Gratitude: Connectivity

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Seriously, do you remember life before wi-fi? Before dialup? Were we truly even alive?

In some ways the internet is making us all stupider. We don’t have to remember things, because the internet remembers them for us. We don’t have to search for things; the internet does that too, which means we miss out on all the things we would have learned if we undertook our own, more arduous searches. The internet supports the rise of a lowest-common-denominator culture where there are no gatekeepers and anyone can publish anything, so the authority of the average piece of writing can never be assumed. Also, it’s destroying our ability to focus and concentrate. And it’s probably wholly responsible for the rise of white supremacy in America and the election of the current president.

But also, the internet brings us everything: new friends, old friends, music, movies, books, games, homework help, advice, cat pictures, instant news, school, an easy cheat to “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” and the basic sum of all knowledge discovered by our species. Can you imagine going back?

I don’t want to go back, anyway. Not if I can’t telecommute, digitally spy on people from my past, instantly discover the answer to almost any question I might have about the world, share my art with 1000s of people minutes after I complete it, and chat, for free, with anyone, anywhere, any time, in a format that allows me to also do 50 other things without the person I’m chatting with having any idea what percentage of my attention is focused on the conversation.

Despite its drawbacks and abuses, I’m grateful for the internet.

 

Dragon Comics 166

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You have the opposite problem in introvert world. It’s so quiet you can’t believe it, and once you stop believing in it, it ceases to exist.

“Extrovert” is the preferred spelling but I prefer “extravert” because it makes more sense to me. It is an accepted spelling. I don’t seem to have anything else to say tonight. I wrote this comic 3 weeks ago and I don’t really remember writing it. It’s kind of funny, in context.

Dragon Comics 165

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The Horsehead Nebula is actually a lot smaller than you’d think. 

In my original script, The Man’s line in panel 1 reads, “I didn’t even know you had the Horsehead Nebula in here,” but while lettering the comic I realized that The Man did know that Dragon had the Horsehead Nebula in there, because Dragon said as much in Dragon Comics 29, which I drew an astounding 2 1/2 years ago.  And by golly my prediction was correct. I haven’t gotten any worse at it. And clearly  The Man knew that they did have the Horsehead Nebula in there. It had just slipped his mind.

The Horsehead Nebula is definitely made out of cotton candy, right? The one is Dragon’s cave is, anyway.

Dragon Comics 164

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Everything else sounds very loud from the space of solitude. It’s pretty distracting.

Introverts go seriously crazy if they can’t get enough time alone. Extraverts go seriously crazy if they have to spend too much time alone. Somehow, they can still enjoy each other’s company. Of course, in my case, it probably helps that I keep radically different hours than the rest of the world, including The Man. We don’t need a lot of physical space…just temporal space.

Gratitude: Age

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Here’s something you don’t see every day, right? Unless you are The Man. Sometimes he gets pretty close.

This is a weird, hard one for me, because we do live in a culture that worships youth and denigrates middle age, particularly when that age is exhibited in people who appear female, and also because my own internal childhood pretty much lasted until the age of 35, so I only had 5 years to adjust to adulthood before middle age started kicking me in the face.  Among other body parts. Although they’re faint in this picture, the vertical lines above the inside corner of each eye are the ones that make me feel it. They’re worry/squinting lines, and the older I get, the more worrying/squinting I seem to do.

So I remind myself that age has its privilege. Nearly everyone over 30 rejoices in what I call “over-30 brain,” which is a phenomenon that hits most reasonable people around their 30th birthday. Basically, by the age of 30, if you have been paying any attention to your surroundings for most of your life, you find that you have achieved general life competency. That is, whatever happens around you, you realize that you have either seen something like this before, or heard about it, or read about it, and that your experience gives you the necessary information to know what to do next to handle that situation. It’s way better than being 20 and just pretending you have any clue what you’re doing. (I guess 20-year brain is the one that’s thrust into grown-up roles and responsibility despite the fact that it knows it’s still not fully developed, and is desperately trying to convince the other brains around it that it’s competent and grown up.)

Today’s events reminded me how great it is not to be a child. I mean, being a child has a lot of great perks, but probably an equal number of drawbacks. Consider homework. You’re a kid; you probably hate it. You probably don’t want to do it. You probably try to get out of it. You probably fail. And then maybe you end up with 8 days left in the semester with 3 weeks’ worth of work to catch up on if you’d rather be promoted than attend summer school, and now you have this insane weight of awful work on your plate.

And if you are the kids living in this house, you are both on indefinite electronics restrictions until you finish the pages and pages of work you blew off in the last couple weeks.

Of course, being the adult in this scenario, chained to the supervision of sullen and probably crying adolescents, your situation is not optimal, but all in all, I’d rather be the supervising adult than the crying kid.

So, I’m grateful that I don’t have attend to all the steps leading up to the acquisition of a high school diploma. (Now, if someone wanted to pay for me to go back to graduate school, I’d be pretty excited about homework, but that’s a totally different situation.) I’m going to make myself grateful for my age.

Dragon Comics 163

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Man, I’ve got to get myself a bindle of holding.

Whether you’re camping in Death Valley, on a road trip through the midwest, or trekking across a mystical symbolic landscape, there is rarely any excuse to eat poorly. Anyone who’s ever camped in Death Valley, taken a road trip through the midwest, or trekked across a mystical symbolic landscape with me can attest to this fact. Back when I used to get on airplanes, I would have flight attendants salivating over my packed lunches.

Whatever is going on with legs in panel 4, I’m blaming on this colossal headache that erupted a quarter of the way through drawing this comic. I don’t ever really remember drawing it. But by the bottom of panel 4 I couldn’t really think about what legs looked like. The Man is missing a foot and Dragon is doing some kind of interdimensional yoga.

It is what it is. And it is 2 a.m.

Dragon Comics 162

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Light as a feather, thick as a brick.

You’ll have to take my word for it that all those background feathers looked way more amazing without the rest of the comic. But you get the pictures. Those are feathers. Everything is floating after getting through the great pressure of the molten core in comic 161. Mmm…allegory. These feathers took way too long to draw. Dragon flying was fun. The Man looks comfortable, but he usually does.