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August 2005 Archives

August 1, 2005

The Double has started

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The Double by Daniel Østvold and Geir Strøm has started. It's the first story in the Chronicles of the Witch Queen series. The Double will update on weekdays until it ends in mid-October. And it will be bloody good!

I've got a few urgent things to do today, but I will be back later to say a little more about the project, and make some changes to the website.

Photoshop

I've spent quite a lot of time in the past few months ragging on The GIMP and its usability problems. I've also had some not very nice words to say about Paint Shop Pro, which has great usability but is marred by some of the nastiest bugs I've ever seen in commercially published software. I've gone as far as to pit the two programs against one another in a steel cage death match. I'm colouring The Gang of Four in Photoshop 6, and it's only fair that I share some of my experiences with that program as well. Let me just report some of the things I've been saying to myself while working in Photoshop:

Huh? I'd already coloured that! Huh. No! Oh God, no! Not again! NOOOO! WAAAAA! What? What the fuck? How can this be? NO! Don't be so fucking stupid! Oh, God, no! Huh? Undo, dammit! Oh, wait, it works differently. Aliased zoom hurts my eyes! C'mon, respond to my key-presses! NO!

Trust me, the swearing is mild compared to what actually came out of my mouth these past ten minutes. I'll admit that most of the "huh"s are the result of hitting a shortcut I know from using Paint Shop Pro and then having something happen that's completely unrelated to what I want. But still. It's becoming very hard to see why Photoshop has become the standard app for image processing in the print world: it may do CMYK output and colour proofing well, but actually using it makes my blood boil. Easily the least comfortable application I've worked with in a long time.

Continue reading "Photoshop" »

More on The Double

(Crossposted to Talk About Comics with minor changes)

My involvement with Geir and Daniel actually dates back about 10 years. Geir's brother knew me through music fandom, and one day dropped a mention of his older brother being the writer of a comic with a Norwegian painter. He told me it was a bit like the comic I had online at the time, The Stone of Contention. I was a fanzine editor at the time, and thought it might be interesting for the fanzine, so I contacted him, asked him to send me some stuff, and soon enough a big package from Daniel arrived in the mail. Several packages arrived in the mail, with solo comics work from Daniel, brochures showcasing his paintings, sculptures and installations, and, eventually, a CD of his music. But the most striking piece of work was the fantasy comic Geir had written for Daniel, looking totally unlike any other fantasy comics, with intricate, low-contrast page layouts, complex backgrounds and architecture, and characters that looked stiff at first but came to life as the comic progressed. Dobbeltgjengeren was an album-length story that fit right into the mood of the early Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan books but had its internally consistent universe that owed nothing to the traditional sources of fantasy art. Later, I would learn that nearly every character in the book was based, visually, on someone Daniel knew, which was probably why the character art worked so well (Geir, by the way, was the visual inspiration for the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel although his personality is totally unlike that of the good Baron. Also he lacks the Baron's quiff and porn star moustache).
I decided to translate the book into Dutch and publish it. Six months or so after the complete version of the story arrived in my mailbox, De Dubbelganger was done. I would have liked to say it was a small-press success, but alas. I still have half the print run on a shelf in the hall of my apartment.
De Dubbelganger was a flop, but that didn't stop Daniel, Geir and me from coming up with sequels. In the magazine I edited, Impuls, a Christmas story set in the same universe became a Christmas supplement. Geir sent me a script he thought I might want to do, featuring a character from the first story, and that became The Eye of the Underworld. Characters from the series showed up in my Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, and vice versa. Finally, that crossover was followed by two Courtly Manners stories featuring characters from both series.

Also, Daniel recorded a musical version of Dobbeltgjengeren, in English, in my home town, with a cast of singers and musicians that I helped put together.

Over the years, I tried to revive the book. When Joey Manley first came up with the idea for Webcomics nation, back when it was still a very different idea from what it turned out as, I immediately thought of making a group website with all the material from the series brought together in the correct chronological order, instead of scattered across different websites as it is now. During the Long Wait, I mostly forgot about the idea, but when the launch approached, I started thinking about it again. Daniel and Geir approved of the concept, so starting today, The Double gets a new lease on life, in English, updating with five large pages a week. New material is also in production. It's going to kick arse.

August 4, 2005

Fahd's cadaver's barely in the ground

... and The Religious Policeman is back, with caustic commentary from the heart of Saudi-Arabia. Fancy that. Nice seeing him again, and he gets to slag off Little Brown Shirts in one of his first few postings.
Update: Actually, he's not in Saudi anymore. I missed that in my enthusiasm for his return.

August 5, 2005

Noteworthy addition to the English language

From the comments at Europhobia:

If they seriously believed 'hey, the nice al qaeda man made me a flour bomb, bet it would be funny to let that off on a bus' then they are not exactly the bushiest beard in the mosque.
Nothing to add on the substance of the post, I just like that expression and suggest we all adopt it.

August 7, 2005

Cheese and beef


Two more cast images for the Chronicles of the Witch Queen site, both in minimalist outfits. The one on the left is Kel in Courtly Manners 1, at the pool. The one on the right is the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel in his running outfit in Courtly Manners 2. You can tell it's the running outfit, and not the swimsuit because it lacks the bow tie.

I've decided that instead of taking down the Courtly Manners comics in anticipation of their resurrection as free comics in 8 or so months time, I'll leave them up as a subscriber bonus. I'm even thinking of putting up more things to lure in subscribers. But I'm still considering subscriptions to Chronicles as no more than a sideline, a reward for people who choose to send a bit of money our way. The bulk of the work will be free, and hopefully paid for through advertising, commissions, merchandise, passing the hat, etc.

Ooh, this is a good one

You all know the fake paypal spams that arrive in your email boxes. They usually have alarming messages about your account being screened or suspended because of an "incident". Just now I got a version that's a little more devious:

Continue reading "Ooh, this is a good one" »

August 8, 2005

Musical additions to The Double

While configuring daily installments for The Double (my role is to be the editor/publisher/site manager for the series. I letter the comics using a cross between Geir's original English script and my Dutch translation, tidied up so Geir's Norwegianisms don't appear) the other day, I realised that I couldn't stop talking about the songs Daniel recorded to go with the comic a few years ago. Something about the way he could just lift lines of dialogue verbatim from Geir's English script and make them work as songs.
I then thought "well, the last time I mentioned a song that was supposed to go with a comic on that comic's website, people asked me where they could hear the song." So I asked about bandwidth availability on Webcomics Nation, upon which Joey Manley assured me that when he said "unmetered bandwidth", he really meant it; and I asked Daniel about permission to use the songs online, and he gave it. So The Double now comes with songs! Despite Joey's assurances, I've kept the quality at a modest 80 kpbs, just in case the songs get downloaded by thousands of people simultaneously, which is what we want, really. But they do sound pretty good.
One song, "If Only Dreams Could Be For Real", has been added to an already-published archive page. The second, "Come, Come", goes live today. A third, "The Spirit", goes live tomorrow. I'll add at least four more during the publication of the series.

No, I'm not linking to them directly. The songs go with the comic.

In other news, I've finally been able to restore Geir's access to this blog using MT-medic. Let's hope he starts posting here again soon.

On treason, swans and brothels

I live for history lessons like this one:


Trying to destroy the country and its people would, in most people's books, count as treason, I'd imagine. But then again, it's a fairly tricky crime these days.

Until 1998, the penalty for treason was death. Under the Treason Act of 1351, anyone who "do violate the king's companion, or the king's eldest daughter unmarried, or the wife of the king's eldest son" is committing treason. So James Hewitt and Will Carling, plus whoever else got lucky with her, should have been burned at the stake (the required punishment) for shagging Princess Di.

It gets better.

August 9, 2005

Great Big Penises Not Rude Enough!

The other day I sent Joey Manley an email. The substance of it said:

"The Pantheon (www.pantheoncomic.com) would like to play on AWC, if it may. Satan says it sounds like a good idea."

To which he responded:


"Is this 'adult'? I don't see any signs that this couldn't go up on
WCN, Modern Tales, Keenspot, or any other mainstream webcomics service ... adultwebcomics.com is strictly for, to put it bluntly, porn."

A little taken aback, I replied:

"Heh, that's the first time anyone's thought Pantheon was tame!
Reinder thought it would be too rude for WCN or Moderntales because of the sexual references and penises bouncing about the place (did you get as far as this storyline? Surely Paypal would object?)
http://www.pantheoncomic.com/d/20030217.html..."
(this links to the 'Day of the Phallus' storyline)
"...But if you think it's too highbrow, I'll just bung it up on WCN :D "

Having observed Priapus' giant organ of procreation, he came back with:
"Okay, Pantheon is just BARELY dirty enough for AWC. I'll put you on the list! But you gotta make it dirtier! (grins)"

What's the world coming to when Americans aren't afraid of penises any more?

Ottar/Norla fanart

Fan art by Yonaka Yamako showing Ottar and Norla from the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan story The Stone of Contention. I love it when Yonaka works in a cartoony style and idiom.

Norla will soon reappear, or should that be "pre-appear", in the ongoing archival storyline, by the way. We'll all find out what those flashback sequences were all about.

Slave to the Claws of Technical Difficulties

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan didn't update on its main site today - something to do with the updater, which services 10,000 other webcomic sites, being stuck. Nothing to do with the artist - the comic updated on time at the mirror site. Updates are scheduled until the 29th, and exist on file until way past that date, so if it doesn't update on your preferred location, it is almost certainly a technical problem; look at one of the alternate sites.

I just thought I'd mention it...

August 14, 2005

A couple of interesting art sites

Like just about everyone else, I love Art Lad's web place. The six-year-old artist isn't just very talented, he thinks like artist, looking at his work and saying "It looked better in my head". His dad helps him with the reading and the writing, but the insight is all his. And he looks like he's having fun working on his art. (Via Drawn. BTW at the time of writing, the site appears to be broken. I don't know what's going on with that. Let's hope Dad will keep us posted.)
Also seen on Drawn, Funny Cute has lots of caricatures in development, including many of women. Many artists find female caricature very difficult, and I hope to find inspiration in this site in the near future.
Lauren Bergholm is an artist whose work I spotted on DeviantArt where she posted mostly penciled Harry Potter fan art. If that doesn't sound too appetising, I should add that her interpretations of the characters were all original, not based on the book jackets or the movies, and really fun to look at although few of them stood out individually. She does cute character portraits.

Inverloch

On the recommendation of reader Boreger in IRC (and the recommendation service at OnlineComics.net, which seems to recommend this popular comic to everyone), I've been reading Inverloch. Perhaps surprisingly considering the sort of comic I make, I don't read a lot of comics involving typical fantasy tropes and quests these days, and the ones I do read are old, old favorites. If it has elves in, I'm usually not interested, and if it has anthropomorphics, I'm going to be aggressively disinterested unless it's brilliant.

Continue reading "Inverloch" »

August 16, 2005

Moi aussi j'ai adopté Toupouri

Another artist I liked on Deviantart has a Sketch Blog. I should gather my art blog links up some time and blogroll them, soon.

Curves, dammit!


Sketch for a new cover page for The Green Man's Belt.
When I looked at the old art for The Green Man's Belt, I noticed something that had bugged me before but was noticably more clear in this very old storyline than it is in my present material or even in such venerable works as The Stone of Contention: The line art lacked curves.
Considering the nature of the comic, then as now a humorous series with big-footed, big-nosed characters and a fair amount of shapely women showing cleavage, it's really astounding. I was drawing in a curvy style without using more than the faintest curves!
It's not so bad now but I still think a lot of my art could become stronger if I paid more attention to actually making curves bendy, so for this piece I am doing my best to exaggerate curves even in places where this could cause problems such as line tangents and anatomical faults. When used with discipline, it will help prevent such problems, but for now, I'm just trying to ram the importance of curves into my own thick skull.

Oooh! Szukalski!

Pete linked to this convoluted website, and I took a look at it, as one does. Holy crap, it's got Szukalski art on it!

One of my studio mates once brought a book of Szukalski's art to the studio, and I was immediately fascinated by it. His sculpture looked like something from an undiscovered culture, but executed by the hand of a pre-modern master. A lot of it was destroyed or stolen in the upheavals in his native Poland during and after World War II. His drawings were an extention of that sculpture work: meticulous, skillful and strange.

Whether it was the loss of the work of the first half of his life, or some genetic disposition, or both, I can't tell, but one other thing was clear from reading the book: Szukalski was also absolutely insane. I know some of my readers hate terms like "fucking nuts" or "batshit insane", but he was both, and more. Szukalski devoted the second half of his long life, and his considerable artistic skills, to documenting a racial theory he had invented, called Zermatism, in which he argued that mankind had been polluted through contact with subhuman ape-men, yetis, or ahumans. His illustrations included many portraits of historical figures, purporting to demonstrate that history's worst villains, the Stalins and Hitlers (as well as anyone else Szukalski didn't like), were all ape-men, a contamination of the pure and good human race. The text of the book my studio-mate showed me was full of invective against anyone suspected of being an ape-man, the offspring of human beings raped by ape-men, or contaminated by the ideologies of ape-men. From reading it, those categories eventually came to include anyone who wasn't Szukalski.

Continue reading "Oooh! Szukalski!" »

August 17, 2005

Snark of the day

I like Paul Krugman's op-eds because they're well-written, understandable and very close to my own worldview while being better informed than me. But if I want to read his old op-eds online, like, say, this one, I have to send money to something called the New York Times. What's that all about?

Websnark has more. Update: Ping Teo attempts to insert some rationality into the debate over the NY Times article.

August 18, 2005

A Walk in the Park mp3

Over on The Double, there's a new MP3 up, "A Walk in the Park" featuring singer Alex Gache as the ever-popular Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel. As I wrote in the blurb:

What better way to present the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel than through some strutting, prancing, preening rock'n'roll? Singer Alex Gache's French accent adds to the mix, as does Daniel's guitar tone, his best on the entire album. Alex sings it in a way that's halfway between Mick Jagger and Lou Reed - with a slightly different mix, this track would sound like the Dandy Warhols and be a huge hit.

Also, dig that distorted electric piano in the second verse.

August 19, 2005

Harry Potter and the Idiotic Fans

"I wouldn't trust JKR to write Harmony [a Harry/Hermione pairing]. No thanks. There are many more talented fanfiction writers out there who understand the characters' relationships from the first five books so much better."

-The latest essay by this group.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is, on the whole a very good book. There are a few things that could, perhaps, have been done even better, but it's probably the best book in the series so far, save maybe Prisoner of Azkhaban.

...However, there's a certain group of people who are so upset about Harry and Hermione not getting together that...

...But perhaps I should start by quoting the Watley Review, my favourite parodic news source. In July, they wrote a hilarious bit of satire:

Disgruntled Harry Potter Fan Releases "Corrected" Version of Book

A disgruntled Harry Potter fan has released a "corrected" version of J.K Rowling's latest installment in the series, The Half-Blood Prince, prompting a storm of curiosity and support from many fans who disliked the direction of the story in the book. It has also, not surprisingly, prompted a storm of legal activity from Rowling's publishers.

"Whenever an author puts a work out into the universe, it is no longer their exclusive property anymore," said Mary Sue Pembroke, who is credited as the author of the modified book. "Harry Potter belongs to all of us, not just Rowling. She took some liberties with the story in this latest book that really weren't faithful to the logic of the narrative. My version is, I think it fair to say, much more faithful to the true Harry Potter mythos."

Rowling's book sold a record 9 million copies in Britain and the United States in the first 24 hours after its release. Despite the book's remarkable popularity, however, many fans were disappointed when the narrative did not follow their favorite predictions, in particular regarding romantic relationships between key characters.

"Rowling seems to think the relationships she's described in Half-Blood Prince were clearly telegraphed in previous books," sniffed Pembroke. "All I can say is, if that's what she thinks, she clearly doesn't understand Harry Potter like I do."

...Unfortunately, of late satire seems to have an unfortunate habit of turning true. - This is, by the way, the second version - the first version was even closer to the original, directly quoting large parts of the book, with only very slight changes to make Hermione Harry's love interest, and to make her, well, perfection itself.


...I begin to grow depressed. I shall merely leave off with a few links.

Angua9's analysis of this faction

Fandom_Wank's report on the first great rewrite of HBP

I've opened comments for the moment. I'll close them in a few days.

Edit by Reinder: Unfortunately, comments are still unavailable, and will be until I've done either a Movable Type upgrade and a bit of coordinatin' with Xepher, who is in charge of hosting this blog. Use my forum instead, if you want to comment.


New drawing, and my plans for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan

This new colour drawing is a frontispiece for the next Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan storyline. Like with the current one, I'll start it off with a cover drawing, then an introduction with some background info and a dedication, then the real story, plunging ahead at breakneck speed. The title of the story? The Green Knight's Belt. The titles of the stories after that? Alchemists, The Death Warrant, The New Sheriff, King's Drama. Why do I know all these titles in advance? Easy: they've all been in my files and in small-press print for a decade or more. Yes, I'll follow up the archival storyline I've been running since June with another bunch of archival storylines.

If you're an ROCR reader as opposed to someone who just drops by every once in a while to read ramblings about Doctor Who and all the other stuff my co-bloggers and I go on about, I suspect that this might not be the sort of announcement you'd be waiting for. To be honest, I have mixed feelings myself.

Continue reading "New drawing, and my plans for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan" »

August 25, 2005

I ain't dead, but I do have new art!


I'm about halfway through the process of adapting "The Green Knight's Belt" from 1991-92 for the Web. It's a lot more work, proportionally, than re-adapting " The Stone of Contention" especially because I relied on puns more at the time. Puns, especially my old groaners from a decade and a half ago, are the bane of my existence right now.

Nevertheless, I am getting further ahead. I now have material on file to make a continuous buffer extending well into November. This is good, because it means that I can take another look at this cover image, tentatively scheduled for October 13. I think this one is OK, but OK isn't good enough. This one will eventually move to the very beginning of the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan archives and will therefore be one of the first bits in the series that many people will see.

I don't know what's making me dissatisfied about it, but I think it lacks an edge. Therefore, just this once, I'm inviting all my readers to critique it, either in my local gallery or on DeviantArt. Help me improve! Even if you can't draw yourself, you'll probably know what you like and what might make this illustration better.

Between now and October, I will find the time to improve on this even if it means drawing and coloring it all over again. This is a good thing. Too often in the past few years, I've only had time to post a piece and then move on to the next. It's one of the things I've grown to dislike about webcartooning. All the good advice I got from my studio mates that I didn't have the time or the mental wossname to take. For the next few months, I won't have that problem.

August 26, 2005

Mary Gentle - Grunts

Grunts by Mary Gentle is one of those books I've been meaning to read for a long time, but putting off. I wanted to read it because the cover and blurb suggested something very similar to Terry Pratchett's Guards novels: a humorous story about the people whose job in other, conventional, fantasy novels would be to get butchered by the truckload. I put it off for fear that it would be nothing more than that: a Pratchettesque concept only not as good. Fortunately, it keeps getting reprinted. Grunts, as it turns out, is a much better novel than I had any right to expect; nevertheless, it didn't quite click for me.

Continue reading "Mary Gentle - Grunts" »

CLINTON CRUSH!

Fafblog interviews the Democratic Party:


FAFBLOG: So what's up, Democrats?
JOE BIDEN: What's up is the war in Iraq, which is terribly mismanaged, Fafnir.
FB: Oh wow! Are you guys against the war, too?
JOE LIEBERMAN: Oh no, we're not AGAINST the war!
HARRY REID: We're all FOR it!
BIDEN: It's the best worst idea in the world, and we're gonna run with it to victory!
HILLARY CLINTON: Watch me eat a bug!
FB: So we can actually win the war! That's great news!
LIEBERMAN: Yes!
REID: Sort of!
BIDEN: Maybe!
CLINTON: I can wrestle a buffalo!
FB: I'm confused.
REID: The problem is troop levels, Fafnir. The US invaded without enough boots on the ground!
LIEBERMAN: Just another couple hundred thousand soldiers on the ground and hey, we should have this thing wrapped up in no time!
BIDEN: Just like I told George Bush all along! I told him in the Oval Office, "You're gonna go in without enough troops and you're not gonna plan for the occupation and it's gonna be the biggest mistake of your presidency and I'm gonna vote for it!"

Confusingly, the rest of the blog appears to be satire.

Reporting live from my state of mind (includes Illustration Friday contribution)

I spent last evening drawing angry art. I started out copying some LOTR movie orcs as a kind of study for a snarly, monstrous drawing I had in mind I had in my mind, inspired by a Szukalski piece and an unfinished drawing Yonaka showed me. Then I got sidetracked and drew angry self-portraits instead. The one on the right came out pretty close to the way I've been feeling lately - full of pent-up hatred. (Note: It's been a while since my head was last shaved, so I don't actually look like this right now. But the skinhead factor makes these portraits work better.)
This one didn't work quite as well, but is still interesting enough to show here. It's more contemptuous than angry, so it doesn't quite project my mood as well as the first.

I wonder how it would affect people's responses if I used one of these as a message board avatar. People's avatars tend to be either clear fantasies or cute, benign images. Would my postings on message boards be seen as more inflammatory if they were flanked by a portrait of the artist as a man seething with hate?

The pose implied in the first self-portrait, looking over one hunched shoulder, and the bald head, reminded me of the movie Nosferatu, so here's a not-very-good drawing of me as Count Nosfereinder, Eldritch Creature of the Night. While working on these drawings, something happened to my 5B pencil. The lead had got loose in the wooden shaft, causing it to shift inside. In the end, I pulled the lead out and used it like I would a graphite pencil. Without the ability to sharpen reliably, I couldn't get a fine line out of it anymore, which affected the Nosfereinder drawing. Not to blame my tools of course; I deliberately continued with this modified pencil, trying to see what I could do with it. Unfortunately the answer is "not much" especially because a very thin 5B lead is prone to snap.

With those and other drawings (which you won't get to see because they're pretty bad), I got my anger out of my system. Just prior to waking up this morning, I had an odd dream.

Continue reading "Reporting live from my state of mind (includes Illustration Friday contribution)" »

Record shopping with Richard Thompson

... in the latest New Yorker online.

August 27, 2005

Diana Wynne Jones - Howl's Moving Castle

Now this is more like it! Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones was so compelling that I couldn't put it down, even when it was getting a bit late and I needed sleep. As a result, my reading of it towards the end became a bit sloppy and I had to stop myself a few times to go back a few pages to see what I missed. No matter: this is one novel I'll be sure to pick up again some time. Despite being written for a Grade 6 reading level, it's a layered story that rewards repeated reading.
Diana Wynne Jones is the writer of The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, a catalogue of fantasy clichés, so it's no surprise that this novel starts out in a very familiar fantasy setting (a pre-modern, monarchical society with wizards and witches actually existing) and with a story cliché to turn on its head: the heroine, Sophie Hatter, is the oldest of three sisters, and therefore expects she will never amount to anything. Wynne Jones has been very succesful in fleshing out this idea with psychologically credible elder-sibling behaviours: Sophie accepts her lot in life, shows responsibility towards the younger sisters, trusts authority, believes what she is told and makes safe, respectable choices - or rather, lets her (on the whole benign) stepmother make those choices for her. Meanwhile, her sisters show talent, attractive personalities as well as physical beauty, and an ability to think outside the box. (Continues with minor spoilers)

Continue reading "Diana Wynne Jones - Howl's Moving Castle" »

August 28, 2005

Fairport Convention - Nine, Live Convention, Rising For the Moon

In my last review of the then-newest batch of Fairport Convention reissues, I mentioned that by the time of Rosie, the band were stuck without any original members and putting together an album consisting in part of left-over Fotheringay tracks. The result was a directionless album, and one wonders why any band would bother to go on after that experience. But go on they did, and being hard workers, it took them less than a year to come up with a much stronger follow-up, Nine. By then the five-piece line-up of Donahue, Lucas, Mattacks, Pegg and Swarbrick had settled in quite nicely, with Donahue in particular contributing some great musical ideas. The record starts off with Swarbrick singing over a hand-held drum in "The Hexhamshire Lass" which gradually goes crazy in its 2 1/2 minutes. Contrasting very strongly with that at first is Trevor Lucas's croak in "Polly on the Shore", a traditional lyric set to new music by Dave Pegg, which is in turn followed by a fast Donahue instrumental and the gentle ballad "To Althea From Prison". But although the album is rich in contrasts, it's at all times recognisably the work of one band, recording mostly live in the studio. The strongest aspect of the album throughout is the unison playing between the guitar, fiddle and occasionally the bass guitar. In the album's other instrumental "Tokyo" Pegg's bass keeps up with the fast, long melody introduced by the lead guitar, picked up by an overdubbed guitar recorded at half speed, and taken over by the fiddle which is joined by Pegg's perfectly articulated rumble.
After that track, the album begins to flounder a little. "Bring'Em Down" by Lucas is a decent Dylanish protesty kind of thing, but with "Big William" and "Pleasure and Pain" the songwriting begins to lose me. The original album at least closes with a good, country-esque song, "Possibly Parson's Green" but by then it has forfeited its claim to being anywhere near as good as the earlier Fairport albums. It's still in my personal Fairport top ten though.
The new edition has four bonus tracks, one of which is actually interesting: a frenzied version of the instrumental "Fiddlestix" recorded live with an orchestra. The orchestral arrangement is a good one, adding to the dynamics of this fast, furious piece.

Continue reading "Fairport Convention - Nine, Live Convention, Rising For the Moon" »

August 29, 2005

Eldritch Wraiths of Technical Difficulties

I don't know why a page from the comic is suddenly showing up at the top of the Waffle home page... it certainly doesn't appear in the posting interface's entry listings, the miniature indexes or in the RSS feed. It links to a broken archive within Waffle's archive space, but the permalink for it is the correct one for the Movable Type-based version of the webcomic.
I think Movable Type got a few screws loose. It's even quite possible that posting this will un-scramble things to the point where the faulty posting disappears. Let's see...
Update: Nope. Mysterious...

Access granted. Stand still while I shove the entire space-time vortex into your eyes.

You need to have seen the episodes parodied first, but if you have then The Five Minute Doctor Who is pretty damned hilarious.
From their version of the Bad Wolf episode:


Doctor: Well, that was pointless. Jack, what are you doing?
Jack: I just need to kill Lynda for a moment.
Doctor: Sure, might as well go two for two.
Jack: Stand right there, okay? (ZAP!)
Lynda: But -- GAK!

and from The Parting of the Ways:

Jack: All right, cannon fodder! Who's ready to die a gruesome death buying a few extra seconds for the Doctor to fiddle with gadgets upstairs while waffling through his ethical dilemmas?
(crickets chirp)
Programmer: You're new at this hero thing, aren't you?

August 30, 2005

International standard paper sizes

Potentially useful resource for future reference: International Standard Paper Sizes an overview of common paper formats with some info on the underlying maths and the history of paper standards. It may look dull, but this matter occasionally comes up especially when exchanging art material with people on the other side of the Atlantic, and it's important to be able to point somewhere and say "that's what A4 means, now explain American paper densities to me."

I'm doing something right...

I just sold a subscription to Modern Tales on the strength of my forum avatar! That's... unusual to say the least, but now that I think about it, it's not so strange. People like avatars and will spend quite a bit of time making nice ones, as anyone using Livejournal knows. I've made new versions of the Brushhead graphic for people to use if they want. The one on the right is a 150x150 version which may be too large for most applications, but here's the original 80x80 version and a 100x100 version, suitable for Livejournal (I'd like credit if you use it there).

About August 2005

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

July 2005 is the previous archive.

September 2005 is the next archive.

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