I didn’t think that I was going to draw on Tuesday night, but then…I did. This happened.
I mostly wanted to draw action, and to reflect the chaotic nature of the day. There was a whole lot of that, I will have you know, True Believers. At least the Faculty Meeting after the Staff Meeting was cancelled, which gave me some real time to get my act together with other stuff, and left me motivated to draw late into the night.
Even if you’re Cap, with your Silver Age Alien American Strength, a giant great white shark surging forward is a lot to handle. Kind of wiggly, and maybe not that easy to get a grip on. It’s definitely a whole lot for Jace, because his mind powers aren’t so great on tiny brains. Even if you’ve got great @#$%ing powers, that shark is going to make kind of a mess before you get everything sorted.
The shark is a metaphor here, people. The shark is a metaphor.
Well, not to Cap and Jace. For them it’s a giant @#$%ing angry shark, possibly a magical flying shark. That’s unclear, the whole “shark status” thing, with the exception that inside the art, it isn’t metaphorical at all.
Monday was a Bad Day. The less said about that, the better.
Midway through Monday, I got an email from an out of classroom teacher. He was asking me to present to the staff, at today’s boring meetings, about the things that I do with student statistics. This message came to me after the administration and out of classroom personnel pretty much hung me out to dry on a thing that they are supposed to do.
Needless to say, seeing the e-mail incensed me.
With that said, I took the High Road. By that I mean that I did not sent a vitriol filled reply, nor interact at all with the person who sent it. Instead, I let the mail sit, as if it had gone completely unseen. Primarily because I have zero intention of doing a favor for admin and out of classroom staff when they were unable to perform their basic functions for me.
Almost certainly, this will come up today.
At that point, I am going to inquire as to why I should share my excellent skill and wisdom, when I am not receiving the support that I ask for. I’m going to need to point out that it seems to be a one way relationship, which would be a risky perspective, except for the fact that I have tenure. Tenure and ability make all the difference here.
I regularly use my ability to compile and analyze statistics to generate lists of students that require different kinds of intervention. In many ways, when I deliver these lists I feel like I might as well be throwing them away, as they seem to never result in any kind of action. I know that they wind up in stacks of “data reports” that are shown off to people above our school, but they don’t wind up serving my students in need, or myself, in any real way.
Everyone on my staff went to college, and also got a Masters Degree. They should have taken a stats class, and as a result, don’t need me lecturing on the way to use and compile statistics. That’s just a truth.
The sheer chutzpah of asking me to do extra, to do the admin job of training, on a day that the out of classroom personnel didn’t do their job for me? Oh…that requires…no demands, a calling out. A metaphorical Ultra-Suplex, if you will.
When that conversation happens, I will have decided what, if anything, could convince me to do such a presentation at a later date. Exchange in advance, because I don’t really trust the Suits to deliver after the fact.
It’s only Tuesday, True Believers.
I actually looked it up…inside his suit, the Rhino is pretty @#$%ing strong, able to lift 100 tons. Without it, he can lift in excess of 75 tons, which is still a lot of weight, even by superhuman comic book standards. In other words, Cap may be way tougher than him, but it isn’t as completely uneven as it seems.
I was just looking to express my emotional view toward going back to work today, and honestly…I’m not really too happy about it. Hence the tonal, emotional aspect of this relatively quick sketch, trying to lay out an idea of just being kind of mad, and kind of confrontational. Sure, the Rhino is a Bad Guy, but not a smart one. Just a frustrating one, a superhenchman of sorts.
I’m feeling like a lot of my time is dealing with educational issues that are at the “Rhino level,” and I’m not all that keen on it.
There’s a bunch here, despite the quickness and simplicity of the sketch, and the basic nature of the gag. On it’s most basic level, it’s pretty much a complaint about the kind of people that wind up in school administration, people that kind of drone on and on about pseudo corporate things, and meetings, and so forth. I had a meeting with my principal that had a significant amount of it keep circling back to “an excellent meeting” that he had recently been in, which was in some way eye opening for him.
Honestly, I think most jobs that that kind of person in them, which is the reason that this wasn’t drawn with the Dark Lord himself in the panel, but instead Cap pulling a shift in the Prison Realm, guarding Bolas.
It also has a bit to do with a bit of my frustration with Magic: The Gathering currently. Magic is definitely the best part of my work day…taking a half an hour during lunch to just play a needlessly complex card game with an intelligent group of teenagers is great. The thing is, the prior set, Throne of Eldraine…it didn’t grab me that much, nor has the current one, Theros: Beyond Death. Heck….I don’t actually have any of the Theros block of cards yet, and they have been out for a month.
A big portion of that could be the story line of the game, as it were. I’ve always liked that element, in the same way that I like comic books. Magic just had its big “Avengers: Endgame” moment in War of the Spark, which was a good set, and at least the lead in to that confrontation was fun. Bolas was soundly defeated, and exiled to a Prison Dimension, unable to planeswalk anymore…and Magic was left without the Key Bad Guy that everything had revolved around for some serious amount of time. About five years.
The books related to that plotline were Bad. Very Bad.
In fairness, I didn’t expect them to be that good. They are licensed fantasy novels, after all. If judging by that standard they are Very Bad, then you have a serious level of Badness.
However, Eldraine and Theros have been kind of…”one off” plotlines that just didn’t add up to very much. Pretty unsatisfying, in some ways, and I should arguably like both settings a whole lot.
I would argue that the time away from a massive mega-plot is probably good for the game, and the storyline has certainly gone through that in the past. It can’t all be “The Phyrexian Invasion” and “The Eldrazi are Coming,” or some massive scheme by Bolas. Sometimes you just have to have a very basic storyline happen, almost to just clear things out, so that you can start over.
It would have helped a lot of I had liked the mini plots, or the sets more. That’s all. I kind of find myself wanting Bolas to be back in the story already, when I know that holding him in reserve is a better narrative plan.
As I’m looking forward into a week of school that will involve one School Board Member visiting, and the inevitable “Dog and Pony Show” that ensues, as well as two days of standardized testing, I’m feeling a whole lot like Cap here. Sure…somebody has to make sure that Nicol Bolas is trapped in the Prison Realm, and guard him. It’s responsible, and it’s part of your job as a Good Guy. Sometimes Ugin needs a day off from it, right?
That doesn’t mean it’s not boring. Or that you want to listen to some story about a magical Powerpoint Presentation that an Elder Dragon delivered “back in the day.”
Those are my Random @#$ feelings going into the week, True Believers. This was rambly and wandering, I know.
See, that’s a surprising amount of subtlety for the strip, the idea that their dialogue can be read relating to multiple things.
Most importantly, I wrote it to relate to two elements of the Magic: The Gathering Sealed Draft Tournament at school. The first reference is to my co teacher’s deck, since he drafted the guy in Panel One, Oko. Oko is simply one of the best cards in the set, probably the game. Once we all knew that he was playing an Oko driven deck, we all took games with him way, way more seriously. As a result, he traded games way worse than usual, because everyone played substantially better against him. No mistakes, as it were, no one missed anything.
The second layer of meaning with respect to the tournament is a player. Nice guy, one of the most active players in the club…but he has missed a ton of his games in the seating round. As a result, we are going to have to start counting them as losses, so that we can start the Elimination Tree. Arguably we will let him have the week, so that we can start the bracket as “March MODOK Madness!” Still, consequences are looming, and that will certainly be stressful and confusing to him, at least for a minute. He’s just that kind of person.
The third level is about Oko himself. Oko at this point is banned in almost every format of play for Magic, which is amazing to me. You can’t play him except in Vintage, Legacy, and Commander. The card is just so fundamentally “busted” that it had to be banned over and over again. Now that Sealed Eldraine isn’t really a thing…he’s not even really that playable at all. Vintage and Legacy decks are just so expensive to begin with, and your Commander play group will just probably not allow Oko to be played on the table.
As a character in the game, Oko was pretty cool. A Loki like trickster planeswalker, with heavy duty magical powers…he brought a lot to the narrative. Ironically, given all of the bans, he wasn’t exiled to a prison realm or killed off, because unlike some of the massive planar threats the game has had lately, he really just caused major political strife for one world, that is off the beaten path anyway.
That’s kind of what Oko is talking to Cap about. It seems excessive to him that he’s going to be stuck in Eldraine (Eldraine “sealed” format takes on a new meaning there), or just beaten up badly by Cap with her axe-hammer. Granted, she has a habit of imprisoning people on the Moon, tossing things into the Sun, and other cosmic scale excess, so he might not have his mind on the right sense of scale here. The thing is, even Cap is bummed about it, and you can see that.
Sure…Oko decks were annoying, but you could build around them. You could play around them. Only the preponderance of net decking scrubs that swamped the entire game with the same deck, because of its clear power level, was the problem.
Obviously, this was pretty much a post about my lunchtime and afterschool Magic club. Honestly, that has been the best part of school this week, so I felt like sketching and posting about pretty much nothing. I started with Panel One, just trying to draw a more “animated style” Oko with a floral pattern of some sort, like Cap’s portrait earlier in the week. It seemed like there could be some story to it, so we got the two panel piece here.
End of the week, True Believers.
It’s also how a lot of today felt for me. By today, I mean yesterday, and to a lesser extent, the day before.
My co-teacher just had their “exit conference” with the principal, who is doing the evaluation. It didn’t go that well, apparently, and my partner fears a bad evaluation is coming. However, the principal has also pretty much ignored all of the rules of the evaluation, and provided exactly zero support…so it’s kind of a stalemate here. Sure, he can be a total @#$% in the meetings, but if he goes for that bad evaluation, then he has to be able to deal with how the ensuing grievance looks. For him, the appearance is everything, the perception IS the reality, so I just don’t see that happening.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t run around putting all the little ducks in a row (see…? get it?) for the possible contract violation grievance. I DID, in fact, run my @#$ off making sure that was ready to go, if need be.
In addition, there’s a whole major disciplinary issue at school that deserves it’s own post, but I kind of need t o see how things play out before I sit down to draw about it. Again, I hustled around making sure as much as I could line up properly was ready to go, mostly to support another teacher, and make sure certain things just happened, in a policy sense. Our principal recently spoke about the school’s “culture” being what we allow. That’s not really what “culture” means, at all…but there are certain things that I’m just not going to allow.
On top of THAT, I have been working with a close, dear friend to attempt to organize a Black History Month Comics Creators event in West Los Angeles. That will also get its own post, to be sure…but the organization of it is a huge Hot Potato of motion. I definitely could not have put together half the event (in fact, it would actually have about half the talent that is coming, if that) without my friend’s assistance and contact list. However now there are confirmation e-mails, table reservations and setup, materials that need to be provided…it’s a lot. A LOT.
So, today’s artwork. She can’t just ditch that bomb thing, because that would be a problem. She can’t just throw it to the Moon, because I have been told by some readers that I need to stop vandalizing the Moon. So instead, she needs to run around with the fuse lit, looking for the smart place to get rid of that bomb thing.
And some days…you just can’t get rid of a bomb. Adam West told me that, in his infinite and gentle wisdom, and he was right.
I’m trying not to be too political, but this post just kind of…happened.
I have to go to at least two hours of after school meetings today. They will be about things that the administration things is “important,” including but not limited to the trip to Florida that half of them, and select staff, took last week.
If it wasn’t clear from the general tone of this site, they can go @#$% themselves.
Last week, understaffed, I was on campus like most of the faculty. We didn’t have a week off of fancy seminars in a swanky hotel. We did, however, continue to teach, continue to deal with the school’s massive and ongoing drug problem, and continue to do our jobs. I’m just putting that out there.
Today, we are going to be told about all the things that they heard about in those seminars. I already got an e-mail asking me for my opinion about some articles, which I fundamentally don’t respect. Just because someone told you about it at a fancy meeting, that doesn’t make it legitimate research, you know? Especially when the article says specifically that.
In order to know that, you need to read the whole article though.
Again, I’m supposed to see this all as Very Important when the fundamental bedrocks of our society are literally falling apart. I don’t love being political, but when someone is trying to tell me how important their @#$%ing vacation in Florida was while the president of the United States openly flouts the rules of how our basic society works…
…well, at that point, I tune out. I don’t want to hear about your @#$%ing Florida vacation.