Friday, December 31, 2010

The (un)update

I haven't forgotten about updating, it's just been a busy month.  All that time I spent job hunting really paid off!

1. I got a job at a car dealership that involved commuting an hour there and back.  (It sucked)
2. I got a job offer from a newspaper in Wyoming.  (Can you say snowboarding!?!)
3. I quit the car dealership after only working there for two weeks, I didn't want to waste their time training me for a job I was never going to do.  (I did a happy dance.)

Right about here is when I should have began drawing comic/blogs again.  But no, reality got in the way!

4. I bought Christmas presents, wrapped them up and gave them to the peeps.  (Giving is awesome, debt is not.)
5. I got a stomach virus.  (It made my butt hurt for 4 days.)
6. I acquired space bags and spent much time sucking the air out of my stuff so I can fit it all in my car for the move to Wyoming.  (I am an ADULT.)

I promise I will start updating with drawings and stories for you soon and here's why you can trust me on this:

I spent $70 on a drawing tablet and I hate wasting money, so I will use it until I've melted it from drawing so much. 

Happy 2011!  ...If I never update again, just assume I was mauled by a bear or moose while running in the mountains.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to prepare for a Marathon

Sorry for the lack of updates the last few days.  I have a valid excuse though, I got a big boy job!

*Applause*  

So, you want to know how to run a marathon, huh?  You've been running at least 5 miles a day EVERYDAY for the past few months and you think you are ready to take on something that most people can't even imagine doing!?!

Good for you, have a cookie!

Seriously.

You need carbs.  Eat a cookie right now!

Everyone else, if you are curious about how to prepare for a marathon I suggest checking with sites made by professional runners or physical therapists, because trying to run this far without conditioning your body and mind for it can be quite damaging.  (Also, because I'm an idiot and I built up to this point over years of adding more distance and reading random articles on running.)

The night before running a marathon it is absotively posolutely imperative to your survival that you eat lots of carbs and drink lots of water.  Carbs are energy, which you will need a lot of once you start going the next day.  Organic cheese pizza is the perfect food for vegetarian marathon runners to eat the night before a long run.  Cheese is loaded with protein, and sauce (white or red) is delicious and has some vitamins, and the crust is delicious carbs.  If you want to go hardcore-awesome, top that bad boy off with some noodles and you will be in carbohydrate heaven!


I'm not being immature (well maybe I am a little bit), but you are going to piss like a mo-fo.  Just sit your candy ass down on the toilet while eating and chugging water because you will be going peeing so much that your piss would count a purified water.

Feels goooooood, man.

Next, you freaking DIE!!!

Close enough anyway, a food coma will hit right around the time your pee-hole starts to go numb from all the pissing.  This won't be the best sleep ever, but a food coma is a pretty deep sleep...which makes it fantastic for being well rested for the running!

YAAAAAY SLEEP!!!


Once you emerge from your food coma, you will have to poop really badly.  But that's too bad for you because you need to eat some motha-freakin' oatmeal, cousin!

Oatmeal is great for a last meal, it is small and gives long lasting energy without making you feel bloated and slow.

Also, drink more water.

Now that all those carbs are digested and you are well hydrated, it is time to get pissed off!

[sqwee!  This is the fun part!]


Think of the worst possible things your mind can come up with.  Things that really infuriate you.  (Here's a few to get you started since sinister thoughts aren't something normal people think about too often.  ...though, you are reading my blog and that makes you suspicious already.  O___O)
  • A loved one being killed and the murderer getting away with it!
  • Everyone you know and loved is being raped, tortured and slowly/mercilessly killed right now and there is nothing you can do about it!  (Except run really far and really fast!)
  • Heat seeking missiles are flying directly at you and everyone you care about!  You have to outrun them to save everybody!
  • Puppies are being set on fire and kittens are being microwaved!  
  • There's no toilet paper left in the whole restroom and nobody bothered to re-fill it and now you are stuck with a nasty ass and your cellphone is dead! 

Get.  Pissed.  Off.

Anger helps psyche you up and get you focused.  Maybe you can prevent all those things from happening if you run fast enough?  (Maybe a magical cupcake will appear on my desk while I go get my headphones from downstairs...who knows?)


Angry music might not necessarily be your favorite music, but it keeps the adrenaline pumping.  I don't necessarily like angry music, but certain sounds, rhythms and lyrics really freak me out and tap my adrenaline.

I highly recommend the following bands (and these songs in particular) for running any distance:
I also recommend thinking about zombiesA lot.
Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cats Make Me Retarded

I am the epitome of masculinity...and I think cats are super-cute!

I know I am scrawny, at about 6ft tall and 155 pounds there is no denying this fact.  I'm also a vegetarian with an English degree.  I'm completely aware that misconceptions are quickly formed when all of these factors are combined.

But that doesn't stop me from occasionally firmly believing that I am the definition of manliness.


Machismo is often frowned upon by western civilization since having male pride is often mistaken for being a "sexist pig."  Opportunities for bravado are rare, as I touched upon in the previous entry, there just aren't many chances to bravely do anything since modern living is annoyingly safe and convenient. 

Since my physique, educational background, and diet limit my chances to feel manly just as much as post-industrial living does; I tend to savor any reason I might have for feeling manly without having to drink heavily, eat tons of meat and watch sports all day.  (Drinking frequently/heavily is stupid, meat seems to slow me down for some reason, and I would rather be doing something than watching other people do things.)

Modern society's views on what hobbies/lifestyles are manly are sickeningly skewed.  (But we'll save that for another day.)

If I get to repair anything, or even just do basic maintenance I immediately bust out my boots and flannel shirt.  I do this because my typical job-hunting day consists of sitting at my computer, doing some cleaning around the house, then going running/lifting/Hapkido practice.  That's it.  Basically, 90% of the time I am in my pajamas or sweats...and after 5 weeks of job hunting it has taken a toll on my self-image. 

So anyway, when the opportunity comes for me to revel in my XY chromosomes, I go full blown Alpha Male.  There's not much that can snap me out of this Alpha Male mindset once it settles in.

Cats are the exception.


Cats are always the freaking exception.  To everythingEVERYTHING.

  • Gravity?  Forget that!  Cats be flying around the house and then landing on their feet.
  • Basic Anatomy?  Forget that too!  Cats have bones when they want to have bones (which is never...until it is vet appointment time anyway)
  • Staying off the field during a baseball game?  NOPE.



Because they defy all logic and essentially give the laws of the universe the middle finger, I consider cats to be my favorite living thing on the planet.  (Yes, I like cats more than people.  A cat has never dissapointed me because I've never had any expectations of a cat, thus, favorite species by default.  Deal with it, mankind, you are second fiddle to cats.)

Some cats are better than others.   

[Girlfriend] had a particularly awesome cat named Mr. B (short for Silver Bob, but nobody ever called him that).

Any cat can knock me out of my Alpha Male mode if it is close enough for me to interact with it.  Cats are like a drug to me for some reason.  It could be a rabid ball of hatred and I will insist on trying to pet it.

I am an idiot like that.

Mr. B was particularly good at switching off the bravado and switching on the insatiable craving for cute and fuzzy.  I suspect Mr. B was aware of this because whenever I would go to [Girlfriend's] house, he would show up and use his charms to turn me into a sappy freak with a high pitched voice and inability to contain my adoration.


If the cat is really cool, I will talk to it as if it could understand every word I say.  Cats make me retarded (and I know it's not PC to use that word, but I am betting any doctor would diagnose me as mentally impaired should a cat be in the room during the diagnosis). 

Mr. B was cool because he basically didn't give a shit.  He knew he had nothing to worry about, [Girlfriend], her sister and their parents took excellent care of him.  When I first met Mr. B he was so confident that his owners wouldn't let a crazy person in the house that he trusted me immediately.

When I started my typical gushing over how adorable he was, he just took as being justifiably worshiped and loved me for it.  It was pretty much a bromance after that.


One would think that when in the presence of [Girlfriend] I would want to take every opportunity to be extra masculine around her to "make up for all the sissy things I do."  Chivalry is out of the question since she's the independent type, I can hold the door open for her and she's gradually getting less offended when I pay for dinner...but other than that chivalry is dead (or at least comatose).

Besides, she's way above all that, and I think she might actually enjoy watching my demeanor go from "Chuck Norris" to "Hello Kitty" in 3 seconds.

You might also think it is a terrible idea to let [Girlfriend] know that cats make me retarded...but you are so wrong!

[Girlfriend] also loses all sense of reality when in the company of anything cute. 

Example:  [Girlfriend] spent a significant portion of an evening in fits of laughter over randomly/nonchalantly offering her dog a "brewski."  (And I love it!)

We're both hopelessly insane, and it rocks.

In loving memory of Mr. B
Saturday, December 4, 2010

Figuring Myself Out By Running (I Thought I Was Dying)

[Added 3 hours after publishing this post - I kind of hate this entry.  While drawing and writing this, I was slightly hungover and completely exhausted from going to the holiday stroll and getting a little too jolly for my own good last night.  Lesson learned, don't drink just to stay warm!  (The more you know)

I love running so much that it very nearly killed me.  Ooh joy!

Grab yourself some hot coco, kids, because Uncle Matt is going to tell you the magical tale of how I nearly froze to death while running outside in the winter.  (Warning, this story contains gratuitous amounts of hyperbole.)

Figuring Myself Out Is Killing Me
By: Matt
Age: 23 
(IQ and Dignity - Nonexistent)

Modern living is dangerously safe, painfully comfortable, and frustratingly simple; so I like to push my limits just to see how far I can go and how much I can handle.

 One way I do this is by running obscenely far distances with no cellphone and just enough money to buy Gatorade along the way.

 While running an independent marathon (26.6 Miles) the weather changed dramatically when I was about 6 miles away from my house and only 18 miles into the run.  I only had my running shoes, regular adidas shorts and regular under armor shirt (not the kind that keeps you warm, but the thin kind that keeps sweat off the skin)...so basically this means I was naked and soaked in sweat from the waist down as the temperature plummeted from 70 to 30.


I could spend my post-college-job-hunting period of unemployment sitting safely at home on the couch waiting for responses from job applications.  I could relax with all the comforts, luxuries and safety that mankind has spent thousands of years progressing toward obtaining...but that's boring.

There's no real struggles in every day life unless you want them.  We don't have to hunt for our food, we don't have to make anything by hand nor do we have to repair anything ourselves.  Every service imaginable is just one phone call away and all of this makes me feel soft.


I ended up seeking refuge in a public restroom at the riverfront for a while.  The hand driers were excellent for thawing out my hands and sweat soaked hair and shorts.

When/If society crumbles for any of the number of reasons that The History Channel and Discover Channel say that it could, I don't want to die due to my inability to fend for myself.  When something horrible happens I like knowing that I have more options than just curling into a ball and crying for help.

I find out a lot about myself when I'm completely outside my comfort zone and sometimes the things I learn aren't too great.

I'm normally extremely environmentally conscious, I recycle everything that can be, I walk or use my scooter instead of my car whenever possible, and I never leave anything turned on or plugged in unless I am actually using it.

However, when I thought I was freezing to death after running 18 miles, I wanted global warming more than anything in the world.  I regretted every recycled can, every trip I took that didn't involve burning gas, and I definitely regretted downsizing my vehicle from a massive pick-up truck to a tiny car.  I even regretted losing weight, because when I was fat I was never cold.


I grew up in Iowa and have basically never traveled.  The only climate I know is this one.  It gets hot as hell in the summer and insanely cold in the winter.  I used to be okay with this because when I had an extra 85 pounds to keep me warm, winter wasn't a painful experience and during the summer I could just hide out in the air conditioning.

Because I was never in a situation where I thought I might actually die due to the weather, I had no idea that I was capable of feeling like this.  


My adrenaline addiction and constant desire to push my limits has resulted in the following:

1.  I pissed blood for two days due to drinking protein shakes with creatine in them because I ran so much that my sweating and the contents of the shake dried out my bladder, thus causing the walls to rub as I ran...then my bladder kept filling up with my own blood.  (It's called Runners Hematuria, look it up, it's nasty and painful.)

2.  From August till October I had an insane case of Milaria on both my arms from using a cheap iPod armband when running long distance everyday.  I didn't give my skin time to recover from the massive heat rash the arm band caused and over time it got worse and worse until my skin was literally starting to rot off my arms. 

3.  I got lost when running out in the country, I had no glasses, no cellphone, no money or water.  I had no idea where I was because I thought I was on route for making a big loop around  the residential section of northern Iowa City.  Instead, I ended up at Coralville Lake.


View Larger Map

So what has pushing my limits taught me about who I really am as a person?

1. I don't care too much about the environment during the winter
2. I have a terrible sense of direction
3. I am kind of stupid

It's a miracle I haven't died from trying to figure myself out.

On the plus side, all of this has made my ass look fantastic in jeans.  (It is good to have priorities.)  

The End :) 
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Coffee Gets Crap Done (Even When I Don't Want It To)

I like coffee.  It tastes good, makes me feel more mature and refined than I really am, and it is basically a legal and non-lethal steroid for getting crap done.

I drink coffee regularly, but I just can't seem to build up any tolerance to the stuff, no matter how hard I try.  I abused caffeine as a teenager by chugging soda everyday and that just made me hostile and out of control.

As an adult, the results with coffee are similar.


It takes about half an hour for me to fully wake up with no caffeine or sugar in the morning.

However, I am a very busy guy and I need to get crap done now!  

Job hunting takes up quite a bit of time, and I like to do chores around the house each day since my Dad is letting me live at home for free and is paying for my food (sweetest deal EVER).


One mug of coffee later and I am an unstoppable machine, loaded with motivation, determination and enough energy to put the Large Hadron Collider to shame!

At this point I will smash particles with my freaking eyelids just because it keeps me entertained while I take care of basic errands.

If I were to drink coffee in front of the ancient Greeks I would likely be worshiped as a god...and then promptly killed.  ...But on the plus side, people would remember my name.


When hopped up on coffee, basic chores have to be enhanced with roundhouse kicks just to keep them interesting enough so that I don't explode from caffeinated energy overload!

The house is spotless, my to-do list is complete and I should be content with all my hard work.

But I'm not.


I should be out doing amazing things and making the world a better place, but I am stuck at home waiting for a job offer from any of the hundreds of applications I've sent out while job hunting.

Job hunting after college is like spending your whole life training for the Olympics.  You are the best at what what you do, and every fiber in your being screams "let me show you what I am capable of!"  ...but then you get there and find out your event is on hold until the economy picks up.

There's really no one person to blame, it's just that the world has no need for recent college grads right now.  The places that are hiring can't afford us, and everywhere else is trying to cut down on workers.

I've often heard that the unemployment rate is about 18% for recent college grads, and that's not counting the under-employed...I think some people estimated that unemployed/under-employed rate for college graduates for 2009 and 2010 is about 80%, but I can't recall for sure.

What I do know is that with no job, I have no directive, and with no directive, I feel lost.

I empathize with the Depression Era generation.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Songs That Rock

It is December and it is snowing, so I guess I will finally admit to it being Christmas season.

I don't necessarily hate Christmas, it's just that I think it is grossly over hyped.  I have never had a perfect Christmas, nor do I know anyone who has; so building up such high expectations for one day seems like a very easy way to get disappointed.

I also don't like how overly commercialized this religious holiday has been for the last few generations.  "The Charlie Brown Christmas Special" spoke out against commercializing the holiday and that was about fifty years ago.

We should have listened to Charlie Brown.

So, the holiday kind of blows...but there are certain aspects of it that totally kick ass no matter how badly the other parts may suck.

I love Christmas music.  Songs about forgiveness, being with the ones that you love, peace on Earth, and just generally being decent human beings never fail to rekindle my faith in humanity.

Black Friday usually sends me into a spiral of hatred for mankind that lasts until I hear some really good holiday music.  We're supposed to be reminding ourselves to be generous and kind to others, but on Black Friday we trample people to death over saving a few bucks on crap we do not need.

...Let's save that for another day though.

Some Christmas music sucks (elementary school choirs), some of it is over-done (Grandma got run over by a reindeer), and some of it is pretty awesome (Rock band covers of the classics).



[INTERMISSION]

 
[The Matt has short-circuited and lost his drawing, writing and humor skills]


[Please stand by while Matt sorts his shit out]


[We apologize for the inconvenience]
^__^

 





 [Hawaiin Punch Juice Box solved that problem]

[We now resume this segment of "Radioactive Cheese"]

***Applause***

...Best listen to the boss and get back to work, huh?

So as I was saying before I plummeted into a dark hole of soul crushing despair and dehydration due to lack of delicious juice; Christmas music can be pretty awesome.

Sometimes if you just dig around a bit you will find that some of your favorite performers made covers of classic holiday songs or even made some of their own.  I often stumble on excellent holiday songs years after they were recorded, but just because they are a little old doesn't mean they aren't just as inspirational.

...though the things some of them are trying to inspire may not necessarily be good things.



My Chemical Romance - All I Want For Christmas Is You
It may be emo, but I don't give two craps.  I love all types of music, even emo.

No Doubt - Oi To The World
I love ska music, underneath my emo appearance is a side-burns and fedora rockin' rude-boy waiting to skank all over your coffee table.  Yes.

Mogwai - Christmas Song
Sometimes it's good to chill with some instrumentals.

Home Grown - Feliz Navidad
I love old school pop-punk and I love how the Spanish language sounds...combo delicioso.

Goldfinger - White Christmas
Ska is upbeat, Christmas is upbeat...I think there is a theme going on here!

The Ramones - Merry Christmas (I don't want to fight tonight)
To break up the jolly ska parade I have been building, here's some domestic abuse and classic punk rock!

Thrice - Carol of Bells
This one is quite good, it is a shame it was never "officially" released

Family Force 5 - Grandma Got Ran Over
I know the original has been beaten to death, but this one is pretty dope.  (Trust me, dope is the only word to describe these beats)

Run DMC - Christmas in Hollis
This is from the year that I was born!  Yay for old school!  (It's still awesome)

MC Chris - Evergreen
Despite popular belief, MC Chris is not dead.  Listen to his rhymes and he just might visit your house on Christmas Eve (He's one very magical MC).

Blink 182 - Won't Be Home For Christmas
This is how I rolled in high school and it is still how I roll today.  Rock.

These are some of my favorites, and it is only the beginning of December, so I still have plenty of time to find and enjoy some crazy awesome holiday music.

After all, if it wasn't for the music, the food, the people, the festivities and the (superficial) attempts to bring joy to the world, I just might hate this holiday.


...Did I ever have any hipster cred anyway?




For my atheist and holiday-hating amigos, here's some cheerful tunes to brighten up your day.  I spent all day rocking my face off to this song and screaming along with it until my throat went raw and I was spitting blood.  ROCK.  (Jolly, huh?)
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Parenting License

There used to be this awesome blog called, whythefuckdoyouhaveakid.com  ...but I guess it's no longer active.  What made it awesome was that it said one thing that never fails to come to my mind every single time I take even one step outside my door:  WHY THE F**K DO YOU HAVE A KID?

I had to get a special license and take a class in order to operate a motorcycle.  We require special licenses for doctors, lawyers, realitors, interpreters, teachers, boaters, hunters, gun owners, bar tenders and I think some states even have them for nannies/baby-sitters.  ...Yet we don't have one for parenting.

Sure we have laws about negligence and abuse that are fantastic, but what if the parents are total idiots or douchebags that aren't breaking any laws, they just happen to totally suck at parenting.

 
I can't go to Wal-Mart, McDonald's or any other public place where kids are prevalent without seeing a handful of these fools hanging around.  You know the type, die-hard "Juno" fans that want nothing more in life than to have a baby even though it is painfully obvious they can barely care for themselves. 

The baby will be like a cute living doll or fashion accessory to Ms. Juno-Fan for a while, until she realizes that raising a kid is really hard work...then she will resent it.  Once the kid starts to talk and have an opinion of his/her own the Mom will likely give up and turn the brat over to the streets.

Don't worry though, she will keep leftover mac-n-cheese on the counter to keep the kid fed...but anything involving getting off the couch is just out of the question for this welfare queen.

And this is where kids like Thug-Jr. come into play.  You may remember hearing about this one a couple years ago, the 7-year-old that stole his grandma's SUV and went on a destructive joyride.


Kids like this don't just happen over night.  They are made over years of indifference and total lack of positive role models.  Plop your kid down in front of the TV and let our trashy entertainment raise him/her...and this is the end result.

Don't worry, he only wants to do hood-rat shit...just like his idols on TV or video games.  I'm not saying those are to blame, I am just saying that those may have been the only role models he had in life...if gangstas can steal cars and get famous, then why not him?  (Ooh look, it totally happened!  He was recently on Tosh.0 for this.)

Cases like this really make me wonder why we don't require parenting classes in school, or at least for when parents find out a baby is on the way.  Would it be so terrible to make sure parents are qualified enough to at least not severely screw their kid up for life?


Random Redneck actually brings up a pretty good counter-argument.  We can't infringe on the rights of others just because we don't agree with them.  But, if the parents don't give a shit then why not just step in and be the role model the kid needs?

This would mean relatives and neighbors would have to actually grow a pair and do something good for the world...but that doesn't seem too likely.  (I don't have much faith in humanity, sorry.)

So what about turning those lame after-school and summer programs into things that the little brats actually would enjoy...like something involving video games and pretty much anything other than that lame-ass macaroni picture garbage.


If kids, like Thug-JR, like to do hood rat shit, then why not take them fishing?  Gutting a fish is about as gangsta as it gets and would totally feed their thirst for violence and it would mean spending hours at a time with someone that is at least motivated enough to go out and do something other than get drunk and watch TV all day.
Sunday, November 28, 2010

Legalizing Marijuana

Before I begin this post, I want to be very clear about this so that there is no confusion whatsoever.

Despite popular belief, I have never smoked marijuana or done any drugs of any kind.  EVER.

However, just because I have no desire to try it doesn't mean I think it should be illegal.  I love stoner culture.  Their snack food is amazing!  Cheetos, Mozzarella Sticks, Captain Crunch, Pudding Cups, Cupcakes, and pretty much anything delicious is "stoner food."  Stoner music is unique and fun to listen to and I think stoner comedies are hilarious because I sort of have a childish sense of humor.  (Fart jokes.)

But, "Radioactive Cheese" is a classy blog for the educated masses...so let's take an economical approach when determining whether or not pot should be legal.


As a recent college graduate, I know first hand just how stiff the competition is for landing a good job.  However, if pot was legalized there would be fewer college graduates and fewer people out competing for jobs and trying to better themselves.  If getting high, and then sitting on the couch, eating snacks and listening to funky tunes all day is what makes someone happy, it is not my place to condemn them.  If someone wants to live this way, nobody should have the right to stop them.  (We are supposed to be a free country, right?)

Plus it's just a really good way of weeding out the competition.  (Bad pun for the day!)

But don't worry, kids!  There are more upsides to legalizing pot!


Stoners are predictable, and if we get enough of them, that will make the stock market predictable too!  Whatever is featured in stoner comedies becomes instantly synonymous with real-life stoner culture.

Has going to "White Castle" felt different since "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle" was released?  Can you place funions on your grocery list and not make a ridiculous stoner-laugh?  Does standing in front of a gas station make you want to steal a monkey and make pop culture references?

Instead of bailing out American motor companies, we should have made "Harold and Kumar buy a Chevy" and watched as every stoner in the world sold their hemp-shoes to go buy Chevy's.


The amount of money we spend arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning people due to marijuana is ridiculous.  We could be spending that money and time on so many better things.

Stoners are harmless, stupid, but harmless...particularly compared to alcohol (which is totally legal).  We all have heard of Violent Drunks, but I have yet to even hear about a violent stoner.  They nap and fart and giggle...that's it. 

Just because they don't do much of anything doesn't mean they can't be of some good to society though.  Laid back and happy people are great additions to any community, being around them makes other people feel good.

Example!
Stoner - "Heeeeeey man would you like to listen to Bob Marley and help me make Captain Crunch Bars?"
Me - "Heck yes I would!  I got some frosting to smother on them too if you want."
Stoner - "Righteous!"
Me - "Tee-hee you just said "righteous."


Sure we might have more traffic violations due to stoned people being behind the wheel, and there are negative sides to having marijuana legal.  However, the people that would use it to the point where it inhibits their ability to function in society are likely already abusing some other substance.  Personally I would rather hang with a stoner than an alcoholic just because when they "get their fix" the alcoholic gives me a black eye and the stoner gives me a cookie and a guitar solo.
Saturday, November 27, 2010

Existential War In Me

This is an experimental musical blog-comic.  Yes, I am taking my three favorite forms of Web 2.0 entertainment and combining them into one mind blowing experience.  (Hopefully)

Turn your sound up, and click the link here and let the music video play while you read.  The song is "Halo" by Porcupine Tree, one of my favorite bands of all time.  The idea for this musical blog-comic came to me while running, thinking about where I want to go in life, and listening to this song.

I hope you enjoy it.


Some people have mood swings, and I kind of envy them because I get lifestyle-swings.

One day I will be an ultra charitable vegan, motivated by an insatiable desire to make the world a better place and to make myself a better person.  The only money I will spend is on other people and every action I take is thoroughly analyzed for ethical integrity

The next day I will want to be mindlessly self-indulgent with an endless appetite for instant gratification.  I will only spend money on stuff I don't really need just because I think having it will make me happy...and I won't do any background checks to see if it's fair-trade, environmentally friendly or anything of that nature!  (Gasp!)

During the transitional period between these phases I will find myself heinously conflicted about my goals in life, and to some degree who I am as a person.



I know that deep down inside of me that fat and angry teenager still exists, and boy does he want to kick my ass for being such an insufferable perfectionist.

This is about the time that I will drive 40 miles to the nearest shopping mall and buy crap I don't really need.  Novelty hats, fart machines, gourmet snack food...pretty much whatever looks awesome, feels good or tastes amazing gets brought home and marveled over it for a few hours.

Things seem pretty awesome at this point.  With my belly full of over priced treats and fresh kicks on my feet, I will strut around with more self-content than Oscar Wilde's "Dorian Gray" and Kanye West combined.

It is good to be bad...sometimes.


This phase will last a week at most, and only be borderline obscene for about an afternoon.

Then the guilt sets in and I become aware of how insufferably shallow I've been lately.

I'll start to think about how the cash I spent should have been used to buy food for the animal shelter, or how my energy should be spent on charity and not on working out or running just so I can look good.

I'll get paranoid about karma (and I don't really subscribe to that belief, though I sometimes suspect there is truth to it).  I'll scrub the floors to make even for strutting my shit all over the house.  I'll pick up trash along the roads while running to put those nice new kicks to good use.  ...Then I will stare at the Peace Corp. website and contemplate doing it until I realize that means no internet and lots spiders and/or snakes.

I don't care how good I want to be (or can be), poisonous snakes and gigantic spiders are where I draw the line.


 When I'm in full-blown saint mode, I very nearly shit rainbows and radiate sunshine...but after a while this behavior starts to annoy even myself.

Then I start to shift back to being a bit more self-centered.


As I start to transition back to being increasingly focused on myself, I start kicking myself in the face and brooding over how utterly pathetic it is that I can't just stick to one lifestyle.

Does it always have to be one extreme or the other?  Can't I buy myself something stupid (yet cool) and do something nice for others for no reason?

Can't I run for charity and write an obscenely detailed blog that focuses mostly on myself?

...Shit.  [Cycle of shame]
Friday, November 26, 2010

Anime and Beards

Real men grow beards and watch anime.  Suck it, traditional gender roles.

I often grow a full beard when it gets cold out, mostly to keep warm, but also because it is an awesome way to look much older/mature...and during No-Shave-November, it is a great way to spread Prostate Cancer awareness and assert your masculinity.  (Or something like that.)

Anyway, my room-mate last year, Andrew, was a Japanese major and facial hair enthusiast, and he turned my secret guilty pleasure of watching anime into a full blown addiction when he introduced me to "Keroro Gunso."  This is a Japanese anime about some frogs from space that want to take over the planet, but they really aren't that good at it.  This show is sort of like taking Loony Tunes and Invader Zim and throwing them into a demented blender.

Getting me started on "Keroro Gunso" was a sure-fire way to get me to embrace and celebrate my inner anime-nerd...but only behind closed doors!  Very similar to how alcoholics start out by drinking beers with their friends, I went from casually/socially watching anime to completely obsessing over it.


You heard me right, FROGS FROM SPACE, and yes, my beard does grow in red (aren't you the observant one, Holmes).

...I think it is some kind of genetic mutation that occurs when Irish and Cherokee mix together with bits and pieces of other western European DNA.  Hooray for genetics!

Watching anime isn't anything to be ashamed of really, but it does come with some negative connotations...mostly due to there being so many fantatics with fake cat ears on their heads.  [Why do they do this?  It just makes regular anime fans seem equally insane simply for holding a common interest.]

Back to my main point, dudes watching anime.

Andrew and I had a pretty set schedule.  After school I would go running and he would play playstation, and then we would watch anime until it was time for bed.  This would have been an ideal set up were it not for our suit-mate, Dan, mocking our child-like enthusiasm for cartoons in general.


Dan wasn't around too much, which gave Andrew and I license to nerd it up as much as we wanted.  We were like fat pigs at an all you can eat buffet thanks to the University of Iowa providing an insanely fast internet connection which allowed anime to stream perfectly no matter how shady the site was.

Of course we watched more than one series, and depending on what we were watching we might get a guest or two to join in on our secretly geeky yet totally awesome anime marathons.

Our habit was growing.  It was only a matter of time before word got out that we were watching obscene amounts of anime...and not even the manly stuff like "Gundam" or "Trigun."  We were totally digging the bubbly ultra-cute semi-cat-themed teen drama, "Azumanga Daioh," and could actively quote the show and find moments in life that reminded us of scenes from it.

Quite un-manly and nerdy indeed!  But, we really never gave a crap what other people thought about the things we like.  (We just didn't want to be pestered during what little time we did have to watch it.)


Our neighbor from New Jersey, Julia, would often join us in watching these shows.  It's fine for girls such as Julia to enjoy "Azumanga Daioh" because she is actually in the target audience.  But why the hell would two 22-year-old guys from Iowa love shows that feature kids dressed as penguins?  (Because they really are "super cute" and they usually have perverted jokes in them...Japan is messed up like that.)


Is it possible for straight young men in the midwest to enjoy "super cute" anime?  Dan would say no and most people would agree.  We should be watching UFC in the bars, challenging rivals to the fisticuffs while at football games and maybe even building log cabins by hand for the homeless (because that's what all guys should be doing all the time, every day, forever.)

I love martial arts, Andrew loves football and yet both of us turn into bubbly giggling children whenever some high pitched anime kid flashes a peace sign.  (One of the many recurring themes that makes no sense at all, but for some reason I just eat it all up.)

If women can wear men's clothes and play football, then I think it should be perfectly acceptable for guys to watch all the bubbly anime they want because some of it is actually really funny and well written.  This is akin to having Brett Favre watching "Hannah Montana" religiously. (That is, if "Hannah Montana" was well written and actually funny.)

Being unashamed of liking something, even if it is totally ridiculous, is as manly as it gets.  (Of course, growing a beard helps because beards make all situations better.)
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

I've been a vegetarian for a few years now, and normally this doesn't interfere with my life...except for when I am desperately trying to build muscle at the gym.  ...okay, so I lied.  Not eating meat has a big impact on my personal life, but the impact is usually limited to feeble attempts at body building.

Aside from making me look like a living skeleton, not eating meat makes social gatherings that involve food a little awkward.  ...and almost all social gatherings involve food.

I freaking dare you to think of a social gathering that doesn't involve food.  ....Go ahead, take your time.

That's right, you can't!  Food is always involved when people get together.  Having someone eat something that you brought/preapared is a great way to show that you care about them.

But what do you do when that person refuses your offering of delicious food?  You stare awkwardly and wonder what the hell is wrong with them.  There's nothing wrong with me, I just don't want to eat meat.


Most of my family and friends are quite supportive of my eating habits since they really seemed to help with my weight loss and active lifestyle.  However, my "little" brother knows that if I ate meat I would be ripped out of my freaking mind...thus making me less of an embarrassment to his god-like biceps.

Unfortunately, not everyone in my family understands the benefits of a vegetarian diet.  My grandma is nearly 100 years old and finds it to be confusing at best, and deathly at the worst.  Yes, my grandma is nearly a century old...but that doesn't stop her from making sure all her grandkids are happy, healthy, and have a mountain of hearty food available.  I would rather gnaw off my left arm than disappoint her (I'm notoriously left-handed), so this makes meal time with Grandma a little difficult. 

  

Do I cave in to her request and break my vegetarianism to make her happy or do I run away screaming?  Neither!  I just eat obscene amounts of everything else!

Usually I can get away with eating a veggie burger or tofu-dog and this makes her extremely happy since if it looks like meat then it must be just as good for me.  Unfortunately, tofurkey is expensive and nasty, so faking it just isn't an option for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

If you haven't tried tofurkey, it is like taking sawdust, tofu and breading, compressing it into a blob and then smothering it in spices.  Disgusting.

The only thing I hate worse than upsetting Grandma is upsetting my niece.  She is by far the sweetest and most adorable kid on the planet...and SHE KNOWS IT.  Brittni can get me to do anything, and I am not exaggerating.  I ran 16 miles during a heat wave only to bump into her at the finish and then take her to get shaved ice immediately after instead of passing out on the floor with a gallon of water as usual.


It's not that she condemns my diet and thinks it is stupid like my brother does.  She just thinks it's weird for me to refuse to eat anything that is delicious

Fortunately, there is one sure way to make any awkward situation enjoyable...booze!  As I have said before, I don't drink much or often; so when I do have something flammable in my glass the reaction is fantastic.  ...and family gatherings are always a good reason to drink.


My brother-in-law, Kevin, is easily the coolest relative I have since he knows how to solve problems, particularly the ones involving me awkwardly bumbling around the house trying to avoid questions about what is (or isn't) on my plate. 

If I were half as cool as Kevin, everyone would think it's awesome to be a vegetarian...when it really kind of sucks.
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Girlfriend Has A Secret

I dated this totally awesome girl when I was 16, and like most high school relationships it only lasted a couple of months, but we stayed friends after it was over.  We eventually went our separate ways after graduation, but each summer we would hang out a lot.  This previous summer was our last summer at home before finishing college, thus making it our last summer that was guaranteed to be together...we decided not to go our separate ways this time.

She knows me better than I know myself, and I like to think I know her just as well...but there's one very big thing that I do not know about her that has me convulsing with curiosity.  For as long as I have known her she has been working on a novel that is literally on the verge of getting published, but I know almost nothing about it!

  

You would think I would be the first person she would go to for feedback since I majored in English and have read an embarrassingly vast quantity of books...but, she is smart enough to know that my opinion would be extremely biased and skewed.  I understand that any respectable author knows not to get feedback from the person they also snuggle with when watching movies. (But that doesn't stop me from begging her to read sections out loud...I love listening to her read her work.)

I haven't been this curious about anything in my entire life, not even when I was a child and there was a massive gift for me under the Christmas tree.  Much like that elusive gift, I try to be sneaky and find out what it is...but she is the smartest person I know, and despite my best efforts, I can't figure out what she's been writing about for all these years.

I would try reading over her shoulder as she writes, but she is more protective of this story than a mother bear is of it's cubs...and should I come between mama-bear-girlfriend and her mysterious novel, she will rip my face off!

The threat of losing limbs doesn't stop me.  I MUST KNOW WHAT SHE IS WRITING ABOUT!

She has told me the gist of what the story is about and has even read selected passages to me  (surely, this is an evil ploy to make me even more curious).  Every time she does this I always find myself stunned and overwhelmed with pure awesomeness.  I admit that my opinion on anything she does is horribly biased because she is my favorite person, but I do believe I am dating the next Tolkien/Bradburry/Lovecraft.  The way she writes with such eloquent detail, and how her plot is meticulously constructed with multiple layers of meaning gives me the impression that her book will be a deliciously layered literary cake that will send her future readers into fits of amazement.

...like I said, I am a little biased.



Anyway, she wants the final product to be a surprise, and like any good artist she doesn't want the world to see it until it is complete.  Because I know bits and pieces about the book she often interrogates me to make sure I am still basically in the dark about it.

I often think that if I were to know too much, she would lock me in her basement until the official release on the off chance I would tell anyone about it.


I'm actually quite nervous about even mentioning that she is writing a book at all.  If I somehow was responsible for making her debut as an author anything less than totally awesome I would have to commit seppuku.


What I know about her book is akin to watching multiple movie previews to Star Wars but never actually watching the movie.  My interpretations are so off base that when I tell her what I think it is about she explodes with laughter at how horribly clueless I am about her book.  This could be because she is relieved that I still know nothing about it, or it could be because my pitiful attempts at analyzing a book I have never read are hilarious.


 In addition to writing this book she has also done multiple drawings of her characters, and sometimes needs a model to pose for her so she can make sure she has the right angles...or something.

I may not know much about her book, but I do know that being asked to pose shirtless with a sword has fed my ego considerably.  ...even though I never did get to see the drawing.

If I never make another post on here again, that probably means I revealed too much about her, her book, or our relationship.  I can't wait to finally read her book, it's the final piece of the puzzle that I need for solving the enigma that is my girlfriend.

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Matt
I got my English degree and mountain of student loan debt from the University of Iowa. I like boo berry cereal, martial arts, running and cats.
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