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Day in the Life: Doctor’s Office

730am: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

8am: Doctor’s Office opens.

805am: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

815am: First patient arrives, waits in car.

830am: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

845am: Doctor’s Office employees wake up.

855am: Third patient sits in traffic for an hour and a half, lives two miles from Doctor’s Office.

9am: Second patient, after leaving the house at 7 to get there as early as possible, stops at Starbucks for a Double Cafe Latte Frappuccino Grande Tall Blonde.

915am: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

930am: Doctor’s Office employees think about going to work.

945am: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

955am: Twenty more patients arrive, use complicated algebra to park twenty cars among seventeen available parking spaces.

10am: Admins arrive at doctor’s office, give all patients thirty-seven forms to fill out, suppress laughter.

1015am: Admin answers phone, puts patient on hold, laughs with coworkers.

1020am: Nurses call second patient to see the doctor first because reasons.

1030am: Doctor arrives through secret back entrance, hopped up on Mountain Dew and Ring-Dings.

1045am: Charlie from IT smashes the servers with a hammer.

1055am: Third patient fills out seven more forms, heads to basement for MRI scan.

1100am: Doctor’s Office employees break for lunch.

1115am: First patient getting a little antsy after waiting 3 hours for someone to weigh him, take his blood pressure, and make the never-before-heard suggestion that he should eat more vegetables and go for a walk once in a while.

1130am: Second patient has already seen the nurse, still waiting on doctor — on anyone, really — to ask her again what her birth date is, what medications she’s on, and what the purpose of her visit is. It’s the only way she can feel anything anymore.

12pm: Third patient lying uncomfortably in MRI machine.

2pm: Second patient finishes reading all three issues of People and Time Magazine available, wonders what Milosevic’s trial will mean for the Balkans in the long run.

315pm: First patient, not having eaten since 7 that morning, wonders if Domino’s delivers to this location.

4pm: Doctor’s Office employees now back from lunch.

415pm: Second patient finally sees doctor.

416pm: Second patient goes home, feeling fulfilled.

430pm: First patient whereabouts unknown.

445pm: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

5pm: Doctor’s Office now closed.

515pm: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

530pm: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

545pm: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

6pm: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

630pm: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

715pm: Third patient wakes up in MRI machine.

730pm: Phone rings at Doctor’s Office.

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Speechless

So. By now, you’ve heard about the death of Kalief Browder, the young man who was jailed for 3 years — 2 in solitary confinement — without the benefit of a trial, in flagrant disregard for his constitutional rights (freakin’ PICK one). We’ve also heard about the pool party where police officers were called due to allegations of fights breaking out and…let’s say overreacted. We’ve also heard about the church shooting in Charleston, an act which seems almost certainly racially-motivated. I say “almost” because the only proof we have that the shooter wanted to start a civil war is the word of the investigators in the case, and after this past year, I hope you’ll excuse me for not taking investigators at their word.

Here’s where I’d ordinarily make a joke. Some kind of Wonka meme like “Oh, you watch a lot of Fox and Friends? Tell me again how we’re in a post-racial society.” But no. Not this time. This is too much. I’ve got nothing for you guys. No funny comic strips. No pictures of Robocop on a unicorn.

I just don’t know what to say. What can anyone say in the face of such evil?

Where do we go now?

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Spider-Squad!

I made a thing a couple months ago. Doesn’t have that many views. Figured I’d post it here.

I really like it.

Anyway, sorry I’ve been delinquent in my postings here. New Bubblegum-Man starts later this month, so keep your eyes open for that. I’m in my last semester of grad school, so I should be back to regular updates by the fall. The book is nearing completion, and, as usual, many of the things I said previously about it are now void. More details to come once I’ve got it together.

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We’re Back!

Hello and welcome to the new Optimist’s Umbrella, the official blog of comic book writer and fantasy novelist William Brust. Some of you may remember the old Optimist’s Umbrella. I decided to go back to the old name. No regrets.

My writing has previously appeared in Atom Jack Magazine (now defunct), Asinine Poetry, and Lorelei Signal.

You can check out what I’m doing on Twitter @theconq19 and @10000ce.

This blog will be updating weekly, barring any unforeseen responsibilities, awkward dates, or gremlin attacks.

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A Good Friday

So, I was out shopping this evening, and I decided to stop at J. Buffalo Wings for some fried fish and chips. It’s Good Friday, so no meat today. As a practicing Catholic, I’m also supposed to fast. Fasting in the U.S. today means having one full meal and two smaller meals which can’t add up to a full meal. Of course, for me, that usually means having just one slice of pizza with my soda and cookies and free refill on soda/chips and whatnot.

In short, I’m a terrible…faster? Is that the word? I dunno, whatever. I suck at fasting.

So, I’m feeling bad for myself as I walk from the Kroger up to the Walgreens. I start to think, “Hey, maybe I’ll watch Passion of the Christ tonight! That’s what other Christians watch to make themselves feel holier.”

Then I think, “Nah, I’ll listen to Dark Side of the Moon, instead. I’m pretty sure Roger Waters was moved by the Spirit when composing those tunes.”

So, I’m listening to Breathe, and I get to the point where the rabbit has to dig his hole, catch the sun. And of course, you know what happens when his work is done. Time to dig another one.

And that got me thinking. We work so much. We are so busy. Not just with trying to continue our existence on this globe and striving toward goals of love, art, and fortune, but also with trying to improve ourselves and our families and friends.

But in the end, there’s always another hole to dig.

And just then, as I crested the hill where Walgreens sits like a lonely outpost on the ramparts of reality, I saw this in front of me:

2015-04-03 19.59.09

And then I turned and saw this behind me:

2015-04-03 19.59.17

And I realized that, for all my pride and ambition, I will never create anything so beautiful as all that. If you’re a Christian like me, you may see in this a sign from the Creator, a reminder that, at the end of the day, we should rejoice in our failures, for they only confirm our need for a Redeemer.

Yes, I’m imperfect. Yes, I’m sinful. We all are. God knows it. We are called to perfection, yes, but we are not expected to reach it without God’s help. We are not God.

Even if you’re not Christian, you may come to much the same conclusion: That in the end, after all the human race has accomplished, all its been through, we’re still squatting in the dirt, moving pebbles around and calling them planets.

We’re just not that big a deal, folks. And that’s ok.

Anyway, as I finish up here, I’ll leave you with some more holy words from the last track of Pink Floyd’s greatest album ever:

See you on Sunday, kids.

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Quick Update: Novel

No longer trying so hard to be provocative. No longer taking shortcuts. Revisions should be done by June 1.

Some notes:

  • Calin is back as the protagonist.
  • He’s not as whiny.
  • He’s not a white guy.
  • Terrwyn is back to being a pale, red-haired thief with a snark-streak.
  • Croli is still awesome.
  • Asder/Aremana, Dragonrider is now Aedren, Knight of Zargon.
  • Ayesha Khan, immortal empress of lost Edinniae, now leads the knights in secret.
  • The seeker finds something that had been lost.
  • What the seeker found is not what he sought.

I may start commissioning some art in the near future. If for no other reason than art is fun.

Bubblegum-Man will being updating again in May. Hopefully.

In the meantime, here’s Robocop on a unicorn:

robocorn

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Stop the Presses: Another White Guy Has an Opinion

So, let’s talk about Brown and Garner for a moment. Just a moment because this whole thing has been covered and recovered, and the last thing anybody needs is another rant by some random white dude, no matter the side.

Why am I making this racial? Because it is, at least under the surface.

It’s entirely reasonable to suspect that Darren Wilson was justified in his use of a firearm. The grand jury decided not to indict based on contradictory witness statements and the evidence presented in the autopsy (which was kind of weird on its own, but that’s another story).

It’s entirely reasonable to suspect that the offers responsible for subduing and ultimately killing Eric Garner were acting in accord with the way they were trained.

It’s entirely reasonable to assume that, all things being equal, the same events would have transpired if Garner and Brown had been white. It’s reasonable. It may not be true, but it’s reasonable.

And herein lies the problem: I’m a white guy. I can listen to and accept the arguments that the police’s actions were justified because I have the privilege of not being accosted by the police every time I go outside my door. It’s possible that my privilege biases me in the same way that a lack of privilege biased at least some of the rioters/protesters/looters/what-have-you out in Ferguson.

Were the police justified in their submission of Eric Garner?

Was Darren Wilson justified in shooting Michael Brown?

These are important questions, but there are other questions that are more important.

Why do some folks seem to divide along racial or class lines when this issue comes up?

Why might more African Americans feel justified in protesting the actions of the police?

Why does tension exist between African Americans and police of all races?

But perhaps most importantly, why is it so difficult for either side to admit the other has a point?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have the answers. Neither do you. That’s the point. Too many people think they have the answer, but they haven’t bothered with any of the questions.

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Welcome to Battleworld!

Warning: Today’s post uses a lot of comic book geek fan-speak. There will be very little definitions given. Please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times and step away from the doors.

I’ve fallen away from Marvel since DC’s reboot. There’s just been so many good books in the New 52 (shut up). That said, I’m super-excited for Marvel’s upcoming Secret Wars!

Back in the 80s, Marvel released a cross-over event called “Secret Wars” that featured dozens of heroes and villains going at it on an alien planet put together by the cosmic being known as The Beyonder. It was pretty rad.

Flash forward 30 years, and the Marvel Universe is falling apart. Universes are colliding, and there’s nothing our heroes can do to stop them. Enter Battleworld: A new world made up of all the alternate realities Marvel has shown us over the years. Check out this map to see what I mean.

Even though I haven’t been buying much Marvel recently, I’ve been reading the summaries of the events on Wikipedia. That, combined with this random dude I met at a Barnes and Noble who caught me up on the last 3 years of Avengers comics, has enabled me to remain somewhat ahead of the curve when it comes to the beautiful, dizzying continuity snarl that is Marvel comics.

So now, I can’t wait to see what happens when the Age of Apocalypse must contend with the Age of Ultron! When the Maestro must face the Captain Britain Corps, and only the Xandarians on the Wall can keep the hordes of Marvel Zombies at bay.

At the very least, I at last have an excuse to post this picture of all my Marvel action figures just beating the ever-lovin’ snot out of each other:

Secret Wars

Click to enlarge. If your computer CAN HANDLE THE AWESOME!!!

Can you spot the miniature Moloid figure I got along with an old FF Mole Man figure I eventually gave away for being practically useless? Or the Doc Ock Mini-Mate whose tentacles I ripped out and tossed because reasons? Or Waldo?

Only kidding. I don’t have a Waldo. He’s one of the figures I don’t have…

I sure got a lot of toys…

Maybe this is why I’m single at 30?

Ah, well. Wheeeeeeee!!!