It’s over.

It has been for two years, and you damn well know it. But I didn’t. I spent those years convincing myself that someday, some way, I’d drop out of a stupid place like TJ, come back to Chantilly where I belonged, and catch up on doing all the crap that middle-school me wanted to do.

Read two posts backwards in time and you’ll see how much I didn’t want to be here. Read past a few comics more and you’ll see what I wrote fifteen minutes after I found out I got in. Fifteen minutes after my overjoyed mother called across three time zones with the news, fifteen minutes after the half-proud, half-you-better-do-this-or-you’re-dead-meat stare of my father convinced me to put leaky blue ballpoint pen to paper and sign away the next four years of my life, right down the skoosh. Funny how when the brain decides something’s too overwhelming, it decides the proper response is to stream tears and mucus out of various orifices- this was fifteen minutes after all that as well.

My attitude didn’t improve day one. As my teachers gave their cheery introductions and preliminary assignments, I met their enthusiasm with pouts and evil eyes. I made it known I didn’t want to be there. Everyone knew me as that kid who was gonna drop out. I was proud of that. Must’ve thought I was so noble.

I was still a dumb, idealistic eighth-grader my freshman year, both in study skills (sorry, Dr. Larson) and attitude. All my prepubescent career fantasizing had manifested itself into an idealized vision of everything I was gonna do for the next four years of my life- work the lightboard for every single drama production, draw a new comic every week, write a new post every single day, all wrapped up into my own twisted little version of the quintessential American high school experience. I looked forward to that like the world waits for Half-Life 3. A master plan. The Plan.

And of course TJ wasn’t a part of the plan. Chantilly was. And so going to TJ was simply a mere obstacle en route to Plan glory. I’d simply wait a year, bide my time, and then come June- bam. I’m out. I’m gone. Run, freedom, run.

Then I started doing stuff. Got involved with the Japan Bowl- basically Quiz Bowl, centered around anything and everything Japan. That first year, my team placed seventh. Not bad, but not as good as we wanted. And as my teammates eagerly made plans for coming back next year and absolutely wrecking the competition (we made fifth, woohoo), my enthusiasm was dampened by the realization that another year of Japan Bowl meant another year of TJ. This wasn’t part of the Plan. What do?

Maybe that was why I stayed for my sophomore year, Japan Bowl. Or maybe it was because I was too much of a wuss to fill out the forms and actually drop; maybe I was just taking the path of least resistance, being too lazy to enact any real change in my dumb life. Maybe it was because the this-isn’t-Chantilly sting had worn off- as much as I didn’t want to, I was reluctantly having quite a fine time at TJ. Dropping out was still a possibility. Just – bleh – not that summer.

And then came the essay. Student Choice Writing was the formal title of the assignment. In an in-class free-write session that eventually turned into an in-class naptime session, I wrote about my anti-TJ attitudes coming in, my gradual road to acceptance, my state of unsureness as to the location at which I’d attend my next two years of high school. And through writing that, and taking the jumbled mess of teenage hormones and vague emotions and revising and revising until I was sure that yeah, the mess of words in Microsoft Word was what I really felt, I came to a couple of realizations:

  • Hot damn, I was a dumb, idealistic eighth grader.
  • Location was irrelevant. I could probably be doing exactly what I’m doing now at Chantilly and vice versa.
  • The initiative I would need to take to carry out the Plan at TJ? It’s initiative my lazy ass woulda had to take at Chantilly anyway.
  • The Plan? It wasn’t the Plan, it was merely a plan. To think that a 13-year-old had clairvoyant abilities. Revision ain’t bad.
  • Screw it, I’m staying. All four years.

What the bleeping bleepity-bleep am I getting myself into?

This is my post-mortem. My formal goodbye to Over8d, a chronicle of a past outlook on life and of ambitions that never really disappeared- just changed. The site hasn’t left me yet- it’s rare, but I still am recognized as “the dude with the blog,” the guy who semi-humorously complained on the fancy default WordPress site instead of on Facebook, the guy who ripped TJ several new ones, sent ’em a link, and still got his ass in, the guy who drew Cyanide And Happiness ripoffs and fancied himself an artiste… I was proud of myself then. I still am.

I’m going into my junior year now, and to think that I damn well intended to drop out two years ago- y’know, it still doesn’t sound half bad. But this is still goodbye: cry me a river, but it’s been a long time coming- and you gotta admit, I was a dumb, idealistic eighth grader.

The original and a current Happy Doodle hi-fiving.


(Notice the complete lack of posts from Ilia. You suck, man. Hit me up sometime.)

(Thanks for giving a darn, Mr. Shah. You knew something I didn’t when you wrote that TJ rec. Say hi to the rest of B Pod.)

(Mrs. Sky, remember when I promised you brownies when I got that rejection letter? Sorry you never got them.)

Over and out.

Posted in Blog Updates | 7 Comments

One Year

It’s been 365 days since I last posted my farewell. One year since I left for the horrors of TJ. I left the task of running the site to Ilia, trusting he’d take over just fine.

In one year, how many times has Ilia posted?








Ilia, go screw yourself up the ass with a cactus. :-)

What is there to say about freshman year? It was… challenging. Fun. Crappy. Stimulating. Tiresome. Would I do it again? Probably not. If things went my way, I’d be preparing for sophomore year at Chantilly, looking forward to all sorts of technical theater goodness, and you’d actually have things to read.


What have I been doing? I went to a national Japanese convention and won a free mousepad. I submitted a horrible essay that I turned in because I was too lazy to rewrite it at 2 A.M. and got it published. (Coming out in September. Not telling where. If you find it, please don’t read it.) I got into Minecraft (shame on me) and I’ve just started modding it with a friend of mine. I got good enough grades to not get kicked out of the school. Fun times.

I came in expecting quite a, er, college-centric place, for lack of a better word. Where every decision was made with the future in mind. Where the school was seen as a mere stepping stone to the Ivy League or wherever the hell India has its eyes on nowadays. Where the administration hung balloons in a hallway to convince the donors that TJ was an “exciting and spirited” place to be while piling on seminar after seminar of How You Can Get Into Harvard So That We Can Look Good.

Thankfully the administration is great. Supportive of whatever you want to do. Unfortunately, that last paragraph is essentially the hopes and dreams of a good chunk of the student body.

I found myself in a place full of over-eager freshmen, pseudo-enthusiastically pummeling through debate team, MathCounts, science club, rocketry, starting their own crappy “web design firms” and donating enough percentage points of the $2.38 in Adfly revenue to legally call themselves a nonprofit*, whatever the newest STEM thing at Yale is that’s worth jack squat but looks good on a resume. The atmosphere was too rushed, too hectic, too unappreciative- all about the stuff on paper and not enough about enjoying school for what it was. Perhaps it’s too strong of a word, but my class was brainwashed-

Hang on.

[digs out thesaurus]

Yeah, my class was pretty damn proselytized.

Even I was forced to be that way, to a degree; come time for class signups I chose Psychology, a half-year course, and Technical Theater, another half-year course that was new that year. A week later, as my counselor sat with each of my classmates and went over our schedules (her stated purpose was to make sure nobody attempted to drop math, as if that was going to be an issue at TJ) I was informed that I was the only person in the entirety of the school to have chosen that class. 1,863 students at TJ. 1 in Technical Theater. The drama teacher was accomodating; I’d be in the same classroom as the one (1) drama class and given separate material. (Don’t try to hide your jealousy, children.)

My mother was not. Apparently AP computer science will get me into a good school. Whoopee.

Perhaps I was being idealistic- actually, I was being very idealistic, but that wasn’t the environment in which I wanted to be. And it still isn’t. Maybe it’s just Dumb Freshman Syndrome; I hear it gets better with age, but it still sucked. It took me a while to find people who weren’t crazy. Before I did, things were overwhelming. I was stressed. Tired. Blew up a few times. Not my proudest moment. Man am I glad to found a place in TJ that isn’t insane.

Relatively, of course.

Fox. Carter. Thai. Damn. Wade through the crap and you’ll find people that are smart, funny, supportive, just there, there to make you feel good, there to make you feel inferior as hell when you see how damn intelligent they are, screw it, I’m going to stop before this turns into sappy chick-flick smut. Thanks, guys. <3

And yes, the teachers are that good. Well, some of them suck, but when the laws of probability work in your favor, you’ll actually learn something for a change- certainly refreshing. You’ll learn that there actually is some neat-ass stuff out there when you look past the Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning. And learning’s been made fun again. Worthwhile. Finally. You bet your ass I’m ready. Too bad almost nobody else is.

It’s this stuff that you have to hang on to at a place like TJ. Stuff that’ll keep you guys from finding me dead sometime in February. Going into sophomore year, I’m beginning to see how damn valuable things like this are.

I don’t know if I’m looking forward to next year or not. I really don’t deserve to be here. Don’t want to be here. But at the same time, I kinda do.

Send help.

Send baked goods.

Yeah, send baked goods.

Love and tacos,
-Zeal :-)

*”Starting a web design firm in this job market has got to be the worst idea besides stuffing your mattress with hundreds and lighting it on fire.” – Constantin Waldschmidt

EDIT: Oh, I have a website now. A proper one. Not this. Duh.

Posted in Blog Updates | 2 Comments


In less than a week, high school starts. And as you know, I won’t be blogging for at least the next year. So this is the obligatory farewell post before I leave.

Does this mean the blog is dead? Yes and no. Yes, as in Ilia will still be posting new material on this site. As some of you know, he’s remaining at Chantilly and will be able to enjoy relative lack of stress and abundance of free time that is typically associated with non-TJ schools. No, as in don’t expect him to churn out content in the volumes that you’re used to. Better than nothing, right?

So from here on out, consider this Ilia’s blog, not mine. Thanks again, guys, you’ve been a great audience and I’m going to miss writing for you. But life goes on. Blah blah blah insert more sentimental crap here.

Bai :3


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Comic: Unit Ten

Sorry for this being a day late, guys, but my scanner’s had problems. I was about to take a photo of this with a camera and then crop it out. Ghetto fabulous!

This is a comic I drew in response to my class’s depressing grades on the unit ten test. Image


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Comic: TJ Grief

This comic won’t make sense until you read this Wikipedia article first.

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High School Plans

…kind of a misleading title, because I don’t have any plans for high school, actually.

Which is because today I found out I got myself accepted to TJ. Hoo rah.

What does this mean? Well, first of all, it means I’m a gigantic hypocrite.

But more importantly, it means that I won’t be updating the site any more. Sorry, guys, but I barely had enough time as it was last year, and considering that it’s TJ I have no chance in hell of getting anything quality up regularly.

I’ll try to keep you guys updated, but don’t get your hopes up. Chances are I’ll be too busy trying to keep up with my algebra homework or whatever.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be putting up comics for the rest of the summer, but I’m checking my site statistics and those are generating about zero traffic, so maybe not. Oh well.

So I guess this marks the end of Over8d. Thanks for all the fun I’ve had over the past two years. You have no idea how much it means to me that you guys actually want to read some crappy comedy material by a prepubescent eighth-grader. So thanks again, and I’ll see you guys later.


P.S. If for some reason I go back to Chantilly, I will resume posting as usual. So here’s hoping, right? :D

P.P.S. In response to the barrage of emails and whatnot I’ve been receiving congratulating me, thank you, but if anything, you should be feeling sorry for me. Oh well.

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Comic: Fries

[Apologies for how late I’m posting this, gang, but I’m writing this in Seattle at the moment and so it’s 11 at night, not 1 in the morning. Oh well.]

You guys like corny puns, right?


Thanks to Gil for helping me come up with the joke.

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