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July 2005 Archives

July 1, 2005

Worst logo possible?

I don't have time to post a full report from Denmark yet, so instead I'll leave you with this thought for the weekend: Is it just me or does the logo graphic for Blank Label Comics look like a feminine hygiene product? It's the first association that comes to my mind when I see it, anyway.
"Blank Label Comics - It's curved, just like you are." Except it isn't, really.

July 4, 2005

Back from Denmark

I'm back from Denmark! I'm very tired but I want to write up a report just so I can go back and look at it later. In the absense of a decent memory, I'm gonna need a written record. In fact, the first couple of days are already becoming a bit of a blur.

Last time I was in Denmark, I kept a detailed journal in the forum. This time, I'll jot down my memories here as they pop up in my head. I did have internet access thanks to the hotel and Sven's iBook, but unlike that time, I had very little time or inclination to type up long posts. You'll have to make do with a reconstruction of events after the fact!

Continue reading "Back from Denmark" »

July 5, 2005

Message to Live 8 cynics: Shut up, you don't know nearly as much as you think you do

In the run-up to Live 8, and after the event, I kept hearing this from far too many people, far too many of whom really should know better:

It's so annoying to hear rich pop stars witter on about ending world poverty. Those people could buy Africa between them, why don't they put their money where their mouths are?

Setting aside the false irony implied in the juxtaposition of "Rich pop star" and "world poverty" (what, you wanted the poor and disenfranchised to solve the problem on their own instead?), the problem with such cynical statement is that the people making it probably don't actually know exactly how rich rock stars are (this information is available to the public, but I'll betcha the cynics haven't looked it up), or what they've been doing with their money.

Case in point: Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, worth £ 75 million, donated to charities for the homeless for years without making a bit fuss about it; then in 2003 he sold a £ 3.6 million house and donated the money to the charity Crisis.

As I type this, I can hear the cynics scoff already.

So he sold a house? Gave away 5% of his net worth? He's got plenty of other houses, and cash in hand. What else has he done?

To which I can only answer "I don't know, and neither do you." Gilmour has been putting his money where his mouth, er, isn't, and has been critical of people who donate to charities and then shout about it. Not that any amount of shouting would have silenced the chatter of "Put your money where your mouth is, then".

As for Bob Geldof's effectiveness, I'm with Jim Bliss.

I think the man's an absolute hero. He's taken the very modest amount of fame afforded someone from a late-70s punky new wave band with a couple of hits, and done frankly astonishing things with it. Yet every single time over the past couple of weeks that I've seen Live 8 discussed in the media (whether mainstream or alternative) it's been framed in the context of whether or not Geldof is really doing any good....

Here's an admission... my first real political act was almost certainly my decision to become a vegetarian in my mid-teens. It was a political act in the sense that it politicised me. My decision forced me to look at the world in a way I hadn't done before and it got me reading books by people I wouldn't have considered up until then. But the actual reason I became a veggie was to impress a girl.

My point is a simple one... young people can sometimes make decisions for silly reasons, but the ramifications of those decisions can be profound and life-changing... I'd be a completely different person today if I hadn't had a crush on a vegetarian when I was 15. My politics could very well be unrecognisable. Now, I don't know how many 16-year-old poverty activists Geldof has created in the past two weeks and will create tomorrow.
...

This is also the reason I completely condone Geldof's decision to fill the limited time available to him with the biggest possible acts, rather than making the event a showcase for African talent. This isn't supposed to be an advertisement for any particular artists... this is an attempt to get minds thinking about a particular issue. So it is infinitely more important to have the stage filled with the same faces that appear on the posters above teenage beds and on MTV than to have it filled with relatively unknown African artists, whatever their talent....

Besides, if Bob Geldof can get Roger Waters and Gilmour to perform together again, world poverty should be a piece of cake to him.

Update: Reader Mithandir pointed out an article on the BBC website in which Gilmour is quoted as saying he will not profit financially from the enormous sales boost Pink Floyd records have got from the concert, and a Universal Music spokesman pledges the profits from digital downloads of Paul McCartney's show to the cause as well. So the cynics can shut up about that as well.

Tangents reviews Ancient ROCR

Robert A. Howard at Tangents reviews the ongoing archival Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan storyline "The Stone of Contention":


Reinder shows his skills as both a storyteller and someone who can tell a humorous story here. The thing is, this story is a decade old. I don't know how much Reinder did (I think he had the old scans still on disk, but he might have rescanned the old artwork itself which shows he takes far better care of his older works than I did mine *grin* And he had to translate them into English while making it funny...) to get them up to this level of quality, but I have to say this is absolutely superb work.

I can answer that: I keep everything I draw. Recent attempts at eliminating clutter in my living room have got me motivated to throw away some scraps of paper with crappy doodles on them, but even that was done with extreme reluctance. I hoard my own art.

"Contention", though, wasn't scanned from the originals, which are very large and are in a cupboard in my bedroom, hidden by several dozen kilos worth of other originals in the same drawer. The comics pages you see now were scanned from the print version's master book, back in 2003, before I got the A3 scanner. I have re-drawn many of the word balloons on the computer - it's easy to see which were and which weren't redone. The pages were re-lettered late in 2003, when I did just over half the work needed. All pages are scanned but they're only lettered up to page 26. Prior to putting the comics in the various update queues, I looked over them again and made some more corrections. The drawings themselves are not altered apart from a few very small digital corrections, making lines clearer by closing gaps in them. I expect to have to redraw one or two panels in the final section of the story, when my art became very sloppy and unfocused, but that's just about it.

I have vague plans for re-running more archival work later on, which is why I recently asked for comments on the forum. Those plans may involve some more work to bring the material up to scratch, but still a lot less than actually working on new material. Right now, I'm enjoying my long break and the freedom to work on my other projects, so I think I'll be digging into the archives for a little while longer.

Lives of X!Gloop now has an archive worth checking out.

Speaking of archival comics, my weekend project, The Lives of X!Gloop, has reached page 10, so I'll probably start telling more people about its existence. X!Gloop was a comic I started in 1989 when I was 18. I wouldn't exactly call it good, but I am quite fond of this early work, with its defiance of the rules of plot and common sense. My plans for the comic are to serialise all the complete stories I made between 1989 and 1994, with updates on Saturdays and Sundays. That's about 48 pages so it'll take about half a year at that schedule. There are also two unfinished stories in my archives, and two more in my sketchbooks; I may finish these if the comic develops a sizable readership, and if I can be arsed. Go and take a gander if you've got a bit of time. If you enjoy Jeroen's Capn, then X!Gloop, poorly drawn as it is in comparison to that great comic, should be right up your alley.

Conservative civility watch

Okay, I said I wouldn't do this again, that if you want to hear about that sort of stuff, you can just go to Digby's blog, but I can't resist linking to this one: Liberal-hunting permit bumper sticker. I wonder how many of these were printed, and how long it will be before someone claims that that sort of thing is the exception rather than the norm, and that it's really THE LEFT *thunderclap* who are uncivil to poor oppressed conservatives all the time.

July 6, 2005

G8 protests

I live in Edinburgh, and have been basically confiined to near my house for a week due to the rioting and such attendant on the G8 protests. And I honestly don't believe it's doing any good whatsoever. Hell, the G8 aren't even meeting here.

People coming thousands of miles to protest... It just seems there's better uses for that week of their time: Help reconstruct Afghanistan. Dig wells in Africa. Raise money for charities. Give the money you'd spend to a homeless shelter. It'd probably do far more good as a whole than spending thousands of pounds just to fly out here and cause trouble.

Nostalgic for last March? Fret not

The BBC has updated the Doctor Who home page which now gives an overview of the last series, and counts down the days until Christmas. They've put up a gallery of all the weekly homepages from when the series was running, so you can play with those again. Also included are Survey results, lies and a soothing picture of kittens. It just doesn't get any better than this. (via)

Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull

And suddenly, without any fanfare, there was a new Ian Anderson solo album. Or is it a new Jethro Tull album? Some people will wonder, as the name "Jethro Tull" is prominently traded on.

It's a solo album. It's a live concert recording of Ian Anderson with his new band and the Frankfurt Philharmonic Orchestra, playing a mix of tracks from three of Anderson's four solo albums and Jethro Tull classics. Having just been paid by my biggest client, I snapped it up and gave it a few spins.

Continue reading "Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull" »

July 7, 2005

London explosions

Rumour is flying about the Tube/bus explosions in London this morning. Nosemonkey at Europhobia is following it and has stated his belief that it's a terrorist attack. I'll wait for the dust to settle before making the call, but I can't see the original explanation of a power surge on the Tube working right now.

Update (12.57, CET): The media are now calling it an attack or a series of attack (the difference between the two being merely one of point of view), and considering the M.O. to be that of Al-Qaeda.

Addendum (19.30, CET): I'm not going to repeat the same list of blogs covering the attack that other blogs are showing, but if you're worried about someone in London who might be injured, dead or simply caught up in the confusion, go to the new Livejournal community dedicated to the attacks, and start your research there. Remember, though, that London is a city of several million and the casualties are likely to be fewer than a hundred dead and several hundred injured, so if your acquaintance is not listed anywhere as definitely alive, don't panic. It's terrible, but it's not 9/11, not even proportionally.

Nostra-foksuk

Tooting his own horn on his stripblog Poepoe, Jean-Marc van Tol of Fokke and Sukke mentions that they ran this cartoon yesterday:

The top caption reads: "Fokke and Sukke finally know the delivery address". Terrorist!Fokke is saying "But we will need the Semtex before 2012". Terrorist!Sukke: "Can you do that?"

On Poepoe, JMvT shows a possible follow-up suggested by a reader, but the FokSuk team has quite sensibly decided to run the cartoon they'd already planned for today.

By the way: I generally agree with Tim Worstall's admonishment to avoid speculation, political point-scoring and unloading barrels full of hate until the dust has settled and the bodies are buried. But I don't think that applies to joking about it. As Nosemonkey puts it:


Cheers for the messages of support. London's grateful. And we're going to keep our heads. Stiff upper lip and all that - wouldn't do to get all emotional. Hardly British - and if we stop being British about it, the bastards have won. So we'll have a few beers, make as many sick jokes about it in pubs up and down the land as we can, and get on with our lives as normal. Other than causing the grief of too many innocent people, these cunts will have achieved precisely fuck all. We shall not be moved.

So I'm quite in favour of having that reader-suggested cartoon on the Poepoe website, or this from John B, or this short message from a fella called Andrew who was very close to one of the blasts:


An open letter

to the terrorist cunts who tried to kill me today:

Fuck you. You missed me. Better luck next time.

It's a way to cope.

July 9, 2005

Diary of a Mac man, 1

I'm typing this entry from my new iBook. Yes, I've joined the legion of Macintosh users, or as Branko Collin calls them, wankers. While I was staying in Denmark, Sven lent me his iBook to stay in touch with the home front, and I liked it so much I started thinking more seriously about giving the Mac a serious try. That's a lot of seriousness but then I'm a serious guy.
I picked the iBook over the technically more advanced, cheaper and more obviously designed for newcomers Mac Mini because I had more use for a laptop, and once I factored in the cost of adding a monitor (because fiddling with monitor-router devices gets tired quickly), the price differential wasn't major anymore.
I won't start using it as a production machine just yet. My aim for now is to learn how to use the system. As you may have noticed, I've been getting a bit fed up with both Windows and linux, so I'm hoping that this system will be more cooperative in the long run. Will be a while before I can afford Photoshop though.

Continue reading "Diary of a Mac man, 1" »

July 10, 2005

Diary of a Mac Man 2: Tablet woes

Never in a million years would I have suspected that my first major disappointment working with the Mac would concern the Wacom tablet. After all, everyone in graphics uses a Mac and a tablet, right? So the people involved would have put some focus into making sure that it always works, right? Apparently not. The Graphire kind of, sort of worked when I simply plugged it in, with exactly the same limitations as under linux: it would stop moving 2/3s of the way across the screen in any directions, as if it had encountered the edges of the screen there. So I installed the drivers that came with the tablet, as instructed. Before restarting, I did some other stuff, until I went home.
Today, the tablet doesn't work at all. I was shown an error message about software having the wrong security settings, but what I got out of this message was that I could click "Repair" and reboot again, and then the wrongness would go away. Nope. The tablet still isn't working. This is precisely the sort of thing that used to drive me nuts about linux, so I'm very disappointed to encounter it here. I'll do some digging around to figure out what the problem is, but man, was I hoping I wouldn't have to.

Otherwise, things are going well. Azureus and NeoOffice are installed and working (with all the default office productivity stuff including Apple Works gone from the system. Works couldn't open the first Word Document I threw at it, and as for the 30-day time-bombed MS Office trial version, they gotta be kidding). I've also got quite a few software tips in email, for which I thank you all. I'll be trying out all that gear. Branko has kindly provided an update on his earlier series of posts on editors, and there are one or two that I'd like to try out.

I've also encountered some very rabid anti-Mac sentiment, which surprised me a bit. I know some Mac advocates can get up people's noses, but so do advocates of other operating systems, particularly linux, and I never encountered such strong feelings against that. As a way to do things, Mac is serving a lot of people very well and so far I'm picking up the skill set very easily.
One reason I'm writing this Diary of a Mac Man is that I'm in a pretty good position to write about Macintoshes objectively: I'm not married to any one OS or computing approach, I know a fair bit about solving any problems, and if I can't solve one myself, I can describe it reasonably well and find help with it. I may become an advocate but the Mac will have to earn it.

Now to solve that tablet problem, grrr.

Update:Installing a new driver from the Wacom site seems to return the tablet to its original, rather halting, functionality. Don't know if it will continue to work after I reboot though.

Update 2: I got the error again, but the tablet is working. I'd still like to get rid of the error though.

Update 3: to prevent the same problem from occurring with the Epson 1660 scanner at home, I've taken a look at documentation on the Epson site, and now I'm paying attention to the bundled driver thing. Looks like the best approach to those peripherals (both bought in 2003, so the software on the CDs is for earlier versions of OS X anyway, and the instructions are probably no longer applicable) is to just hook them up. Great, I like that.
Update 4: I'd put the bundled drivers to the test, but I can't find the damned USB cable for the scanner. Some other time then.

Wanna buy some SS memorabilia?

This text ad inside Opera 8.01 probably says something about the blogosphere, or blogging in general, or maybe the system was confusing this blog with Little Brown Shirts (placed below the cut because it was messing up page display in some places):

Continue reading "Wanna buy some SS memorabilia?" »

Nostra-Dijkhuis takes a flutter, and other stuff

I've added Get Medieval to the short link list on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan homepages. I've been following it for a while now, and yes, I expect it will end up going places, although we may need to re-define "Going Places" somewhat. Let's see. I predict that it will receive an offer from a major web publisher sometime in the next 12 months (as with Wings of Change, it still counts as a "hit" if the artist turns the offer down), or get a major award or some other significant form of recognition within the comics world within that same time frame.

I'm looking for two other comics I saw on one of my trawls. One was an urban fantasy with fantasy creatures trying to survive in the real world. It had a hilarious scene in which a pixie/fairy mistook a Ken doll for a potential boyfriend. The other had a bit of a 1970s underground feel going, with lots of action, gunplay and a naked blue girl. As I remember, it was a bit rough, but I'd like to keep tabs on it every once in a while to see where it goes. I think both comics were on Keenspace. If you recognise these comics, or are the author of one or both of them, contact me.

While I'm talking comics, I might as well mention that The Lives of X!Gloop updated this weekend, right through a brief outage at Xepher.net, and that The Double by Daniel Østvold and Geir Strøm starts on August 1, on my Webcomicsnation site, Chronicles of the Witch Queen. Soon, there'll be 12 Reinder-Dijkhuis-related webcomics update a week!

July 11, 2005

Diary of a Mac Man, 3

The tablet is working the way it should now. Good.
I have installed Inkscape and Expression 3.3, so I can do vector art if the fancy takes me.
Installing Inkscape should have been easy but once again I fell pray to documentation inconsistencies relating to open source software. The Inkscape Wiki told me I had to download and install Fink, a package manager, to download, compile, dependency-unHell and install the Mac package. I did, and, then found that installing Fink introduced an inconsistency with some other package, claiming profile information that that other package uses. Fink works, but I have to use it from the directory it lives in. Might as well uninstall it but it's not the neat sort of package that Mac programs use, so it could get complicated. I'm getting a bit wary of installing more open source auxilliary programs for the Mac - they seem to introduce problems like this a lot. The old Unix tools are great to have, but I don't think those newfangled package managers are quite as well-made as the old stallwarts, simply because they don't do what they say they do on my system. Since troubleshooting them is likely to become a bit of a chore, I'd better leave them alone from now on.
Meanwhile, I could find and install a precompiled binary from Inkscape's Sourceforge location and that just works.
I got tipped off by another cartoonist that a Mac version of Expression 3.3 could still be grabbed if you knew where to look. Cool. Last year, I used Expression a few times in Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, but I never got around to learning it properly. Maybe this time....
Meanwhile, I'm beginning to worry about the hard drive filling up. I neglected to ask for a 60 GB drive, so I got the standard 30 GB drive the iBook shipped with. Now 30 GB can last a long time if you use it judiciously, but one thing I hadn't counted on was the machine shipping with the drive already almost half full! My own installs have added to that, and although I've also removed some software, I wonder if I can cut more.
There's one app I should cut since I'm unlikely to use seriously it in the near future, especially with a disk filling up already. Garageband would probably create huge data files. But... I really want to play with it some time.

Coen from the studio next door dropped by, noticed the new machine and told me it was the same he had. I hadn't noticed:). Lots of people down this corridor have an iBook, so I just might have a support community right here.

July 12, 2005

Mao's widow's not in it.

The new title for the magazine comic formerly known as Floor will be The Gang of Four.

No name is ever ideal - even "Monty Python's Flying Circus" was chosen, committee-style, because no one could agree on the other suggestions. Names, and most brands, derive most of their strength from the product they refer to, and never trust a marketer who tells you it's the other way around. But as titles go, I think this new name is a good one. Since it was suggested on Friday, I adjusted to it easily and found myself thinking about the comic by that name.

I've got two previews of the new look and style on my DeviantArt site.

Diary of a Mac Man, 4

Today, I cleared some 4 GB off the hard drive in preinstalled stuff, by deleting:
1) The bundled printer drivers;
2) Garage Band and its sample libaries. Having the option of maybe someday playing with the software isn't worth the 2GB it's taking on the HD. Mind you, I do have some use for a sound editing app, but it would have to be one that can skin MIDI files so they sound good rather than one that can multi-track recorded sound.
I've started looking at Expression 3.3 tutorials. To my dismay, a lot of the ones that used to be there have disappeared! It's like there's a company that owns the right to make pencils, and it has decided to stop selling the pencils it makes while working on a new, improved pencil, and suddenly everyone who's been teaching kids how to use pencils decides to wipe the knowledge from their brains! But some tutorials can still be found so I'll work with those and commend the people who have kept them around for not being shortsighted. Studio E3, I salute you!

July 13, 2005

Cartoonists: Use the Belfry!

Once again The Belfry proves its usefulness. Since The Lives of X!Gloop was added to its listing, daily visits to the comic have more than tripled. OK, so it's only from about 12 to about 45 a day. OK, so it will tail off again once the comic stops being listed as new (but hopefully by then it will have gathered a few fans). OK, so there are many things about the Belfry that could be better (more usable, searchable info about the comics listed and a better genre division would be a good start). But over the years, it's proved to be the most consistent listings resource for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan and other comics I submitted there, simply because it's very widely used and very inclusive. If you've got a webcomic that's only a handful of pages in and is still building its audience, get yourself listed on The Belfry.

X!Gloop is still pending approval at OnlineComics. I've just submitted it to The Webcomics List. Both sites are also inbound traffic powerhouses, but Belfry just keeps on giving.

July 15, 2005

I needed that!

Yesterday I got to do a few things that I missed out on during the Denmark vacation. They involved another long cycling trip (but on a much-traveled route so I won't bore you with that), spotting seals in the wild, getting stung by jellyfish, getting my blood drained by hornets, getting my food stolen by large, evil-looking gulls, and being told that my swimsuit would fetch a large sum at an online auction for being vintage. Yup, I took a bike/ferry/bike ride to Schiermonnikoog again, with Sidsel and Stephen. And it was good. Could have missed out on the overcrowding in the return ferry (last ride of the day) though, and I'm sure Stephen could have missed out on finding out that his back tire, tube and indeed the whole wheel weren't up to the task of a long trip. Fortunately, that happened with only 7 kilometers to go so his improvised repairs held for long enough to get home.
An afternoon at the beach. I needed that. Now, I think I can get back to work.

Diary of a Mac Man, 5

Not much to report by now. I'm doing an Expression tutorial in the hope of wrapping my mind around the vector-based way of doing things but I could have done that on the PC if I really wanted to.
Tweaks: I figured out how to make the F-keys work right. There's a setting in the Control Panel (or whatever it's called in English - I've set the iBook to talk to me in Dutch) to make F-keys pass on software commands on their own and hardware commands when combined with the Fn key instead of the other way around. Now if I could find out how to make the tab order in web browsers include checkboxes, I'd be satisfied with the keyboard functionality.

Continue reading "Diary of a Mac Man, 5" »

If you read the write-up in MYX...

If you came to Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan through the write-up in the July issue of (the dead-tree comics magazine) MYX, you may want to read the about Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan page.

Perhaps surprisingly, there are no real errors in the one-paragraph write-up - that's certainly a better job than I've learned to expect from the press. Presumably this is because René van Densen had a hand in writing it. What wasn't mentioned in the column, though, was that the comic has recently switched to what is essentially a re-run. I am now running material from 1994 in a re-vamped, re-jiggered form. So the paragraph is accurate when it talks of the changes in style since then, but what you see is the material the style has changed from. Also, the thumbnail image used isn't technically from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan but from Courtly Manners 2: The Unicorn Race which was running on the ROCR site at the time when the write-up was presumably submitted. I don't think I'll ever run Courtly Manners stories on the ROCR sites again because it only creates confusion and sticking a big "Courtly Manners" title on top of each installment doesn't cure it.

Both Courtly Manners and Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan are available on a subscription basis through Modern Tales; however, I'm often a bit sloppy about removing recent episodes from my own websites so you may be able to explore the most recently-published material a bit more. The last episode is always free though.

I have a poorly-maintained full listing of all the work by me that's published online. Recent additions include The Lives of X!Gloop, an odd work I started when I was eighteen, and The Chronicles of the Witch Queen, a long-running collaboration between myself and a Norwegian writer/artist team, which will eventually incorporate both Courtly Manners stories as free reads for everyone. I also have a gallery of stuff on DeviantArt.

Update: there were some bizarre errors in the first version of this post. Must have been the result of the day I spent cycling in the sun on Thursday. Sorry about that.

July 16, 2005

Notes from the Harry Potter circus.

So after band rehearsal, Jeroen, Danny, Sidsel and I went to Scholtens Wristers at half past 12 to check out the queues at the Harry Potter launch. When we arrived, there was a sizable throng already, reaching to the bend in the road towards the Vismarkt. Unlike two years ago, there was no scaffolding on the buildings opposite the store, so we didn't get a good vantage point to view the proceedings from. But then, there wasn't that much to see.

Continue reading "Notes from the Harry Potter circus." »

July 18, 2005

Support ROCR! (shameless bleg)

If you have an account at Onlinecomics.net and like my comics, please take some time to add the two comics I've got listed there to your favorites.
Onlinecomics listing for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan
Onlinecomics listing for The Lives of X!Gloop
If you're a webcomics creator whose stuff I like, and you don't see your comic listed in my favorites, drop me a line and I'll rectify the situation.

I had an email from a reader the other day urging me to join one of those topsite lists. I might do so in the future, when the time is right, but for now, I don't really like them. If you want to show your appreciation, marking any of my comics as a favorite in Onlinecomics.net is your best option for the time being. Thanks.

Email availability

Reader Martin Diehl has just alerted me that my email address reinder@despammed.com is unavailable. I don't know how long this has been the case and for how much longer it will be, but if you must reach me urgently, my gmail address is my first name, reinder, and my last name, dijkhuis, separated by a dot, at gmail.com.

July 19, 2005

Modern day Robin Hoods, those Warner brothers

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Not long from now the modern day Dukes of Hazard movie will appear in theatres: the gang of modern day Robin Hoods now played by Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville, Jessica Simpson, with Willie Nelson and Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg. With this cast I have very little hope they'll do the series much justice, it seems to become more of a spoof like the Starsky and Hutch movie. In that light I tried to imagine what our heroes would drive these days: (pictures behind the cut)

Continue reading "Modern day Robin Hoods, those Warner brothers" »

Did they even watch the show?

I knew she's not the smartest person in showbizz, but to forget the doors to the General Lee are (supposed to be) welded shut?
Watch the video (beware, errors in Firefox and Opera) here, (and you'll have to watch some commercials first).

Edit: another link to the video thanks StatusNil
For your convenience, I made some screen-shots (behind the cut):

Continue reading "Did they even watch the show?" »

Carnage in the Valley of the Technical Difficulties

According to The Belfry Webcomics Tracker, the webcomics host Keenspace has been down for several hours. Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, whose main site is hosted on Keenspace, can be had at Modern Tales, as always.

I don't know the cause of the outage, and the Keen Forums are not yielding much information yet (they're up but there is no news about the outage), but it seems unrelated to the Keenspace name change, as the server that all of Keen is located on is not responding, and doesn't carry the Keenspace domain name.
Fixed.

July 21, 2005

Creative contest

Reinder and I were sitting in a bar with some friends tonight and noticed this peculiar coaster. A beer commercial, with two males and a female not quite comfortable sitting drinking beer. There's a weird subtext there, but we're not quite sure what. We'd like your help in figuring out what it is. (pictures behind the cut)

Continue reading "Creative contest" »

Mental note re: iPhoto

I've been getting interested in using iPhoto to manage my drawings, so this feature on the programme should come in handy (via).
Meanwhile, iTunes has been displaying other people's playlists over the local network at work, but not, so far, letting me play them. Generally, I still need to work on networking and folder sharing, especially with the Windows machine. I don't think I'm getting as much as I can out of that aspect of the iBook.

July 22, 2005

Creative contest 2

Thanks, Collin Branko, for sending in the first entries to our Waffle Creative contest! Behind the cut:

Continue reading "Creative contest 2" »

Diary of a Mac man, 6

Cast picture for Atra
A couple of days ago, I tried coloring in GIMP on the iBook. I can do it, but don't think I will make a habit of it. GIMP works but the laptop screen isn't all that accurate. I could only do professional-level work on the iBook if I already had a well-established palette (and the palette was present on the iBook). It'll come in handy in a pinch, but not for regular production.
This image will be used, though. The cast page for Atra still lacks a full picture.
This weekend, I'll do some serious geeking-out on the iBook, creating (I hope) local mirrors of all my websites. That means installing Movable Type on it, and figuring out how good the bundled version of Apache actually is.

Continue reading "Diary of a Mac man, 6" »

Creative contest 3

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Thanks Danny! for another wonderful entry to our Creative contest:

Update: also entries from Geir Strøm and Adam Cuerden!

Continue reading "Creative contest 3" »

July 23, 2005

X!Gloop grammar error

Oops, there's a slight mistake in the latest Lives of X!Gloop page. I'll fix it when my other work is done. Of course, this is a good enough excuse for me to mention that comic again...
The website also needs a bit of work done to it, to ease navigation. I hope I'll be able to get to that this weekend. I'll be doing a lot of work on the rocr.xepher.net server, where the blog also lives, so there may be interruptions to the service anyway. The work shouldn't break anything, but considering my capacity for screwing up, I might as well warn you that outages may occur.

July 25, 2005

Ping Teo's Man-chest tutorial

Quick Tutorial on drawing the male torso. Could come in handy.

Cheesecake cast images


New cast images for the character Krakatoa.

Continue reading "Cheesecake cast images" »

Quest for the Dominion of the Abominable Technical Difficulties

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, The Pantheon and the recently-updating-again Capn are down again as a result of a webhost outage that according to The Belfry's Webcomic tracker has gone on for several hours now. Just like last week, I have no real idea what's going on or when the outage will be over.

My internet presence seems to be vanishing before my very eyes anyway. Reader Martin Diehl reminds me that my email provider, Despammed, is also still down. I don' t miss it much, because it was no longer able to filter all the spam on its own. I've had it forward mail to my gmail address for another round of filtering for some time, and that worked a whole lot better. Nevertheless, I am not going to publish my gmail address on the web. If you must reach me, refer to this post for email instructions.

July 26, 2005

Van Gogh's killer gets life

So it's life in the slammer for Mohammad Bouyeri. Good, although considering what came to light about the man's obsessions during the trial, it would have been a good idea to send him back to the Pieter Baan Centrum for further evaluation (Bouyeri was sent there before his trial to determine if he might be insane, but refused to cooperate). In all likelihood, having been declared insane would not have got him out any earlier, but it would have had the beneficial effect of invalidating his motive for the murder of Theo van Gogh.
All crimes Bouyeri was charged of have been found proven, although in the case of two out of six charges, a terroristic motive was ruled out. Bouyeri does not get stripped of his voting rights, which the judge reckons he won't want to use anyway, but he has been ordered to pay damage to Theo van Gogh's family and other injured parties.
I'll link to the full text of the verdict and sentencing if and when I find it on the net.

Continue reading "Van Gogh's killer gets life" »

This is gonna cost me...

Behind the Sofa Again has announced the line-up for this Autumn's Stripped Down event, a communal effort to watch and review a shortlist of old Doctor Who stories in anticipation of the Christmas special and the next series. I want to take part, but I'm gonna have my work cut out getting everything that's on the "short" list:

Mon Sept 19th - Sun Sept 25th: The Dalek Invasion of Earth (Hartnell)
Mon Sept 26th - Sun Oct 2nd: The Peter Cushing Movies
Mon Oct 3rd - Sun Oct 9th: Tomb of the Cybermen (Troughton)
Mon Oct 10th - Sun Oct 16th: The Claws of Axos (Pertwee)
Mon Oct 17th - Sun Oct 23rd: The Talons of Weng-Chiang(Baker)
Mon Oct 24th - Sun  Oct 30th: The Leisure Hive(Baker)
Mon Oct 31st - Sun Nov 6th: K9 and Company (Sladen)
Mon Nov 7th - Sun Nov 13th: Earthshock (Davison)
Mon Nov 14th - Sun Nov 20th: The Five Doctors (Davison)
Mon Nov 21st - Sun Nov 27th: Revelation of the Daleks (Baker)
Mon Nov 28th - Sun Dec 4th: Ghost Light (McCoy)
Mon 5th Dec - Sun Dec 11th: The Chimes of Midnight (Big Finish Audio)

Of these, I have Revelation (which I think is shite even though many Who fans love it) in crappy digitized-from-VHS form, and that's it. I'll either have to fill up my hard drive with whatever I can find on Bittorrent, or pay through the nose to get the DVDs. Or, more likely, a combination of both.

I still have a few Who DVDs to review, by the way. I just haven't been able to motivate myself to do more reviews of anything. I'll get to it.

Update: I just looked on Amazon UK, and it turns out that most of the episodes are available on DVD. I've hyperlinked the ones I could find; all the DVDs linked here are Region 2 DVDs from Amazon UK, but a little searching from those results would reveal at least some Region 1 versions for Americans to watch. If you buy any of the DVDs mentioned above, I get a little kickback that could well contribute to me being able to afford the DVDs I just added to my own shopping bag (I didn't order all of them, yet, just the first few).

One more

Kel_cast_pic_Courtly_Manners_2_by_Reinder.jpe

Kel, morphing back from her plant form. Drawn for the Chronicles of the Witch Queen cast pages, although it may take a while before the picture shows up there.

I like drawing Kel morphing. It's a bit more interesting than drawing regular nudes of her, and it often turns out rather nice. Not perfect, in this case - as with the previous pics, there are some faults that indicate a need to do some more life drawing, but rather nice.

I've made prints available through DeviantArt, more to test the prints system before my free subscription there runs out than out of any real expectation that people will buy it. But if you feel like having a naked plant-woman on your coffee mug, you can get it from there. I get 10 % of the money, by the way. Can't vouch for the quality, because I've never actually seen a DeviantArt print, but maybe one or two people reading this can tell me more about that? reinder@despammed.com seems to be working again.
Seriously, though, I did have to submit a high-res image to serve as a source for the prints, and I do think this pic would look OK as an 10x14...

Doctor Who on Ice never made it to the production stages, but there's this....

Scans of the progam of Doctor Who: The Ultimate Adventure, a stage version of the Tardis-jockey's adventures from 1988, starring Jon Pertwee in the spring run, and Colin Baker in late summer. If you have friends in a theatre company, drop them a hint that this exists.

Post-modern fashion accessories

He wears black turtlenecks, black trousers, black shoes and a stern, cool expression. His hair is closely-cropped but his face has five o'clock shadow. He completes the artiste look with a musical instrument.

A ukelele.

Red Wall and Uke

He gets away with it too, the bastard. He is Sven, of the Playmobil movies, our host during our trips to Denmark.

Next litter of Fairport remasters

Speaking of Amazon UK, they're listing reissues of Fairport Convention Nine, Live Convention and Rising for the Moon for August 1. I've been waiting for these records to arrive, going to the record store more often in the past few weeks. Nine in particular comes highly recommended, featuring some of Dave Pegg's finest bass work including some of the fast unison playing that was 1970s Fairport trademark style for instrumentals. Jerry Donahue plays guitar on all three records, and he's a fantastic musician as well. The latter two records feature Sandy Denny on vocals. I'm not all that familiar with Rising, but I'll review the remastered editions as soon as I can get my grubby little mitts on them.

July 27, 2005

And another one in a series of mental notes...

The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari is one of many public domain movies on the Internet Archive. Me want, so me will download when on the iBook. So should you. (Via)

Don't make me regret paying you!

First rule of ecommerce interfaces: After the customer has paid you, don't make him regret it, or he won't pay you again. I had a trial subscription to DeviantArt this week, and rather liked it. It runs out tomorrow.
Below is the page DeviantArt showed me today when I tried to log in:
Screenshot, click for enlargement

View image

Continue reading "Don't make me regret paying you!" »

Charts

Webcomicsnation is now nearing its official launch, and in anticipation, the home page now shows a chart of the most visited comics. Two charts, actually: one for the day and one for the entire time the server has been live. Chronicles of the Witch Queen isn't on it, but who knows what will happen after that site has its official launch with The Double. On the other hand, the removal of the other series from the site won't help, initially.
Let's try to get it on that chart in the first week, eh?

Marten Toonder 1912-2005

Cartoonist Marten Toonder died today aged 93. Toonder was arguably the greatest European cartoonist ever - his Heer Bommel series ran in newspapers across the continent for nearly 45 years, and were re-run in some Swedish and Dutch newspapers well into the 1990s - more than a decade after Toonder retired.

End feast


Toonder stuck to the traditional format of a two-tier strip in which the top row consisted of panels without dialogue, and the bottom row contained prose captions, in a flowery, witty style. Due to Toonder's influence, this way of presenting comics still had adepts in the Netherlands long after it died out in other countries. (As an aside, Toonder influenced my own attempts at working in this format, in the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan story "The Corby Tribe".)

Heer Bommel acquired literary status in the Netherlands, with all stories being reprinted in a novel-like format with the drawings reduced in comparison to the words. This is unfortunate because the art, done with the assistence of artists who themselves would go on to count among the Netherlands' finest cartoonists, such as Piet Wijn, Dick Matena, and Fred Julsing, is among the best ever made in comics. Each panel excelled in composition, line quality, liveliness and atmosphere.

Through Heer Bommel, Toonder expanded the Dutch language with words such as "Minkukel" meaning a dimwit and "Denkraam" ("Thought-frame") which were used satirically in the strips but gained currency as real expressions, separate from their fictional context.

And Bommel was only one of Toonder's comics. He and his studio came up with dozens of others, such as Koning Hollewijn, Kappie (based largely on the personality of Toonder's father, a sea captain), and one series I used to cut out of the newspaper as a kid, Panda. Panda had word balloons and was easier to read; it also featured art by Piet Wijn and stories by script-writing genius Lo Hartog van Banda. Many of the comics showcased Toonder's philosophical concerns, such as the encroachment of technology-driven society on the natural world. These concerns came to the foreground even more after the mid-1960s when Toonder, by then a wealthy man, moved to a mansion in Ireland.

The Toonder studios had always been involved in animation, and had even done some innovative work in the field, but it wasn't until 1983 that an animated feature film was made based on two Heer Bommel stories. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out as good as Toonder had hoped; the pacing and voice work wasn't up to the high standard of both the comic and earlier, shorter Bommel animations, and the foreground animation didn't always work with the backgrounds. (Toonder did approve of the realistic movement of the title character's checked coat, a feat that required attention to detail.)
Many in the audience, moreover, felt that the movie missed an edge. Over time, Mr. Bommel's facial expressions had got to resemble those of his creator more and more, and so viewers felt that the character could only have worked in animation if he'd also had Toonders voice, even though there was no reason to assume that Toonder could do voice work.

Toonder retired in 1986, but made several short-lived returns to the field as a writer. He wrote four volumes of memoirs before failing health and loneliness forced him to return to the Netherlands. Toonder was twice widowed; his first wife, cartoonist and children's book illustrator Phiny Dick, passed away in 1990, his second, composer Tera de Marez Oyens, in 1996. In recent years, Toonder, who was also pre-deceased by three of his four children, had got fed up with life. He died peacefully in his sleep.

Very little of Toonder's output can be seen online. In addition to the Lambiek biography, check out Pressibus.org for a rare online glimpse at Toonder's work.
Wikipedia entry on Marten Toonder, in Dutch.

July 28, 2005

Technical Difficulties Part XIII: Payback time

I don't know what it is but the KeenspaceComicGenesis server has been performing the way it did in 2002. Today, while I was away, it's been out for most of the day, meaning that all comics by Waffle-ites hosted on that server are unavailable.
Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan is available on rocr.xepher.net and on Modern Tales. If this goes on, I'll move the ROCR.net domain name over to Xepher - that's part of my plans for intermediate future anyway. Apologies for the inconvenience.

July 29, 2005

Webcomicsnation

has launched.

Wait wait wait

Allergies are a cause of headaches? Why, in 25 years of having headaches (and 29 years since I was first diagnosed with asthma and allergies), didn't anyone tell me? I've blamed everything over the years, from cafeine and sleep deprivation (despite the fact that sleeping tends to provoke the headaches) to my glasses. But never allergies - that was always a problem with my lungs and my sinuses. If the problem was treatable with allergy medicines, then the year's worth of life that I've lost to this problem would have been spent doing productive and fun things (compared to lying in bed moaning and trying not to throw up, a low standard, but I'll accept it) instead.
It makes me want to go out and murder some doctors for being bloody useless, it does.

July 31, 2005

Granny Weatherwax could so totally own Harry Potter.

Terry Pratchett's mad as hell and won't take it anymore, according to the BBC's website:

[Time] magazine also said Rowling reinvented fantasy fiction, which was previously stuck in "an idealised, romanticised, pseudofeudal world, where knights and ladies morris-dance to Greensleeves".

Pratchett, whose first fantasy novel was published 34 years ago, wrote to the Sunday Times saying the genre had always been "edgy and inventive".

"Ever since The Lord of the Rings revitalised the genre, writers have played with it, reinvented it, subverted it and bent it to their times," he wrote.

"It has also contained come of the very best, most accessible writing for children, by writers who seldom get the acknowledgement they deserve."

He also expressed surprise at Rowling's comments that she only realised Harry Potter was fantasy after the first book was published.

"I'm not the world's greatest expert," he wrote.
"But I would have thought that the wizards, witches, trolls, unicorns, hidden worlds, jumping chocolate frogs, owl mail, magic food, ghosts, broomsticks and spells would have given her a clue?"

Much as I'd like to see Pratchett and Rowling get in the ring to settle the matter, I can sort of see how Rowling could have failed to decide from those clues that she was writing fantasy. If she believed that fantasy literature was indeed, as she put it, "an idealised, romanticised, pseudofeudal world, where knights and ladies morris-dance to Greensleeves", which is not beyond the bounds of possibility, because to many, fantasy literature still has that reputation1), then I can't actually blame her for not wanting to read that stuff, or indeed for not classifying her own works as fantasy.
But she's had a few years to get caught up. There have been accusations of plagiarism from Neil Gaiman's work and other fantasy oeuvres. I don't think these accusations are justified but they should have piqued her curiosity somewhat.

By the way, in case anyone was interested, I quite liked The Half-Blood Prince although it's not my favorite of the series. Pratchet's last four or so novels have all disappointed me. Both authors need a kick in the arse, if you ask me. So fight! Fight!

Update/Addendum: Quoth Neil Gaiman:


Er, dunno. I read the Time article and thought it was astonishingly badly written and worse researched. The bit that puzzled me the most was that I remembered interviews with Ms. Rowling where she loved the Narnia books (it was a few seconds of Googling to find a 1998 Telegraph interview where, "Even now, if I was in a room with one of the Narnia books I would pick it up like a shot and re-read it."
as opposed to the Time version of Rowling has never finished The Lord of the Rings. She hasn't even read all of C.S. Lewis' Narnia novels, which her books get compared to a lot. There's something about Lewis' sentimentality about children that gets on her nerves.

The version of the history of "fantasy" that the article's writer paints is utter bollocks, and I assume Terry decided that needed to be said. I didn't see it as a swipe at Ms Rowling, though, but as a swipe against lazy journalists -- but "Pratchett Anger At Shoddy Journalism" is a much less exciting headline than the one the BBC came up with.

(I remember when Terry said some very sensible and good-natured things about the power of fantasy at the Carnegie Medals (in this speech, read it first), the headlines were all along the lines of "Pratchett takes swipe at Rowling, Tolkien"....)

Mostly what it makes me think of is the poem in Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest's NEW MAPS OF HELL, which went, from memory,

"SF's no good!" they bellow till we're deaf.
"But this is good." "Well, then it's not SF."

And it's an odd double-standard that applies to all genre work as much as to SF. It's always been easier for journalists to go for the black and white simplicities of beginning with the assumption that the entire body of SF (or Fantasy, or Comics, or Horror, or whatever the area is under discussion) is and always has been fundamentally without merit -- which means that if you like someone's work, whether it's J.G. Ballard or Bill Gibson or Peter Straub or Alan Moore or Susanna Clarke or J.K. Rowling -- or Terry Pratchett -- it's easier simply to depict them as not being part of that subset. I'm not sure that writing letters to the Times will ever fix that, though.

1)Indeed, from reading Limyaael's attempts at beating some sense into the thick heads of many fantasy writers (ranging from fanfic authors to big name bestseller writers), there's still far too much of that stuff about.

Where are you on the Global Rich List?

One day, this will help me settle a political argument, I'm sure of it: You think you're poor? Really? Type in your annual income and find out how many people in the world are poorer than you.

I'm the 754,307,892 richest person on earth!


Discover how rich you are! >>

(Via comments on Websnark)

About July 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Waffle in July 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2005 is the previous archive.

August 2005 is the next archive.

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

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