You know how out there in the real world, appearances are important. Whether we like it or not, we are judged for our clothes, hair, general upkeep, and so on. People also seem to respond favorably when you are well-spoken. I think this is also true on the Internet, although people aren’t convinced yet, judging by the appallingly low standards everywhere you look. But suave, sophisticated internet personalities like to give off the impression that they have a decent command of the written language. Unfortunately, typos exist.

It is frustrating to make a typo. You look like you can’t spell something and when you have to backspace a hundred times in order to appear to have any shred of intelligence at all, you just want to give up and start txtn liek it aint mattr. When I read a typo, by the way, I imagine that I have just read a mispronunciation, or in some cases, a total spazz out breakdown. It’s funny when other people do it, but when I do it, I just want to cover my face in varying levels of shame.

Worse, though, is the typo that makes a different, actual word. Sometimes it is the fault of that infernal autocorrect feature, but sometimes it is simply because certain letters are next to each other. And sometimes it is because your brain just wrote a completely different word and that’s weird and also not what I’m talking about here. That’s disturbing in an entirely different way. Anyhow, it is confusing for the other person to encounter this correctly spelled but not exactly relevant new word, and I have been personally HUMILIATED to have been the victim of these errors. And they have traumatized me enough that any time I write the word I mean to write now, I automatically check to make sure I did not accidentally write the wrong word.

And because every chat I have is imagined in my mind as one of my comics – only fully animated (yes, I’m very lucky), I will present these scenarios to you as small comic strips featuring my poor friends.

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Felix the Cat, the character, came to be in 1919, although his bag of tricks wasn’t a thing until the 1950s. Felix was created by the Australian animation studio run by Pat Sullivan. It’s also possible Felix was actually created by Otto Mesmer, Sullivan’s lead animator.

The 1988 movie was widely criticized for, well… being poorly-drawn nonsense. And boy is it ever!

Felix the Cat by Amanda Wood

Come with us, on a journey through… Felix the Cat: The Movie.

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Recently, I was speaking with my friend about books we enjoyed as children. She spoke well of a book she had read so many years ago that was about a mighty, wild stallion who was captured by humans. They tried to break his fierce spirit every way they knew how, but he endured and managed to live the rest of his days carefree on the range once again, a symbol of spiritual freedom.

I realized while I was listening to her that I had read a similar book, although not that specific one. Not only that, but I had read quite a few books with that general plot! There was one set in the Pioneer Times about a Moonstone Stallion who rescued some little prairie girl who had gotten herself lost from the wagon train. And another story I dimly recall about another white stallion who pranced around, inspiring these children while vexing the austere and practical adults. Of course Walter Farley wrote a whole horrible series of books about the Black Stallion and his Island Stallion counterpart, Flame. Those were just a few I had read as a small child. But obviously, there have been others, possibly a thousand others!

Horse Fiction

Equine literature aimed at children is a very strange genre of fiction. Mostly meant to entertain “horse crazy” little girls. Some of the books were about young girls just like the reader who enjoy being around horses and learning about them, riding, laughing with each other, and friendship. Or they were about wild horses that resist taming, display perfect carriage and conformation, and are far above the intelligence of wily and sinister men who cruelly break horses for a living. These stallions (almost always stallions) refuse to be broken by all! Well, except for the little girl, or occasionally little boy, who manages to tame the horse just by being kind or particularly helpless.

When I was eight years old, I didn’t think twice about the improbability of these plots. For those of you who do not know anything about horses beyond being able to identify one in a photo of various creatures, I will explain a little about how silly these books actually are. You see, the story generally revolves around a wild stallion. A stallion is a guy horse that has not been neutered, or “gelded” as it is called in equine glossaries. They are not really friendly animals, typically. Usually concerned with procreation, protecting a “herd” from other guy horses, and eating grass when he has the time, a stallion has no interest in a little human girl who has twisted her ankle while hiking alone. He certainly wouldn’t express any maternal tenderness.

Horse Reality

Also, wild horses are not beautiful and perfect awe-inspiring specimens. Their manes and tales are full of brambles, they have scars from horse bites and horse kicks, they are often scrawny looking, and their hooves are cracked from not wearing shoes on the hard rock surroundings. It is true that mustang horses that have been made into pets are often pretty, but they have been brushed and fed well. Not even those tamed mustangs are quite what the stories try to describe. Fictional horses have silky manes blowing in the wind, glowing coats kept sleek and groomed by rain I guess, are tall and imposing, perfect in every conceivable way, able to later win shows and races, if the plot decides to go in that direction.

The most outrageous part is how the same book has been written and published probably as many as sixteen times every year. Stupid little girls read this same story many, many times, not even realizing it until one grey afternoon twenty-five years later. I am shocked. I am even a little angry. I could write a story that trite, ridiculous, and horrible! I WILL write it! I know horse-related words! I can occasionally write in an engaging manner! By God, I am going to write the most ordinary story and it is going to be a HIT. And what’s better, I can actually illustrate it.

Readers, read on:

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From time to time, I lose my mind and become convinced that I drink too much coffee. I know people are always doing some sort of martyred brag-lamentation about the truly colossal amounts of coffee that they drink in a day, but I’m not one of those. I drink very small amounts of coffee, only two to four cups a day, but I drink it EVERY day. Sometimes I notice that if my coffeedrink routine gets messed up, my personality takes a turn for the worse. Sometimes when I notice that, I become indignant! How dare coffee treat me like that! So then I resolve to show it a thing or two about dependency and I quit it.

I have heard of people quitting all of caffeine, but I have never done that. I just sometimes quit drinking coffee but then switch off to heroic amounts of tea. As great as tea is, it never seems to be a good replacement for the coffee caffeine that my body apparently has grown to need. Tea is there for drinking after the coffee has been finished for the day. Therefore, I have probably not even experienced actual caffeine withdrawal to the fullest extent. Even so, once when I quit only-coffee for two weeks, I had a seven day long headache that did not respond to medication, as well as feelings of impending death that lasted for the same length of time.

Maybe you have been thinking that you could use a break from coffee? Perhaps you are like me, and resent that you are apparently HOOKED. Perhaps you would like to prove to yourself and your coffee that you can stop any time you want. As a seasoned veteran of quitting the bitter bean, I am here to help you. Quick! Take my tremoring hand as I take you down the dark and frightening path to potentially healthier living!

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Shopping for groceries is one of those annoying tasks you have to do once or twice a week, depending on your habits and needs. Maybe there are some people out there who enjoy the act. Perhaps for them, creating a list for a week, perhaps a carefully planned menu, all of that stuff, perhaps all of that is a pleasure for these people. It might fulfill an instinctual need to hunt and gather. God, who knows. What I DO know is that I am not one of those people. Grocery shopping is a boring old activity that involves many things I despise: making decisions, forethought, crowds, and being out in public.

I believe grocery store managers realize that there are all sorts of customers, and they try to make their stores as pleasant as possible to encourage repeat purchasing experiences. All of the items are arranged systematically, for ease of locating them. The workers are made to be friendly and happy. And they have installed a little sound system in most stores because someone somewhere must have done a study that says that people are more likely to shop happily if they can do so to a mild, inoffensive beat in the background.

I think it is a good idea, all of this playing music in the backgrounds of places. I do enjoy music, and even when they play songs that I would never hear on my own free time, such as, say, any song by Gwen Stefani ever (she and No Doubt in general seem to be a staple of grocery stores everywhere – it causes me to laugh in a way that is unkind), I can still say that I am glad that I am not left to shop in silence. That unwieldy sentence deserves a summary: I would rather listen to crap like Gwen Stefani’s annoying voice than eavesdrop on the often-bewildering drone of fellow shoppers punctuated by the shrill cries of their horrible infants. The songs played are often easily forgettable and mildly pleasant, or at the very least not at all distracting from the shop process. I might notice that Gwen Stefani is imploring me to “don’t speak” for the umpteen billionth time in the Pasta Aisle, but I can still select a pasta suited to my tastes.

grocerystefani1

But this article isn’t REALLY about how much I don’t like that ridiculous singer, no matter how many snarky observations I have on hand, or outright insults if we dare speak of the Hollaback Girl Fiasco. This is about the handful of times when I have been out shopping for food items, and the speakers in the store have played a song that was so noteworthy for its soul-sucking depression, its sheer catchiness, or its just plain old out-of-placedness, that I had to stop shopping until it was over.

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When you’re at a concert, there are a lot of terrible things that apply to all people. Some things, though, are specific to us diminutive versions.

The most obvious problem is that you can’t see the show, of course. I hear stories of how great it is to see concerts live. I’ve even seen some from very far away and it looked pretty cool. I hear that one of the best parts about going to concerts is that you get to watch the bands perform. To me, concerts are just a cool way to hear a band you like.

Dollissa at Concerts by Amanda Wood

 

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Sleep doesn’t really come to me easily. I am regularly snubbed by the Sandman, and I have been for many, many years now. I’ve tried a lot of different methods to promote a peaceful slumber, regular sleep patterns, or even just a block of snoozing that winds up being semi-restful. Some things work for a while, but apparently my unconscious mind hates routine as much as my awake mind does, because it eventually gets bored and rejects it. Boo hoo all I want is to sleep!

This is all I ever want!

However, over the past few months, I have discovered the joys of hours-long YouTube videos with ambient sounds! It actually worked for me to drift off while listening to ten hours of rainfall, eleven hours of rushing stream, or twelve hours of ocean sounds. When I realized that hours of moving-water noises might actually mess with my sleeping bladder, I tried nifty things like eight hours of forest and six hours of English countryside and dear lord even eight hours of a cat purring. Those sunny ones were both good for having that midday nap feeling and the cat one somehow begins to massage the center of your brain… I have even dozed happily to twelve hours of ambient engine noise from a Star Trek ship, even though I do not really ever watch that show!

Tibetan bowls, lakes, white noise, the sounds of busy restaurants, and binaural theta waves – there are so many excellent videos on here just to make our lives more restful. Thousands of hours just sitting there, waiting for you to discover and test out. But, there are some that just don’t do it right. The first couple of times were accidental, but I immediately noticed that they affected me as I slept. I’ve gone and tested a few in the name of SCIENCE and I’ve come out a changed person – a more cautious person. I am here to tell you to not do these things. Do not do as I have done.

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