Pictures of Doom is Dead…

UPDATE: My picture days are over. Come to my new home by clicking right here. See you later.  

“Wait, what?”

Yes, the headline of this entry is true. City Pictures, aka Pictures of Doom, is about to die. By the time you finish reading this entry, you will realize there will be no more words ever to be posted here.

We had a good run. It’s been over 4 years since I started this. I’ve drawn hundreds of pictures, made fun of countless people, gained a ton of readers during the height of the site, and then lost them all during long hiatuses (is that even a word?) from yours truly.

“Why are you ending it dude?”

Simple, really. I really don’t want to be that guy who writes a few stories a month and then disappears. That is just crazy train. It gets peoples’ hopes up before smashing them in the face with the reality that nothing is coming for months. I often sit around and try to think of new stuff to write. Only I come up short. There just isn’t anything going on in my world that I feel hasn’t been tackled yet.

I still hate when dudes don’t shave their necks, loathe the Spiderman trilogy, laugh at people who smell, and dislike most movies I see. I barely write anymore because I know it’s something you’ve probably heard me say before. So why say it again.

I have made a lot of friends with a lot of bloggers here. I will still read their blogs (what else is there to read?) and show my support. But, as for this, I can’t muster up the originality to create new stuff. I haven’t been happy with the past few months worth of pictures I have drawn. Perhaps I need to learn Illustrator a little better? I actually feel that my pictures have downgraded in quality since this thing started and when I started it, it was for the purpose of improving my craft. There is a goal I didn’t really succeed in. I also feel my writing lately has just been done for the sake of getting it done. It hasn’t been that great.

I have been writing online for various people/places for a long time. I am tapped out of words I think. The archives will live on though. So feel free to search around and read things written long ago, during the Pictures of Doom prime (as I call it).

So I guess that is it. It was great to provide the 17 of you who read this frequently a bit of entertainment in your day. Your emails and comments have made me smile more than you will ever know. But it is time for me to move on to something else. Even if I have no idea yet what that will be.

I shall miss you all. Farewell, until next time.

-MF

This is how I imagine MMA to have been invented…

So it Begins… (9/2011)

There are a lot of things in this crazy world I don’t understand. I don’t understand the military budget of the United States government versus the educational budget. I don’t understand how Superman became so popular, when you’re reading a comic/watching a film about investigative reporters who can’t figure out who this Superman is when it is a guy they have known the whole time (only he takes his glasses off).  Continue reading “This is how I imagine MMA to have been invented…”

Baseball players love the juice…

I once watched a documentary that argued the pros of allowing athletes the ability of using steroids in a legal environment. They said that if Tiger Woods was allowed to enhance his vision with lacik eye treatment, thus improving his sight and overall abilities in the game, why can’t other athletes use steroids to improve their abilities? After all, steroids have never actually killed anyone. No one has ever overdosed using steroids. Perhaps some crazy girlfriends have been the victim of “roid-rage” but that’s really about it.

So what is the big deal about baseball players using the juice? Why does everyone care so much? I don’t watch or like sports, yet, for some reason, I see on the news all the time. For years. It never ends. Let them get their big-muscles-small-penis and be done with it.

Juicy Fruit is gonna move ya (8/2010)

You shouldn’t be mad at that anyway. What you should be mad at is the fact that they make millions upon millions of dollars to play a simple game. While you and I make nothing for actual work.

Wait a second… I’m unemployed. So never mind.

Which leads me to another question… you are getting paid quite a lot of money to play a game. Why mess your body up with steroids? You can sit the bench for an entire game and still get paid tons of money. Why mess your body up? Your salary is awesome regardless.

Arnold Schwarzegger is the reason I was stabbed with a pencil…

Back in 1990, I was in 4th grade, and all the guys at recess would often talk about one thing. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was at the top of his game back then. Total Recall was released by this time but I missed it during its theatrical run. I wouldn’t say it until later.

Regardless, on this particular day, the discussion was which was a better film, Predator or Commando? I am not sure why Terminator wasn’t in this discussion. My vote was for the alien beast… not the film with Alyssa Milano with pink Converse. Now, I love Commando, but Predator is a much better film. O had a conversation with this kid named Justin. It went a lot like this.

MIKE:
Predator dude! Schwarzenegger rocks in that movie!

JUSTIN:
No way man, Commando was awesome! He blew up like 234 people in one scene!

MIKE:
Predator is better.

JUSTIN:
No dude….

MIKE:
Predator is better.

JUSTIN:
But dude…

MIKE:
Predator is better.

JUSTIN:
Stop it!

MIKE:
Predator is better.

JUSTIN:
STOP IT!

MIKE:
Predator is better.

JUSTIN:
I’m not kidd…

MIKE:
Predator is better.

JUSTIN:
Aaaaarrrrggggghhh!

Right about here, Justin decided to stab me with a pencil. Right in the arm. What kind of asshole stabs a guy in the pencil just for showing his love for Predator? I’ll tell you who. Justin. What an asshole.

Predator is Better (8/2010)

MIKE:
Hey Justin…

JUSTIN:
WHAT?!?!?

MIKE:
Predator is better.

So it goes… (or Goodnight Grandpa Leo)

A lot of my lacking of updating this blog has a lot to do with what I’ve been dealing with for almost the past 2 years. I had a grandfather who lived by himself since my Grandmother’s death in 2000. But in recent years, his mind has started to slip. Someone called the Department of Children and Families (DCF) on him and they called me. The lady told me he needed assistance or the state would have to put him somewhere. So I did what anyone would.

I started visiting him once a week. I helped him with meals, shopping, getting his car fixed, and simple things like that. After a few months, he started getting a bit worse. He would go shopping for things he didn’t need. He literally had cabinets full of canned goods as if the zombie apocalypse was upon us. His freezer was filled to the max of stuff he wouldn’t even eat. Once his freezer was full, he’d put the stuff in the fridge. That caused an awful smell to fill up his house. So I would have to empty it. This went on for months. I couldn’t talk him out not buying stuff.

Sooner or later the responsibilities became greater. I would have to start paying his bills, running him to the doctor or hospital, and making sure he was eating okay. He would start to prepare meals in his kitchen but then walk away from it, so I would sometimes find raw meat sitting on his counters. And those pieces would be there for days. Something clearly had to be done with him. My visits upped to twice, sometimes three times a week. It was hard. I was teaching and working another part time job, and he lived an hour away. But he was more important to me than all of that.

In October of 2009, he ended up in the hospital after a fall. The doctors told me that his potassium levels were extremely low and they had no idea how he was still alive. They all agreed that he could no longer live on his own. He wasn’t taking care of himself as well as he should of. He needed help that was beyond what I could do. He needed to be put somewhere.

It was heartbreaking to have to do that. He was a very proud man. Born in Italy, in 1921, no person was going to tell him that he was going to be put somewhere other than his home. So the state deemed him incompetent and I, being his power of attorney, was put in charge of all of his decisions. The hospital released him and put him in a rehabilitation center while my sister and I spent all of our time trying to locate a nursing home that didn’t smell like urine. Those of you who had to do the same thing, you know this task is almost impossible. But we found one really close to my sister.

One day I went to visit my grandfather. It was the day that a social worker and I would have to tell him that he isn’t going to be able to go home anymore. We sat him down on his bed. “Mr. Fiaschi, we’re not going to be able to send you back home by yourself. You need to be somewhere that will be able to provide you with help when you need it.” This conversation went on for about 45 minutes. He swore he wasn’t going to one of those places. But he finally gave up. After the lady left, he looked at me, saddened by the news. He put his head on my shoulder and started crying. It took all my being to not do the same. I had to be strong for him.

After a month of rehabilitation, we got him moved to one of the cleanest, most friendly nursing home I’ve ever seen. Here, he had his own apartment of sorts, and he was able to do what he wanted to. He was a little more free than other places. Things were good for a month or so (despite a few things he did out of confusion). That wouldn’t last.

These past two weeks have been brutal for him. He had some sort of colon problem (that equaled in a lot of blood) and he ended up in the hospital. I went to visit him for the weekend and things seemed to be pretty good. He was very much aware of what was going on. We had a conversation; things seemed normal. He left the hospital and went back to the home.

A day or two later, at about 2 in the morning, my sister called me. Grandpa had taken a turn for the worst. There wasn’t going to be any coming back from this. I packed up the car and went to him. I got there around midnight the following day. He was in bed, looking rough. The Hospice ladies switched shifts at this time, so they had to wake him up to take his vitals. It was this time that I would have my last conversation with him. He spoke a little bit, made fun of bald head (“I’m 89 years-old and I got more hair than you…”). This was a constant thing. I was baldy, he was shorty.

The next day, he barely spoke. He would wake up from time to time, but it was very sporadic. He voice was gone too. His mouth would move but nothing would come out. He just laid there. He wasn’t comfortable but he couldn’t get up anymore. This was the point of no return. They turned off his pace-maker. This was to be it.

The following day, Saturday, my family arrived at some point in the afternoon. He was out. There was no waking him up. I helped the nurse move his body into a different position and all of that movement didn’t wake up him. So we sat there and talked amongst ourselves. It all happened so fast.

See you again soon (7/2010)

Suddenly, the hospice nurse exclaimed, “Hey guys, I think he is going to pass.” I wasn’t sure how someone could tell that. I looked over to him and his eyes were open. He wasn’t breathing too much anymore. My sister, mother, and I stood up and went over to him. He looked at each and every one of us. And then, he was gone. Like that. Now he’s back with my Grandma.

So it goes.

I hope I did you right these past few years Gramps. You know I love you. I just wanted to make you proud. I hope I didn’t disappoint you. I can’t wait to see you again, where ever that may be. Keep a cold drink ready and make sure Grandma is there too. -M

Dear Grandpa,

It’s been a long time since I’ve had an honest to goodness conversation with you. In fact, I am not even all that sure that I’ve ever had a real conversation with you while I’ve been an adult. That’s sort of a harsh reality to come to terms with. You were put in a nursing home around the time I turned 21 years-old. In that time, you went from a semi-competant man, to just about a complete invalid.

You spend your days in bed. You haven’t spoken a word in at least 2 years. You haven’t walked on your own two feet in that long of a time either. You used to wear glasses but sometime during your time in nursing homes, falling deeper and deeper into an Alzheimer’s/Dementia coma, they were lost. I often wonder if you can even see?

We came to visit you in February of 2009. It was the first time in a year that any of us had seen you. It was also the first time I ever wondered if you’d really forget me. As we all walked in, me along with your son, his wife, and your granddaughter; we saw you in a bed with wheels. They had to roll you down to the cafeteria to eat.

It was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever seen.

They rolled you over to us so we could spend time with you. You couldn’t move too much, except to bring your hand up to your mouth to chew on. Since they were afraid that you’d bite a hole in your hand, they gave you a rubber chew toy, like a dog. I had a hard time trying to figure out what all the point of that was. What sort of life is that to live? Such a hard-working, honest, funny, and caring man… to spend the last remaining years alone to himself, with no real apparent memory of anything.

I wonder what you think about in there; in that head of yours. What is going on in there.

I want to apologize for not coming to visit you for yet another year. We got a phone call that your health is failing. They say that they are trying to feed you but you simply aren’t swallowing it. They told us the end was near. I had to go see you one more time. So I did. Your granddaughter and I came. I am not sure you remember.

Your days now are spent in your room in your bed. Words still do not flow from your mouth. When we walked in the room, it took everything I had to hold back the tears. Seeing you like that — confined to a bed without the ability to communicate or remember — is harder than I ever could have imagined. We arrived at your dinner time and we had to watch them feed you some substance that looked like baby food. Do you even have the ability to complain about it’s taste? Even the milk had some sort of substance in it because you’d choke if they gave you straight liquids.

But you didn’t swallow. Someone said it maybe because your body simply forgot how to swallow. Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that you’d live long enough to forget how the most basic of functions? I just don’t understand it.

So Long Old Friend! (4/2010)

The next day, your son came to visit. Do you remember? It’s like we were all there to say our goodbyes. Do you remember what I told you? I was the last one in the room with you. I looked at you for a few minutes, trying to search for any bit of recognition in your eyes, but failed to see it. I was trying to figure out what to say.

“Hey Grandpa. We’re all here for you. Me, your son, your granddaughter – everyone. We’re all here for you and we love you very much. I love you… and I miss you so much Grandpa. I wish you could be out there with us and see what I am doing. I teach now, you know. I don’t think you even knew I ever wanted to do that… and I hate that I couldn’t share that with you. I’m sorry I haven’t been around. I know you have had trouble eating… but perhaps it’s time now Grandpa. We’re here for you. And everything is going to be fine Grandpa. But it’s time… it’s time for you to let go. Just let go Grandpa. We’ll all understand. I love you so much.”

I couldn’t help but cry. It’s all I could really do. As I stood up to walk away, you were no longer looking at me. You often cry now, uncontrollably. You’ve been doing that for a while actually. But I couldn’t leave you that way, so I stopped dead in my tracks.

“Grandpa… Grandpa, it’s okay. Everything is fine. Everything. I’ll see you soon.”

I hope someday you can read this letter and understand it. I am not sure how that will happen, or when, but it’ll be here. I miss you Grandpa. And I love you.

-M

Nothing about this makes sense…

On my travels through my computer’s hard drives and flash drives, I’ve stumbled upon some really weird crap. First there was Goodbye My Sweet, a tragic tale of a man who simply can’t handle loss. I even found Rabbit and Future but that Slim Shady movie that came out weeks after I wrote it prevents it from ever being published. Then I found this weird story.

Also written in 2002, it’s a true story about a strange night in 1996. I was 15 years-old. Some friends and I were all hanging out. Some of my friends were into doing crazy shit — like drink bottles of cough syrup or huff gas until you couldn’t smell it anymore. That was never my style but I couldn’t avoid going along for the ride. How could I not want to see what kind of crazy stuff they would get into?

Although I was never part of their over-the-counter intake adventures, they did provide me with enough adventure to fill a book. Or at least a small shitty book (drew with Paint mind you). I drew this about 8 years ago, while I was taking a trip down memory lane. It’s a rocky trip but I recalled this particular night and had to lay it on digital paper. Looking back on these illustrations, I find it hard to tell which character is which. See if you can tell.

See if you care.

But what did I learn through all of this? I saw kids doing crazy shit when I was still one of them. I never put a bottle of cough syrup to my lips for anything other than fighting a cold. I’ve never done anything with gasoline that didn’t involve keeping a car alive.

Life was always too hilarious for that. It still is.

Continue reading “Nothing about this makes sense…”