Tentacles

August 9, 2021
Boy on his phone with alien vine tentacles protruding from where his head used to be.

The spores swept along a spectrum of light no one even knew existed.

From a distant swamp, in a far-off galaxy, on the edge of the black nothingness somewhere across the universe. They were attracted by the cool hum of fibre optic data, the excitement of a new adventure.

The spores arrived quietly. They travelled through our phone lines, electrical grids, and computer networks. They slipped through our screens, into our eyes, and deep inside our warm, squishy brains.

No one noticed.

The spores waited, in the dark fat and protein of 8 billion brains. They liked it there. It reminded them of the swamp back home. They waited for the Queen Spore to give her command.

Unbeknownst to them, the Queen Spore was delayed by a solar storm outside Vulgaar Seven. This time of year can be a real nightmare travelling through that corridor of space. She was advised to not travel through that corridor of space, but does she ever listen? Of course not, she’s the Queen. She is just and mighty, and knows everything about everything, and just shut up about the Queen before you get us all killed.

The Queen finally arrived with the same amount of ceremony as the other spores. That is to say, no one noticed.

She gave the command.

8 billion brains exploded simultaneously, in a mass of roots and tangled vines and leaves. Tentacles blasted miles into the sky, only to fall back to the ground, crocheting a blanket of strange alien foliage that covered the entire World. Then everything was quiet. Everything was still.

Everything smelled faintly like fresh Basil.

No one noticed.

A single flower bloomed near what used to be Regina. It turned purposefully toward the sun, then shivered imperceptibly.

The spores swept along a spectrum of light no one even knew existed.

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Throwback Thursday! The Job Hunt

August 5, 2021
All the places the cartoonist is looking for, and not finding, a job.

This is the last of the journal comics from 2016, titled The Job Hunt. As I mentioned last week, this comic has a predecessor called The Layoff. They helped me destress at the time. They also make me uncomfortable.

Part of the discomfort is reliving a very stressful time. These comics don’t tell much of what happened then, but it’s enough to return me there when I read them. It’s a time machine. Another is something akin to airing my dirty laundry. Part of me wants it to be forever private. Mostly I think I just want it all to go away.

And the truth of the matter is, over 3 years later, we’re still feeling the fallout from the decisions we had to make during that moment. That’s how life works, I guess.

Anyway. It’s a comic. There it is.

More importantly, I’m not sure why I included the black currant bushes in this story. Perhaps I was trying to get them picked before the birds got them. Maybe I just liked the sound of the words “black currant bushes” in the script. Either way, everyone knows gooseberries are the superior berry when avoiding the job hunt.

Hands down.

Princess Tee Vee

August 3, 2021
Princess Tee Vee sits on the far end of the castle's northern most rampart, catching stray program signals from far off worlds.

Princess Tee Vee has a secret place she likes to go. The far end of the parapet on the castle’s northern most rampart is seldom used, and very quiet. It’s in disrepair, and very difficult to get too. She could sit there for hours and never see a soul. The escarpment drops endlessly below her feet. It’s her favourite place in the whole world.

Not only is it private, it’s also perfect for catching stray signals from far off worlds. There’s a hole in the content blocker that the Radio Council doesn’t know about. Programs leak through the super-ionosphere, but you have to sit in just the right spot to catch them. Glorp’s Variety Hour from Fractal 9. Countdown to Boom Time from Betelgeuse. The entire NBC primetime lineup in the late 1980s from Earth.

One day she’ll get to travel to these places. Anywhere would be better than here. One day her father won’t be King anymore, and won’t be able to control all the channels. There’s rumblings of revolt among the townspeople. Change is coming.

Maybe then she’ll get to meet The Golden Girls.

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Throwback Thursday! The Layoff

July 29, 2021
The cartoonist gets laid off from his day job.

I hesitated reposting The Layoff. Old wounds, and all that. If you’ve ever been let go from a job, you know it sucks. It sucks for years after.

I tried to deal with the experience by making a comic about it. I made two of them, actually – there’s a follow up to this one called The Job Hunt. Then I decided I had enough with journal comics. I don’t like talking about myself.

Of course, here I am talking about myself. Not to mention Pity Party, which is also talking about myself. If I’m going to write journal comics about me, I should write about when I’m feeling happy. It does happen.

Kurt Vonnegut had this great quote about acknowledging when we are happy.

“And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Between Kurt Vonnegut’s “if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is”, and Ted Lasso’s “be a goldfish”, I could be a whole new man!

Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In all seriousness, if you are going through some kind of job loss, do get the help you need to take care of yourself. Do it sooner than later. If you wait, by the time you realise you need help, you could have already done lasting damage to yourself. And that’s no good.

You deserve to be happy. Onward!

Father Time is a Corporate Stooge

July 27, 2021
Father Time wearing a fancy suit, with a clock head, and closes floating around him.

Did you drift?

Yeah, me too.

Father Time is a corporate stooge, don’t listen to him. You still have time. Go make something great.

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