intro to comic

I joke around all the time but I never really “tell jokes.” That’s just not my style. On the particular day of this comic, I told one of the very few jokes in my arsenal and it did not play out as it should have, as usual. However, also as usual, the result was something that I found to be far funnier than the original punchline. That is really the only value in traditional jokes for me. I like to watch them get out of hand and turn into their own thing that probably makes only me laugh.

That is also my style whenever I write any article, fyi. I do what I can!

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You find yourself in a maze filled with edible orbs, and you are not alone. Monsters lurk in this place, is it a dungeon? Is it a castle? Is it a level of HELL? You must run from these evil things — oh! You catch a glimpse! They’re g-g-ghosts! Vengeful, doomed spirits chase you, wishing to devour your soul. So you run. You dodge them by darting into unused corridors! Oh god but there are more! Mindlessly being forced to eat orbs as you run in terror, you stumble upon one that causes the ghosts to flee from YOU. Ha ha! Who’s chasing whom NOW, you fiends?! You gobble them up for a few seconds, not nearly enough seconds. Then their fear is over. You didn’t kill any of them. You do not kill ghosts. The chase is on again, and again, and again until you somehow eat all of the orbs. Then it all starts over.

No, I didn’t write out an entry from my Terrible Dreams journal. I just described the basic plot of Pac Man, an early video game from the otherwise glorious 1980s. It was released on this date in 1980, and I was never the same again.

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Brutal fact of life: Gaming will never, ever be as cool as it was in the late 80s/early 90s. Why? Several factors contribute to it: 80s/90s hairstyles, general inability to see how much we would laugh at ourselves in the future, etc. But the biggest thing that made the time so awesome was that it was all so new. Sure, games had been around for over a decade at that point. But after the video game crash in ’84, the future of gaming was mostly relegated to being bulletpoint features on shitty home computers from Radioshack. Then came the NES, and everything exploded. Gaming, as it turned out, was the real deal. And it wasn’t going anywhere. Suddenly the entire subculture of video games went mainstream, and few people were ready for it — especially the people that quickly saw they could make a boatload of money from them.
GamePro

Magazines based solely on games literally sprung up over night. The two most prominent being Electronic Gaming Monthly, and Gamepro. Immediately out of the gate, Gamepro seemed to be the far more “color by the numbers” magazine created by people who had no clue what to do with a game magazine, and were just throwing stuff together in a way they thought would look cool to kids. Featuring blindingly bright layouts (I still can only see in shades of neon pink thanks to Gamepro), giant cartoony art, and a general mishmash of coverage more suited for an ADHD-addled chimp.

 

Gamepro quickly garnered a reputation as being that one kid who would always scream for attention on the playground, but no one would ever come close to him for fear that he would never leave you alone again. That didn’t stop Gamepro from making money though, since this was a time when you could put out anything game-related and kids would choke it down as fast as possible. Gamepro quickly saw that their aberration of a magazine was making gobs of money, so decided to take the next logical step and made a TV show.

 

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Get up and go! It’s time to give a shit. Now that warmer weather is approaching (in the US at least), let’s take a brisk walk to our closest library and put in the smallest effort to preserve probably one of the best things in your town! One of the best things in the world, really, when it comes to public institutions.

So many libraries are not just places to check out books, but they also provide research information, computers and the internet, music and movies, art, children’s reading time and activities, adult classes and lectures, and even just a comfortable place for solitude. Not all of them will have all of those features, but they’ll all have books and they’ll all have librarians.

When I was a kid it was my favorite place to go. I’d beg my mom to take me, which she would dread because I’d spend so much time there, searching through the books. And then I’d check out so many that both mom and the librarian would chuckle at my little stack, bigger than my always-tiny presence. But we all knew I’d be back the very next week. Since I haven’t done that in years, I’m going to join y’all on this library journey set forth below. Pick any or all activity and get on your way to your closest or favorite branch.

personal libarry

 

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I had a lot of fun with my Grandma when I was young. I did small jobs for her, for $1 at a time, we spent all day together, for days. We also played word games! Our favorite was to choose 7-10 Scrabble tiles at random, lay them out, and write as many words as we could think of using those letters.

Today is the anniversary of the birth date of Alfred Mosher Butts, the American architect and creator of Scrabble. Mr. Butts did not just create a board design and think of putting letters on it, but also did some detailed analysis to devise the points system and distribution of letters. Adorably, he did this by reading articles and tallying letters by hand. In honor of Butts and this contribution to the world and especially lovers of words, today is considered Scrabble Day.

Scrabble Day

 

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gurrrrrrl

I was a Girl Scout when I was younger. In some ways, I’ll always be one! In other ways, why isn’t everyone? I still have my old Girl Scout badges, though I wouldn’t wear that vest around (it wouldn’t fit, mostly). I also still have my old book of how to earn each badge and sign. In the book it explains that the badges are also called recognitions, so when someone sees your badge, they recognize your accomplishments. As the book says, “Badges… show that you have done something so often and so well that you can teach it to someone.”

This week is Girl Scout Week. It falls the week of March 12, the anniversary of when Juliette Gordon Low held her first troop meeting. In honor of that, I propose we earn some Scouting for Women badges.

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One Day At A Time was originally a show in the 1970s about a family in Indianapolis. A recently divorced mother of three and her daughters, take things, well, one day at a time. Basically. I’ve never seen that version though, sorry.

This new iteration, brought to us of course by Netflix, King of Television, features the most adorable Cuban family and an opening theme by Gloria Estefan! So far it’s just one season, with 13 half-hour episodes. Rather than three daughters, the main character Penelope Alvarez has two children, a son and a daughter. She also has her mother living with them, Lydia, played by Rita Moreno, a hilarious, nervous Catholic abuelita.

dia

 

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All of this could have been avoided. This entire article wouldn’t have even been necessary if my parents had followed a fairly logical rule. As a parent myself, I know this rule inside and out. If you have kids, you know it too. But for those of you without children, I am about to drop a real gem on you. A piece of advice that will make your parenting days a lot easier and lessen the chances of your home experiencing a murder/suicide. You ready? Okay.

Don’t tell a child that they can’t see/do something because it is “for adults.” 

There you go. I just saved you a lot of yelling and a handful of awkward visits from Child Services. Now don’t go thinking I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe in telling a kid they can’t have something or do something. I’m not saying that you should let a child get away with whatever. By all means, tell them “no” when you want them to keep their snot and dirt-encrusted hands off of something. When they ask you why, just don’t make the mistake of telling them it is for “big folks,” “adults,” “mommy and daddy,” or whatever other stupid shit you say instead of just looking them in the eye and saying, “Shut the fuck up.”

A good solid “shut the fuck up” from my folks sure would have saved me a whole lot of grief.

Young Billy

 

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We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

FACE IT

Forever, as far back as I can remember, maybe as soon as I was self aware enough to realize that I have a reflection in the mirror, I have had this notion that how we look can change with our thoughts. Like expressing emotions, only a lot more than that. After a few years, my notion became more of a crackpot theory as I started to think that maybe our faces are a projection of our inner thoughts to the point that if we just concentrated, we would be unrecognizable even to people who know us very well. I thought this would be very handy if I ever needed to disguise myself and secretly worked towards achieving this skill, this skill that probably can’t actually exist but I’m never going to get all that time back, am I!

One of the negative side effects of getting myself to believe in this idea is that, as a result, I have never been comfortable with the idea of sleeping near anyone. At slumber parties, I would stay up the entire night not for fear of pranks, but because I didn’t want anyone to see me being asleep. At home, I wanted a locked door to my bedroom so that the only things creeping in to watch me sleep were monsters and Mirror Amanda. I can’t snooze in cars, and to sleep on public transit is laughable in that nervous, unfunny laugh kind of way. Even living with boyfriends, I will usually face away from them, sleep with my head covered up with a blanket or pillow, have my face buried in my arms, or at the very least, feel this sense of horror when I wake up to find that my face was visible.

What do I think will happen when I’m asleep? Do I think I’m actually a monster? Do I think that my face will become a blank, expressionless, actual mask? I really don’t know! I refuse to think about it any more than this.

Looking back on our own childhoods is like looking back at the lives of entirely different people sometimes. For real, there are like segments of time that seem separated by a black curtain. Seven year old me seemed like a different life to me at sixteen, and both of those seem completely different to now. I imagine it is the same for everyone, right? We all had interests that we were way into which now seem laughable or awkward. Is it possible that in twenty years, I will look back at me in 2017 and feel uncomfortable? Haha not a chance!

childlissa

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