This week is going to go down in my life story as the week I became a conservative. Yeah, I'm serious. I don't know exactly how it happened, but it happened.

For starters, I should explain that I'm working on a big project right now: the establishment of an Asian cultural institute at my school, the University of Florida. It is easily the biggest political shitfest I have ever been involved in. One faction wants the institute to focus on the needs of "Asian-American" students, while another wants to incorporate students who are actually Asian as well. And as you might expect, the East Asians are having their voices heard far and above the South Asians and Middle Easterners.

So the story starts on Monday. Our president invited a young Filipino-American woman from Washington, DC to visit us and host a workshop on "student activism." I had good feelings about her until she opened her mouth and began talking. God, what a mistake.

"I brought some cough drops with me in case you all want some," she said. "As leaders, you have to keep yourselves healthy. In balance." So far, so good. Then came the kicker: "And you know, when I went to buy these, I had to choose between like thirty different kinds! That's capitalism for you... so many useless choices."

What does that have to do with anything? I was thinking.

Anyway, she went through some babble, nothing too extraordinary or enlightening, and then started talking about race relations. I immediately knew that something bad was probably going to happen, seeing as I was the only Caucasian in the room besides the reporter from the school paper.

"What they don't realize," she said, "is that we grow up with identity problems. And they have no clue how that feels."

"Uh, excuse me," I said. I was tempted to say something about walking outside my Japanese high school and being called "yankii" behind my back, but I decided to make it simpler. "Everyone has identity problems when they grow up. Your race doesn't matter. Nobody knows what the hell they're supposed to be when they're young, and many people don't know what they're supposed to be when they're older, either."

She was taken aback. Good, I thought, now she knows how I feel.

I was walking out of the conference and talking to my good friend luminuxious, one of the chairs of the committee. "That was bad," I said.

"I know," he said.

On Wednesday, we sat down with two deans and the leaders of several other student groups to discuss how our institute would be set up. There were people there from the Asian Student Union, Black Student Union, Hispanic-Latino Student Council, and a number of smaller ethnic organizations as well.

As the meeting drug on, I quickly realized that everyone in the room was working for themselves—for the narrow interests of their own groups. I was there trying to be a good guy, trying to speak in favor of the common interests of the student body, while everyone else was bickering over which group would have primacy.

When I got home, I sat down in front of the computer and began goofing off, trying to get the issues out of my mind. Then, I stumbled upon the PBS Frontline website, and began watching the special on the war on Iraq, which focused on the ideological divide in the administration leading up to the conflict.

As I listened to Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle blab on about realpolitik, I suddenly stopped and blinked. "Jesus Christ, I almost agree with the motherfuckers!"

Over dinner with luminuxious that night, I said, "There's a problem. I'm turning into a conservative. First I was defending the white race against that stupid-ass activist, then I found myself in agreement with the neocon elite! What am I going to do next, picket an abortion clinic?"

The next morning in class, we were discussing the Youngstown case, and the dialogue turned to the broader issue of labor laws: specifically, how the President could order airline employees to return to work in the event of a strike. Nominally, I would be against the idea. My father, after all, was a steward in the Transport Workers Union, and would bitch about any such action despite being a devout Republican.

But someone started talking about the airlines, and I suddenly chime in: "The law is about security. Labor rights are important, but if the airlines stop flying, it cripples the economy, and the economy is vital to national security."

The Rastafarian who objected to the strike-busting in the first place looked surprised. "You think the economy is so important in terms of national security?"

"It is! The economy is more important than just about anything else! And even a small stoppage can wreck the flow of individuals and freight... look at 9/11 or..." Then it hit me: I invoked 9/11 to defend corporate interests against organized labor!

Now I'm working on a constitution for the organ that will supervise our institute. The constitution is the most clever legal document I will probably ever get to write: it disenfranchises everyone in as many ways as possible to keep any individual from messing up the status quo that will be established by our initial cadre of leaders.

"Damn it, I really am a conservative now," I said today. "Damn it all to hell."

luminuxious was supportive. "Cheer up, man. You can still be like ze Governator of Cahl-ee-fornia."

Update: I just had my car towed from a downtown parking lot. While I was walking across the ghetto to fetch it at 3 in the morning, I realized that I wasn't mad at money-grubbing capitalism: I was mad that they were grubbing my money for no good reason.

Sheesh, I'm a hopeless case.

Been working a lot on my Pimpette comic lately.
I'm so glad I switched from twice a week to once. I tried a new style (using various shades of markers, as opposed to simple black outlines), and it takes forever just to draw each comic, not to mention the amount of time I spend colouring it.

However, the results are amazing. I had one friend demand that I continue doing comics in this way, because it looked fucking awesome.
I don't mean to brag, but I had to share with someone.

I can't help but feel proud.
So of course I have to stay in stock of markers and felt-tip pens. And marker paper, which I have fallen in love with.

It's funny... looking back over past comics, seeing how much I've improved over such a short time. One particular comic looks really icky in that there are white bits everywhere from a bad selection or something.
That's more or less before I discovered the wonder of Layers.
Layers upon layers upon layers.

Now my comics look good, but I'm wondering how this new style will survive a plot change.
See, the style change occurred while the characters were journeying in a different realm - that is, they had to go to Hell for a little while, and the new style definitely makes this environment stand out and look fantastic.
But they don't normally live in a rocky, fiery place like Hell, which suits the shaded, jagged style I've started playing with. They live in the modern-day world, own a nightclub, and don't really have anything to do with the sort of realm Hell is in.

Oh well... I guess the best way to go about it is simply to try it out and see how things look. If it looks crappy or weird then I think I'll change it back to its former simple style.

Plus there isn't nearly as much fire in the normal realm.
I hope it looks as good on my readers' computer screens.
I love my mac.

Today, at work, someone slipped me a Mickey Finn. I dunno what it was that they put into my drink, but it seriously fucked me up. To make matters worse, it was hot inside the club and my job there (aside from occasionally having to kick people out for acting like idiots) is to mark the dances. Y'see, each dance costs $15. The club gets $5 and the dancer keeps $10. In order to keep everyone honest (which is a subjective term when working in a strip club), someone must walk around with a clip board and mark the dances. This is usually done by me. Every night when I get to work I get a "dance sheet", write down the list of names for all the dancers who're working that night and, when I see a girl giving a dance, I put a hash-mark down next to her name. The hash-marks are in groups of five, for easy "accounting." When I am done marking the dances for that song (which lasts 2 minutes-30 seconds), I must go back to the bouncer station and post the dances marked on a computer- quickly.

Anyway... on a Saturday night, with upwards of 200 people in a giant room and the heat turned up because it's fucking cold outside, one's metabolism is likely to be working overtime. While I was making the rounds, leaving the bouncer station (which is where my soda is usually kept) unattended, I presume that someone must have thought that it would be "funny" to drop something into a bouncer's drink and see what would happen. So I, at some point, came back to my post and sipped away because, hey, it was hot in there. About thirty minutes later I started to feel a bit out of sorts- dizzy, uncoordinated, distracted... like being drunk without all the pleasantness of being drunk, certainly none of the adventure. I was finding it increasingly difficult to stand/maintain my balance and I couldn't concentrate for shit.

I told the manager that I needed to go outside for some fresh air, that I thought I might be suffering from the oppressive heat (which is rather abnormal for me, as I rather like it being hot... I'm a thin guy and it's never bothered me before, y'know?). So I went out the front door and sat down to enjoy the cool, fresh air... and promptly passed out. About twenty minutes later I regained consciousness, but was still feeling awfully disoriented. Surprisingly, no one had bothered me the entire time I was passed out on the front doorstep of the strip club. I stumbled back into the club (had to use my head to push the door open because my hands weren't working properly) and it was immediately clear to everyone there that I was seriously fucked.

Two of my fellow bouncers carried me to a "hidden room" in the club and laid me out on a couch which is reserved for... God, I shudder to think what that sofa's been used for, but tonight I'm just glad that it was there for me to rest on. I was unconscious on that couch for nearly two hours before I finally came to, walked (barely) back to the manager's office and announced that I was going home. They advised me to sleep in my truck for a little while first, let the cold fresh air revitalize me and take a little more time to "sleep it off." It was the kind of advice given by someone who'd seen this kind of problem before, carrying with it the voice of experience, and I followed it to the letter.

I slept in my truck, outside where it was 30 degress-F, for another thirty minutes and then felt well enough to drive.

I've never been 'Finned before. And I've been actively drunk once in my entire life. Fuck, I need to find a new line of work.

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