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The most insane things I have done because bugs.

The most insane things I have done because bugs. published on No Comments on The most insane things I have done because bugs.

Sorry for the absence, everyone. I had computer problems. Where did we leave off? Oh yeah… bugs are terrible.


This cartoon was inspired by real life events, a bit of an unusual move for me. If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that it’s not just spiders that terrorize me. Once upon a time, which is fancy story telling terms for ‘about a week and a half ago’ I had an incident which started out with a clogged toilet, It was that toilet that prevented me from noticing the wasp on the faucet when I went to wash my hands. This left me with a dilemma- do I brave the wasp again to turn the faucet off or do I leave the water running forever? Gathering every single iota of bravery I had, I lunged at the faucet and promptly tore my fingernail down to the quick (boy am I glad I didn’t get stung!). Miraculously, the wasp didn’t move. Not wanting to press my luck, I backed slowly out of the bathroom, which seemed like a brilliant plan until I tripped over that shoe.

I honestly don’t know why bugs frighten me so. I have no enemy more determined to do me in than me. Over the course of the next week, that wasp moved around my sink just far enough to let me know he was still alive and could (I assume) kill me. Sure, you can lighten up on the liquids as much as you like, but eventually you’re going to have to go in there. I thought about hitting it with a magazine, but what if I only made it mad? It could be a mutant super wasp. I thought about catching it under a cup, but it kept hanging out on the edge where nothing could really cover it, so clearly it had the genius of at least Einstein, if not Stephen Hawking,

Finally, I broke out the vacuum cleaner. Thankfully I have a super light super tight Dyson (who did not pay me to characterize it this way, but I wouldn’t say no to a few bucks Dyson reps who may be reading this), which allowed me to get him from a verrrrry long ways away. But even though this vacuum is so mighty that I can tear the nap right out of my carpet if I’m not careful, I had to immediately run it to the closet because what if this adamantine warrior of the miniature set survived and was really really mad about the involuntary amusement park I just ran it through? Clearly the vacuum will need to be quarantined for oh… I think about two years. Just to be safe.

This is part of a larger pattern with me. A laughably irrational pattern. In the past I have:

*Thrown a laptop across the room because a spider crawled across the screen in the dark. My panic as it left my fingertips doubled when it hit the wall.

*Slept under a nest of blankets because I couldn’t force myself to turn off that lamp while that moth kept hogging that space around the switch.

*Gone to the movies just because, the because being that I would assume that spider was somewhere less visible by the time I got home from the theater.

*And of course there’s the ‘I don’t want to look like an idiot’ dance I do every year because I’m really trying to play it cool but I have yet to discover signature scent that bees don’t recognize as ‘pollen’.

Please tell me, oh loyal readers, that I’m not alone in this bugaphobia. Because my shrink and I have been at this make me less insane thing awhile now, and we haven’t even got to the bugs yet.

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99 Days to Wed

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I’m a pretty singular person. Not in the sense of “oh look at me, I’m so great, there’s no one like me!” singular, but singular in the sense that I don’t like being in relationships. I like being single. Also in the sense that I used to work for Cingular. I was a singular Cingular person. Except I worked for them twice.

My point, readers, is that I like my own company. I’m a great conversationalist with myself. I could talk to myself all day. Sometimes I do. If you and I meet face to face, you will probably call me a good listener. Anyways, I’ve been fine with this arrangement for a few decades now. But the other day, my mom said something to me that changed everything. “What would happen” she asked, “if you were alone and a black widow bites you?”

(it’s this)

I can stomach the idea of a childless existence (prefer it, actually) and will gladly traverse into my twilight years alone if it means that I will always have the remote control, but this was an Achilles heel I had not considered before.

Some of you may have noticed, I’m a little scared of spiders. Actually, I know you’ve noticed because I have the gruesome stories, videos and pictures to prove it, you sadists. When I first started drawing about my arachnophobia, some doubters thought I could not conceive of 99 ways in which I was afraid of them. At least consider a different title, the doubters said. Leave yourself a back door. Sure, those doubters may have been in my head and this could have been one of those conversations with myself. What matters is that the doubters had a point.

Even if you revisit some themes.

30 plus comics in, I am running out of steam. Not because I am running out of ways to be afraid, but because I’m running out of ways to convey it in my chosen form. How do you draw a stick figure representation of a spider crawling in your mouth and down your throat and laying eggs in your stomach so that it’s million babies eat you slow from the inside out? Seriously. I’m asking.

Not that it matters, because I had a flash of inspiration. It is very, very easy to take horror movies of all shapes and sizes and drop a spider in as the villain.

Norman’s mother was a spider and you know it.

Why is it so easy? Because spiders are very very evil and they do in fact want to kill you. I know they do all sorts of awesome things like kill pests and other stuff I guess, but I’m sticking with my them or me mentality.

Which brings me back to the beginning. My circular, singular journey. You cannot remain vigilant when your enemy can seize you in your sleep. I now know I have to be married, post haste. All you have to do is promise to be by my side, always always always and protect me from any and all spiders in line of sight. For this, I will pledge my eternal love to you and perform any service you consider to be a spousely duty and in the bounds of legality, or at least ethics.

All applicants may send reply via any small animal antithetical to the presence of spiders or time travelling carrier pigeon, serious inquiries only please.

Matrimonially yours,
Martin

(the preceding article is dedicated to Vince who lovingly shared that he found a black widow in a space which I regularly visit… thanks for the inspiration?)

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Not Inclusion

Brutha, Can You Spare a Home?

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So things have been a little quiet at Camp EaZee lately. I know you would probably think current events have me too down to speak up, but then you would have not met me. I may be down, but I plan to speak for at least three years after I’m dead (note: this is just a when it happens thing. I’m alive and well and writing from an undisclosed location that in no way resembles the island on Lost. Sadly).

No, what’s kept me quiet is my sacred trust of pet sitting for my BFF. I know that there’s this rumor that cats sleep sixteen hours a day , but god the damage they do in those last 8 hours is formidable. And it doesn’t even have to be damage of anything but the mental variety. Cats have their own way of gaslighting. They do things that make you doubt your own reality. Right now Marley, who is a colorful character, is sitting on the heating register and cleaning himself. Is this the kitty version of a hot shower or a bidet? Just what the heck is that about? The heater was already on, so there must be something about the feeling of hot air on one’s bum this little kitty finds appealing.

His mate (as in pal, not literal mate) Mithras does this thing where he goes down to the basement and he yowls. He does this long and he does this loud. Again, the Rorschach thing. I have no idea why he does this. I imagine he’s sad. He misses his owner and he needs a quiet corner to express his displeasure at the universe. I have no reason to believe this. On the contrary, he does it when he owner is here as well. But that’s what my mind imagines. His owner is a musician and he could be just as easily writing her a song. These cats are cryptic.

But creative. This took some skills.

Then there are the dogs. Like many dogs, these dogs are the opposite of cryptic. Their transparency would be laughable if it were in a movie instead of in the kitchen. Ranger looks at the cat dishes about once an hour to remind me that they’re empty. I can (and do) tell him that he’s not a cat. He shouldn’t eat cat food. But he’s a dog and doesn’t speak english. He does speak dog, and the language of dog is “I’ll eat anything that looks like some kind of food substance”. The cats must be practically hand fed because Ranger is a nervous eater.
Finally, there’s Stella. She’s the most loving creature you will ever want to meet. Like many love stories, she worries that she’s not loved so much as she loves. She has giant brown Disney doe eyes and she knows how to use them with military precision. She’s 45 pounds and has yet to be convinced she’s not a lap dog, because she’s a big furry walking hug. If you don’t mind having the world’s heaviest fur stole, I think it’s a role she would happily take on.

Taken all together, all four of these animals are a handful and a half. Because they outnumber you four to one. Imagine having two sets of twins, one pair two years old and the other pair one and it’s something like that. Easily managed if you live in an it takes a village house, more daunting if there are four of them and you have only the two hands.

Guess which one of these is my favorite right now.

For all that, I’m enjoying myself immensely. Not only because these are incredibly quirky, cute, adorable animals and my landlord says “No pets! Grrr!”, but because this will probably be the last time I get to pet sit them. Their owner has had a lot of life changes over the past few years and no longer really has the capacity to care for the twins and the twins. If you are in the area of Utah (ok, so my location isn’t totally undisclosed) and your household (or a friend’s household) would like a super awesome animal that needs some one on one TLC, drop me a line. The more free time you have, the better it will work. Stella, in particular, is about the best emotional support animal you would ever want to meet. I guarantee these animals will love you more than you love them, however much that is.

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Arachnophobia

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So in case none of you have noticed, I have a thing about spiders. And by thing, I mean of course crippling and debilitating terror. I started 99 Ways to Spi as a way to convince myself that my fears are ridiculous, that there is no way possible that they are as terrifying in life as they are in my head. You know what happened? I MADE MY FEARS WORSE.

Seriously, spiders are now the ISIS of my life. The weather is turning cold and rainy and they come indoors and I see them and it’s like they’re slowly encircling the camp like natives surrounding the heroes in a bad adventure movie. “I don’t like it Thompson, it’s too quiet out there”. I feel like whatever I suspected them of was only the icing on the terror cake they bring to the table.

And suddenly my facebook feed is full of spiders. Giant spider on a broom. Jumping spider takes out the cameraman. New species of spider pretends to be a dried up leaf. A dried up leaf! And in my heart if not my head I know… I KNOW that if it can be a leaf, it can be my cell phone. And once I put it up to my ear it can burrow through my auditory canal to lay eggs in my brain and eat me from the inside, killing me and driving me mad simultaneously. Just like I know that if I wash a spider down the drain it will somehow find a way to merge it’s DNA with one of the mutant alligators that was flushed in NYC and their monstrous spawn will return for revenge.

spider6
This is why you don’t brush with the water running.

 

It would seem I would have better things to worry about, and I do. And it would seem these fears are silly, and they are. Nonetheless, spiders are terrifying and evil and harbingers of Cthulhu, but I won’t quit drawing them because I title promised 99 of these puppies and I love you, readers. Not going back on my words, I’m just playing through the pain.

Taking one for the team,

Martin

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The Home Stretch

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I know these past few months have been rough on all of us and this is the last chance I have to throw my two cents in before we pull the ripcord on this freefall. I know that the idea that voting for the lesser of two evils is still endorsing evil is a tantalizing proposition (in a loose sense- because it’s not exactly going to get Tantalus foaming at the mouth like one of Pavlov’s dogs), but there comes a time when the focus needs must go onto the lesser part.

devilfin

I know that’s not very elegantly phrased but I was hoping to confuse anyone who might want to send me to a camp next week. Oh please, let Born in East L.A. stay an amusing vehicle for Cheech Marin and not a harbinger for an entire disinherited generation. I don’t want to go to a camp. I’ll be good! … ish…

In the mean time, please enjoy this new comic as the first in my new side series, 99 Ways to Spi. It’s a gentle and hopefully cute reminder that no matter what your creed, color, orientation or presentation, there is still one common enemy of which we can all be soundly afraid.

spider1

And that enemy is spiders. Spiders that will kill us all.

May (deity, ideology or force of your choice) have mercy on us all in 2017 and protect us from the spiderwrath,

Martin

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The Labor of Labor

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So here we are, nearing the weekend of our four day week for those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs and benevolent corporate overlords. I’m guessing that even the bees could bored with the same old same old if they weren’t blessed with (I’m betting) a goldfish like capacity for forgetting everything that happened once it slipped out of their peripheral vision. If that’s not the case then it sucks for them.

We don’t have that blessing and already the three day weekend slips into personal history, so I just want to wish all my fellow wage slaves a belated Happy Labor Day and wish you days and nights as beennui free as possible. And for the job creators… I know we get paid and all, but still- you’re welcome. Repetition

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Puppies Aren’t Butterflies

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butterpupfinal

I think we can all agree that puppies are awesome. They’re all soft and cuddly and cute and you don’t even care that they’re going to grow into dogs. Dogs that strew your trash from one end of the house to the other. Dogs that will get sick and need to go to the pet emergency room at 2 in the morning. Dogs that will chew your slippers and then give you the innocent eyes that almost but not quite convince you that the cat did it. All of that is for future you to deal with, and right now Marmaduke is years away.

But even something as fundamentally awesome as a puppy requires context. If someone tells you there’s something wrong with you, then it’s probably a matter of opinion. If everyone tells you there’s something wrong with you, it’s still a matter of opinion. Maybe (just maybe) you’re surrounded by butterflies.

Butterflies, like puppies, are pretty awesome. They’re pretty, they’re graceful, they can fly. But not even the most awesome of butterflies can catch a frisbee. If you find yourself opposed to everyone around you pretty much all of the time, maybe it’s time to leave the nest and find the kennel where you belong.

(as for me, I’m a butterpup, thanks for asking)


 

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So the Thing About Chickens is…

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4 out of 5 chickens you meet are going to end up in a KFC bucket. It’s an ugly fact no one wants to talk about because it would make it that much harder to look our chicken friends in the eye.

The unfortunate side effect is that the 1 in 5 that are left make up a very vulnerable subpopulation and many, if not most, of those chickens end up as sex workers. What else are they going to do?

Bob was going to be different. He had mighty chicken dreams. He was always the first to school and the last to leave. He was undeterred when his classmates laughed at his chicken accent. The answers were still right. He was still Valeclucktorian. His teachers all said chickens couldn’t be doctors, but he knew that chickens couldn’t be doctors yet. He would break through that shell barrier.

He made the grades, he had the extracurricular activities and he thought his entrance essay was nothing short of brilliant (Bob had a pretty big head for a chicken sometimes). His heart was broken when he received back the reply from Stanford that was a mere 4 words long. “Chickens can’t be doctors”.

So here he was. For now. Doing what a chicken has to do to survive. But he still has his dreams and he knows that one day he’ll be Dr. Robert Alinsky, M.D. with a specialty in gastroenterology.

If she hadn’t gone to meet her maker at that Kenny Rogers Roasters, he knew his mother would be proud.

chickfinal

(This piece of speculative semi-fanfiction owes a debt of gratitude to Elmer, by Gerry Alanguilan)

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