Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Yellow Beast

Bear with me while I explain something about myself. It's relevant to the story I intend to tell, I promise.

It takes a lot to get me out of bed. Upon waking, I require at least 20 minutes to fully gain alertness and become aware of my surroundings. In this way I am not unlike a drunk, passed out sorority girl. The world might be ending around me and I'd barely take notice. Nothing warrants a coherent response from me unless an Americano is administered intravenously.

Let's say Emma Stone were to call me bright and early in the morning with urgent news (hey, it could happen).


Her proposal would barely register with me.


Most likely I would mumble a made-up excuse about my body being covered in tumors or having just been hit by a car, then hang up and drift off back to sleep in my warm and cozy cocoon of blankets.


Sleep is like a drug to me, and no alien-eyed Hollywood starlet is going to steal it from me. If I could figure out a way to eat and sleep at the same time, I'd be in heaven. Unfortunately I can't weasel a prescription for Ambien out of my doctor, so I'm forced to separate my vices.

If I'm being honest, I'm probably a little too fond of sleeping. Truth be told, I generally don't organize my time in the best manner. This pie chart aptly illustrates how I might spend a typical Tuesday:


Of course, as with any drug, my glorious sleep sessions come with a price. For instance, I've been known to talk in my sleep. Just last week a friend notified me that during a nap I'd told her, "If I died in Iraq and they flew my body home, I wouldn't want my casket draped in the American flag. I'd want them to cover it in a quilt made by a pioneer woman." While this habit is more peculiar than alarming, I live in constant fear that I'll divulge some deep dark secret while I slumber.

Aside from my unconscious chattering, my main concern is that all too frequently my dreams trickle into my waking moments. This can be unsettling because as I mentioned, I have a difficult time making sense of the world in the moments after waking up. Once I was dreaming about spiders, and upon waking could've sworn I saw a giant spider dangling above my bed.


It didn't register that the spider had been a remnant of a dream until several minutes later, and by that time I was huddled in the corner, wide eyed and terrified.

The zenith of my disoriented sleep episodes occured a few years ago while I was home from college one summer. The morning was creeping towards noon and I was still fast asleep in bed when a loud hissing sound from outside my window startled me awake. Groggy and confused, I rolled over and gazed out my window. Terror instantly grabbed hold. Something massive and yellow was heading for my house, appearing to collide at any moment. Since I have terrible eyesight without my contacts, I couldn't make out the details of the object, but I could tell that whatever it was, it was almost as large as my house itself and it was making an awful racket.

The sudden appearance of the monstrosity triggered an immediate fight-or-flight response in me. I hurled myself out of bed.


I clamored down the stairs and crouched on the landing near the living room, waiting for the inevitable sound of my bedroom being destroyed by whatever the thing was, but catastrophe never struck. By this time I was conscious enough to realize that I hadn't been dreaming, and in fact I could still hear the thing hissing as it slowly passed over my house. I wracked my brain for what it could be, but nothing I could think of was that noisy and that yellow. Was it alive? Would it eat me? Without a realistic option to fall back on, I was forced to assume it was a monster. A yellow monster. A giant... yellow... monster.


Once I accepted the impossibility of my house being under attack by a giant Pikachu, I felt marginally better, though still adequately horrified. At least now I could figure out how to approach the situation. Of course, the notion of being stalked by a huge, bloodthirsty Pokémon wasn't a comforting thought.


As I cowered at the foot of my stairs anticipating my approaching death, I could hear the thing passing over and drifting away from my house. But before I could feel relief, a new hissing sound emerged from the direction the yellow beast had come from. Multiple hissing sounds, in fact. Were there more of them? Would they eat me right there on the spot? Or would they take me back to their death caves and feast upon me there?


Gathering whatever courage I could muster, I crept to the living room window and peered out sheepishly, certain my life was winding down to its final moments.


Though my vision was still blurry, I managed to ascertain the scene more clearly. There were more of the things all right, but they were different. Some were red, some blue, some green. Squinting, I could finally make out what they actually were.

Hot air balloons. Dozens of them.

Later I would learn that every year my hometown holds a Hot Air Balloon Rally for charity, and somehow I'd had no knowledge of it. They were flying so close to my house because they were getting ready to land in a field nearby, and the hissing sound had been produced by the burners.

Now, you might be thinking, "Sure, Adam, it was certainly alarming waking up to that, but Pikachu? Really? That's what your mind came up with?"

Yes, that's what my mind came up with. When something that huge and yellow appears to be destroying your home, you go to dark places. Don't judge. You don't know. You weren't there.


Shaken but relieved that danger had passed, I popped in my contacts and traipsed out to the front yard to watch the balloons pass overhead.

They were actually quite pretty. You know, since they weren't trying to kill me.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Food For Thought

Tuesday night. 6:30 PM. Adam arrives at Gaya Gaya Sushi to pick up his food.







If only she saw how fast I inhaled all that food. 

It wasn't pretty.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Draw Me Like One Of Your French Girls

It's been a while since I shared more portraits, so here's a new batch for your eyeballs. Previous collections can be viewed here, here, and here.






















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As always, you can get your own custom portrait via the link below!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Antisocial Network

I'm a little sick of Facebook. At this point I think everyone's a bit tired of Facebook but we can't pry ourselves away from it because then we'd be cavemen. Or rather, cavepeople, to be gender neutral. This is 2011 after all.

Instead, we complain about Facebook, usually on Facebook, and I'm more than happy to join in the discord. I've compiled a list of ten common occurrences that bother me about Facebook and I'd like to share them with you.

1. "Caught Off Guard" Photos


I see this all the time in my news feed and I'm baffled by it. These photos pop up and I just have so many questions. What are you girls looking at? How are the vertebrae in your necks not snapping like twigs?

I blame Paris Hilton for this one. Actually, I blame Paris Hilton for about 90% of the world's problems (famine, global warming, the NBA lockout, the list goes on).

2. Duck Lips


I know, I know. Everyone and their grandmother has harped on the duck lips phenomenon, but it bears repeating because it remains a problem. It's still happening. How is it still happening? Why aren't we as a society funneling trillions of dollars into educating our young people against this habit? I have it on good authority that making duck lips causes face cancer. So what if there's no medical proof to back up that claim? Do you really want to risk it? I didn't think so.

3. The Apparition

This one is understandable to an extent, though no less tragic. It's when people take photos of themselves but push the levels in Photoshop to the extreme, and what's left is a white floating mass with eyeballs and a mouth. Michael Jackson utilized this tactic fulltime in later years. I'm guessing its purpose is to hide the imperfections in one's face, but the end result is anything but an improvement. It's the opposite of an improvement. An unprovement? Nonprovement? Yeah, nonprovement. That's a word.


4. English as a Foreign Language

I have a friend who frequently makes the argument that language evolves, but I'd like to know when Internet jargon became an acceptable form of communication outside the realm of sexting your boyfriend during fourth period. It's gotten so bad that on occasion I'll have a difficult time making sense of certain status updates because they're so riddled with shorthanded phrases and netspeak. At some point they stop sounding human altogether, instead resembling an alien with a feeble grasp on the language of Earthlings.


5. Woe is Me

Social networking has understandably become a part of our day-to-day lives, and thus aspects of our lives play out online. However, I grow weary of watching arguments unfold in real time on my wall. True, on occasion I get a kick out of seeing two of my friends quarrel; they'll hurl insults back and forth about who's a bigger bitch or who's the Mayor of Slutburg this week, but when my friends take to Facebook to passive aggressively whine about their lives, I want to throw in the towel and do something drastic like unplug my router and go read a book.


22 replies later, I'll learn she was upset because her mom got her the wrong flavor of frozen yogurt from Pinkberry, and wish I could get back that 90 seconds of my life I wasted reading that thread.

6. The Racist Redneck Cousin


We all have one of these on our friends list. You can't remove them or else you'll get an angry email from Aunt Susan about why you unfriended her son. It's best to ignore them completely.

7. The Facebook Gamer

For a long time I forgot Farmville even existed because I had all mentions of it blocked, but a few weeks ago my account went screwy and I started receiving notifications about it again. I readjusted my settings, but it made me wonder about farming simulations. I can't for the life of me understand the appeal of Farmville. My grandparents had a ranch when I was a kid and I can tell you firsthand that farm life is boring as hell. Why would you want to simulate something like that on the Internet?


And why stop at farming? Why not play a game where you wash little pixelated dishes all day? Extra points for scraping old lasagna off that oven pan!

8. The "Real" Gamer

I'm sort of anal retentive about what shows up on my personal Facebook feed. Should I inadvertently share a Yahoo news link without realizing it, I have a conniption fit and my whole week is ruined. I nearly died the day I realized I'd accidentally set my Playstation 3 to share trophy updates on my profile as I received them in-game. Personally I don't feel the need to share the fact that I spent Saturday night training my dark elf to Level Infinity, but that's just me.


9. The Proud Parent

I'm at that age where some of my friends are having babies, and for the most part I genuinely enjoy seeing updates about their kids. But on occasion a friend will go overboard with the baby pictures and start setting up what I imagine they think are adorable photo shoots.


I want to tell them that when they do this, Anne Geddes takes a shovel, digs a hole in her backyard, and lays down in it, just so she can roll over in her grave.

10. The Stalker

Perhaps the most unsettling of all is the Facebook stalker. They come in many forms. They might be an overzealous ex, or maybe a doting aunt who just got AOL. They like all your status updates, they comment on everything, and offer unwarranted advice on your each and every trivial action.

I can't help but imagine what it would be like if that sort of behavior took place in real life.




Sometimes I lay awake at night and imagine how nice it would feel to delete my Facebook altogether. I fantasize about how freeing it would be, and resolve to delete my account first thing in the morning. Then I wake up, decide against my prior decision, and instead sign up for Tumblr and Spotify, even though I don't understand either one. Because this is America, and I'm pretty sure the Bill of Rights states that it's a man's inalienable right to complain about Facebook on a daily basis if he so chooses. In fact, if I recall correctly, the Founding Fathers declared independence because Great Britain had set up a firewall to block Facebook. That's a fact. I read that in the same magazine that said making duck lips causes face cancer.