1697 Rise And Shine.

I just saw a news thing about a kid that drank enough caffeine in a few hours to give himself a heart attack. People take the substance far too lightly and the energy drink industry doesn’t really care what happens to their consumers. You have to watch out for yourself. In this case Ramon is simply a person who “lets go and lets God” so to speak. Foolish, but not maliciously. The end result might be the same, but it matters in court. I don’t know for sure but I think what he made for Ed is a French press style drink. I’ve only ever seen the exact thing I was thinking of in a Vietnamese restaurant. The think pressed out a very dark, thick, substance that you drink in a tiny cup. I expect Ramon didn’t take Ed’s relative size in to account.

In case you were wondering, my mother and I were left to clean up the Teen’s graduation party essentially alone. The Teen and her boyfriend, or rather fiancé, are useless in most situations. They have no ability to think tactically between them and left to their own devices have no ability to focus on anything other than entertaining themselves. If I were to explain any of this in detail you would likely be appalled by the sheer scope of their inability to do anything in a sensible way. I won’t, however, because I have better things to do than write it all down. It also sickens and enrages me. My mother thinks that now that the graduation is over that it will all calm down, but I know better now. This is just the beginning of a new, fresh, kind of hell yet to reveal itself. My patience for all of this nonsense is far exhausted. No advice I give is heeded, so I no longer give any. My hope is that the dumpster fire burns itself out quickly and that I can get far enough away in time to save myself. Historically I know that I will be dragged into the fire whether I like it or not. I will not be allowed to distance myself because no one else will let me burn the bridges whose destruction could save the rest of us… but the matches are in my hand, and they can’t watch me all the time.

I haven’t done janitorial work in a long time, but it’s not like a person just forgets how to mop. I actually wouldn’t have minded it if my leg were fully healed and I didn’t have other things to do. I actually enjoy that kind of work because it has a clear ending. You know when you’re done mopping. In retail you could do a task put to you but you didn’t know if you were done until someone came along to decide if you were. The persons in question might change 3 or four times and they might not agree on what done actually is, so you do the same task over and over a few ways before someone decides to take responsibility and stop you. I expect we did a lot more than was actually expected of us. The people who had rented the space before us hadn’t cleaned up their spilt beers, or confetti, or emptied the trash. So we did. Long into the night. I actually came home and “finished” Monday’s page so it would go up on time and went back. I forgot a few things because of the rush, but no one seemed to notice. No one takes my job seriously because it lacks the structure of going to a place, doing a thing, and returning. Everyone seems to think this all happens like some kind of magic that takes no effort at all. The time I need to meet my obligations is always the first to get cut. Everything other people want to do is always more important. No matter how much money I make, taxes I pay, or anything else, I am essentially still a failure to the rest of the world.
People say “It must be so great to work for yourself. You can just do whatever you want whenever you want.” No. It isn’t. I’m the worst boss I’ve ever had. I never let myself stop. From the moment I’m awake, no matter what I’m doing, I’m thinking about the comic, the patreon, twitter, and everything else, all the time. I buy games I won’t let myself play, books I won’t let myself read, and movies I won’t take time to watch, and put them in untidy piles here and there. When I’m sick I make the comic, when I’m tired I make the comic, when I was in the hospital I made the fucking comic. I haven’t seen a friend face to face in over a year. You couldn’t handle working for me. I would grind you down so fast you’d be a weeping mess by the end of the week. In spite of all that I’d still rather work for me that any other sorry asshole on the planet. I feel complete with a pencil, or pencil equivalent, in my hand. When I’m working I get to stop being alone and afraid. I’m something other than myself and it makes all the other shit worth it.

59 Comments

I saw an item from a credible news source about someone who was hospitalized from drinking too many energy drinks. Not as a result of the caffeine, but rather as a result of the vitamins! Seems he was not excreting the vitamins as fast as he was ingesting them, so they built up in his body, to toxic levels. When he was kept of the energy drinks, he soon got better.

Just because it sounds healthy, doesn’t mean it is.

I remember reading once about vitamin absorption. Vitamin C, for example, is water-soluble, enters your blood stream reasonably easily, and the excess is expelled as urine (if you’ve had Berocca, you’ll notice you piss out a weird, fluorescent yellow).

Other vitamins are absorbed in body fat and the liver. Too much vitamin D, for example, can lead to a condition called hypervitaminosis D (I had to google the name, which also helped with the vitamin D example). There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

I remember coming across a medical article connected to Sunny Delight – The Beta Carotene used as a colorant built up in a persons skin. Long story short, a whole lot of orange kids – just be glad that the grape flavor was not all the popular.

I’m suddenly really liking ramon more. He was already cool, but now hes like “What would ramon do” cool

Pffffft! Ha ha ha ha! :D
Today’s comic really slays me! [No pun intended].
Evrina’s expression in the last panel just ties the whole, giant, joke together, at the end. : )

On a side note- sorry to hear that family stuff, and work stuff, has got you feeling down, Jackie. I hope that stuff gets better.

Hope I’m not being a bummer but a teen did actually die from caffeine overdose. He had like 2 red bulls, 2 sodas, and 2 coffee energy drinks or such. Messed up his heart, was an otherwise health and normal guy. So in all seriousness, people do take care how much you take on how short a time. Sleep is still best!

I’ve always felt that if you need to self-medicate with OTC stimulants (like coffee, energy drinks, etc.) just to maintain your lifestyle, then you need to re-think your lifestyle.

I hope if you do get the opportunity to move away from your family, you can. I know that you can’t choose your family, but I do believe you can choose how close you can be to your family.

My family, that of it that is blood related and not… Yeah. Anyways. My family tends to say that there’s the family you have, and the family you choose. It can overlap, and hopefully it does… But it doesn’t have to. If you find that a person is not adding anything TO your life, only taking… Well, that should have a clear response. I’ve had to cut family members off before. I recently moved… And none of those people have my address or new phone number. It’s upsetting, and I doubt I’ll ever be happy about it, but it was the right thing to do, so I did it.

Your commentaries are certainly something that sets you apart from the rest, Mr. Wohlenhaus. Most others that bother to include commentary at all usually have just a single snarky line about the page or an in depth detail about what the characters are thinking and why. But more than those it’s the human insight into the life of an artist that is truly inspiring. By no means do I aspire to your life, given the garbage fire you make it out to be, but I wish I had an ounce of your drive, that all who practice the creative arts could muster the fire that simultaneously keeps you going and threatens to burn you to the ground. Godspeed, sir, because nothing else on earth could keep up with you.

I can honestly say that I have never comprehended how anyone can work in any creating function and actually allow the public to see it. I tried. I couldn’t do it. I know you’re supposed to just say “It’ll never be like it was in my head. That’s a dream, and dreams aren’t for reality. Accept what you have.” I never could. If I can’t make it the way I see it, I just can’t bear to make it. I have the utmost respect, envy, and slight fear, of those who can make things and show them to the world.

There’s a coffee house in Christies Beach, South Australia that does one called the Adelaide Arsekicker that’s in this league. It’s intended to be drunk slowly over the course of 12 hours and was originally made for a nurse who was working back to back shifts and needed to stay alert.

That it is imbalanced against you shows that you are following that law with more strength than the people surrounding you.
As an aside, the new Twin Peaks show is amazing

Wait a minute…I thought I saw those hair poms perk up a bit since last page.

No…NOOOOOO!!

Don’t you dare Nina Grace! DON’T-YOU-DARE!!

I’m just curious- what is it, that you don’t want her to do?

Why take excited advantage of a hyperactively impaired Edward Linclon of course.

With decisions most likely passing right by the logical consideration portion of his brain into the action phase added onto his natural pushover nature, Ed might be up for anything regardless of consequence.

And Nina might be lovingly spiteful enough to maybe just want to see what happens after.

Sorry f this sounds unsympathetic but stop enabling her! It is counterproductive to be an enabler. You are doing neither one of you a favor by continuing to let her be irresponsible.She is an adult and needs to learn how to act like one. She is responsible for her life now, not you. The longer you condone and support her lifestyle the harder and more drastic the inevitable catastrophe and the more innocent bystanders that will get hurt.

Contrary to what you seem to be saying, you, and only you, are in charge of your life. There really are no victims – only bad choices. Decide under what conditions you would be willing and happy to have her stay then give her to choice: adhere to these conditions or move out (and by a specific, near term date). Then divorce yourself from the outcome as you can be happy with either choice. Call it tough love. Call it taking care of yourself. Call it being a responsible adult. Sadly, I’ve seen what happens when you don’t way too many times. It ain’t pretty.

I’m not the one doing it. I’m an unwilling participant who is bound to serve others who serve her. I have been vocal and clear about exactly what I think.

You’ve been pretty vocal about getting away from the slow train wreck to be fair. I genuinely hope you don’t get burned at all.

You could tell her one-on-one that she owes you one. If she complains, tell her she owes you two, the second because she didn’t even think of offering it herself. She’s not a little kid anymore, right?

Make sure you call the favors she hands out, like have her clean your room or something.

From what little I am catching, the sounds are… He doesn’t WANT to enable her. However, if he DOESN’T enable her, there will be consequences. He hates those consequences more than he hates enabling “the teen”… So he enables.

Every choice has effects whether you see them when making the choice or not. Sometimes, people make “bad” choices because the “bad” effects of that choice are more tolerable to them then the effects of the “better” choices. Such is life. We all joked about having two bad choices during the election, picking the “least bad” option… Truth be told, that’s just life. We’re always picking the least bad option, as best we can.

Yup. Sometimes matches are necessary. Some people are chaos and drama generators and you have to refuse to participate; you certainly can’t fix it from the inside of “the show”, so maybe you have to wait until “the show” goes on hiatus and you’re accepted as at least their equal, and more than the role and character they imposed upon you.

I have had experiences with a sibling who was a chaos and drama generator. And an addict. It was hard to push them away and refuse to play the role they had written for me in their “show”. And some of the rest of my family made this harder.

There’s a phrase my mother came across, and taught to my workaholic father. “Not your monkeys, not your circus.” It’s a circus all right, but it’s not YOUR circus, so just stay the hell out of it. It might be really annoying, and maybe you get hit when those monkeys fling poo, but if you start dealing with that circus, you’ll never get anywhere, you’ll never stop, and the ringmaster’s gonna have some words for you when he notices you interfering.

On the subject of too much caffeine this happened recently!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-38744307

Careful with your units kids, maths is very important.

Could be worse I suppose. You catch that news story a few years back about the college kid who couldn’t keep down anything but pizza? Apparently, if you eat the same thing for years (he couldn’t afford better than the pizza from the shop he worked at), you end up tricking your body into thinking nothing else in the environment is safe. After all, from your body’s perspective… If other things WERE safe, you’d have eaten them sometime, right? So when he graduated, and finally had money to eat something else… It came right back up. Nothing else would stay down. He had to be hospitalized, both to treat the issues caused by four years of pizza and nothing else, and to try and re-train his body to accept other foods again.

If she’s already “engaged” before she finished high school I’d say that’s a clear sign of not being able to think clearly and rationally. I know people who have had successful marriages in situations like this, but the odds are against it. But if she’s dead set, I’d plunk down the cash for a justice of the peace and say “asta la vista baby.” Then she’s no longer legally your problem.

on the subject of the work you put into the comic and being your own boss: Thanks you so very much for your hard work. it is appreciated.

on the subject of caffeine intake: oh gods, many years ago when i worked for a mcdonalds, 7 people called in “sick” so for a busy saturday evening shift, i downed a large mcdonalds coffee, and 4 8oz cans of red bull on an empty stomach within a minute.
it took about 20 minutes to kick in. and when it did, i turned into the Lovechild of Blurr and the Flash. operating 3 drive through windows, the fryer, and front counter.
after 5 hours, we were finally able to close the lobby and i finally got a chance to take a break. i immediately excused myself to the restroom and vomited a mixture of blood and black sludge. burned myself out pretty bad, i was complete zombie for the next 2 days

I’ve worked the dreaded McDs shifts before, so I can sympathize with the people calling out and them just making you work harder. Terrible job, all the way round.
That said.
Sweet fucking Jesus! the last bit, with the blood and sludge, is like something straight out of a horror movie. I hope you’re okay now, at least.
I also hope you perhaps aren’t stuck working for a job that allows all those people to call in sick without finding someone to fill in.

You may rest assured that that’s a common condition for most every independent contractor out there. You no longer have a boss, but rather several bosses known as clients. Or in your case readers. You’re your own manager now, and you want to make those readers happy.

If it helps, the readers are very happy. At least this one is. Three days a week now I get a sweet shot of Between Failures and it never fails to perk a morning up before I pummel my way through a normal working day.

I heartily concur, and frankly speaking, I’m very impressed that the updates are three times a week without interruption even through extreme circumstances. I don’t know if it’s healthy, but it is certainly heroic under the circumstances. I’ve seen too many artists burn themselves to the ground and beg (sometimes literally) their readers for a break or to reduce their scheduled updates to something more manageable, while others see the warning signs and make the announcement, but still apologize for it even though they have good reasons for it. On the one hand, I understand the desire to appeal to their audience for professional and business reasons, but on the other, I cringe nearly every time I see a creator, especially one who provides their stories and art online at no charge to their readers, apologize for doing something that is necessary for health and sanity reasons.

TL;DR

I echo Steve’s sentiments above. Thank you for sharing Between Failures with us.

I don’t comment super often, but I thought I’d mention, as someone who also deals with a rough family situation: A) I’m sorry, and you can do it. It won’t always feel like you can, but you can. B) Just because they’re family doesn’t mean they aren’t dickheads, but that doesn’t mean you can do anything about it either. Not everyone understands the delicate balance of family situations where you may want to cut yourself off from some parts, but not others, and certain links make it impossible to do it cleanly. So you force yourself to deal with elements that you may not want to, so that you can continue to have a relationship with the people you have decided are worth that. But don’t forget yourself either. You’re still important. You seem to put a lot on yourself, whether because of responsibility, obligation, or because no one else will, and that’s very admirable, but it’s okay to let some things go even if it means that those things won’t get done.
I don’t know you personally or the specifics of your life, and you probably hear messages like this from fans a lot, but you have people out here in cyberspace that care, in our way, and want to see you succeed and be happy. So don’t forget to look after yourself, alright? I’ll stop rambling now.

I’m not a huge commenter, but I do absolutely love this comic. You do an amazing job on it, and I always look forward to a new episode to brighten my work day. Your hard work and dedication do come through quite clearly in the art, the dialogue, and most of all the characters and character development. Your hard work does not go unnoticed, and I’d guess most of us readers feel that way, and it is always appreciated

On a “hang in there, it will get better” note, people’s brains mature at 22-24 or so. The adulting kicks in on a biological level. It happened with our daughter. I’m waiting, not so patiently some days, for it to happen with our son. I know many children where this has happened. So, I’m not promising anything here, but I am offering a faint promise of a better future. Sometimes that’s enough to keep you on this side of sane.

On an entirely separate note, an internet friend made espresso with (boiled, concentrated) caffeinated water. He does not recommend this. He says he vibrated for three days.

Jackie, the poetry and feeling that you have in your blog are quite substantial and reflect excellent writing ability. Every time I read them, your words not only convey how you feel, but as I read, I start to feel what you feel.
Society doesn’t give enough credit to the blue collar workers. At my college dining hall, the pasta server is a fantastic drummer who sometimes practices drumming with serving spoons when the dining hall is empty. My old high school had a janitor who had a number of undiagnosed learning disabilities; he’s trying community college for the third time this year, hoping that he’ll have enough time, energy, and money to make it through. And my father, who dropped out of high school, is trying to make sure his kids get all the opportunities and education he never had.
I’ve never explicitly said to the blue collar workers of the institutions and businesses I’ve used that I appreciate them, but now wonder if I should have. You see, all of the people I mentioned, they’re my heroes.
My father, who I love so dearly, he appears to be succeeding at one thing in life: ensuring that I’ll have enough and be happy. And that’s amazing, but he’s also unhappy with many aspects of his life. He puts up with his wife and tries to make sure she’s happy, he puts up with work even though he hates it, he has to deal with repairing all the cheap junk that we own (house, cars), he has to deal with his poor health, and the list goes on. And every time another thing goes wrong, I watch him get up, whether he has the energy or not, and keeps going.
I’ve only talked to the pasta server once. I don’t know what he has experienced, but I know he’s at work everyday, from 11am-7pm, and he’s not paid enough to not have troubles. I can only assume the he is also a sort of superman, like my father. And so even though I don’t know his story, he’s my hero too, because I know he keeps going.
But I never know how to state appreciation. I feel like ‘thank you’ just doesn’t cut it, but no one needs an essay either.
But if you don’t mind me telling you this:
People DO appreciate you. I’m sure there are many people, who have never met you, but appreciate the unknown janitor. I’m sure there are people who have met you at work, and they also appreciate you but it seems awkward to suddenly bring it up. And mostly definitely, the audience of this comic appreciate you. However crappy your family, whatever troubles and lack of support you feel, by no means reflects what you deserve. It seems ironic that those who work the hardest at life and the one struggling the most, but unfortunately, life is a lottery ticket, and some of us are born into unfortunate circumstance.
So, thank you, Jackie. I’m blessed to read your blog and your comic.

One time I had an entire pot of coffee at breakfast, and then one of the large red-bulls during my first break…..

…you know that old College Humor vid about Powerthirst? Well, “Uncomfortably Energetic” was exactly phrasing I used when I took the rest of the day off, and exactly how I’d describe my condition at the time…Like my internal organs were trying to escape my body to merge into the Speed Force.

I imagine Ed will have a “crisis of faith” shortly, Soto speak :V

id point out that your average energy drink has less caffine per oz than its coffee equivilent. also the LD50 of caffeine in humans is dependent on individual sensitivity, but is estimated to be about 150 to 200 milligrams per kilogram of body mass or roughly 80 to 100 cups of coffee for an average adult

I think that many of the caffeine casualties aren’t approaching the lethal dose for a healthy average adult, but they have an undiagnosed heart or circulatory (blood pressure) weakness that makes them much easier to kill. Same for the apparently healthy teens who drop dead after sports practice.

Fun fact: The risks come with the effects that caffeine has on your blood pressure due to being a vasoconstrictor. Caffeine thus increases your blood pressure while it’s in effect, and when it wears off, causes it to drop. I’ve actually experienced a crash strong enough for me to feel the symptoms of hypotension, which was a sign for me that “Y’know, you really shouldn’t like, ever drink this much in a single day…”

IIRC, caffeine has a biological half-life of about four hours or so, and good advice is to avoid exceeding 200mg within a four hour period (don’t take my word for it, I’m not a doctor). Fortunately, sodas and energy drinks tend to have it listed right on the can how much there is in the drink. A single five hour energy shot has exactly that much in it. Your average can of soda will generally have 30~50mg per can depending on what it is. Most energy drinks are around 160mg.

In general though, I reccomend avoiding having more than one energy drink of any kind, per day, if you can help it. Even if you can handle the caffeine and the blood pressure issues, overconsumption is liable to be bad for your health in the long term. Too many soft drinks (esp. without drinking a fair share of water) can be a contributing factor to kidney stones, and take it from me — that @#$% hurts like NOTHING else.

I just wanted to say, as someone who is an avid reader.
I care. This will always be a special webcomic to me, a mixture of excellent writing, snarky humor, bold yet realistic characters, and relateable contexts that got me originally hooked into the world of webcomics.
This isn’t just an excellent webcomic to me. It’s an irreplaceable one. And I know full well that the comic is more than just the comic itself; its an expression of the massive talent that lies behind it.
When I see that talent, your brilliant sense of humor and tangibly real characters, I can’t help but look up to the man responsible. Then I see him so buried under a life that continues to drench him in miseries, yet still he persists. I envy the drive, the sheer work ethic and devotion to the craft that such a persistence takes.
You’re more than just some random webcomic artist, Jackie. You’re an inspiration. Seeing you, it makes me feel like maybe, just maybe, none of my ridiculous aspirations are insurmountable. It gives me hope. It gives me joy.
I hope that maybe I might return some of those to you here, so that you might recognize how much of those you’ve given me in the years since I began reading.
And, since I haven’t said it yet: Thank you. For all that you do. I appreciate all the time you put in to this comic, and I just wanted you to know that.
Take care, Mr. Wohlenhaus, and may things get better soon.

In high school I saw a friend take a quattuordecuple shot of espresso. Funny thing, it was at a Christian coffee house called “Holy Grounds.”

The thing about working for yourself is … Your boss is the meanest SOB you’ve ever met, and your one employee is the laziest piece of trash to ever exist.

Once upon a time, I was drinking like five coffee-press coffees a day. I got a bit of a headache, so I drank a sixth–as you do. My headache tripled in seconds; felt like my head was going to explode.

Now I drink 1-2 a week. It seems safer that way.

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