The modified beast in the basement. Surviving corporate parking-bay woes!

Research the age of the building in which your offices are housed.
Perhaps it was built during a time when a fuel crisis forced people to buy smaller cars.
Not all allocated parking bays are suitable for gargantuan vehicles.

Some of my colleagues own big badass 4X4 Off-road monster trucks.
Many of those trucks have never seen any road surface other than smooth tar.
But some of the trucks have a winch.
If they were to get to bogged down in mud then the winch could easily pull them out!
And many 4X4 vehicles have a snorkel, in case the car needs to submerge when navigating a crocodile-infested and flooded marshland.
It often features bling-mods as well, just in case it doesn’t look manly enough.
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Remember the empty parking lot? Why were you working on Sunday?

It’s Christmas.
You’re in the middle of nowhere, in a desert, on duty in a weather station all by yourself.
That’s probably more dismal than going into the office on a Sunday.
There are times when a bit of overtime is required— With deadlines and all.
Even though you know you need to do it you never quite get over that dismal feeling when you notice your car is the only one in the parking lot.
But you do what you gotta do!

Reality is one thing, but unfortunately, we allow “worry,” “unwarranted fear,” “a disproportionate sense of duty” and other malware into our minds on Sundays.
Many of us find ourselves “working” every Sunday!
Yes, there you are sitting on your porch, reading a book, having a nice cuppa joe but yet you find your thoughts wandering off to an unfinished proposal or a document you needed to complete.
Perhaps your mind looks like a jumble of gears and wires from a steampunk movie.
I can already see how it goes into overdrive for no reason, driven by angst!
You’re in the middle of a sci-fi movie where wires from the back of your head are connected to your computer.
Before you know it you’re already working on the problem and quickly log onto your work-environment remotely.
“I just quickly need to check mail,” you tell yourself.
The “quickly” becomes a few hours because illogical self-induced panic has a way of making you doubt everything!
The not-so-funny part is looking at the same piece of work on Monday!
And then it hardly comes across as intimidating as it seemed on Sunday— While you were “relaxing” at home.
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It’s easier to leave than to be left behind

It’s easier to leave than to be left behind.”
REM’s melancholy lyrics and melodies flow like good wine.
For a minute you are tempted to romanticize heartbreak.

I was told once that leaving is “apologizing for causing hurt” whereas being left behind is “begging for the hurt to stop.”
Both concepts are so intertwined though, you can’t have one without the other.
You can’t leave someone behind if there is not “a someone” to be left behind.
It’s all very Yin and Yang!

Few places are as haunted by raw spillage from fragile human emotions as airports.
During the late 90s, I commuted a lot between cities and became an old hand at spotting “stories.”
With time you start collecting clues that tell you what the story might be.
Everyone at the airport has a story.
Some try to hide their stories behind a veneer of suave nonchalance.
Others choose to be the epitome of unbridled emotions whenever they are reunited with loved ones.
Whatever the story of each individual though, the human activity at terminals embodies the interdependency of leaving and the being left behind.
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Freeing yourself from the illusion of perfection— And being happier for it!

Chasing “perfectionism” can easily become a security blanket.
Some of the so-called “perfectionists” I met in my lifetime were plain lazy and incompetent.
Especially those who proclaim they don’t want to attempt certain tasks for fear of not getting it perfect.
Tinkerers in dimly-lit backrooms can fiddle with things for years under the pretense that they want to get it “perfect.”
Often they’re just too scared to finish something because then they might expose their product or idea to open scrutiny and realize it was far from perfect.

“Perfection” is merely a word.
It’s a word that society loves to fling about.
“Perfection is excellence.”
Nonsense!
No matter what the dictionary says, it’s rubbish.
Perfection is impossible.
Because “perfection” will always be subjective, no matter what!

You can test my theory and go bake a perfect cake!
Yes, according to all the parameters and instructions it might come out quite well!
It might even be labeled “excellent!”
But lo and behold, you will get those who wanted it sweeter, more textured, less decorated.
Now try and convince those dissidents that the cake was “perfect!”
Good luck with that quest!
Try convincing a hardcore rocker that you attended the “perfect” jazz concert.
At the first sound of “jazz”, you’ve already lost his interest.
Had he accompanied you it might’ve been the dullest two hours in his life!

We’ve all experienced what we labeled a “perfect moment.”
Not that it was perfect.
It merely felt like it.
There was that first kiss when time slowed down on a grassy meadow near a waterfall.
perhaps you only forgot about the pesky mosquitoes, the poison ivy you sat upon and the sunburn you got.
Not that the bad things mattered though, you got a sloppy kiss, you felt happy and over time your mind smoothed out the rough spots and left you with a perfect memory.

Excellence is sometimes merely “very good” or “very suitable” within a certain context for a specific group of people.
Still not convinced?
Ask a bunch of petrol heads what they consider to be the “perfect car!”
Then you stand back and watch the fight!
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When life overwhelms you— A view from the bottom of the steps

Growing up, I soon realized that physical obstacles weren’t shrinking, I was getting bigger.
Trees that once seemed unconquerable became accessible.
The wall at the back of the yard could be scaled with some effort.
Falling hurt less with each passing year until the top of the wall was breached triumphantly one afternoon.

A pretty girl who lived down the road could’ve very well have been the Princess in the Ivory Tower.
Nobody ever seemed more unapproachable.
One day we ran into another at a service station and simply ended up chatting without too much effort.

There’s a certain cadence to the way the universe functions.
There are times when we believe we are handling issues when we are merely “living through” a scenario.
We “grow through” tough times and often end up moving beyond the problems.
Do not by any means however allow your perception to diminish the grace you received to be able to weather the tough times.
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A few important lessons from the “Fast and Furious” franchise

The “Fast and Furious” franchise has been called “big and dumb.”
“Mindless action with preposterous stunts and wooden acting.”
I’ve seen a few worse tags as well.
And I’m not shy to admit I love every minute of it.

What drives this franchise to maintain such momentum though?
Multiculturism, cars, sexy babes at the races?
Perhaps all of the above?
Maybe the creators simply managed to randomly chance upon a package containing that “undefinable something” that translates into success.
Or perhaps there is a shrewd genius behind the creation of something which has been labeled “drivel” and “garbage!”

Think about days gone by— When some comics, novels and musical genres first appeared on the scene it was lambasted as rubbish by critics and lapped up by fans.
In later years these cheesy pop culture treasures and coveted childhood memories grew into beloved icons we wouldn’t dare discard today!
Not only does cheesy pop culture remind us of times we perceived as being “simpler” but it also shoves us back into that time traveler’s bubble from the past in which we never seem to grow old.

Yes, we’re asked to suspend belief when we watch the F&F crew use cars to assist with unrealistic feats of bravery and epic heroism.
Some say they can’t stand the “unrealistic” footage.
These are the same people who often believe everything they see on Twitter or Facebook.
I struggle to fathom the cruelty, hedonism, chauvinism, entitlement, self-absorption, and materialism I see in real life.
At the very least F&F was never dished up as anything other than entertainment.

I’ve watched my fair share of “intelligent” art movies.
Some I enjoyed.
Many of the world’s greatest classic novels are in my study.
A lot of those still rank as favorites.
Fortunately, I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m able to understand and analyze my own needs.
Movies are the same as food, but surely you knew that?
At times we might crave the pomp and circumstance surrounding the dinner table at a formal wedding.
We might look forward to some fancy “pretty food.”
Then, of course, occasionally we simply crave a burger and french fries.

For me, the biggest takeaway is, if you don’t like it, you can be furious, but nobody cares.
The fans like this stuff, and someone very clever is supplying that which they crave!
So here’s what you can do— Switch gears, become fast and scoot past the articles, fandoms, reviews, movie theatres, and collectible die-cast toys and merchandise.
That’s your choice!
Learn to be brave within this mean world, be like Dom, Hobbs or Shaw—Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Looking through the glass and finding yourself

Right below the sign that reads “Please don’t touch the fish tank” I’ve seen bored children press their faces against the glass.

If I were a fish on the inside, what would I think or do when I saw a monstrous face leering at me?
Perhaps I wouldn’t care enough to think anything.
One boy who kept tapping the glass identified with a big mean-looking fish.
“Look at the spikes! That’s me!”
He pointed at a clownfish and decided that was his little brother.

We are animals, I guess that’s why we subconsciously identify with traits we observe in other animal species.

If I were on the inside I don’t think I would’ve bothered to “identify” with the outside creatures.
They are more trapped than anyone on the inside.
They lug about electronic trappings such as phones and tablets.
Those devices are nothing more than tethers that link them to offices and problems 24/7 as well as make-believe worlds in which they believe they have real lives.
Those on the outside are prisoners of a myriad insecurities.
They lack confidence.
Callous oversight, arrogance, and entitlement are leading them to destroy the little lifeboat called Earth they live on.
In the process, they are slowly poisoning themselves and eroding the quality of life for future generations.
But hey, if that whiny kid with the bad haircut doesn’t decide to throw his straw into the tank there will still be less plastic in here than in the spaces my free brothers are navigating right now.

I do believe a growing number of people are starting to identify with the creatures that the fish might’ve seen through the glass.
We’ve been taught we need to look in the mirror to see a reflection of ourselves.
That’s become a problem, with selfies, beauty-filters, and Instagram-ready representations of ourselves we’ve become too accustomed at fooling the mirror.
Perhaps it’s a better idea to look around us for a change, look at others, look at the spaces we occupy, and the spaces we leave behind.
These could very well become the elements that define us, once we are well and truly out of the picture.

To die for! A perspective on “toughness”

I guess this is a bit of feelgood comic?
I drew this one a very long time ago.
When I look at the art I go… “Aaargh no … wat the hell was that?”
But then I remember that we shouldn’t attempt to edit the past.
Even if I were to “redo” it for whatever reason it would still be a new comic.

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
― L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between

Anyway, here goes, this is the quote that inspired the comic..

“Toughness is not  hardening, toughness is withstanding all the forces that want you to harden, whilst still retaining your sensitivities and your humanness.”
― Drishti Bablani

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The actual truth about fame, immortality and being a poster on a wall

The only way to stand out from a crowd is to be the person on stage.

I can only begin to imagine what a rush it must be to perform in front of thousands of cheering fans.
That might explain why so many veteran musicians never seem to retire from the limelight.

There’s one debate in my head that still begs for a definitive answer.
Does an epic performance move into the realms of legend, or is it the performer who becomes legendary?
Perhaps this is a “both sides of the coin are equal” situation?

But after any show, the avid music lover can already decide which concert to attend next.
There is just so much happening in the world.
You only need to look at the sheer volume of entertainment releases and upcoming events each week to acknowledge how spoiled for choice we’ve become.

Even the most stellar events receive press coverage for a couple of days until it’s eclipsed by something new.
Perhaps it’s my imagination, but it seems like the flavor of the month hardly lasts a month these days?
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Are you afraid of becoming someone’s disposable person?

You might as well put that fear to bed now because you probably are already someone’s disposable person.

I keep receiving spam phone calls from a company that sells insurance.
One of my acquaintances decided to include me in his list of “5 References for unsolicited sales calls ” so that he could get a gift.
We might see one another once a year so therefore I’m not a close friend.
Perhaps on some subconscious level, he figured if he angered me it wouldn’t have a great impact on his life.
I felt like a disposable contact.
All is well though, as long as he enjoys his gift!

Do you have a subordinate at work?
Are there times when you see that person as merely a component who performs a task?
Have you ever felt like a mere drone whenever you got your daily instructions from the boss?

How do you treat shop assistants?
On a cold freezing day, would you offer a cup of coffee to the delivery guy who has been taking care of your parcels for years?

Are you that person who has been summoned as a “Plus One” whenever a friend couldn’t get a date?
Occasionally we feel flattered but instinctively we know we’ll be discarded once we’ve served a purpose.
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