Monday, January 29, 2018

Tiny Letter

Well, here we are again.

Months gone by and no word from me.

Who am I kidding? I'm no blogger.

Which may be just as well. I recently read an article about how the first-person personal narrative form is dying, and taking blogging into the grave with it.

Something about irrelevance, world events, blah blah.

I forget what all it said, as I was stuck only on the part that applied to me.

Blogging, dead? Gasp.

Am I on a path towards extinction, plodding along behind such luckless travelers as the Tasmanian Tiger, the Dodo, and Winslow's Toothed Beluga??

Double gasp.

I suppose the writing's been on the wall for awhile: I post less often, get less readers. My humor has felt off to me and my creative drive too elusive to be relied on.

It's been a good run, some hopeful moments here and there. 

Maybe it's time to let the Gweenbrick ship sink quietly into the sea before it crashes into the iceberg of embarrassment and runs aground on the atoll of bad writing.

But before I go, I would like to share with you a fantastic financial opportunity I've stumbled upon by which anyone can make millions. Come close, my dearest one.

It's called cryptocurrency.

At first, I was like you. I thought it was just a fad, Monopoly money propped up by Internet cultists and libertarian mescaline lickers.

But when I started to see it everywhere, in news headlines and on my email sign out page, I knew there just had to be something to it. 

One thing I've discovered about an investment opportunity: when everyone is talking about it, and it has achieved maximum hype levels, that is the exact moment when you should buy in. It's a can't lose type of situation.

Now, I've always felt that, past financial calamities aside, I could be really good with money.

I just need a lot of it to show how good with it I could be.

Impulse spending, bad debt, maxed credit; yes, yes, those bells toll for me. However, they were in small, sometimes tiny amounts that annoyingly added up over time.

Time + Buying = No Money, I'm afraid.

But I firmly believe this formula could be reversed.

How much money would I have to have before I could start being good with money?

Probably a hundred thousand dollars. I think that would be a great point at which to pivot my fiscal proclivities towards the sensible.

With that thought in mind, I asked my wife if I could spend twenty dollars on Bitcoin.

After I laid out my business plan and roadmap to the future, she reluctantly agreed.

To make it in the world of high finance, you have to be dishonest. I absorbed that lesson immediately, because instead of using the agreed upon amount of twenty dollars, I used twenty-five.

Money changes people, and that's just who I am now.

She'll thank me when I use my big profits to take her for a wild weekend in Frankenmuth.

Frankenmuth is the Christmas capitol of Michigan.

It's also where hope goes to die, choking itself on Swedish meatballs and poisonous clouds of cinnamon and artificial pine scent. 

The list of things I'd rather do than go to Frankenmuth is so long and profane, I can't reproduce it here. This blog may be dying, but it's still a family friendly dying blog.

I bought the twenty-five dollars of Bitcoin and then just stared at my computer like a junkie, fiending for a rise in the ticker.

This is it, man. I'm a day trader. Pass the cocaine and the Lamborghini. 

After a minute, Bitcoin went down by some fraction of a percent and I lost a nickel.

I quick pulled the trigger and exited my position, selling off all my holdings.

A hard lesson learned. You have to have nerves of steel and guts of lead to day trade.

I'd momentarily forgotten myself, forgotten that I have neither of those things. In fact, my body does not distinguish between nerves and guts at all. It's just a big swamp of risk averse porridge up in me.

Oh well, if only all of life's lessons could be had fer a nickel. 

But here's a curious detail: there is no fee to put your money into the Bitcoin buying website, but to take it back out cost fifty dollars.

"How's your Bitcoin doing?" my wife asked.

I figured it wasn't lying about how I'd actually lost us fifty dollars if I answered her in ambiguous song form.

"Ain't no stoppin' us now," I sang, swaying a little in my chair and snapping my fingers.

She smiled at me, in her way.

Her way may look like suspicious concern to some people, but they don't know her like I do.

It makes me angry, though, that withdrawal fee. 

Forget the high concepts of decentralized banking, frictionless transference of wealth, cool little wallets you stick into your computer, and any of the other bullet points I read on MSN Money Minute before deciding to invest big. 

In the end, cryptocurrency is about greed, more greed, and the capitalization of greed.

The next day, I passed a guy pulling a rickshaw on the streets of Ann Arbor. He was straining to pedal his bike through the snow, towing a drab, zip-up carriage behind him.

That guy knows what's up, I thought.

It's all going down some day. The banks, the money, the first person personal narrative; the thin veneer of order we clutch onto and call society. It's going to crash hard, and only those who know how to survive by the sweat of their brow will endure, like the farmers and the rickshaw bicyclists. 

Yep, the decentralization of humanity entire, with all its greed and fifty dollar withdrawal fees. 

I wanted to give the rickshaw man a thumbs up, the universal gesture of solidarity used among the hungry, restless working class.

Our day is coming, brother, I wanted to say. 

But there would've been too many questions, questions like do you want a ride?, and why'd you wave at me if you didn't want no damn ride? 

As I walked on, I heard him land a customer.

"Step into my Cadillac!" he barked, in a big, laughing voice that deteriorated quickly into a vicious smoker's cough. 

Once his passenger was safely in, the rickshaw man rode off, making several fruitless revolutions of his pedals before his tires bit into the slush and tugged him forward.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Asa Nisi Masa

How do I decline?
Let me count 
each sagging line,
the groan
when I rise,
or whisk from 
hammed thighs-
who among you
can quietly stride
in valiant pants of corduri?
Not I.

By the way, don't huff rubber cement.

I tried it one time. I felt like I was looking at the world through the wrong end of the binoculars. Plus my girlfriend's voice sounded very slow and manly to me.

So don't ever do it.

Of all my old vices I'm not allowed to have anymore, I miss rubber cement the least.

Are you drawing this while at the laundromat with your students?

No -WAIT! Yes.

Just wondering.

Anyways, you kept leaving the theater to fake pee. You probably only saw twenty minutes of the movie, total. 

In case you are unfamiliar with the series, Daddy's Home 2 is the direct sequel to Daddy's Home.

Marky Mark takes out his Funky Bunch in the first movie, but I don't think he did in the second one. Not sure.

They didn't show it, or anything; it's a family movie.

They just imply that it's out there, and Will Ferrell is looking at it.

The only thing I actually noticed in "Daddy's Home 2" was Mel Gibson's face.

In every scene, it looked like this:

Now, a person's face shouldn't make or break an entire movie, but it sure forces you to stop and think.

Whenever our class goes to the movies, the other staff members put a tremendous amount of pressure on me to enjoy it.

I don't know why the things they think are funny are not so funny to me.

Perhaps I lack a soul.

In the fall of 2012, I was given the honor of being able to pick the movie our class would see that week.

I picked ParaNorman, and the rest is silence.

Well, not silence really.

Ever since then, when movies are discussed, my opinions are instantly shot down.

"What does he know? His favorite movie is ParaNorman!"

"It's not my favorite movie!" I protest.

"Oh yeah? Then what is your favorite, Mr. I Hate Everything?"

"Probably the worst movie ever made or something, ha ha."

"Yeah, what is your wittle favawit movie, wittle weepy sausage man?"  

Don't say Fellini's 8 1/2. Don't say Fellini's 8 1/2.
In fact, don't say Fellini anything.

I know, I know. It's not even funny to me anymore. I'm just a self-centered depressive, stuck in-

"Really?" I asked the three headed composite of my co-workers, based only loosely on their actual personalities and appearances.

So loosely that they should be unrecognizable to prying eyes.

*shhhh no it's not supposed to be you, Jerry, stop blocking the screen with your hand*

"Don't question inspiration," Jerry said. "Just act on it."

"Here, put your finger in this light socket-"


"By the musky gams of Nefertiti!" I howled, in my best imitation of Will Ferell.

"Now spill this hot coffee on yourself two times in a row."


"Great twiddling thumbs of the Bodhisattva! That's hot! Why did I pour the coffee on myself a second time??"

"Alright, to top it off, get your ass stuck in this toilet."



Friday, November 17, 2017

You Will Be Seeing Unusual Accomplishment

Let me tell you one thing, my super17, I'm really bored of drawing me at tables, desks, and in front of computers.

In fact, I'm really bored of drawing me all together.

Why do I have to be the focus of every picture?

The arrogance on me; the audacity to make myself my favorite subject.

 So, to everyone's shock, this post will not contain any drawings of me. Not one.

And it's not going to contain any chairs, desks, and laptops, either. 

Not a single mundane, tedious-to-draw detail that fleshes out a scene. 

To hell with fleshing out, and to hell with me.
The barest minimum. That's the principal all works of art should adhere to.

Don't describe the varietal planing of sidecut valley succulents to me, Cormac McCarthy, just say 'brown grass.' If it's old, simply say it:

"The gutshot drug dealer ran through the old brown grass. He bled on some brown grass, too, but it wasn't as old, and it was in a different part of the valley. The hot, dry valley."

Now that's how you tell a story, by dammit.

Over explaining, over showing; drawing too many walls and chairs, layering on so much thematic depth that the brain must tread water in a sea of many meanings, never once reaching the shore of What the Hell Are You Talking About Island.

Give me the classics, like Venus of Willendorf:

Oh, all right, wife.

The things you think are precious, I can't understand.

And then, sixty years later, a cybernetically enhanced Ken Burns makes a documentary about my life and accomplishments.

"The story of Gweenbrick is really the story of us all." -Shelby Foote

Cue "Ashokan Farewell"