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?)

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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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