Author Archives: littledragonblue

About littledragonblue

Dreamer, Writer, Artist, Lover

We Have the Lowest Hanging Fruit

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My administration has the best solutions. You’ve never seen any solutions like we’re solving problems all the time, problems that we didn’t create ourselves. No, the Democrats did that when we weren’t looking. Sneaky! But I fixed it. Myself. Tremendous.

Political cartoons were killing me so I stopped but here we are again. Stupid stuff. Blaming the minority party for your unpopular decisions and then very slightly amending those terrible choices and patting yourself on the back for telling yourself not to do the thing you decided to do before you finally found one action so reprehensible that it offended the people who were totally cool with the misogyny and racism.

Still slouching toward the Third Reich, as it were. I’m scared. I’m scared all the time.

That’s a weird-looking bar. I’m tired.

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Soy Big!

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You should have seen the one that got away.

Vegan fish. It’s not a thing. I mean, there are a lot of vegan meat replacement products—burgers, hot dogs, chicken, sausage, bacon, and I once even had a vegan duck substitute in a vegetarian Chinese restaurant—but I’ve never heard of a vegan alternative to fish.

I like fish. I hate zucchini, ever since the summer my mother grew 3 plants in her garden and no one told her that you’re supposed to pick them when they’re young and tender. Like many amateur gardeners, my mother let them grow to the size of baseball bats, amazed at the growth potential of one crop in a garden where you’d be lucky to coax a carrot to attain the width of a pencil. This resulted in a harvest of roughly 75 pounds of a vegetable that most kids wouldn’t enjoy an ounce of. And my mother never throws away food. She freezes it and reserves it and hides it in other things, so that I was gagging on secret zucchini in my pancakes for what felt like the rest of my childhood.

My mother denied this when I recently brought it up, but my father contradicted her protestations. He knows my mother is more than capable of the diabolical act of serving a picky 9-year-old zucchini pancakes and pretending they’re free of contamination. You weren’t fooling anyone, Mom.

 

It’s a Generational Thing

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And no, sexting doesn’t count. Your mother and I paid good money for that Gardasil vaccine.

You can’t tell kids to go outside and play anymore, because that’s, like, child abuse or something? I know too many kids who don’t know how to go outside and play; everything they know is on a screen, conceived of, directed by, and produced by other people. Maybe this is a minority opinion, but when I was 16 years old, if I was watching TV, using a computer, or playing a game, it was only because it was not possible at that moment for me to be making out in the backseat of a car. Granted the internet wasn’t as exciting or accessible in the early ’90s as it is now, but I still don’t think it’s better than sex. And you know I love the internet.

Any resemblance to actual teenagers, living or staring like undead zombies into a monitor in a small room with the curtains drawn tight to prevent the glare, is purely coincidental. I swear.

I drew that Ramones T-shirt and now I can’t get…”Sweet Disaster” by Dreamers out of my head. Weird world we live in. Gen X did not expect to live long enough to get sour about the next generation. Gen X didn’t expect any of this. Gen X would like to be sedated, but Gen X is too busy to take a break right now.

 

Above It All

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You can try Googling the name of the drug you need, but it still won’t work unless you pay.

Perhaps a bit obscure?

Aside from having read some news articles about how mass meditation could lower the crime rate (a claim that is still touted, despite many skeptics disputing the data), I didn’t know all that much about Transcendental Meditation. There were a lot of TMers in the town where I lived as a young adult, and I guess some of them were persuasive enough that one year I recall voting a straight Natural Law  ticket in a local election without knowing anything about TM. I actually have some cousins who are involved in the group, and they, as far as I can tell, are just people who meditate every day. I didn’t have many preconceived notions about the practice.

So, when The Man told me he wanted to attend a free informational meeting about Transcendental Meditation a few years back, I didn’t have any problem tagging along. I was interested to hear what they had to say. Also, as you may know, my policy has always been to tag along when I suspect my husband might intend to join a cult. The last time it actually worked out pretty well. I did Crossfit for 3 1/2 years and I was fit.

This time, though, I got bad vibes right from the start. Perhaps a dozen of us gathered in a private home to hear a deliriously happy couple talk about how TM could save the world and everything in it. Like I said, I went in with a pretty open mind, but it was hard to keep listening after a while.

First of all, it turned out that my cousins were kind of a big deal in the movement and these people were way too impressed with their names when they asked if we knew any TMers. That made me uneasy.

Then they presented the same evidence I’d been reading for years, about crime going down when a lot of people meditated. Old evidence. Immediately, I question why crime still exists, if we can just meditate it away. Why do all the TMers stay in freaking Iowa if they could make New York, Chicago, and LA safe for the most vulnerable people, if they could inspire criminals to just stop committing crimes? Why don’t they go meditate in Jerusalem until the Israelis and the Palestinians come to accord? They don’t tell you that. They just tell you how great TM is, how beautiful the ceremony that inducts you into the group is, how special receiving your own personal mantra is.

Personally, I’ve read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Report on the Barnhouse Effect” and I know exactly what I’d do if I had the power to stop violence just by thinking about it.

Next, they get to the price. It’s a pretty hefty price tag. I forget how much they wanted precisely, but I recall it was about a grand, and it’s absolutely imperative that you pay. You can’t get one of their big, life-changing secret mantras until you pay. So that’s where you lose me every time. Simple, secret knowledge that’s only available for a hefty price, but guaranteed to improve everything for the rest of your life? I’m trying to get them to explain how and why TM’s results differ from those of other types of meditation, or chanting, or mantras, but all I get is that their mantras are magic, that mantras that hold translatable meaning are too distracting for the human brain, and that you have to have a custom mantra of nonsense syllables tailored to you.

Finally, they announce that we will each have a one-on-one talk with one of the leaders, guys with the husband and girls with the wife. Well, The Man immediately objects. “I want to stay with my wife,” he says, but this is impossible. They won’t allow it. He goes one way and I go another. After some forgettable small talk, I’m asked if I have any questions. Oh, I have questions. But, per usual, I don’t need to ask too many of them.

“If you honestly believe that TM is the secret to fixing the world, and that everything would be perfect if everyone practiced it, why would you hang this exorbitant price tag on something that would save humanity? Why don’t you just give it away and make the world perfect right now?”

“Oh, they tried that in the ’60s. The Maharishi found that people didn’t take it seriously unless they paid.”

They have to charge you because it doesn’t work if you don’t pay.

In other words, this is a practice that can change your world, but only if you’re the kind of person who has $1000 to set on fire right now. Let me tell you, as a person who’s been well-off and not so well-off, there are plenty of things that can make the world better for you if you’re the kind of person who has 1000 extra bucks lying around. Most problems are easier to fix with money, and people with money tend to have different problems than people without money.

She kept trying to sell me but I was bored and disgusted and told her that I would definitely not be giving her $1000, ever, and she gave up and hustled me out of there so she could get at the next mark. Customer. Seeker of illuminated truth. Whatever.

The Man hadn’t pushed as far in his one-on-one, but he was also disenchanted with their promises and their sales tactics. We left.

Later, I did a lot more research on TM. As it turned out, like everything else in the internet era, the top-secret personal mantras that lie at the core of this practice are not at all secret. Enough people have left TM and shared their secrets that it’s now possible to deduce that there is nothing special or personal about TM mantras: you are assigned one of a set number of meaningless syllables based on your age and your gender. That’s it. You can go right now and find what mantra will save your life by Googling it (of course they claim it doesn’t work if you don’t have the support of the community, which you only get with the $1000 buy-in).

That’s my story about TM. If it works for you, more power to you. But also, you might want to Google “meditation crime rate study skeptic” or possibly “placebo effect” before you try to sell it to me for $1000. Having a finely-tuned bullshit meter probably makes the world less magical for me, but it does save me a lot of money.

Anyway, this was a little throwaway gag I thought of on my last writing retreat. I wanted to get back to riffs off pop culture and little puns and slight changes in trending phrases, like “microclimate change deniers” and “super fun site” in addition to branching out into more personal stuff. I think it’s taken me longer to write this blog post than it took to draw the comic. No idea if the comic works or not, but I need to find my way back into this blog, and the more serious ideas I’ve jotted down recently are a lot longer.

Summer Dreams

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No more pencils, no more lame excuses for overdue books, no more kinder hugs

As usual, I left my final message of the year to the last possible second. Did this one Wednesday day and Thursday of last week (just uploading now because I was on a writing retreat) in about 6 hours. School ended for the year at 2:45 Thursday and I hung this thing up around 4 p.m. Miss Kitty showed up (with an art commission) and helped me get it up a bit faster. I knew I wanted something sort of cooling, so I went for a nighttime theme. The cactus depicted here is the night blooming cereus, also known as Queen of the Night. The flowers bloom one night a year (the blooms are sort of clustered, so you might have a cactus in bloom for a couple days, but each flower lasts only one night). They’re pretty stunning.

The lettering is an ersatz version of a brushstroke font called Wanderlust, which I have inelegantly reproduced here in metallic Sharpies. I hope it keeps the people who have to be there over the summer feeling cool, and I hope all their summer dreams are realized.

I have so many comic scripts written. With a little focus, I hope to get back to actually drawing and posting them again.

Here Comes the Sun!

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This blog is on fire. And it’s lit.

Even though teachers in Arizona are walking out on Thursday #RedforEd and don’t know when they’ll be back, it was time to change out the early spring bulletin board for the late spring bulletin board. The cool, blue aesthetic of the early spring bulletin board did not reflect the reality of the temporal environment, and also the letters were coming off. This design is more accurate for the next month. The fox there is something foreboding in the color scheme, like: WARNING! Arizona summers are brutal. But I like them.

This piece was pretty straight forward. I used a protractor, a ruler, and a folded piece of construction paper to get the shape of the red bottom layer perfect. Then I used that layer as a guide to get the middle orange and top yellow layers to match up, and cut the random little sparks that I added on top for more depth. For the lettering, I drew freehand and then cut all the layers at the same time. I doubled up the paper for the letter that repeated, meaning that the letter E involved cutting 12 sheets at the same time. One of the Hs is upside down and the centering is a bit off but otherwise the lettering is my favorite part. The image took 4 hours and the lettering took 3.

Tomorrow I’ll go back with the rubber cement and the stapler and make sure everything’s tacked down. Although this board will probably only be up a month before I do the summer one, it’s a little known fact that rubber cement becomes increasingly less adhesive the closer you get to 100°. And it’s getting close to 100° around here.

Return of the ’52 Ford Bus!

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The man’s got a plan. And a van. But he’s not getting this bus.

Just a quick shout-out to the ’52 Ford Bus T-shirt! This is the one I drew for The Man after he saw the Vampire Bat posing gothily on a real ’52 Ford Bus and became unreasonably obsessed with owning a ’52 Ford Bus. I told him this was the only rusty old bus he was going to get while he was married to me. I did it out of love. Tough love.

And he finally got around to acquiring one, and here you see a rare shot of The Man modeling like the handsome hunk of manhood he is. I really neglect hyping my RedBubble shop, where you can buy this, and other fine designs, on a wide variety of quality products. Someone should get this design on a onesie. It would be charming.

Someone did buy a onesie with my Athena, Goddess of Wisdom design. I thought it was the Fox but he said it wasn’t, and then I saw that the customer had actually sent me a message about how happy he was to find an Athena onesie because his daughter was named Athena. You go, baby Athena. You are the most classical baby on the block.

You can get your own ’52 Ford Bus here!