Monthly Archives: April 2016

Dragon Comics 131

dragon comics 131_edited-2.png

Magic is where you make it. 

I was reading 2 articles in The Atlantic today. Once was about the role that luck plays in the course of most successful people’s lives, and the fact that the more anyone achieves, the less they dwell on the fortunate circumstances that helped them reach that point. The other was about determination, and the way people tend to underestimate the value of plugging along doggedly, even in the face of failure or potential humiliation.

In other words, work hard and count your blessings.

For a while, I used to write gratitudes: pick 3 things daily for which to be consciously grateful. It really does help.

To start at the beginning, I am grateful that I (1) had the incredible good luck to be born into prosperity. Almost anyone born in America has an advantage, and my advantage was greater than most people’s, even in this country. For example, if we’re counting advantages that have a huge bearing on the relative difficulty of ones life, we should offer gratitude for (2) being born with light skin. It’s such an arbitrary way to judge human potential, but people do judge, and succeeding in America is always easier the less melanin you display in your complexion. And if that isn’t weird enough, I’ll also feel grateful for that fact that I can (3) pass as cis-bodied and heteronormative with minimal effort and only a moderate degree of emotional distress. Some people die because they’re unable to do that. So, I’m truly incredibly fortunate. Probably in the top 10% of fortunate people.

It’s a lot of luck for one dragon to have. So all that’s left is to work hard.

Dragon Comics 130

dragon comics 130_edited-1.png

If Hope lives inside me, why don’t I feel butterflies in my stomach.

Fast and dirty: woke up in San Francisco, drove to Oakland, flew to Mesa, drove to Tucson, put The Man to Bed only a little while after his usual bedtime, and knocked this little bit of silliness out a mere 30 minutes past schedule. Rough and patchy, just like my brain when I travel for any purpose other than relaxation or creation. This dragon is wrung out, though. Breakneck week. Good to be home.

Was thinking about the Blue Morpho all week, and then my brother took me to Paxton Gate, which is like a room out of my dreams, or heaven, and they had a bunch of blue morphos there. I didn’t even bother to ask how much. But it strengthened my resolve. More comics. We also peeked into 826 Valencia. I’m not sure my brother knew what it really was–he kept calling it “the pirate store” when he talked about taking us there–but as soon as we walked in I realized where he had brought us. So that was fun. There were a lot of inspiring moments this week.

But, overall, tiring.

What is this thing?

IMG_1683.png

I have achieved sufficient wisdom in life that I knew better than to touch this thing.

We wanted to see some friends out in Silicon Valley before we headed back to the desert, so The Man used one of those apps that allows you to rent someone’s car for a day, which didn’t cost much more than the train would have for 2 of us, and allowed us some extra freedom. He got this zippy little Fiat, which was insane, because who drives a manual transmission in San Francisco? I was a little worried that we would roll backwards down Lombard Street and die in a blaze of fire before we got out of the city, but it worked out quite well.

Before we met our friends, we stopped at Gray Whale Cove and hiked down to the beach. It’s not too many stairs, compared to someplace like Wreck Beach in Vancouver, but it’s a decent number. Great view, though, even on a foggy day. We didn’t see any whales, unfortunately.

Down at the bottom, growing out of the cliff wall, I found these weird flowers. Some of them were more normal flowers, with yellow petals, but there were a bunch of these with bizarre little spikes and no petals, all exuding this strange, milky sap. So unusual.

We also saw a bunch of ducks surfing, and I took some fun macros of tiny dead sand crabs. There’s a very old bunker, from WWII, I guess, which people were climbing because obviously the stairs and the hills aren’t enough climbing. The Man thought he saw Wilson the volleyball rolling in the surf but I think it was actually something that broke off a buoy.

Wednesday we go home, which is where I need to be. Depending on how late we get in, there could be a Dragon Comic, or there could be more macrophotography. I don’t know why I even bother bringing the Wacom tablet when I visit my family. It never gets used.

Up Close with a Wild Strawberry

IMG_1522.png

Mmm…nodules. This photo makes it look a lot juicier than it probably is in real life.

The Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park would be one of the most beautiful places in the world, except for all the tourists. The experience of drinking tea there is pretty much the exact opposite of what I think of when I think of a Japanese tea garden. But it can’t be helped. It’s a public garden. It costs $8 to get in and $8.50 for a cup of matcha tea, but it’s a public garden.

Still, it’s pretty beautiful. These wild strawberries were busting out all over and the small details were just as astonishing as the large ones. There are a week’s worth of perfect macros, at least. It may take a while to identify all the flowers.

Another interesting thing I noticed was that, when this photo was uploaded to the Internet as a JPG, the colors were all wrong and it looked terrible. Only a PNG file maintained the original values.

When You Gotta Go

bigots_edited-2.png

Pretty sure some of these legislators spend more time thinking about people’s junk than the people whose junk it is spend thinking about it. 

Society has already given us a really simple rubric to determine whether or not you should be questioning strangers about what their genitals look like: have you and that stranger both expressed enthusiastic interest in you having sex with their genitals? No? Then why the hell do you care? Why is this even an issue? There is literally no other situation wherein civilized people openly discuss and pass judgment on other adults’ groins. Can we PLEASE grow up about this?

If you are very good friends with a person who has made it clear that they’re comfortable discussing their transition with you, there may be a circumstance where it’s not completely rude to ask them about it, but I seriously doubt that anyone who supports this kind of legislature has that kind of friendship.

My little comic is, of course, a riff off of all those “I’d rather pee next to a trans person” memes that have been going around. But they doesn’t go far enough. My version might seem draconian, but in my experience, trans people tend to be pretty committed to practicing safe sex. So their precious bodily fluids are probably a lot cleaner than those of your average abstinence-only hypocrite.

I promise, you’ve been peeing next to trans people without incident your entire life. With or without hate-filled laws that deny human beings of their basic civil rights, you will continue to pee next to trans people without incident. As the news tells us, day after day after day, the people who are most likely to molest you are cis-bodied heterosexual men. I have absolutely never heard of anyone being molested by a trans woman, in or out of a bathroom. But I bet that you have heard of someone being sexually assaulted by a cis-bodied heterosexual man. Maybe once or twice.

In less offensive news, it’s Tuesday night and I am updating Friday’s comic! I don’t think that’s ever happened.

The Luscious Saguaro Flower

IMG_1045

Any feedback from professional photographers on how I could have captured this image even more clearly would be greatly appreciated.

This macro showcases the 24-hour saguaro flower. The flower usually appear in June, but what with all this wacky weather here on planet Earth, they’ve blossomed 2 months early. Saguaros, for the initiated, are those iconic Sonoran cacti, tall and long-armed, like a green army marching over the hills. They are only native to this small region of the planet, although they can thrive in other deserts. The buds are about 6 inches long, and appear on the end of mature arms, and on the very top of the cactus, in clusters of up to a few dozen.

Bats with long tongues pollinate these flowers, which have a delicate but delicious aroma. You can see how deep the flower goes here. Each flower blooms for a single day, but only some of the cluster bloom on any given day. When the flower shrivels, a red fruit remains, but I’ve never tried one. They are generally difficult to obtain, often 20 feet overhead, and the birds usually get at them first.

I’m sort of pleased with this image, which was the best out of a dozen, but it could still be better. Maybe if I’d had the tripod with me. I can never figure out how to line up macro shots of thing that have various levels of depth, particularly is the center is the bit that’s farther away from the camera. I’d like to go back to this particular cactus (it has a very low-hanging arm with a huge cluster and it’s very close to the road) and try to get a sharper image, but I’m not sure that I’ll have the time.