Monthly Archives: December 2015

Happy New Year!

happy new year

Dragon and Marzipan Bird wish you well from their winter wonderland.

QWERTYvsDvorak is going on vacation. Or staycation. Whatever you call it when you don’t update the website until January 3rd because things happen too quickly at the end of the year and you really need to take some time off. That’s where QWERTYvsDvorak is going. But before I go, I’d like to say how grateful I am for the people who’ve been reading, upvoting, and sharing my blog posts. Like my whole freaking life I’ve been sharing original stuff with the world and finally someone who isn’t my father thinks that’s it’s worth looking at.

I’m not much of a Christmas person, but I do believe in the totally arbitrary celebration of the new year, the reviewing of the past year, and the setting of expectations for the year to come.

In short, things can only get better.

Happy New Year!

Dragon Comics 124

dragon comics 124_edited-1

Money, religion, politics. Just keep your mouth shut. 

Thus concludes the tale of the dragon and the troll, a complete journey from innocence, to experience, to rage, to remorse, to empathy, to remembering what caused the rage in the first place. It’s important to engage in meaningful with individual who hold a variety of beliefs, but it’s also important to do so with respect and, when needed, restraint. A little empathy helps. We need to be able to talk to each other rationally, no matter how much we disagree.

Otherwise, it’s best to walk away.

But it’s better if we can talk.

Peace on Earth. Good will to everyone. And if you can’t manage that, if you can only communicate your point through insults and puerile behavior, maybe your point isn’t as firm as you believe.

The Season of Lights


Luminarias show the way on the darkest of nights. 

I fully intended to draw a comic today. I fully intended to do a lot of things. But none of those things happened. Other things happened instead, but very few of them were intentional or productive. The season of very little natural light does funny things to my brain.


The fountain in the cactus garden under red and gold lights

The biggest bump to this day was the publication of my article about Travis Hanson, who draws awesome dragons and other things like that, sometimes with magical tales to go along with them. I urge you to check it out if you’re the least bit interested in that sort of artwork and storytelling.


Do you know why this tree is blue? Maybe it hates winter as much as I do.

In lieu of something hilarious, please accept these photographs from a luminaria event at the botanic garden down the street. It’s a fun evening of lights and music, and even though I’ve lived here for 6 winters and have had a garden membership for a lot of that time, I never attended before, in part because it cost money and in part because I don’t tend to do a lot of Christmasy things. But in this case, I got in free, because The Man’s band was among the many musical acts of the evening. Since it’s a klezmer band, it wasn’t too Christmasy, either.

Dragon Comics 123

dragon comic 123_edited-1

The OED has a 1000 household uses. In addition to beating trolls with it, you can also use it to insult them. It’s actually full of rude words. 

Ha ha. Love that Compact Oxford English Dictionary with quirky bubble-shaped magnifying glass. The Fox gave it to me a couple years ago, when he was downsizing everything in his life, which he’s done like 3 times in 4 years. I don’t know if he even has any stuff left. He certainly doesn’t have as many giant dictionaries as I have.

I mean, if it were absolutely necessary, I could pack what I need into a couple bags. But I happen to like living in a library. I thought about that too, during his last purge. Foxy was reading some kind of Japanese extreme cleaning manual that advised only keeping things that bring you joy. After some consideration, I determined that while some individual books might not bring me joy, the library itself does.

And so, the troll-defeating fantasy continues.

Seeing Stars Mandala



This week I have some more comics about Dragon sparring with the troll, but it occurred to me that I also needed to fulfill my commitment to Panels, so that was my first priority this weekend. That article’s been filed now, so it ought to go up before the site switches over to “Best of 2015” mode. Anyone who does SEO knows that the Internet is kind of dead between Christmas and January 2. In general, numbers go down around Thanksgiving, although e-commerce sites do see a bump. I might go into “Best of 2015” mode myself, although most likely I’ll just take that week off.

My numbers have been great, actually, but that has more to do with the quality of both my content as well as my efforts to disseminate it, than the calendar date.

Speaking of calendar dates, the solstice draws near, which is wonderful, because I’m not a vampire and all this darkness takes it toll. Winter is anathema to me, and even in the desert, it gets too cold and dreary. I’m a summer dragon. Hard to get things done. The next item on my checklist is getting a Patreon up, but I don’t want to just throw it together, so I’ll need a space of time to focus on that. First, I have 4 more comics to draw.

The interview I wanted to link to last week, where I discuss pantheism, is back up here, and a funny little thing I did for Panels is here.

Dragon Comics 122

dragon comics 122_edited-2

The problem that I have with myself when dealing with issues such as yesterday’s troll-baiting, is that I am a pantheist. I wanted to link to an interview I did on this subject, but it seems to have disappeared. The important part about being a pantheist in this context is that when I believe there is only one thing in the universe: we are all one thing, you and me and people we don’t like and people we do like and blades of grass and quasars and everything. So if I tear a ignorant little troll to shreds on Reddit, I am also tearing myself to shreds.

We’re the same, and it’s only the veil of material illusion that causes us to think we’re separate. So that’s sort of senseless and demoralizing. Why should I put so much energy into proving other people wrong? I know they’re wrong. Everyone who hears them knows they’re wrong. Possibly, they know they’re wrong, but either way, what does it matter? Am I really going to set someone straight? If the best I can do is make them feel bad, shouldn’t I feel bad about it too? Especially if it makes me feel good?

This is how it always goes when people rub me the wrong way. Because I love the universe in a general sense, but some of the elements of the universe are a trial to tolerate. Not you, though. You’re cool.

Dragon Comics 121

dragon comics 121_edited-1

Or skinks. You might also be thinking of legless lizards. But not dragons.

Some guy called me an idiot on the Internet and I eviscerated him with words.

He probably didn’t realize that he was reading original content on Reddit and that the author would see his comments. He definitely didn’t realize he was the idiot in the scenario. A couple people tried to point out the flaws in his reasoning, and then they just downvoted him into oblivion, so that the site hid his comment.

But…uh…I didn’t let it go.

Something snapped and I dug in and tore him to pieces, pointing out over and over again how ignorant he was. To his discredit, he kept responding, which only made him look stupider, and I kept ripping him to shreds until he actually apologized for insulting me and started sobbing about how mean I was.

And the thing is, I was mean. I was vicious. Because people who go around insulting people anonymously usually do it because it helps them feel superior, and usually no one has the time to knock them down, so they just go around being jerks and thinking they’re right and everyone else is wrong. But every once in a while one of them bumps into me, and I happen to have a little time on my hands, and a more impressive vocabulary, and ability to use logic, and understanding of how to argue, and they learn that once you wake the dragon, the dragon just presses forward until the opponent is destroyed because dragons do not like waking up.

And this guy was destroyed. I almost felt a little bad. I almost thought I should say, “Yeah, sorry, I took it too far,” because when he finished Googling all the big words, he probably felt way more insulted by the thread than I was by him calling me an idiot, especially since my insults were based on his actual intellectual shortcomings while his were based on an utter lack of understanding of anything. But I didn’t apologize. Instead, I picked his last shred of dignity and finished him with a final humiliating truth bomb that, I imagine, helped him understand just how outclassed he was.

So…I actually felt kind of bad/weird about excoriating a common troll in such a nuclear fashion. Blame it on the dragon part. I may be but little, but I am fierce. I try to be nice, all the time, to everyone, no matter who or what they are, but sometimes, something else takes over and I stop feeling like everyone deserves compassion, and get punitive instead. When I have this kind of cognitive dissonance, it always ends up in the Dragon Comics, and there are probably 2 more days of this thread, because I feel bad about feeling good about it.


Dragon Comics 120

dragon comics 120_edited-3

There are trolls everywhere. You can’t avoid them.

Pretty straight forward here. Usually I ignore the trolls, but every once in a while it amuses me to troll one back. Only if they start it. Clearly, I’m adept at arguing, but I try not to exercise that skill. After the immediate thrill of pointing out how terrible another human being is passes, it doesn’t feel good to engage in that kind of exchange. Once you realize someone is deliberately baiting you, versus just possibly being uninformed, you have a choice about whether or not to wallow in the mud.

That said, there may be more trolls in Dragon Comics.

Yesterday: best ever traffic in a single day on this blog, almost 5000 page views. Even my RedBubble store is seeing some bounce. Appears that I am doing some things right. Feeling hopeful and fortunate.


The Problem with Symbols

symbols_edited-2It’s a good thing that Google doesn’t judge (I hope Google doesn’t judge), because I can’t imagine what a sentient search engine would think of me after the search terms I used to find my source images. It paints a very particular, but not accurate, picture.

Sometimes we have to touch on uncomfortable subjects, because uncomfortable things are happening.

A lot of people have objections to certain parts of the Pledge of Allegiance, primarily the “under God” part (and the fact that we don’t all enjoy equal access to liberty and justice), but I’ve long been troubled by the idea that we indoctrinate school children to pledge allegiance to a flag. Beyond the problem that the vast majority of elementary kids have zero idea what they’re actually saying, and are in any event too young to understand the implications of pledging themselves knowingly to any system, the concept of promising to follow a flag is, if I may be blunt, utter bull, as panel 2 illustrates. You can put a flag on a moose; that doesn’t qualify it to run for public office. We don’t need kids growing up believing that they’re obligated to honor that symbol wherever it’s found.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably familiar with the quote about Fascism in America arriving wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross, and we’re watching this prediction unfold before our eyes right now. (I’m not a person who throws around the word “Fascism,” but when you’re spewing rabid nationalism, and talking about closing the borders, and trying to justify a belief that your neighbors are different and don’t belong here, with you, in the greatest country on earth, that’s more or less the textbook definition of Fascism. Ergo: le mot juste.) I love America, but my America is the First Amendment America. My America is the one where people use their freedom to think, not to espouse blind jingoism.

I’ve never understood why people would swear on the Bible when we have the First Amendment. I just read about a public official swearing on the Constitution, which I’ve long thought should be the standard, and various public officials through the years have thought the same thing, even though it’s not a standard. The Bible doesn’t even agree with itself. (I know. Unlike many people who believe in it, I’ve actually read it cover to cover.)

What the stars and stripes means to me is most likely not anything like what it means to Sarah Palin, just as Mother Teresa and your average white supremacist obviously would find very different meaning in the image of a cross. The swastika one might be less obvious. The symbol of the Third Reich is also known as the whirling log in Navajo culture, although my understanding is that most Navajos don’t use it much anymore, probably because most Navajos are more culturally sensitive than Sarah Palin. The Buddhists also use this symbol to mean, “all is well,” although it’s usually reversed. But the point still stands. You can’t follow a symbol, because a symbol is a cultural construct, not an actual idea. Wrapping Fascism in an American flag does not make Fascism patriotic.

As for the Statue of Liberty, it’s almost too stupid. It’s hard for me to imagine the person so tone-deaf that they created this meme explaining why new immigrants were dangerous to their way of life using the most inappropriate symbol available. Presumably, the person who created it was not Navajo. (If they are, I apologize, because unregulated immigration did mess up their world.) Speaking as a 5th generation American, I feel sorry for the non-native person so blind to reality that they feel it’s possible to draw these lines. In defense of the person whose Facebook page I saw it on: she’s very young and uneducated. It’s not a very good excuse, but that’s hers, I guess. If you think the Statue of Liberty should be holding a giant “Keep Out” sign and you’re not indigenous, you’re actually not thinking.

The last panel is about the Japanese internment camps of WWII, one of the more shameful chapters in our country’s history, at least on American soil, at least in the 20th century. And yet certain people have been making noise in this direction, that the only way to protect American citizens is to imprison certain demographics of American citizens. If you don’t see the ridiculousness of this proposal, try to imagine that it could be your demographic one day. After all, the vast majority of terrorist attacks in America are perpetrated by straight, white, Christian men. Chew on that.

Keep Mum Mandala


Some mandalas are too big for the paper to hold them. 

Just putting the finishing touches on tomorrow’s comic, which is a big serious one that I spent all weekend on. The artwork is top notch. And if you disagree, I’ll try not to take it personally. Some people don’t appreciate awesome, and that’s OK for them.

This mandala is kind of crazy. Not sure why it’s so difficult to center them on the page without metrological help, but the size of this one really highlights how askew it is. Not really wild about the colors, either. What I do like about it is how much it resembles a chrysanthemum.

Well, happy Monday. It’s the last week before winter break for the kids. We have Star Wars tickets for Friday and our 4rd holiday event of the season Saturday. I’m too cold to really plan things. My body’s instinct is to curl up and hibernate until Groundhog Day. And yes, I know that 43° isn’t that cold in the grand scheme of things, and yes, it’s better than 21°, or -2°, but I’m still cold and ineffective.