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July 2006 Archives

July 1, 2006

Thank you, beer

I've long admired and envied René van Densen's ability to come home hammered in the wee small hours, sit down at his desk, and write and draw his comic. I can't do that, but yesterday I discovered that knocking back a Witbier or two in the early hours of the evening can actually benefit the work I do immediately afterwards, and leave no ill effect the next morning. This Saturday, I'm up bright and early, and ready to chip away at my backlog for another day, until it's gone. The prize will be three days off next week.

Sixth anniversary!

There's an extra Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan update today, to celebrate the sixth anniversary of continuous online publication. My old Gallery still has the 2002 second anniversary artwork, but the ones from 2001 and 2003 were lost in the server move.

Roadworks goblins!

Here's something I've been working on (click small image to see full version in new window):

Some familiar faces in a local setting
View image

It's the first page of a comic set in Groningen, for a book about Groningen by night. So it features drinking, the local geography, and the real explanation of why the streets of Groningen are always broken up.
The full story is posted at my DeviantArt site: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4. Just in case you want to read it all and comment (requires registration at DevianArt, because I've had to mark them as adult due to nipplage. Yes, I know, but them's the rules).

I have very little time left to make changes (The story is due on Monday and tomorrow will be spent meeting another deadline), but I can probably fix major, urgent things if people point them out and pester me.

July 2, 2006

I ain't squeein' (spoilers for Army of Ghosts)

"Army of Ghosts" was, on the whole, pretty good. I liked the fact that it wasn't rushed, and I loved the fact that David Tennant finally got it right again. For the first time in weeks I felt that these 45 minutes were well-spent, that the script mostly worked and that there were no major clangers dropped anywhere in the story. I didn't even mind the Ghost Busters moment too much.

Nevertheless, there were still some problems. The biggest one is that there were Cybermen in it. I like the Cybus Cybermen better than some other variants, but they are still big clunky metal things that plod around the place in artificial formations. And it did look awful when they turned up in artificial formations in front of publicity stills of the Taj Mahal and the bleedin' Eiffel Tower. And the one moment when I was nearly taken out of the story occurred when one showed up in some random family's hallway, scaring the mommy, daddy and two kids for no good reason at all. It could have worked with other creatures, but with a Cyberman? No way. The reinvention of the Cybermen, the clean break with their established continuity, was a great idea and necessary to give them any chance at all at not sucking. In this episode, it became clear that the break wasn't clean enough; several scenes of them marching in formation resembled their earlier, crap, appearances in stories like "Earthshock" (Note: I think "Earthshock" is a great story; I just wish it had been done without the metallic clowns in it). What a waste of an opportunity to bring out those old Leni Riefenstahl storyboards and make them march in a way that's actually menacing.
That would have fit the fascism theme running throughout the episode. It would, in fact, have been a lot less ham-handed than what we got in the portrayal of the Torchwood director. Yvonne Hartman, who basically looked like Ann Coulter, only female, prettier, and not quite as fascistic, because even Russell T. Davies knows where to stop, talked about the British Empire and National Greatness and, oh, independence from Middle Eastern oil. Can you see the problem here? If you're going to write a character like that, why not make her seductive? No one in their right mind wants to bring back the British Empire, but a lot of us in our right minds can get behind the idea of energy independence, so that is the kind of argument a real person would use in conversation, even if what she really wanted is Empire. In a good morality play, the villain has to have the potential to hook the audience, to evoke their sympathy, to make them think about what she's saying and what their own responses to that would be. This "Ooh, I'm a megalomaniac, watch me rant" schtick is just tiresome.
Luckily the actress playing Hartman, Tracy-Ann Oberman, played her well enough to compensate for the faults in her writing, imbuing her with a bit of warmth and a sense of mischief that made her a good sparring partner for the Doctor.
Director Graeme Harper gave the story a steady, unhurried pace and a cinematographic feel. I'm at a bit of a disadvantage writing about this, because I see the episodes 12 hours after the Brits do, but those who wrote it looked like a movie were right. And Rose worked, and Jackie worked even better, and the finally Doctorish Doctor was a delight to watch.
So it was good, in places even great. But there's still a lot that needs fixing in Series 3. So excuse me for not squeeing just yet. Let's just hope that with the arrival of the Daleks on the scene, things will get a bit more exciting.

July 5, 2006

Word balloon tutorial

Short but very useful tutorial on how to make scalable word balloons in Photoshop. This will bring me one step closer to not needing Paint Shop Pro anymore. (What this adds to what I already know about the shape drawing tools is the correct use of the Path mode.)

July 6, 2006

Site outage

Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan was down for a few hours this morning. The server admin says this was the result of the gallery software being hacked. The hackers didn't do any lasting damage, but did tie up all the resources for the subdomain.

Since I find Gallery a pain in the arse to run and maintain anyway, I have disabled it and removed the link to it on the front page. I have left its database intact in the hope of importing the contents into WillowCMS some time, but until then, the material in there is gone. All the arty action now takes place on my DeviantArt site anyway.

Some link cleanup may be needed. We'll see.

July 8, 2006

Feral (A post by Adam)

Today Reinder and I threshed out the next RoCR plot, Feral, from my memories of the last revision (now lost), and, during the discussion that ensued, well... it was one of those wonderful productive periods in which everything suddenly comes together. All of a sudden this script, which I had thought was a little thin but very well executed, started gaining depth, themes, and then suddenly, minor subplots bloomed. Exciting new plots burst forth from them, and locked in perfectly with the rest of the script. What were odd coincendences before suddenly began resonating, and they were right and they were how the plot should be. Characters revealed hidden depths as we explored why they'd be motivated to do various things. It was one of those vastly productive days that make being a script editor so immensely rewarding, and all was good.

...In short, the next RoCR storyline may be a while off yet, but it will be well worth the delay.


Addendum by Reinder: Yes, it was that good. If I smoked, I'd have needed a cigarette after that. And it won't be that long before I get around to drawing it.

Meet Shep's stalker

Meet my stalker, Shep's guide to what to do if you're a man who gets stalked. Executive summary: Your stalker is mentally ill, and a stalker is like malaria: having got one, you may live normally for years and then have the problem flare up again.

In my capacity as an admin on Talk About Comics, I've had to deal with two flare-ups of Shep's stalker problem, including one shown in screenshots, so I remembered this page when the issue of stalking came up in IRC conversation this afternoon.

Apart from the useful advice, I like Shep's writing style in these pages. It is very similar to Dave Sim's essay-writing style, though the content is much more sane.

July 9, 2006

Extra updates: Mike Wytrykus' Keenquest contributions

Mike Wytrykus of the webcomic Grimstone has kindly given me permission to repost his old Keenquest contributions on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan website. I've inserted them into last week's archives, so they now follow my first Keenquest page. Read Mike's first, second, third and fourth pages.

It just might be possible to resurrect the whole event. If you were a Keenquest contributor and would like to see your work reposted on a fairly well-visited webcomic site, please contact me.

ROCR reviewed at Clickburg

René van Densen reviews Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan at the Clickburg forums. The review, in Dutch, is pretty favorable - not quite glowing and definitely not uncritical, but I for one got a positive vibe out of it. Positive things highlighted include the world-building, the "subtle, intelligent humour" and the formal play found in the many stylistic and narrative approaches over the years. Critical notes are struck concerning the pacing and the tendency to nitpick, and as with many other reviews, the frequent nudity in the stories is given a brief, neutral mention. Oh, and I need a better tagline for the site.

My pioneering role in webcomics is also brought up - I tend to downplay that these days because it makes me feel like one of those old-timers in the Lucky Luke comics, but in this case, the review mentions that I'm still keeping an eye on new developments, which neatly balances that aspect out.

Doomsday (spoilers)

Sass is very difficult to pull off in genre fiction. Not that there aren't tonnes of writers out there trying to write convincing scenes in which their plucky hero or heroine utters witty comebacks to the threats from the baddies who have just captured them and wouldn't think twice about killing them; the problem is rather that few of them succeed. Most of the time, one is left with the feeling that a real person, in that situation, would not be able to do anything other than wet their pants in fear.
But last night, when Rose Tyler totally sassed that Dalek, I believed it. I believed that she would do that, I believed that Rose had enough presence of mind to come up with retorts that sounded good, and I believed that Rose knew what she was doing, that she had learned how to keep a Dalek wound up tightly enough to start making mistakes, but not so tightly that it would lose its patience. Thanks to Billie Piper's acting ability, even the annoying, poorly-written Rose we saw too much of during Series 2 is always believable; but this wasn't poorly-written Rose, this was Piper's acting coupled with writing that actually worked. I was cheering her on.

Daleks vs. Cybermen! And they exchange taunts! That bit, of course, was 4 the kidz, but I'm clearly well in touch with my inner child. I loved it! And the Dalek who said they could take on 5 million Cybermen with just one Dalek was just soo right. Of course, there are people with more credentials than sense who disagree with me, but come on. Daleks are better because they're such clumsy designs. A Dalek is a creature you have to learn to fear. Its appearance is stubby and bigheaded, like a mis-shapen robot baby. One appendage is a plunger, the other an egg-whisk. It looks comically helpless until you learn what it can do - until you learn that the egg-whisk is a deadly laser weapon, the plunger can suck your head dry, and God only knows what hidden uses that eyestalk has. And it hates everything on general principles. Giant line-dancing robots just can't compare.
If it was me producing the episode, I'd have had them actually stick with just the four Daleks instead of the massive army that emerged from the Phallus of Rassilion or whatever that thing was called. But that's just me, and even then I have to admit it made for great visuals.

Some people didn't like the long, drawn-out ending with the crying, the final goodbye and then more crying. I think the emotional release was vital to the sort of ending that this episode had, and its length was proportional to the viewers' emotional investment in the characters and their relationship. By all means let them both have a good, long blub. They'll feel better for it in the end.

Nearly everyone hated the appearance of Catherine Tate in a bridal gown at the end. It seems to me that the reason was mostly that nearly every Doctor Who fan can't stand the sight of Catherine Tate. I had never heard of her before, and so I found that this sudden post-ending surprise was utterly, almost hallucinatorily jarring - but in a good way. Poor Doctor, he doesn't get a moment's respite. The moment he finally gets the waterworks running, he gets to deal with a psycho bride right there in his home.

David Tennant? Aaawyeeeeeeah, hewasalright.

I loved "Doomsday" It wasn't perfect (hey, it had Cybermen in it), but it worked. Possibly better than last year's season finale, although I'd have to re-watch that to make sure.

July 14, 2006

Richard Thompson - 1000 Years of Popular Music (2006 DVD version)

I really thought I was going to go a whole month without buying music, but here I am. Yesterday I got two DVDs: 1000 Years of Popular Music by Richard Thompson and Pulse by Pink Floyd *). I haven't watched the Floyd DVD yet, partly because I think it'd be a crime to watch it on a tiny laptop screen and partly because it's very long and I want to watch it from beginnning to end at least once, but I have seen the Thompson one. It's great!

1000 Years of Popular Music was previously released as a mail-order only single CD recorded live in 2002. This new version is based on a new concert, with a new setlist and a new line-up of musicians. If you already have the original, there's still plenty that's new on this version. But for the most part, what makes it worth buying is being able to see Thompson, singer Judith Owen and drummer Debra Dobkin tear through some of the classic songs from the Middle Ages onwards. Especially the money shots — by which of course I mean the close-ups of Thompson picking his guitar and fingering the chords. Oh, and the interview and between-song banter from Thompson.
Musically it's all very strong stuff. Lovely guitar work, great vocal support from Owen in particular. Thompson's own voice may be limited but he uses it to great effect and he sings these songs better, overall, than he did on the first version of the album. I did think that the three-part harmonies in some of the songs (especially the madrigal "O Sleep Fond Fancy") didn't work too well, with Dobkin's voice in particular not quite gelling. She did fit in on the more rock-oriented songs towards the end though.

There's something odd about Dobkin's drum kit setup, by the way. She uses a left-handed kit, but has the bass drum where you'd expect the floor tom to be, positioned horizontally to be hit with a stick instead of placed vertically on the floor to be kicked with a pedal. This is a bit of a handicap when providing the driving rhythms for songs like the Easybeats' "Friday On My Mind"; Dobkin simply has one appendage less than other rock drummers (well, most of them) to play the rhythm with, and as a result, the beats occasionally sound a bit strange to my ears. "Friday On My Mind" still sounds blistering, though, thanks to Thompson's rhythm guitar skills.

Dobkin is also the only rock musician whose online biography was written by Cicero. How's that for credibility with the intellectual elites?

While I enjoyed Judith Owen's vocals on this and other Richard Thompson albums (Adam, by the way, insists that she is miscast for the Gilbert and Sullivan number "There Is Beauty In The Bellow of The Blast" but I've grown quite fond of her interpretation), her stage presence gets a bit irritating here and there. I think the problem is that she's used to being a solo performer - her arm movements and facial expressions would work in the sort of show where the attention is on her anyway, but are distracting when someone else is supposed to be the star of the show. Thompson himself, of course, is not a very animated performer, so Owen's movements become extra distracting in this particular combination.

One nice thing about the DVD is that the first printing comes with two extra audio CDs containing the full concert, albeit without Thompson's banter. This is really convenient if you want to just have the tracks in your MP3 player or don't have a DVD player handy. I wish more DVD releases had this extra feature.

*) Links go to Amazon UK. Readers in the US may want to use their local Amazon store.

The Webcomic Crossover & Cameo Archive

The Webcomic Crossover & Cameo Archive is handy when you want to know exactly when a character from webcomic A appeared in Webcomic B, or which of the FRAMED!!! Great Escape comics survive where, sort of thing. It's been around for quite a while and appears to be in good working order, with an active forum and livejournal. Webcomics cross over with one another all the time, so it's good to know that someone is keeping track.

July 17, 2006

Changes at Modern Tales.

After a long wait, Modern Tales has finally changed to its new codebase and editorial formula. Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan is featured as part of the "Strip Lounge" section, meaning that the comics that were on Modern Tales before October, 2005 can now be read on Modern Tales for free, by anyone.
Yes, I do intend to start updating there again. As soon as I get the hang of the new control panel and have some time to catch up.

Joey Manley on the changes and the reasons for them.

Continue reading "Changes at Modern Tales." »

July 18, 2006

The New Sheriff at Modern Tales

I have added The New Sheriff to the ROCR archives at Modern Tales. I now feel confident enough to tackle the two longer stories that still need to be added; I expect to be able to do each of them in an hour or so.

Some presentation aspects are still being worked on. The archive pages will look better in a day or two.

Keenquest/Even in Arcadia won't be added to the Modern Tales archives — too much hassle with permissions from the various creators involved.

Green Knight's Belt at Modern Tales

OK, I've speeded up my schedule for bringing the ROCR archives at Modern Tales up to date, and uploaded The Green Knight's Belt today. Two reasons:

1. Much to my own surprise, Modern Tales is still a big deal to me. It's a prominent comics site that I'm proud of being a part of.

2. I need to be well-mirrored as a hedge against hackers, script kiddies or the website going down for no good reason at all. ROCR.net is under almost constant attack. So is Modern Tales, but the odds of them both buckling under at the same time are small.
(Today, by the way, there's a likely attack in progress focusing on the reinderdijkhuis.com domain, which points to rocr.net. The symptom is a very large number of pageviews from one IP, over a period that's far too short for any human reader to read as many pages as are being requested. It may be innocuous, a new web crawler sucking up pages, or someone speed-downloading the site for offline reading, but I'm watching it with suspicion. Only damage so far is that it buggers up my statistics, but the behaviour shown could be merely reconnaissance for a real hack. Yes, I'm paranoid. I have reasons.)

The data entry on Modern Tales is easy, but tedious, so I won't do The Death Warrant before tonight. I'm gonna spend the afternoon switched off in the sweltering heat.

The Death Warrant on Modern Tales

The Death Warrant is now uploaded to the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan archives on Modern Tales. Took almost exactly an hour to do, because the database is fast and the control panel has great usability if you don't have to add text to an episode. The main ROCR archive still looks better though.

Heatwave number 2: Hosepipe bans, cyanobacteria, botulism and death.

The year's second heatwave is turning out to be a bit of a downer. The newspapers are full of warnings of the country's open waters falling prey to cyanobacteria, botulism and other pestilences. Plant life is visibly affected now - grass is drying out in quite a few places. Hosepipe bans are in place in many localities. And the heat is beginning to kill. In the venerable four-day walking event the Vierdaagse van Nijmegen (AKA International Four Days' Marches Nijmegen, more than 300 people became unwell as a result of the heat, five of them so unwell that they needed reanimation, and two of them died. With higher temperatures expected for tomorrow, the event, which had three days yet to go, has been canceled.
The Vierdaagse has been shortened before, but this is the first time ever that the event has been canceled in peace time.

July 19, 2006

Bad Behavior

Via Branko, I hear of Bad Behavior, a

fingerprinting method for HTTP requests, [which] has proven, as one user called it, "shockingly effective" at identifying and blocking malicious activity, including blog/wiki spam, e-mail address harvesting, automated cracking attempts, and more. It does all of this looking only at the HTTP request headers; for POST data, the content of the spam is not analyzed at all.

If you have a Wordpress blog, you probably need this, but it is designed to be easily integrateable into other PHP-based content management systems. If I read the documentation correctly, I could install it now and have it do basic spam-blocking work in Willow, but I prefer to wait until Mithandir has given me his opinion and maybe done whatever tweaks are necessary to make all the functionality cooperate with Willow.
(Mithandir's own motivation for doing this is probably a bit low right now, though - he's vacationing in Norway, and he reports that the amount of spam on his own website has dropped spontaneously over the past few days. So I may change my mind and muck about with the plugin myself. I should be able to stick in an "Include Once" call....)

July 20, 2006


Now that the Modern Tales relaunch is off the ground, there's finally some movement on the Adultwebcomics front.

AdultWebcomics.com is seeking submissions of one-panel cartoon gags, ongoing comic strips, graphic novels, and short stories in sequential art form, in the genres of sexual humor and/or erotica.

AdultWebcomics is the newest project from some of the people who brought you Modern Tales and Webcomics Nation. Because of certain limitations imposed on those sites by some of our business partners, we are unable to host "mature" content on our other, currently more-famous sites. AWC is meant to work around those limitations by providing cartoonists with an uninhibited playground, where the fine scatological and erotic traditions of cartoon art can be honored and extended. We are looking for the best of the best in the genre.

In other words, send us the stuff that's too "hot" for Modern Tales — or for our competitors, for that matter (all of whom have similar restrictions on adult content).

AdultWebcomics only seeks a non-exclusive right to post your work on our website. This means that the material may also appear elsewhere on the web — on your own website, or on a portal, or anywhere else you choose to put it — at the same time it appears at AdultWebcomics.com.

Submissions should be sent to: adultwebcomics@gmail.com

It's surprisingly difficult to build a business on adult (as in erotic, pornographic or containing sexual humour) webcomics. The potentially greater mass appeal is off-set by a much larger number of obstacles the adult-oriented cartoonist finds in his way: mainstream, non-porn advertisers are less likely to want to work with you, credit card companies insist on having you pay punitive rates, online payment providers find themselves acting as proxies for the credit card companies and either forcing you to pay punitive rates themselves or refusing to do business with you outright. This is the reason why AWC:
a) exists at all - having adult webcomics on webcomicsnation would cause the entire service to be treated as an adult content site; and
b) morphed from being a web service provider like webcomicsnation to being an edited, but not subscription-based website similar to the free parts of Modern Tales. I don't quite remember the details - and some of them came up in private discussion groups that I oughtn't to quote from anyway - but there were additional risks associated with not having an editor stand between the contributors and the website.

Nevertheless, it's about to be launched now, and could provide opportunities for webcartoonists who like to draw more risqué, sexy material.

There but for the grace of God go I

Why Finntroll is allegedly bad for humanity
Hey, he's having fun, all right? If you haven't ululated along with Finntroll, you haven't lived.

July 23, 2006

Things I learned in the past 24 hours

1. When sports journalists write that Floyd Landis bonked in Wednesday's climbing stage, they mean the second meaning of the word. Not the first, which you have to admit would have been something to see.

2. Because the internet is not for geeks anymore*), it is no longer safe to use symbols like "!=" in a public discussion. Especially one about events in the Middle East. For the record, I do not believe that Lebanon is in any way similar to Afghanistan, and rather thought that that was such a blindingly obvious point that I was unprepared to make more than a minimal effort in putting it in writing. That's one mistake I won't soon make again, obviously.

*) Which in most contexts is very much a good thing, if only because geek triumphalism is a distasteful thing to have to witness. But having spent quite a bit of effort, back in the day, on learning the language, I now have to adjust to situations where using it gets me into trouble, which is a bit of a bummer.

Roundup of stuff: blogroll, comics

I am feeling the pull of the political blogs again, for the first time since the US Presidential elections of 2004. I've been reading them a lot, and have added Red State Son, The Whiskey Bar and Wisse Words to my blogroll. The former two are essayistic blogs rather than quote-and-link blogs. The latter does a bit of both, and has been a consistently reliable source of stuff for me to quote-and-link. I ought to apologise to Martin for taking so long to add it.
I fear this renewed interest in political subjects will turn out to be a precursor to me writing about politics again myself. I'm not happy with the idea, not yet anyway. I don't think of my own opinions as being particularly trenchant, interesting or well-informed. But as a writer and artist I also know that sometimes when you get an itch you must scratch it. At least, I hope that the next time around I won't be pulling my punches or putting up any pretence of being balanced or reasonable. Seeing both (or all) sides of an issue is something my readers are smart enough to do themselves, in their own time, and if they can't, then they're pretty much part of the problem and not worth talking to.

On Lebanon: I think Juan Cole continues to be the most readable pundit. His enemies on the American right have called him anything from a Chicken Little to an Anti-Semite; the one label they haven't been able to pin on him is "wrong". As a result, I'm very alarmed by the same things that alarm Professor Cole Justified defensive war, my foot.

On the crossroads of politics, blogs and comics, Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings, Scott Lemieux at Lawyers, Guns and Money, John Holbo at Crooked Timber and countless others have commented on recent Day By Day comics making very uninformed references to German philosophers such as Immanuel Kant. I have nothing to add except that if I ever hear "Why is the NY Times so anti-American?" as a conversation starter, I'm going to assume I've got heat stroke again and am hallucinating.

More on right-wing comics in a separate post.

Commision Carson Fire

While looking for more blogospheric criticism of Day by Day (it's been one of those days), I found a mention of Carson Fire's Winger on Alicublog, of all places, read the comments, followed one link to the comic and found out that Carson's behind with his rent again. So far, I've avoided linking to Winger or mentioning it in this blog for any reason, because even to denounce it would cause compulsive rubberneckers to waste their time on it. But I like Cars's other work, especially Elf Life, and while we haven't spoken in quite a while, I still don't like the idea of him being turned out of his home. He's taking commissions sending bonus artworks to people donating $20 or more. Perhaps a bunch of readers could club together to pay him for new Elf Life updates? Just a thought.

Orem ain't got no head cheese


Dismemberment, cannibalism, psychosis, hillbilly cousin-cest, monsters made of malignant brain tumours and entrails... all in wonderfully gnarly black and white with perfect pacing and composition. Warren horror comics really rocked the hizbah like the hizbah hasn't been rocked since. And some people say webcomics get a bit too raucous?

How to talk to a global warming skeptic

A very exhaustive list of questions global warming "skeptics" are likely to ask, with answers and commentary (via Comments in Patrick Farley's livejournal. For the latest in the underlying science go to RealClimate).

July 24, 2006

Dresden Codak

If you think Scary Go Round is a bit too staid and predictable, you need to read Dresden Codak which rocks very hard and is made of mad science.

Bug Powder on the other hand, is giving away live dinosaurs and killer robots to its visitors, because that's the only way they can improve on their coverage of british web and small press comics. Seriously, they do a great job.

Stabbed in the Back! The Dolchstosslegende explained

Stabbed in the Back! an article from the June issue of Harper's Magazine, was posted on the magazine's website earlier this month. I'd been waiting for it. Some key paragraphs:

The stab in the back first gained currency in Germany, as a means of explaining the nation's stunning defeat in World War I. It was Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg himself, the leading German hero of the war, who told the National Assembly, "As an English general has very truly said, the German army was 'stabbed in the back.'"

Like everything else associated with the stab-in-the-back myth, this claim was disingenuous. The "English general" in question was one Maj. Gen. Neill Malcolm, head of the British Military Mission in Berlin after the war, who put forward this suggestion merely to politely summarize how Field Marshal Erich von Ludendorff–the force behind Hindenburg–was characterizing the German army's alleged lack of support from its civilian government.

The full article traces the legend back to Old Norse folklore, discusses its adoption by the Nazis, and then tackles its use by the American right since the Second World War:

Since the end of World War II it has been the device by which the American right wing has both revitalized itself and repeatedly avoided responsibility for its own worst blunders. Indeed, the right has distilled its tale of betrayal into a formula: Advocate some momentarily popular but reckless policy. Deny culpability when that policy is exposed as disastrous. Blame the disaster on internal enemies who hate America. Repeat, always making sure to increase the number of internal enemies.

Read, and learn.

July 25, 2006

"Stepping in my piano"

The phrase "The baron [...] has a regrettable habit of stepping in my piano", used by Countess Alcydia in the comic named after her attracted some comment on the RoCR forum. No, I don't know where it comes from either; presumably it's a Norwegianism. It's a wonderful expression nonetheless, one of those that need no further explanation, and one that the English language really needs. I would like to take the time to urge you all to use it in conversation at the earliest opportunity.

Sequential Art, a comic

Sequential Art has a rather slapdash cast (Why catgirls? The artist likes them, I guess) and a rather awkward web interface, but it is funny as hell. If you like gags about the heatwave, platypuses and, I suppose, catgirls, check out the 150 comics already published.

July 27, 2006

Alien bug made of plush

Via Pharyngula, I read about this:
Alien Bug Lands in Backyard
PZ think he knows what it is, and so do I: It's damned freaky, that's what! It looks like a plush caterpillar brought to life. What I like most about the video is that there is very little indication of scale, so I can imagine that it eats little yappy dogs.

July 28, 2006

Heat make me stupid

Fed up with heat. Still no relief: weatherman promise thunderstorms but no show. IQ dropping, mood pissy. Heat kill more people, radio say. Lucky Jim Make Light know how deal and have tips.


Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler has only just started, but could turn out to be a good'un. The sepia-toned art has a nice combination of anthropomorphic cat characters and a 1920s retro setting. The artist can definitely draw backgrounds and isn't afraid to post large, complex pages on the web. He also uses his documentation well although one suspects that some of the cars were traced from photographs. Well, that's no biggy. I'll be keeping an eye on this comic.

Don't miss the tutorial.

July 29, 2006


My tax refund came in, so I've been doing some long-delayed spending. Most of it was on mundane stuff like towels and underpants, but some of it was on more interesting items such as Flight # 3 (which I haven't read yet but I've looked at it with googly eyes), and new running shoes.
Buying running shoes is rather less of a chore than buying regular shoes. One fun part of it, at least when buying at Runner Hardloopcentrum in Groningen (I really wouldn't know about any other store anywhere), is testing shoes on a treadmill and getting your running movements filmed. This time around, I was showing a little more pronation on my right, injured foot than in a similar test in January, but what struck me most was how my calves looked.
You know, I've always been against putting photographs of myself on my website, mainly out of a desire to avoid scaring small children, the elderly or the infirm. But I just might add a picture of my calves to my bio page some time. Those are good calves. Me likes.

July 31, 2006

48 hours without comment spam, and other stuff.

Thanks to some changes and improvements to WillowCMS's commenting system implemented by Mithandir over the weekend, the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan website has now been free of comment spam for over 48 hours, as has Mith's own site. Allow me to take some time to gloat and flip spammers everywhere the bird in an obnoxious manner.

... right. Mith has improved the content-based scoring system, added the ability to close individual entries for comments, made changes to the comment key system and added a little honeypot for spammers to fall into. None of these measures will work forever, but for now, it's looking pretty good. So far, legitimate comments to the site are getting through, but if you have a problem commenting, email me.

Even failed spam attempts can cause problems for the site, because they use up resources and pollute the usage statistics, so I will want to install Bad Behavior on the site. But that's not too urgent right now.

Meanwhile, the heatwave has finally broken. I can actually concentrate! The 24-Centigrade temperature actually registers as a slight chill now. I can remember as a child that I'd consider a day like today a fine, hot summer day...

I'm looking for ways to spend my tax refund! I've already done the routine of buying stuff I needed but couldn't afford to spend money on, and there's still a decent amount left. First priority will be stuff that benefits my work in comics, including advertising. I've asked this before, but considering how quickly the online landscape can change, I'll ask it again: if you know a good online publication for me to advertise on, please let me know. I have a few hundred Euros to spend on this. I prefer advertising within the existing webcomics community, but am willing to consider outreach-style advertising if the venue looks promising.

About July 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Waffle in July 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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August 2006 is the next archive.

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