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April 2004 Archives

April 1, 2004

Potential Myazaki-gasm, or dud?

Viz comics has put out a manga-ized version of Spirited Away consisting simply of stills from the animated cartoon movie edited into a comic with word balloons. I've been meaning to buy the DVD but as a reader rather than a viewer, and as a cartoonist who likes to explore still pictures for stealing inspiration, I may enjoy these more in the long run. Or would I? It is co-opted art, and rather steeply priced... are these books worth having?

Oh, all right then, here's some April Fool stuff.

From The Highway Star:

Deep Purple announce new release schedule
"In the future, Deep Purple will only release new music on current and past members' birthdays."

... could be any day of the year then.

April 2, 2004

Manley man blogs optimistically.

Joey Manley thinks the difficulty of making money in webcomics is, on the whole, good for webcartoonists.

Money quote:
If making money from web content were easy, if it were simply a matter of applying one perfect strategy to the problem, you and I wouldn't stand a chance. Disney, AOL/TimeWarner, Rupert Murdoch, whoever -- you know, the suits -- would have slapped down their x's and their o's in every corner of the board, and won the game, years ago. That's exactly what they were trying to do during the dotcom bubble, doncha know: establish utter domination, as quickly as possible, and as coldly. That's what they do. This does not mean, by the way, that they are evil. It just means that they are large corporations.

But back to the point: if this game were easy, you and I wouldn't even be allowed to play.


A day or so ago I finally bought a subscription to Girlamatic completing my set of Modern Tales anthology site subscriptions. I'm now digging through the archives.

First impressions:
1. A lot of comics have archives consisting of multiple pages, each of which offers only a second or so's worth of reading. This is annoying and destroys the pacing of these comics. Long, scrolling archive pages, please!
2. Favorite comics so far: Sparkneedle and the ultra-cute Jeepers but both of these were my faves before I subscribed.
3. Currently reading: Lucas and Odessa by the same artist as Sparkneedle and Arcana Jayne - Hair of the Dog by Lisa Jonte and MP Mann. So far, Lucas and Odessa hasn't impressed me as much as Sparkneedle, which is a staggeringly original creation with an even more staggering consistency of style. Arcana Jayne - HOTD starts out very well, but runs into difficulty sustaining the energy of the beginning. The chopped, paginated display doesn't help. I'll probably finish reading it though.

April 3, 2004

ROCR schedule change

Just a quick heads-up: due to a combination of crunch time for the museum exhibit (and lemme tell ya, it's hair-raisin'), teaching work later in the month, and a family matter requiring me to travel to England over the Easter holiday weekend, Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan will appear twice a week throughout the month, on Mondays and Fridays. I'll be hard-pressed to stick even to that schedule...

However, I'll try and make something special of these more sporadic updates.

April 4, 2004

Presents for a baby

On Friday, I'll be on my way to England to assume Godfatherly duties at the baptism of my nephew Kyle. My brother emailed me to remind me that said duties include:

1. Springing for the baby's baptismal outfit; and
2. Buying him a present.

No problem (I think the unspoken part of the deal is that Kyle will spring for my headstone when I croak so I'll come out on top) except that being a confirmed non-parent myself, I haven't got a clue what to buy for a five-month-old baby. I've just been to the toy shop, and I'm sure that a giant Tigger plushie would at least make his mother happy (and if I were little, I'd love it), but the kid's already being brainwashed with Tiggers, Tiggers everywhere, so I'd welcome alternative suggestions.

Also, I'll need something to wear at the baptism myself. Of course, the baby will be the main attraction, but I don't want to show up either looking like a bum or upstaging the rest of the family. I've inquired after the dress code...

And my brother had emailed me earlier about some items he wanted me to pick up for himself. That at least will be easy...

Museum update

Sorry I haven't been as frequent in updating Waffle readers about the digital exhibit. So much of my time has been taken up these past weeks by actually putting it together, checking that all materials are complete, designing and building the pages, etc, etc, that I haven't had the energy at the end of a day to write about it.

However, it is now inching towards completion, and I hope to be able to deliver the first version to the museum on Tuesday or Wednesday. I also hope to shoot some more pictures then. Then in the final week before the museum opens (which will be April 21), I'll iron out the kinks and upload the final corrections.

Original art for sale!

For the first time in many years, possibly ever, I've drawn an original page that is a nice-looking work of art in its own right. So I'm flogging it! The comic that the artwork is the original for will run on Monday, April 12, which is when the artwork will go on sale in the Modern Tales Swapmeet. So watch that space!

April 5, 2004

A little note on Monday's update

I've blogged here about the financial difficulties webcartoonists can land into. Some two years ago, a webcomics reader known as TGIF was one of a small group of people who had been trying to help a webcartoonist get his hands on much-needed equipment, and he had also been discussing the creation of a fund that would give out loans to cartoonists to cover financial emergencies. A way to keep them working without having them be dependent on the unpredictable charity of individuals. Ironically, around that time, TGIF began to suffer from a rare mitochondrial illness. This has rendered him unable to work and has devastated his family' s finances.

A man who went much further than he had to to help cartoonists as a group now needs help himself. Today, in lieu of a page rate for Yonaka who drew the background for today's ROCR episode, I've made a donation to him, and just this once I'd like to ask you to consider doing the same. Using the button below will send directly to TGIF under his real name.

April 6, 2004

Comment spam redux

Okay.. the tide of comment spam is now definitely rising. I have taken the following measures:

1) All co-bloggers can now edit all posts, so unless I missed something they will now be able to delete or neuter comment spam.
2) The default setting for comments on new posts is now "closed". For each new posting, bloggers will have to decide if they want to invite comments or not. This is a temporary measure, until I have resolved item number 3.
3) The single most abused feature is the URL input field. I hate having to disable that, both because it is a courtesy to legitimate posters to let them display their URL, and because the level of discourse tends to be higher when people's posts are associated with a public website or known identity. However, I will not let this blog be polluted through this feature, so when I have a little more time, I will edit the appropriate templates (a single Moveable Type setting to allow or disallow this would be *very* desirable), and URL display will be gone. Blame the terrorists, not me.
4) I will look into preventative measures like MT-blacklist or Typekey. Both solutions have disadvantages. Shared, non-user-visible blacklists similar to MT-blacklist have failed for Usenet and Email so there's no reason to assume that they will work on blogs in the long run. I'll probably install it but it will only be one extra line of defense.
Typekey, on the other hand, makes any blog that uses it considerably less open and hospitable, unless all blogs use it *and* everyone on the internet develops a high level of interest in blog comment posting. Bleah.
A Bayesian filter plugin exists and that might work better. But my prefered solution is still violent retribution meted out on spammers.
5) In the absense of laws allowing for violent retribution, I will name and shame spammers instead.

Continue reading "Comment spam redux" »

April 7, 2004

24-hour comic day!

Announcement: If I'm at all fit to do it, I intend to take part in 24-hour Comics Day. I will start work at midnight, California time (because Scott McCloud who first thought of 24-hour comics lives in California, see) and finish 24 hours later (duh). I'll work at either my own studio or one of the Stripmuseum's public studios (if the museum receives and approves this idea in time - they're all in ultra-crunch mode so they might not be open to it) ; in the former case, I'll webcam it, and in the latter case the museum's visitors will be able to gawp at me.

I intend to go in almost completely blank. No sketches, no developed ideas, and come out with a finished comic.

At last, pictures of the columns

I've spent all day working on the exhibit, and there's good news and bad news, both resulting from the guy in charge of hardware cracking the whip. He called insisting that I install the bulk of the exhibit today. So I slaved away with the HTML until 6 PM, then slaved some more installing it on the museum's computers, which turned out to be a considerably greater hassle than just copying a bunch of files should be.
The good news, then, is: it's almost finished, and a first version is already installed.

The bad news is: there is a lot left to do, and unless I do it tomorrow, I may not be allowed to do it.
The to-do list includes:
1. fixing some faults that showed up in the exhibit once I'd copied it to a real system, ranging from missing images to the rather stupid oversight on my part that there wasn't an obvious way to get back to the exhibit's front page. Those are easy. I'll take a floppy with fixes to the museum tomorrow and fix those.
2. adding some materials from people, who, for whatever reasons, didn't get their material in on time. This is the most frustrating one for me because the people involved all did extra work for the exhibit. I'm not sure I even know how to break it to them that unless I have it in the mail tomorrow morning, I may not be able to use it before the museum opens. As always, I'll see what I can do *provided* that it doesn't lead to me canceling my trip to England, or showing up there empty handed and/or looking like a vagrant. Those possibilities are out of the question.
3. House style compliance. This may also not happen, but I don't find it that frustrating, simply because the house style was still under development while I was already putting stuff together, and I only got a CD of fonts last Friday, after emailing and phoning people repeatedly. Those fonts, of the Neutratext family, all turned out to be mac versions... When the museum gets its hands on some PC versions, it will be easy enough to change the CSS files so that everything is in Neutratext, and matches the museum's stationary.
4. Security. Turns out that the people from the hardware firm thought I knew about that, whereas I thought the museum's own computer people would do the necessary stuff to keep the exhibit vandalism proof. I'll phone around tomorrow to see who can do what, but I for one can only do the most obvious things.

Another bit of not-so-good news is that some of the prints on the columns were already showing damage from the wear and tear of raising them up! I hope the museum people find ways to cover these small tears and stains up a bit; otherwise we may find that the prints won't survive long.

Continue reading "At last, pictures of the columns" »

Exhibit addendum: question for Windows experts

One thing I didn't mention in my last blog entry was that there is still this huge configuration problem with the monitors. The photos in which I tried to show the monitor setup were all useless, but there are TV screens mounted above the regular monitors which are *supposed* to show the same thing as the regular monitors. However, they're doing nothing of the sort. Some show only a Windows desktop background with nothing on top, some seemingly arbitrarily show a secondary desktop, so that windows open on the TV screens but not on the monitors. In neither case can the mouse cursor be made visible on the TV screens.
The museum's computer workers haven't quite figured out what they're doing wrong, and I, not being nearly as good at that sort of stuff as people automatically assume I am, also don't know how to make it work properly. It's not my job, but I would find it embarrassing if it still wasn't working come opening day. So how do you make two different screens show the same picture in Windows XP professional? Something tells me that it shouldn't be that difficult, but apparently it is (note that I can't try things at home, this being a linux machine and all)...

April 8, 2004

And it's back to the museum again

I've been back to the museum to copy some more work to it. I ended up staying there a little longer than I anticipated, but I didn't mind because in daylight, with a fresher eye, the exhibit looks a lot better. I've fixed a few glaring errors in the exhibit itself, and spent some time trying to get those monitors working properly. They still aren't (Danny's suggestion in this morning's comments was followed up but I couldn't find the setting he referred to) but I now know who to ask - and if I can't reach that person, well, the monitors have to be configured through through NVidia Nview (surely someone reading this has worked with that?)

I mentioned damage to the prints covering the columns yesterday, but I'm glad to report that I saw rolled-up replacement prints in the room today. Also, there will be opportunities to install an updated version next week. Things are looking up!

By the way, I have new pictures, but infuriatingly, the linux system won't let me upload them from the digital camera even though I did exactly the same things I to get to them as yesterday. Computers? We're better off scratching pictures into the sand with sticks!

April 13, 2004

Two webcomics I didn't run in the exhibit...

... because the people involved didn't get my mails, got them but didn't answer them, got them and answered them but I didn't get their replies, got them and answered them and I got their replies but lost them...

The Spiders by Patrick Farley;
Player Versus Player by Scott Kurtz.

I still want both, and have in fact prepared archives for both, in case they email me back to confirm (if they email me back to say no, I'll just delete the archives). You probably know PVP, but if you don't, go check it out. Patrick Farley's The Spiders is a favorite among the arty, innovative webcomics crowd, and rightly so. It also has a great story.

(Forgot to post this one before leaving. Sorry)

April 14, 2004

I have returned

I'm back from a trip to England, but won't be blogging much as I'm still overwhelmed by work. I've already put in the first hours of a two-week string of workshops and put in some more tweaks of the exhibit (now running in kiosk mode and with Stripster's massive collection included as the latest update) and will spend this evening working on next Friday's ROCR page and preparing for Friday's workshops in which I will be teaching adults. Whew!

April 15, 2004

Heads up

I'm offering only 50% chance that Friday's Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan update will be on time. Workshops and the museum continue to demand way too much of my time...

And it turns out that...

...like I warned in yesterday's blog entry, I can't get Friday's update done in time, at least not without either driving myself insane or showing up groggy and late at tomorrow's workshops. I hope that this will be the last canceled update for 2004 (having already missed more updates in the first 3 1/2 months of this year than in the 3 1/2 years before that put together, or so it seems), and I do expect things to get back to nearly normal next week, but for now, last Monday's Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan update will stay up until next Monday. I would rather that it didn't, for reasons that I will go into when I have more time and energy (sigh), but that's how it's gonna be.

April 16, 2004

Volunteers needed for kid-friendly website

One question that keeps coming up in the recent workshops I've been doing for kids aged 9-12 is "do you have a website?" At that point I tend to hem and haw and turn more than a bit weasely, because while I think that an intelligent kid who's into fantasy and read it with some parental guidance would not find the material in ROCR objectionable or harmful (I read much stranger stuff at that age), I still wouldn't want it to be the first thing made by me that a child saw.
So I need a kid-friendly website, featuring maybe a few Floor material, some info on workshops and space to put other things I might do in the future, aimed at young readers (particularly English-as-a-second-language learners). I have my hands full, so I'm calling for volunteers to design it!

What I'm looking for:

* Kid-friendly design, with particular attention to usability aimed at kids. (this is probably easier than designing usability for adults because kids are more patient about waiting for stuff to load, and are more likely to read instructions).
* Design need not be consistent with the style of my other sites.
* Standards-compliance prefered; not limited to a single browser or platform.
* Extensible - site needs to be able to accommodate future work
* Dutch and English versions of texts (supplied by me) on the same page (English dominant); English with glossaries in the style of Hello You to be used for comic pages.

I don't have a big budget and don't expect anything fancy; if no volunteers are forthcoming I might go with an inexpensive design agency, but first I'd like to see if any of my readers are interested in doing this for me. If so, contact reinder@despammed.com

April 17, 2004

At least it makes my purchasing decisions easier

Flemish vocal goddesses Lais have released a new album. Unfortunately, what it's released on is a shiny disk that may or may not cause music to be played if it is placed in a CD player. So I'll wait for it to either go to mid-price or be released on CD. Instead, I bought the new Finntroll album Nattfödwhich had also just arrived in the shops. It plays in anything! And it's quite alright even if it's not as good as Jaktens Tid.

Seriously, I've had so many playback problems with the last batch of CDs that I bought that had so-called copy control technology on them that I'm losing patience with them even as cheap reissues of albums I already know to be essential. I won't boycott them outright, but it's a huge strike against any album if it's unplayable in my discman or computer.

X!Gloop revisited

This comic from 1991 has been in my Gallery for some time, but as I'm no longer updating that (something in the server setting has changed so I can't post anything), I might as well repost it for new readers to boggle at!

As Adam Cuerden said back when I posted it: "Heh heh heh! Delightfully mad! =)"

April 18, 2004

Back to the ftp client chase

The chase is on again for a graphical ftp client for linux that satisfies the fairly basic (to me) criterion of not actually being harder to use than the command line. gftp just failed it (again!) in a big way. I already started having doubts a few weeks ago when I tried to set a bookmark on it. It turned out that gftp uses the evil style of configuration found in quite a few gtk-based programs, where after you click OK on a change you have to go back to a menu and actually "save changes" for real. That sort of thing always makes me wonder if linux programmers actually use graphical software. Do they just write them because someone told them that is what they have to do to get linux accepted by the masses? Still, that's a minor issue because you don't set bookmarks every time you use a program.

What is a big deal is if, when you try to use the program to upload something, it will not let you drag and drop multiple files, and indeed will treat the files on your drive, which are clearly visible in the left pane, as if they don't exist. I suppose I could have spent some time figuring out what the error was. But what I did instead was reach for the command line ftp app, upload the files in all of one minute using that, and add gftp to the list of useless apps that don't save me time in the way that a 4 years out of date version of WS ftp does.

On the way to recovery

After the spate of work on the comics museum project (speaking of which, there is a whole batch of new photographs on the studio computer which I hope to upload as soon as internet access from there is restored, but before the museum's opening day even if it isn't), the final pages for this school year's Hello You, the ROCR work and the trip to England which was as hectic as any of the above, I was pretty exhausted. Much more exhausted than I thought I was, testimony to which are the pile of forgotten bills on my desk, the odd errors in the ROCR comics just before the Sparknoodle sequence we're in now and my own inability to get out of bed if I don't absolutely have to go out and teach at a fixed time. I'm getting better now, but I still find myself having to take naps in the afternoon, which was unheard of this time last year.

Nevertheless, I will have an ROCR update on Wednesday. I'm not resuming the regular Mon/Wed/Fri schedule just yet, but I wanted to have this one out on Wednesday to make up for Friday's missed update. And there will be one on Friday the 23rd, before we go back to the reduced schedule for the rest of April.

Also, I've decided to cancel my plans to do a 24-hour comic on the 24th. If I can't get through a regular working day without a nap now, then it's unlikely that I'll be fit enough to do a 24-hour comic next week. Some other time.

April 19, 2004

Two more who've got it bad

I promise, I'm not going to make this the place where I talk about how bad we poor widdle cartoonists have it, but two more of my favorite people in comics have got serious problems to deal with.

Scritch cartoonist Lucas Phelps has been jailed on a manslaughter charge (not for manslaughter as Comixpedia's header on the case says). The contents of the article at Comixpedia are copied straight from Graphic Smash's press release:

[The charge] is the result of an auto accident that took place almost two years ago, well before he began Skritch.

In the time that I've known him, Phelps has been a dapper professional, the precise opposite of his selfish, nasty title character. His quirky sense of humor and adventure makes for a delightful read, and has propelled Skritch from a slow start into one of Graphic Smash's most popular features.

I am in communication with Phelps's wife Jennifer. She informs me that Lucas is planning to write, draw and ink new Skritch episodes from the inside... as soon as she can get him supplies. But even after that, his new circumstances present challenges to the production process. He'll have to mail the strips to her for coloring. Under such circumstances, his work has to be placed on indefinite hiatus.

He'll be missed, and his return will be welcomed.

I agree, and although I don't know the particulars, I hope he gets cleared of all
charges. The two-year delay seems dodgy to me in any case.

[Update: T Campbell reports that Lucas pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 3 1/2 years. T also writes:

I have to come to terms with my own hypocrisy, here. If I had known the victim and not Lucas, I would probably hate Lucas for this. How many others have I condemned in my thoughts as totally evil based upon a single moment of astonishingly poor judgment?

Don't misunderstand me: manslaughter is a grievous wrong. And I accept that he deserves punishment. But I insist he also deserves the chance to continue his art. He plans to: as I write this, his wife is working to get him art supplies. As I said in the original announcement about this, "he will be missed, and his return will be welcomed."

And with that, too, I'm in complete agreement.

Carol Lay has found out that the tall, handsome and funny charmer she married a few years ago has racked up $24,000 in secret credit card bills, and stolen and lied about money. To get him out of his life, she needs to buy him off, so she's selling a lot of her originals cheap. read all about it at the Comics Journal Message Board.

April 21, 2004

Urgent call to contributors to the Digital exhibit

If you have submitted HTML pages instead of just graphics to the digital exhibit, and any of them have code in them causing links to jump out of the window or frame (including target=_top) please contact me now at reinder@despammed.com . They are causing the exhibit to break. I don't know why they didn't break the exhibit while I was testing it, but they are breaking it now that it has gone live. I will try to hunt down the instances I know about so that I can either destroy them or (in cases where they are really essential) make them safe, but I *know* I won't catch them all.

(And yes, I'd much rather be writing here about the opening ceremonies and how nice it all has turned out, and send some much needed personal communications to people about the various bigger and smaller things that went wrong during the process of building this but I can't because I have to fix this killer problem first, so that only the first 1000 or so visitors will see the broken exhibit.)
[Update: I think the reason I missed instances of this in material sent to me by Demian5 and Charley Parker is that they are easy, indeed almost automatic, to ignore when you have a full interface, with a keyboard, a mouse and a back button in the browser. In kiosk mode, with only a trackball for your input, you will notice them and be unable to get back to the exhibit's start page or even the previous page. Lesson learned.]

April 22, 2004

About the museum

Okay... so now I have a bit of time to write about the museum. My workshops for the week are over, and I've managed to put in an emergency update. Instead of writing one massive update, I'll jot down some of my observations as and when they pop up in my head.

The opening was interesting. Not that I saw much of the actual ceremony; the room chosen wasn't really suitable for mass gatherings. Not only did Jeroen and I not see the speakers, but we also didn't see the screens that were supposed to relay visuals of the speakers to us. Speakers included the Mayor of Groningen, the municipality's public works bigwig, and Bert Lips of Libema, who allegedly introduced cartoonist Henk Kuijpers as "Henk Knippers"! After the opening it was time to go and tour the place, and drink drinks. I hobnobbed with Barbara Stok, Ricky van Duuren, Jeroen, the Lamelos brothers, Gerrie Hondius, Erik Wielaert and some other guys from Gr'nn, Mark Retera, Gerben Valkema and many others who I'll doubtless remember again after posting this.
I also spoke to several of the museum's committee, including the famous collector, archivist and Toonder scholar Hans Matla. I saw Jan Kruis but didn't speak to him this time. I got to see and old Toonder animation with fantastic backgrounds and exchange rumors about Toonder's health (another bout of pneumonia prevented him from dropping by or even recording a video message) and that of Jean Dulieu whose section in the exhibit has revealed him to be a major cartooning innovator and one of the best living fantasy illustrators. I'll write some more about him later.

I drank some more drinks, then spotted those errors that got me in such a bad mood. But actually, on reflection, this problem was not nearly as embarrassing as I thought. There are many parts of the museum that have teething problems. The animatronic caroussel (which I managed to take a ride on when it was still working) has broken down more than once and needs troubleshooting. The signposting and climate control both stink. All computer stuff breaks down as a result of the climate control problems, and there is the smell wafting in from the MacDonalds next to the comics shop. They're working on all these things! So I'm not letting my computer niggles bother me too much. It's actually going to be very easy to put in more emergency updates, provided I come in after 4 PM. By that time today, it was quiet enough not to feel like some sort of stage performer while opening those columns and uploading files...

Enough for now. I'll post some more stuff later. There is a lot to say - I had a blast there yesterday, and will love the place as long as I learn not to let little annoyances get to me. In a week's time, most of these problems will be solved, and the good thing is that it doesn't have to me solving all of them!

Yup. I did forget a few...

Checking on my little room during opening day, as one does, I found Jean-Marc van Tol and the girls from Saiso in conversation (Jean-Marc was getting a Saiso minicomic signed) at one of the columns. It was nice to see Jean-Marc again, and to meet the Saisos for the first time. They'll probably be in the next edition of the digital exhibit, once they've done some more work online. There's something about these two that makes it perfectly natural for them to just corner the Gr'nn guys and tell them "We want to be in the next issue of Gr'nn", and get an "OK" back from them.
The Lamelos crew, by the way, should also be featured in the digital exhibit, and will be come the next update.

Name and shame, updated

It's irritating when you're working or relaxing in a room, and someone else is hovering around you, swatting flies. However, it needs to be done. So for your continued edification, I present to you the Bastard of the week award, which goes to German Rotsberg of various gay porn and fake viagra sites. This piece of vermin has repeatedly comment spammed mine and other blogs. Here, reposted in its entirety, is the info returned by the essential Sam Spade service.

I would just love to wake up in the morning and find that German Rotsberg's little businesses have been closed down. He uses GoDaddy for his domain registration, which has an Anti-spam policy although it doesn't specifically cover blog spam yet.

Continue reading "Name and shame, updated" »

April 23, 2004

My influence is felt everywhere! Muahaha!

Girls before wall of magazines

This picture was on the front page of the Dagblad van het Noorden on Thursday. I couldn't find it on their website, so thanks to my parents for scanning it in!
The picture shows two girls looking at a wall of old Stripschrift covers inside the Stripmuseum Groningen on the day of the opening. As it happened, I'd spoken to the girl in the back in the museum's Teaching Room the same day. She is a former student of mine (and yes, I do get a kick out of saying that line); Barbara and I taught her and 14 others for a week as a special project on comics for first-year art college students. I'm terrible at remembering the names of people I teach, but we did recognise each other, and she told me that she had submitted the comic that she made for the project to the museum's talent competition, and had come out as one of the runners-up! A page from it was displayed on the wall in the Teaching Room. Is that cool or what?

In a few years' time, the 9-to-11-year-olds I've been giving introductory cartooning workshops to these past few weeks will be winning cartooning contests (not to mention Stripschapsprijzen, Reubens and Eisners) left and right. I'm sure of it. It will be world domination by proxy!

April 26, 2004

More teething problems at the museum

A visit to the Stripmuseum to check on the exhibit this morning highlighted two more teething problems. One is the lack of clear visible signposting of opening hours. The museum is closed on Mondays but it doesn't say so anywhere that I could see it. Not that people hadn't told me, but I dropped by anyway in the hope that I'd be able to get in through the back door for maintenance.
That brings me to the second niggle: although there is a formal system in place for telling who can get in for free to do work, it doesn't work too well yet. I have no badge, pass or security key so I depend on the goodwill of the museum's regular staff and whoever else happens to be in to get in.
So I'll do the check first thing tomorrow morning.

I do have a bit of time to finally thank people, and tie up some loose ends. In the process, many things didn't go as planned and so some people got accidentally snubbed - especially in the final weeks when my mood was dominated by the grim determination to get things finished in time no matter what.

What did go very easily was working with webcartoonists in America, Mexico, Canada and the UK. Apart from the ones who, for whatever reason, didn't answer my mail, getting the permissions was easy and everyone I asked to do some extra work was willing to do so. So here's a thank you to:

Continue reading "More teething problems at the museum" »

April 28, 2004

Peter Gabriel Binge!

Peter Gabriel's soundtrack work can now be had for cheap at Plato stores in the Netherlands and quite likely elsewhere as well. I'm now listening to The Long Walk Home which I expect to be hard to get into but worthwhile after a few playings, just like Passion was when I got it from the library a few months ago.

So who should go into the next update?

I still owe the Stripmuseum a maintenance update, removing some of the remaining framing errors from the pages, but I'm already looking at what to do next. Who do I want to include in a few months time?

First of all, I want to have another shot at it with those artists who didn't say no but didn't mail back to give me permission either. That means that I'll hassle Patrick Farley and Scott Kurtz again, as well as the two Dutch collectives Cutie and Nukomix. Out of these two, I might contact some individual artists as well. I love Ray Man's work on the web and in print, and I really dig Floor de Goede's stripblog.

I've already expressed my love for Sparkneedle and Jeepers on this blog, and I'd like to invite them for the next update as well. Sparkneedle because it's a fantasy comic without Tolkien/DnD influences in a format that can really only exist on the Web; Jeepers because, though it can and does exist in print, it's a great example of an eccentric comic that thrives on the Web because it can find its audience there.

I've already invited the Lamelos collective (local boys from Groningen!) and two of them have said yes. They do a lot of work in print but I like the way they present themselves as a group on their website.

I will also look at two other collectives (well, one true collective and a duo) although I still have some reservations about them. I am in the process of rooting through the Probeersel site to look for outstanding work by individuals, and am watching Saiso to see if they put more stuff online. I like the naive energy of their work, which is one property of webcomics and small press comics that is often overlooked.

Continue reading "So who should go into the next update?" »

I thought my computer security awareness was good enough... evidently not

The other day I had an online conversation with a friend, and something she said reminded me of the words to a song I like. I wanted to share these words with her so I googled for the song and found it on several sites. I went over them to see if they matched my memory of it, then sent her the link to one of those pages. She quickly reported that it contained a trojan. That night, she ended up turning her drives inside out to catch it and ensure beyond any reasonable doubt that she was clean. An awful lot of work and hassle on my account.

Now, to the best of my knowledge, I am safe from the vast and overwhelming majority of the crap that people pull on websites by the simple expedient of not using Internet Explorer, Outlook Express or, on computers that I fully own and control, Windows. I also don't open strange attachments or allow myself to be taken in by emails purporting to be from Paypal or eBay. Indeed I've been feeling so safe lately that I haven't really kept up to date with the sort of methods malware writers use to spread their crap. So I had no idea that lyric sites were a vector for these things.
Clearly this will not do. As long as I'm ignorant about these things, I will cause people like my friend to be infected by sending her links that carry malware, and I may turn out to be less safe from other kinds of attack that using Opera for web browsing and linux as my OS of choice doesn't protect me from. I may not have time to get informed, but I have less time to get infected.
What else should I watch out for?

April 29, 2004

What I want in the next update, addendum

and Flick.

MP3/Ogg playing software?

I've decided I really don't look like using Kafeine to play my MP3s. The interface is just too clunky and wasteful. To be fair, it's not a sound player but a movie player that can handle MP3 and Ogg files.
As you may remember, I had to switch from the otherwise wonderful XMMS because it just wouldn't cooperate with the sound card on my new system no matter what sound plugin I used. But having used Kafeine for a while, it annoys me that this program doesn't automatically store playlists like XMMS does, it always defaults to my home dir when I try to add files or directories to my playlist instead of remembering the last used directory like XMMS does, takes about 3 times as much space as XMMS does, it takes me back to the wrong window after altering the playlist and give me error messages that I neither understand nor need to know (for instance when adding a directory that also has a playlist in it, it tells me it can't add the playlist file to the playlist, instead of silently ignoring that file like XMMS does).
Any tips for another program that I might use? As you can tell, I'd prefer something like XMMS, a Winamp-skinnable piece of loveliness. But anything that isn't as clunky will do. Unlike my quest for the perfect linux ftp client, I'm willing to do quite extensive configuration to get it right, *if* I can trust the app to be the right one for me, because I will use it a lot if it is. And while I'd prefer a Winamp clone, I'm willing to put up with a console-based program because I won't have to look at it all the time.

April 30, 2004

ROCR to resume normal schedule

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan will resume its normal schedule starting on Monday, May the third. From then on, the comic will update three times a week again, on Monday's, Wednesdays and Fridays.

(By the way, this is the 100th entry in the blog!)

Right-wing conglomerate stifles patriotic expression

Joey Manley comments on Sinclair Broadcasting's recent decision not to broadcast Nightline's roll call of American war dead today, highlighting the free speech aspect and questioning SBGI's historical awareness:

This is scary, people. A rollcall honoring those who gave their lives in this war is not only appropriate, it's traditional and conventional journalism -- this kind of thing has been done by journalistic outlets in every American war since, at least, World War I. It's even a little jingoistic, frankly. That something like this can be considered verboten is truly a sign of the danger free speech is in, right now, in our country.

About April 2004

This page contains all entries posted to Waffle in April 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2004 is the previous archive.

May 2004 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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