry whine and a “why aren’t you dead yet?” glare, and with the last couple of pokes you just get blood. Just an impossibly fast, brownish-greyish swipey blur and blood.

Tivo has injured me from time to time for no reason. Either because he is terrified of a shoe, or a box, or a shoe near a box or some other harmless juxtaposition of items he assumes I have arranged just so to cause him distress. Like I said: fuzzy dumbasses. These are the injuries I get angry about. But the tail poking injuries… I really can’t get upset with the cat for these. I am specifically provoking him and walking on the goddamn razors edge. GOD, I FEEL SO ALIVE! Wait, no. I mean foolish. So bloody and foolish.


potter and daughter podcast logo hijink ensue

When my Patreon reaches $2000/month I’m going to release a new podcast where upon I interview my 7 years old daughter as she reads through the Harry Potter series. It’s called Potter And Daughter! More details HERE.

Replay (the white and grey fuzzied dumbness depicted above) is less likely to cause a human, even a human provocateur, actual harm. He knows how to “play bite” where as Tivo only knows “do no stop until teeth touch bone.” Where as Tivo’s fight or flight response is set so far to “fight” that the knob is broken off, Replay’s is set to “find a happy place in your mind and go there. GO THERE AND NEVER LOOK BACK!” When he wanders around the house screaming at full volume, despite having a full bowl of food, a clean litter box, no desire to go outside and every possible comfort a fuzzy dumbass could ever desire, I find myself inclined to do the one thing he hates more than anything: turning him upside down and carrying him around like a baby. When I do this, he doesn’t actually attack me. His eyes sort of gloss over and he gets this look on his face that seems to say, “If I had a secret poison filled compartment in my tooth, I would be opening it right now.” But, he does stop screaming. So score one for the humans, I guess.

Planned Obsolescence

Austin, TX Fancy Bastards: We are just over a month away from the 6th annual Dragon’s Lair Webcomics Rampage! Get details HERE.

 Here are some things I have done that have caused me crippling, immobilizing back pain: putting on a shirt, taking off a shirt, standing up, sitting up in bed, drying off after a shower, washing my back, bending over, picking up a ladder, picking up a larger ladder, placing my hands on the lip of a desk and thinking about moving it, but not actually moving it. The list goes on! In the last few years, I have taken major steps towards living mostly back pain free. I never pick up anything over 30 lbs or larger than a cat. I use my arms to lift myself out of a chair or off a couch. I use a footstool at my desk. I use a higher, more comfortable chair when I draw. I put a yoga block under my elbow when I draw to keep it from drooping, and I recently got a Sleep Number bed. My sleep number is: ∞. 

I say all this not to impress you with my glamorous lifestyle, but to illustrate how my particular vessel of guts is on the back half of its particular period of usefulness. Two days ago I woke up from bed (my first mistake), and went to pop my neck like I do every morning. Instead of popping, my neck bones and neck meats screamed in unison and I spent the next 48 hours unable to look this way (It doesn’t matter that you can’t see which way I’m looking. Whatever way you are imagining, I could not look THAT way). Jealous? I know that sounds pretty baller, right? Deal with it.

Regarding the dating of the recent comics: I was, until today, backdating comics published in October to September so I could fill in the gaps that I missed while away at conventions. The simple act of doing this actually caused me more delays and issues and I’ve given up on filling in those gaps for now. I’m taking the mulligan and moving on with updating in the present day. I have a neat idea for a story line involving Josh that could have run parallel to the previous “Roomba” story line. If I get it worked out, I may publish it backdated to fill in the October comic slots.

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”.

The Loophole

That title should actually be, “The Loouphoule.” 

TOP SECRET INFO: You can get a print of any HE comic ever by clicking “Buy A Print” under the comic, or by going here.

Did you know if you catch a real live Canadian they have to show you their Indentattoo which, in turn, reveals their true name and spirit animal? Once you can call a Candian by its true name, it must obey your every command. Unless you command it to commit murder, or be rude in public. Then IT CONTROLS YOU! The good news is, it will often express mild irritation at your capture and enslavement of it, but ultimately wish you well and attempt to find its way home. Canadians can always sense true north because of a naturally occurring magnet found in their skulls. Up until the late 1800’s, these “bone magnets” were highly sought after by American hunters, trappers, golfers and tennis players for their perceived effectiveness in pseudo-science carpal tunnel bracelets.

I am quite literally bursting with true facts about Canada. I’ve been there at least 3 times, which makes me an expert. I’m going back again next month for Calgary Expo and to get recertified as an official Canada Expert First Class. I’ll be at booth 925/1025 with Blind Ferret.

One more comic and this story bit ends. Game Of Thrones comes back this Sunday, and I’m struggling to remember who is dead, who is currently actively being killed and who is merely mortally wounded. I need to make a chart. A blood chart. My wife has read ahead in the books which has transformed her into some kind of fire witch with the curse of foresight. She isn’t to be trusted.

I need to go write a foreword for my friend’s book.

COMMENTERS: Have you ever been catching up on a popular tv or movie series while your spouse, significant other, friend, etc. has already read all the books? Did it augment the experience for you, or were they all, “OH MAN OH MAN OH MAN YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S ABOUT TO HAPPEN OMGOMGOMG!!!” all the time? I made the ENORMOUS mistake of assuming I would never care about Harry Potter, so I forced my old boss to explain the entire plot to me, including who killed Dumbledore and that Harry was the final Horcrux, thus robbing me of the excitement of finding those things out for myself when I eventually fell in love with the series.