At the Moment

I feel nothing but bodily functions. I am a eating, pissing, ejaculating, drinking, sneezing, yawning, laughing, coughing, crying, shitting automaton impersonating a human. And I am good at impressions.

I am not depressed. My emotions are the task that I’m doing at the moment. For instance, I’m felling symbolic; as in I am organizing letters into words, and words into sentences. Also, I’m smoking and sipping on a beer.

I respond to others as only an ersatz human can; stilted, uncertain, flat, odd but recognizable. They respond in kind. There is no hostility, there is no passion, just communication and hope for understanding.

Occasionally, I contemplate existence and it makes my pity those that feel love for me. I love them back, but only in that moment that I am telling them I love them; because at that moment my task is impersonating a human.

A Hat of Considerable Weight

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This year at C2E2 I came dressed in my finest fake geek guy gear, which included a crochet Captain Marvel skullie I got from Etsy (this hat). A Captain Marvel hat has little meaning to outside of the world of geekdom. To the majority of people it’s simply a colorful hat upon a head of a real weirdo; thus,I never considered the ramifications of wearing recognizable geek iconography to a comic convention. I learned that with great hat comes great responsibility, and that I should never underestimate the Carol Corps.

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(Source)

(What is Carol Corps? I’m glad I asked on your behalf. Carol Corps are the fandom of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel Reboot. They are a reaction against the asshat brigade that pollute the comic world with rape threats, harassment at cons, discouragement of diversity in geekery and other idiocy. Since their conception they have gone on to do many positive things to counter the piss and vinegar stew comic fans are often force fed.)

I was taking my first pass of the convention floor wandering aimlessly with geeky twinkles in my anime eyes. Large comic conventions are a disorientating place. The human scenery is in constant flux with a sprinkling of cosplayers that borders the surreal. As I was gazing into the miasma of of comic culture a voice from behind broke my trance. “Excuse me sir,” a phrase that my degenerate mind automatically associated with cops and/or security. I nearly threw up my hands and calmly declared, “I did do anything.” My heart was able to beat again when I turned to see a group of women in costume. A lady dressed as Dr. Who (I’m pretty sure… I’m not a Whovian.) asked me where I got my hat. I told her it was from Etsy, and that I couldn’t remember the name of the seller. She told me they were from Carol Corps, specifically the Carol Corps Yarn Brigade, a group whom crochets Captain Marvel accessories and gifts them to people (they are a real thing and here is their blog) This filled my nicotine stained heart with something I’m told is called optimism. This feeling lasted all of five seconds before I realized that I would not qualify as a person deserving the gift of a finely crocheted hat. A bit later another woman cheered, “Carol Corps,” in my direction. Remaining consistently awkward, all I did was smile and nod slightly as my brain was yelling, “Respond you jerk!”

I became increasingly self conscious of my choice in head wear. “Am I worthy enough to be in the ranks of the Carol Corps?” I questioned as I was outside smoking a cigarette. “I feel like there is probably some mandatory amount of geek community service you must do before becoming a member,” I thought as I watched Wonder Woman put out her smoke. “If I was admitted into the Carol Corps I’d be the guy that sorts junk mail in some windowless room, purposeful cut off from the rest of the organization.” I imagined Kelly Sue DeCconnick, duck faced, ripping up my membership card.

Since then the hat has wracked me with existential guilt, and an urge to learn knitting. Can a hat make you want to be a better person? I don’t know.

Unbound Boxes Limping Gods: Disconnected Stories. Issue # 135: You’re In The Army Now Part 13

Unbound Boxes Limping Gods

Katherine and Alex went to see a research scientist involved in diagnostics for ancient (and extinct) diseases. (Her name is Dr Bhati and she is also working for Field Marshal Panak . Her laboratory is inside the secret Christmas Island hideout the resistance have acquired.)

Katherine's backstory set on Christmas Island, Australia (3990) Katherine’s backstory set on Christmas Island, Australia (3990)

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Confessions of a Fake Geek Guy

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Congratulations nerds you’ve become mainstream! All that devotion to art previously considered childish has given geek culture its moment in the spotlight. Unfortunately, being in the spotlight illuminates horrible blemishes, *slowly strafing out of the spotlight. One of many corrosive zits on the xenomorph is the concept of the, “fake geek girl.” Misogyny is entrenched within geekdom, and though there are efforts to weed it out it is a constant battle.

Dear reader, I must confess that I am a fake geek guy. I only started reading comics a few years back. I was in college for an English degree (because I’m very impractical) and a class focusing on comics happened to meet my course requirements. Assuming it would be easier than a class on what white people wrote during the 17th century I enrolled. I hadn’t read comics since I was a child, when they were sold on spinner racks in drugstores (insert joke about being old). A friend of mine, a real geek guy, tried to get me to read comics and every time I would dismiss them as silly trifles. I ended up loving the class. Among the great books we read were: Incognegro by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece, Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons andMaus by Art Spiegelman. However, the professor had female anatomy, so I know that I couldn’t have possibly learned anything. Now that I had a proper facade as a geek there was only one thing left to complete my great farce. Going to a comic convention for the purpose of attracting the attention of actual geeks.

 

 

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(Pictured: me totally faking it with Saga fan art.)

My first con was C2E2 2013 (not related to R2D2). It was a learning experience. Here are my experiences from last year that might help other fake geek guys avoid being outed as a ersatz nerd.

Being born and raised in the epicenter of American alcoholism, the lush state of Wisconsin, I was hungry for my usual lunch, beer. It was early enough that the booze line was only about a 15 minute wait, which quadrupled an hour later. Due to a lack of shame about day drinking I ordered two overpriced beers, a C2E2 exclusive IPA which was decent, figuring double fisting was a clever way to avoid the lines. However, I quickly found out that walking through a crowd with two beers in flimsy cups was asking for disaster. Before I spilled my lunch on someone or some merchandise I maneuvered my way to the empty fringes of the convention. After I managed to reduce the spill probability to a minimum I returned to floor. Later I made a failed attempt at acquiring more beer as the wait was worse than a crowded DMV.

There are a number of lessons here. Conventions are not drinking focused. This isn’t like going to festival where one can spill most your beer dancing because everyone else is doing the same. Yet, if you must bring, your own booze and food cause those lines weren’t much better, or venture out to a restaurant. This year I will be driving, and because I’m trying to less of an ass I won’t be drinking (more than a beer).

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Source

Speaking of being a douche, one of the panels I was determined to see was the Chew panel (Rob Guillory and John Layman). In another failure of confidence I assumed I could find the panel in 10 minutes tops. I spent 15 minutes wandering like an idiot before I consulted a map, then jogged to the panel. I arrived panting with a coat of body odor. A woman by the door politely asked me if my intention was to disrupt the panel. With a glance there was an immediate understanding between the two of us; I was a jackass. I affirmed and she quietly opened the door. Once in the room I acted as if I was late for class and tip-toed my way to a seat. The two creators were discussing the hardships of being weird and making weird comics. The pair struck me as being two feral puppies in the world of comics; cute but will bite you (and find out your secrets) if they feel threatened. After explaining the long road they took getting Chew on the shelves they did a Q&A portion. I held back the question that was bouncing around my head, “Have you ever listened to the band Cibo Matto?” It was a dumb question, but it was all I could think of.

After a few questions I was growing concerned about time. At this time I was still steadfast in my refusal to buy a cellphone, and watches make me uncomfortable. Using my psychic abilities I determined it was about 4:50. My friends and I planned to meet at the Brian Posehn and the Comedy Mutants stand up show at 5:00. Without a thought of the two feral puppies still taking questions I got up and tip-toed back out of class. Unfortunately, I don’t have psychic powers, and neither does anyone else. It wasn’t until I arrived at the main hall that I realized how monumental of an ass I had been. The Ron Perlman panel was still in progress, and no offense to Mr. Perlman, but I didn’t have much interest in his stories. I felt the sting of being floppy nutsack at the Chew panel. I still feel that sting today, as Guillory and Layman are not at C2E2 this year and I can’t help but to feel responsible. Who’d want to return to after being nut slapped like that. If Layman or Guillory happen to read this, I want to apologize for being a walrus nut at your panel. If my egocentric assessment happens to be correct, I also want to apologize to any Chew fans going to this years C2E2. Sorry everyone, this is why I can’t have nice cannibal comics. 

 

(To be continued…)

A Blog I Wrote For One of my Multiple Online Personas

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There is a power in being anonymous. A power easily leveraged by modern technology. The anonymity of the Internet is for some a good excuse to be openly racist, sexist, homophobic, sycophantic, xenophobic, all of the above or plain old dumb. Despite my often cynical world view, I don’t believe that humanity is becoming less intelligent, nor escalating in awfulness. Nope, the Internet has given every idiot a megaphone and locked them in a room with everyone else. Idiocy has become more visible (sometimes your own). This is not new phenomena, the printing press was the Internet of its day. If you don’t believe me go read Samuel Richardson’s, Pamela, considered the English’s first novel. (Insert clichéd joke about waiting.) Thankfully, the Internet is also full of reasonable intelligent people willing to have meaningful civil discourse for the price of your fleeting attention. This logic is a dilemma for me. Why bother when I have nothing to offer that is not already available, and likely done better, by other more intelligent people?

Pamela, By Samuel Richardson invented new ways to be popular yet awful at the same time)

Blogging about comics is a bit like beating a dead horse with a twig while the person next to you is surgically removing its organs to make lunch meat. I don’t want to do a comic review blog. I already do that in the most efficient way I could imagine. (I have a Twiter account called JohanReviewsComics, @DeanJohannessLor, if you want to hear an idiot with a megaphone) .Cultural criticism appeals to me more as comics has a hefty amount of cultural issues, but I’m already depressed enough today. Rather, I would like to tell you about my personal struggle with addiction in hopes that I might help someone going through these same issues.

A week ago I hit rock bottom. On that tragic day I was blessed by the company of a good friend that helped to comfort me at my low point. I had a choice to make between comics or food, thankfully my friend convinced me that nutrition (read: ciggs and ramen) was more important. My carcinogen craving satisfied by the ramen I was left to ponder my abysmal bank account and lack of new comics. I sank into a comic depression that couldn’t be fixed with the comic Zoloft of free online comics. I skulked around with panels drawn on my glasses and imagined everyone was wearing spandex. Right as the fight between I-can’t-find-my-coupons Lady and Cashier Man was getting interesting a comic pusher came out from the shadows with a handful of goodies. “Psst, over here,” it whispered gesturing slightly with its head, “I heard you’re looking for comics?”

“I am looking for comics!

“Keep it down.” It told me looking around to make sure no one heard me. “I got comics. Good shit too,” flashing The Private Eye underneath its Dream Coat. I pretended to search my pockets for money I didn’t have and waited until it let its guard down. Then I punched it in the face and ran off with the comic giggling manically.

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(Source)

The Private Eye is a digital only, DRM free, pay what you want (catching breath) comic written by Brad K. Valentine, wait, Bill K. Veldbloom, no, Grant Morrison, that’s not it either… Some guy that also writes a blatant Star Wars rip off called Saga Wars, or something. The lines are done by Marcos Martin (Daredevil, Amazing Spiderman) with colors by Muntsa Vicente (She-Hulk). It’s quite good in my opinion. I could explain the vibrant world and engaging plot, but there’s no need, you too can slap the food out of the mouths of the creator’s children. Panelsyndicate.com allows you to steal their comic like it’s the pirate bay, or if you have enough pennies to rub together you can empty your bank account if you chose. I don’t buy a lot digital comics. Partially because as a white person with a penis comic stores are not threatening. As well as, a blind adherence to belief that reading things is more enjoyable if cutting down trees is involved. Finally, I think digital comics should be priced at a dollar or less. I know this is a bit of a dick’s opinion, Not all digital comics have a big name like Bilbo K. Voorhees to prop them up. (For that matter, there are plenty of free online comics that I have enjoyed enough to fell like I’m crotch-punching their creators.) Having already invested in awkward transitions I feel like I should talk about the website its self.

Panelsyndicate.com appears to have been made with a 90’s version of Netscape Navigator. There’s no ads, or click bait, or fancy background, or front page, and the page icon looks like it was chosen from a cluster of uninspired clip-art. The only indication that it isn’t a fossil from a forgotten part of the web are the few social networking links. This makes Panel Syndicate a marvel of web design. Most web pages assault you with so much stimuli there should be disclaimers for epileptics. Bruno K. Valiant and Marcos Martian have said that the site may expand to include other creators and comics, but at the moment it doesn’t include much more than the six issues of The Private Eye. So, go get your fix, and if you do tell them Johan is sorry about the black eye.

A Stranger’s Dream

The poet maneuvers across the wobbling crowd up the creaking stairs of the stage. The bitter miasma of fermented toxins wafts into the poet’s nose like a dancing fart. From the stage the audience resembles a heard of seals barking into pint glasses. “Uh, h-hello I’m um, my-my name doesn’t matter…” It really doesn’t. The poet lacks a pronoun like the audience lacks interest. The poet doesn’t pause nor read the title.

This is a vision of a stranger’s dream

A blind reality of a real imaginary

The painted truth of an ideal delusion

The only true science is Geology

Rock formations tell no false tales

Half-life after half-life of the truth”

The audience disappears into the tipsy confusion of bad poetry. Good poetry rhymes–also, it makes sense. However, the poet is a masochistic and impractical creature.

Beware the ants of Central America

Beware the cannibalistic Congress

Beware the somnambulist army

They are smarter than you think

They are as bad as you thought

They are terribly odd people”

A Letter from the Mega-Editor of Modern Boredom

Dear Person,

The first article I had published was in The Kawalski Construction Newsletter entitled, “The Guide to Looking at Paint Samples.” It was well received amongst the employees. One employee wrote me to say my article was a “boring piece,” and went on praising me as “the”…“writer of the century.” I began my study of boredom at Omaha On-line University and Air Conditioning Repair School (currently under federal investigation), and was given a piece of paper with fancy writing and gold leaf a few months later.

Boredom has a long history reaching all the way back to the earliest life on this planet. Some scientists say even the Big Bang may have been caused by boredom. Though, boredom has a rich history most historians agree that we are currently in “The Golden Age of Boredom.” New forms of boredom are being created every 12.6 seconds on Earth; a trend that crosses all cultural, political, and social boundaries. Yet, there are very few blogs/websites for fans of this worldwide phenomena.

As Mega-Editor of Modern Boredom I am committed to finding the most up-to-date and fashionable trends in boredom. From photographs of people wearing sweat pants looking off-camera, to informative articles like, “What Your Printer Test Page Says About You.” Modern Boredom will be your number one source for boredom related media on the web.

Have a long day,

Johan Loren(d)z

Mega-Editor and Founder of Modern Boredom