Category Archives: Lucacentric

Web 2.0 is ruining me

I have no idea what to post where lately. Is it redundant to use Twitter if all of my friends are on Facebook and can see my status already? Do I post pictures here, or to Facebook, or to that Flickr account that I haven’t been using? And for heaven’s sake, where do I post this list of my eleven favorite breakfast cereals? I am at sea.

However, I am writing this using the WordPress app for the iPhone. I can post from anywhere! I can post, for instance, while lying in bed, as the cat and dog chase each other around and step on my balls. The future!

Thirty-one

Metaphor in disguise

blottobot and getwreckedicon

Lucas Blue: so I’ve been thinking about the Transformers
Lucas Red: oh?
Lucas Blue: and the parallels one can find in their story to world events both current and historical
Lucas Red: such as?
Lucas Blue: the Autobots get knocked around on Cybertron by the Decepticons
Lucas Blue: and then they say “fuck this shit” and take off for earth
Lucas Blue: JUST LIKE THE JEWS IN THE TIME OF MOSES
Lucas Red: interesting
Lucas Red: where the Jews wandered the desert for forty years, the Autobots were inactive for several million years in their spaceship
Lucas Blue: Optimus Prime, reluctant leader = Moses, reluctant leader
Lucas Red: tablets of stone = matrix of leadership
Lucas Blue: Primus = YHWH
Lucas Red: space bridge = parting of the Red Sea
Lucas Red: sorta
Lucas Blue: IT ALL FITS
Lucas Blue: I also see connections with the political factions in today’s deeply divided America
Lucas Red: totally
Lucas Red: Autobots are Democrats
Lucas Red: peace-loving, environmentally conscious cut-and-runners
Lucas Blue: that makes Joe Lieberman a DINObot
Lucas Red: well, even the Autobots had their militant faction
Lucas Blue: and the Decepticons are Republicans
Lucas Blue: looking out for themselves, eyes on domination and destruction of enemies, and just a little bit more organized and “on message” than the opposition
Lucas Red: but ultimately incompetent
Lucas Red: Megatron’s secretary of defense: Starscream
Lucas Blue: ha! his secretary of state was Soundwave but he replaced him in his second term with fucking Ratbat
Lucas Red: Shockwave = McCain
Lucas Blue: Unicron = Dick Cheney
Lucas Red: damn
Lucas Red: if Bush goes into a meeting with Cheney and comes out voiced by Leonard Nimoy, we are FUCKED

House ape

la gorilla

Lucas Blue: so I’ve been thinking about the giant inflatable ape on the roof of my building
Lucas Red: oh?
Lucas Blue: it is tall and alarming
Lucas Red: and advertising new apartments!
Lucas Blue: yeah, the place has been under construction since I moved in, and they’re finally almost ready
Lucas Red: and so is the pool!
Lucas Blue: I am too fat to go swimming in public
Lucas Red: Nonsense. Swimming is more fun when you are fat. You can make your belly jiggle by pushing water towards it.
Lucas Blue: you’re right, that is fun, and fat makes it possible
Lucas Red: fat is fabulous
Lucas Blue: fat is my friend
Lucas Red: fat GIRLS are your friend. Yowza.
Lucas Blue: seriously, though
Lucas Blue: I need to lose some weight or I’m going to need to buy new pants
Lucas Red: I’m going to be honest here.
Lucas Red: You should probably buy new pants anyway.
Lucas Red: In your first week at work you tore two different pairs of pants on the metal keyboard tray holder under your desk.
Lucas Blue: the tear didn’t break the skin fabric!
Lucas Red: no, but there is clear scarring. And everyone at work is wondering WTF is up.
Lucas Blue: it’s a good thing I don’t wear the pants with the bleach stains on them.
Lucas Blue: but that’s really only because I can’t find them.
Lucas Red: the point here is that you have three “good” pairs of pants and two of them look like you’ve been selectively lighting bits of them on fire.
Lucas Blue: they do not!
Lucas Red: you dress like a bag lady!
Lucas Blue: I don’t have to listen to you! You’re not my REAL mom!
Lucas Red: that hurts.

IM he who is called I am

Lucas Blue: So I’ve been thinking of adding a new feature to the site.
Lucas Red: Oh?
Lucas Blue: Yeah, something to get me writing again.
Lucas Red: Are you out of drawings?
Lucas Blue: Not “out of”, exactly. But since I returned to the daily format a couple months ago I have been burning through my existing artwork at an alarming pace.
Lucas Red: So you need to slow the bleeding.
Lucas Blue: Right, and give myself time to do more stuff.
Lucas Red: Why did you go back to the daily format in the first place, if you aren’t capable of producing the material to support it?
Lucas Blue: I think that I am.
Lucas Red: But you have been relying heavily on notebook doodles and such from up to thirteen years ago.
Lucas Blue: It is true. I comb through old notebooks and sketchbooks and look for things that are worth posting. It’s quicker than doing new stuff.
Lucas Red: Why do you do this in the first place? Is it so that strangers will look at your work and decide that you are awesome?
Lucas Blue: It is for that, and also to entertain my friends who infrequently stop by, and also to create a record, I guess.
Lucas Red: A record?
Lucas Blue: Of my development as an artist.
Lucas Red: You barely ever put dates on anything you draw.
Lucas Blue: It’s a vague record. All of the recordkeeping I do is vague. That’s why I have so much trouble during tax season.
Lucas Red: Anyway. You’ve burned through all your old drawings, you need time to make more, and you want to keep the daily format. Why not switch back to writing for a while?
Lucas Blue: That’s exactly my thinking. But I don’t see myself switching back to writing exclusively, or even writing frequently. There is a reason I haven’t written much lately. I am not generally inspired to write.
Lucas Red: You have writer’s block.
Lucas Blue: I have writer’s fucking Great Wall of China.
Lucas Red: So what recourse have you?
Lucas Blue: This is my reasoning: I am uninspired to write and I am no good at talking. But the one channel of communication in which I currently have any skill is instant messaging.
Lucas Red: Because you have the luxury of taking the time to figure out what you want to say, but not so much time that you overthink it and don’t say anything.
Lucas Blue: Yes.
Lucas Red: So you’re going to post more IM conversations?
Lucas Blue: I’m going to post IM conversations with myself.
Lucas Red: With me?
Lucas Blue: Yes.
Lucas Red: How will people tell us apart?
Lucas Blue: I’ll give us “blue” and “red” designations.
Lucas Red: To symbolize the deep ideological split that has taken place in these United States?
Lucas Blue: I was thinking of it as an homage to that Superman story from years ago where he splits in two or something. Suddenly there are two Supermen. One is red and one is blue.
Lucas Red: They did that story again a number of years ago, when Superman was in his electric-powers period.
Lucas Blue: Of course they did. People were asking too many questions about Electric Superman. They needed a distraction.
Lucas Red: Are you insinuating our readers need a distraction?
Lucas Blue: No. But I do.
Lucas Red: And you think people will read this?
Lucas Blue: It’s possible.
Lucas Red: It’ll never work.

Calling all catharses

My U-Pass expires today. A U-Pass is a fare card for the CTA, Chicago’s train system. It is a special fare card that never runs out of money. It was given to me by people at my school so that I would ride the train for educational purposes. They gave it to me at the beginning of the semester. It expires at the end of the semester. It expires today.

Oops, I forgot to learn!

Let’s see here. Got page of comic art published in filthy anthology: check. Coped with sudden and terrible breakup: check. Found new apartment: check. Moved to new apartment: check. Watched every episode of “Lost”: check. Spent enough time reading about “Lost” on the web that I could have watched every episode of “Lost” three times over: check. Likewise, but less so, with “Desperate Housewives”, “Arrested Development”, “The Amazing Race 6″, “The O.C.”, and “Survivor: Vanuatu”: check. Got very sick because I am unable to take care of myself properly: check. Read Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, mostly on the train to and from school: check. Started playing Heroclix with friends: check. Dealt with minor addiction to buying Heroclix figurines on eBay: check. Designed a holiday card for pay: check. Attended classes with an acceptable or better frequency: check. Struggled with firmly embedded procrastination habits: check. Completed a semester’s worth of assignments to acceptable or better standards of punctuality and quality: a hefty check.

Nope! No learning! After that list, I’m hardly surprised. It was a pretty full semester.

I know that I wrote some cool stuff down in a notebook at some point… something about a business framework? Although if it were really all that great, people would be dissecting it on message boards for my enrichment.

I have one more U-Pass left, though. They’re giving it to me in January and they take it away in May. It could be my last hope. For learning.

Wink

Earlier this week I finally went to the doctor about my right eye, which has been bothering me for the better part of this year. Each morning I would wake up to a new dry itchy crusty redness, and every evening I would experience droopy swollen lids that would not open all the way, as well as a sore feeling, as though something gritty was under my bottom lid.

My ophthalmologist gave me an initial diagnosis of blepharitis, which is an inflammation of the eyelid. I am now on antibiotics and special drops. Previously I was unable to use drops, because I would freak out just as I was squeezing the bottle and would either slam my eyelid shut or actually physically jump out of the way with tigerlike agility. However, I am now a pro at the drops. I can get a drop in my eye from fitty feet. Without blinking. On a fast-moving train. Re-entering earth’s atmosphere. After drinking a lot of coffee.

As a result of my conquest of the eyedropper, the redness and itchiness have by and large disappeared. The droopy swollenness and discomfort remain, however… for now. More drops, then!

Get my learn on

My third and last year of school at the Institute of Design begins tomorrow morning. I am both sad and happy about this. Sad because my life of unemployed leisure will be disrupted, and happy because it’s my final year and because really I genuinely enjoy learning new things. I am not apt to retain much with my memory in the current sieve-like state that it’s in, but at least I kind of feel smart when I learn and understand things, however temporary the feeling lasts.

Here’s my class schedule. The semester is divided up into two seven-week sessions.

A–session schedule
  8am-noon 2pm-6pm 6:30pm-9:30pm
M Research and Demo Comm Des Workshop  
T      
W     Structured Planning
R Research and Demo   Business Frameworks
F      
B–session schedule
  8am-noon 2pm-6pm 6:30pm-9:30pm
M Research and Demo Comm Des Workshop  
T     New Product Definition
W      
R Research and Demo   Comm Planning
F      

It doesn’t really look like a heavy load, but I’m sure I’ll be tearing out my short stubbly hair by the end of week 3. The major question is what my demo project will end up being, as that is presumably what will be taking up most of my time. I will probably know more by the end of class tomorrow.

I intend to treat the rest of my classes like roller coaster rides; that is, relax and try to have fun. And try not to projectile vomit afterwards, but go ahead if it makes you feel better. That kind of thing.

And time cycles on

Happy New Year and shit. No resolutions this time around. What am I, a masochist?

Why my brain is broken

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I would like to submit that my brain has been broken for nearly two months now. My thoughts have all been rigid and non-verbal. The process of putting words together is even a little nauseating.

well really it looks fine in this photograph

It is worth noting, though, that my brain has kind of taken a beating lately. Let’s go back over the details. July was a fairly productive month for me, so we’ll start there, saying that my brain was operating at about 90% functionality (that would be 90% of the one-tenth of our brains that we humans use), and assess the damage I have taken in the interim.

Early July:
Internet girls visiting from out of town for comic convention leads to traumatic experience on my part. (87%)

Late July:
A self-imposed cessation of the ingestion of various prescribed materials for longstanding medical conditions due to possible negative side effects. (80%)

Early August:
Trip to West Coast broadens horizons, results in unhappiness with current life. (78%)
Realization that starting school means I’m stuck in Chicago for three more years. (77%)
Weeklong separation from cat. (74%)

Mid-August:
Appearance of large painful furuncle on chin and accompanying symptoms, including flulike nose and throat issues and mentally crippling inner ear pain. (64%)
Furuncle and symptoms linger for at least three weeks. (60%)
Meanwhile, preparations to leave work and return to school continue. (55%)

Late August:
Last day of work, accompanied by struggle to try to get as much done as possible during last week. (52%)
No break between work and school. (51%)
School begins, shattering every iota of self-confidence in intelligence and talent, not to mention sending social skills back into gutter. (41%)
Much like college the first time around. (40%)

September:
Notable largely for daily bouts of crushing self-doubt. (37%)
Furuncle finally goes away. (39%)
Organizing a move into a new apartment begins. (37%)

October:
Move is executed. (35%)
Unpacking begins. (34%)
School workload increases suddenly, resulting in disruption of already volatile sleep patterns. (31%)
At worst, three sleepless nights in a one-week period. (27%)
Crushing self-doubt continues. (25%)

November:
NaNoWriMo begins. For some reason, I have registered again. I then cheerfully begin revising the layout of my website. My brain is broken.

Is it any wonder I can’t think lately? Can’t think, can barely string sentences together when I speak, can’t write anything down without some form of agony. That is probably why I signed up to write a novel again this year – to force the gears turning again. Of course, if those gears don’t want to move, there’s a chance I could strip them completely. And in this analogy I’m not sure what happens to me if this happens, but it certainly can’t be good. But this is what I do, and for some reason, I am choosing to continue doing it in the face of this.

Cover me. I’m going in.

Who won the bet?

It took me all the way to Week 4 to oversleep and miss a class.

Hooray for irresponsibility!

Donor brain

Please pay heed to this warning. I am going to speak of a subject which may make some readers uncomfortable. The subject in question is the involuntary nature of erections and the stubborn nature of such unwanted phenomena. If you do not wish to read about this as it pertains to an incident in my life this evening, please cease your reading at this time.

It is a well-known fact, at least among men, that an erection is caused when blood flow increases in the penis. What causes this increase in blood flow? Any number of things, actually. Sexual stimulation is but one of the many triggers of this event. A full bladder, for instance, can cause an increased blood flow, as can a bout of gas. Sleeping on one’s stomach is another popular cause. In my case, it seems that circulation increases when I start to become very sleepy.

Flashback: 1992. Spanish class. Third period, right before lunch, long enough for me to have used up any energy I may have absorbed from eating the one donut or english muffin of which my breakfast was typically composed. Combine that with a relatively mundane subject matter presented very dryly, and the result was a number of students nodding off. Falling asleep in class was no limited phenomenon. Indeed, it was widespread, and I was certainly one of the guiltier parties. But it was in Spanish class in particular that I was most susceptible to dozing off in class.

Perhaps it was because my lunch period immediately followed that class, allowing me some time for introspection, but at some point I began observing that I became sleepy in class at the same time every day; and moreover, the nodding off would generally be accompanied by what I started calling a “desk boner” or DB for short. The DB phenomenon would occur when one was sitting at a small desk which would be very narrowly suspended over one’s lap, and in the event of an erection, that already-tight seating space would become impossible to escape from, as the erection would either hook against tubing on the underside of the desk or be pressed very tightly against the desk’s flat underside. Any effort to escape would simply cause more pressure against the erection and thus simply make it stronger. The only way to escape the desk boner was to wait for the thing to go away, often as mysteriously as it appeared.

The DB was not an altogether unpleasant phenomenon; what made me start to categorize them as troublesome was the fact that they were accompanied by a very violent form of nodding off every ten seconds. So not only was I falling asleep in class and having to worry about staying awake, but also my oddly circulating blood was constantly causing my desk to tighten around my genital region. In terms of distractions from one’s lessons, that was a double whammy.

This happened to me with such frequency that I began to track it. I found that it was at approximately 10:33 AM every day that a major DB event would occur, more often than not brought on by nodding off and violently waking over and over. I shared this with a few of my friends, and they were very excited (although, you know, not in that way) to start keeping stats on their own DBs. It was tremendous fun. I recommend this activity to any high school student interested in learning more about human biology. It would no doubt make a fine science project.

I finished high school, and my body started to settle down a bit after puberty, but by no means did the DBs cease; college classes brought them back with an unparalled vigor. It would get so bad that I would sometimes be forced to excuse myself from class briefly and go for a short walk and wait for everything to settle down in that area. The feeling could be described as unpleasant pleasure. It felt good, but the good feeling was an irritant instead of what it should normally be, and only on rare occasions did it inspire sexual thoughts or activity. Of course, I can only speak for myself.

Years have passed, and while I am still affected by DB on a regular basis, it is no longer the daily scourge it had been in my adolescent days. I am enrolled in school once again and there is actually a considerable difference between the way my body behaves now as compared to then.

I was quite surprised then, at what happened on the train ride home from school earlier this evening. I was sitting with my backpack on my lap riding the Evanston Express, which has a tendency to travel fast. When we reached our top speed, the train began rocking, and my bag began bouncing up and down in my lap; thus beginning a curious new phenomenon, “Train Backpack Boner” or TBB. I was nodding off as the train sped along, and barely noticed the bouncing bag or burgeoning TBB.

When we pulled into the terminal, I moved to stand up only to discover that the bouncing bag on my lap had coaxed my TBB through the fly flaps of my practical yet sexy boxer briefs and down into the leg of my gunmetal grey summer shorts. I stood up, and the bulge was obvious. It looked a bit like I had an oblong object in one of my front pockets. In a sense, I did. As I changed trains, I noted how the TBB was very much like a DB except that it was a bit more portable. The fact that my TBB was an open-air variation made it that much more persistent and potentially noticeable. Fortunately, I had opted to carry my backpack by the handle in front of myself rather than put it on my back, which probably looked suspicious but was much better than the alternative. Three stations down the track, it finally went away.

I thought my readers who are unfamiliar with the foibles of male genitalia would find this fascinating, and hopefully the more johnson-savvy members of my readership found something in here with which to empathize as well.

My discussion of this unpleasant matter is now complete. And now, back to the family-friendly programming for which the Lucubus Network has earned renown.

A hunk of kerning love

As some of you may or may not know, I am now a student. Not a student of culture or of the world or of humanity or any junk like that; I am a student enrolled in an actual school, having paid tuition with actual money. Actually, the money is more theoretical at this point, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, I am now taking classes four days a week down at the Institute of Design.

That’s right! I’m going to be a designer. What kind of designer, you ask? Stop pressuring me!

I am very happy, though, that one of my classes is dealing quite a bit with typography. I have always found typography bizarrely fascinating. There’s your serifs and sans serifs and your em-dashes and en-dashes and your ascenders and descenders and it’s all just very interesting. Garamond, the typeface that this website has made famous, has been mentioned in class as one of the classics. It must have been due for a resurgence! But I have also been discovering the joys of such classic fonts such as Bodoni and Univers.

And who could forget Cooper Black? Nobody, now that Behind the Typeface: Cooper Black is here to tell the tale!

Hair today etc.

Those of you who know me well will know well that I have longish hippie rockstar hair. In fact, those of you who have never even met me might have noticed I have long hair, based on my webcam archives, assuming a perfect stranger could get interested enough in the past on-camera tomfoolery of another perfect stranger to go digging around for a URL which, while easily navigated to in a very logical fashion, has not exactly been advertised.

So, then, if you’ll indulge me, here’s my webcam archives for your perusal. http://lucub.us/camarchive.html is the URL. The page shows the last twenty pictures I have had as my webcam image, not counting the current image, which is viewable on the main page, to the left of this very column. At this writing the archives go back to about February of this year. I really don’t update the picture very often.

Anyway, if you happen to disbelieve me when I say I am a long-haired hippie rockstar guy, please follow the link above and see yourself proven wrong (assuming you are reading this in fall 2002 or thereabouts rather than some point in the distant future after which all existing pictures in the archives have been squeezed out the bottom).

The point of all this is that I am thinking about cutting my hair. Chop, chop! Goodbye, ponytail! I honestly don’t know if it’s the right thing to do. I’m pretty sure I don’t have the guts, although it is true that I have made some bold hair decisions in the past. Let’s revisit them, shall we?

baldy

The chrome-dome look, circa May 2000. The blank slate. The cleansed palate. Also known as “pimple scalp”. I attempted to give myself a haircut and made it all dreadfully uneven, and so I had no choice but to take my trusty Mach 3 razor and take it all off.

blondie

Bleached head, March 2000. Ah, the halcyon days of youth. I should note that this was back before a controversial young rapper named Marshall Mathers hit the big time. At least, it was before I’d heard of him. And this was not my first head-bleaching, either. I have bleached my head more than once. You might say I am a chronic head-bleacher.

From the looks of these photos, I haven’t really been too “exp-hair-imental” since the turn of the millenium. My hair attitudes lately have more or less reflected the conservative attitudes of these troubled times. I have opted for the very conservative approach of not getting my hair cut at all – not since this brief flirtation with fashion in December of 2000:

the difference is scant

Ever since this fateful haircut, I have not had a haircut at all. I have compensated for the lack of activity in my coiffure by experimenting with a wide variety of facial hair styles, but that’s another column entirely.

So why am I thinking of cutting my hair? There are a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I look ridiculous. Another good one is that blow-drying my hair in the morning takes up a good ten minutes of time that can be better spent doing other things – and unlike other people, whose strength I admire, I am unable to tolerate stepping outside or even putting a shirt on if my hair is still wet. And on top of all this, I suppose I am nostalgic for the days when cat hair was more commonly found amongst the detritus in my apartment than my own.

I do have reasons to keep the hair. It’s a distinguishing feature, something people who don’t know me very well can use as a visual cue to know that they are seeing me and not some other person they don’t know very well. In the shower I’ve made a game out of seeing how many clumps of hair I need to pull out of the drain before my final rinse (my record is something like five. Is that good?). I still dream of rocking out and thrashing about on stage with a guitar, although I suppose that is unlikely to happen as I do not play the guitar and it is lately not in my nature to rock out and thrash about. And I suppose in the event of entering my possible future backup career as a crossdressing burlesque entertainer, it would probably be more to my advantage to wear a wig instead of having the natural long hair.

Still, I see myself in the mirror sometimes, and I let my hair down, and I am nothing but sexy. So I will not cut my hair today, nor tomorrow, nor this week. Odds are, though, I will cut it soon, because being sexy is hard work, and I have enough to do already.

Lucas³

At school, which I just started last week, I am one of three people named Lucas in one relatively smallish program. I have continually heard comments along the lines of “Wow! Three Lucases!” or “So YOU’RE the other Lucas!” and I would like to alleviate the situation by taking a nickname.

“Luke” won’t work, because I already have a friend named Luke; “Hackett” is fine, I guess, but it’s not very creative; “Hack” is really my dad’s nickname. Since my middle name is Richard, I can have “Rich”, but I’m not really a Rich. There’s “Rick”, but there’s already a guy in the class named that. So what does that leave? “Dick”.

In a pinch, I can also go by “Luke Dick”. It’s one of those “Billy Bob”-type names, far more descriptive of the down-home country coot that I am than the excessively fancy and elegant “Lucas”. And plus, the presence of the name Dick will have people associating me with a penis, and I can’t see how that could ever possibly be a bad thing.

Luke Dick signing off. YEE-HAW!