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August 2006 Archives

August 3, 2006

Gallery update

Some new stuff and some rediscovered old stuff on my DeviantArt gallery. Most of these will show up on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan website sooner rather than later, but if you can't wait, have an account and want to comment on some of the pieces before they go live, here's your chance:
Guest art in progress for Head Doctor Comics.
Cast portrait in progress for the Even in Arcadia story.
Tentative coloured version of the same.
Nymphs! drawn as a guest comic for The Pantheon in 2003.
Nymphs!, a new sequel to the previous one.

August 6, 2006

On shaving one's own head

Pete Ashton mentioned last week that he had shaved his own head:

Shaved my head, which involved sitting in front of a mirror with my shirt off (not something I do very often), and discovered I have muscle tone, specifically around the upper torso and shoulders. Was somewhat taken aback by this. Combined with my working-man's-tan I believe I might possibly be "buff". Whodathunkit?

This inspired me to have a go at it myself; after all, being dependent on someone else — in my case, my mother, who has many years of experience trimming the fringe of hair at the back of my father's head — to do that sort of thing can be a drag, especially considering I use my razor daily anyway. . As it turns out, shaving my own head is perfectly doable. What Pete didn't mention though, presumably because he got distracted by his muscle tone and his tan and lost track of time, is how damned long it takes. What my mother does in five minutes with her hair trimmer took me over two hours with a full arsenal of electric-razor-with-trimmer-attachment, scissors, a handheld mirror to see the back of my head and the regular mirror in the shower, just to get to the point where I could say "Naaah, I think I'll just go over it again with a razorblade". That's not something I'll repeat again, even though I've got a rather good, shiny slaphead out of it. I've got better things to do with my time, like, er, posting in my blog or mopping the studio floor.

August 7, 2006

Another gallery update

Some more recent additions to my gallery. All Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan-related artworks contain mild spoilers about the general direction of the next story, but no major ones just yet.

Feiht from Chasing the Sunset, drawn partly as gift art, partly for the cast page.
Shireen, a minor character from the next ROCR story.
The Feral, another character from the next ROCR story.
Brother Bartlemew, A Monk. From the next ROCR story.
Size comparison drawing for Kel and the Feral.
Ragnarok with a new outfit and hair style.

Looking at these drawings I can't help but notice that I've been drawing very simple, basic poses lately. That's not a bad thing for art intended to demonstrate what a character looks like, and I find it encouraging that I can draw those simple standing poses, enjoy it, and not end up with something completely boring. For the sake of keeping myself interested in the longer run, I'll need to build on this, work in more complex poses and more elaborate backgrounds, but for now, this is not a bad way to get started on cranking out more output. When the comic starts in earnest, in two weeks, I'll need to be able to work fast again.

August 13, 2006

Call to my pagan readers

I found a referral in my usage statistics from Projectx13 a pagan website. While checking it out, I found out that the site's owner is in financial trouble due to disability, which is likely to get worse. So he's asking for donations to keep the website, and himself, afloat.
I'm not pagan, so the site isn't really for me, but it looks like a pretty good news and community resource. If you are interested in paganism, take a look at Projectx13 and if you like what you see, drop a few bucks in the paypal box.

(Yes, I know, there are so many people on the net solliciting donations. I could do a dozen posts like this one each day. But I picked this one simply because one good turn deserves another.)

August 14, 2006

Guest series at The Bare-Pit

I'm doing a guest series at The Bare-Pit called "Incognito". It involves my character Abúi, getting lost in 21st-Century Australia and trying to blend in in a human environment. The story is a sort of sequel to Abúi's appearance in Chasing the Sunset, which still hasn't ended. That's webcomic crossovers for ya.
The Bare-Pit is a comic about nudists, set at an Australian naturist resort, and is probably the only consistently good fiction with a nudist setting. It's been fun for me to borrow Noodtoonist Stephen's characters and setting for a while. The comic normally updates two or three times a week, but will update on weekdays for the duration of "Incognito", which will be ten installments in total.

I've been very busy both at trying out new concepts and at getting the next Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan story going. In the next few days I'll be posting sneak previews of Feral on my DeviantArt, so be careful to watch that. There are some new character and costume drawings up there as well.

August 16, 2006

SQL crash

The SQL server at Xepher.net, which hosts my comics, appears to have just crashed. I'll inform the admin of the problem; there's not much else I can do about it. Meanwhile, this link will take you to Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan's static index page: http://www.rocr.net/index.html.

Some lounge music while we wait for the server to come back up

This is not safe for work, immature, puerile, tasteless and you've probably seen it before. It's also an earworm. Therefore, I am posting it here:
Music by The Wet Spots
Update: I found out that the video I linked to was no longer available for, ahem, some reason. However, I could find another version easily, and updated the link.

History of Oil

While we're still waiting for the MySQL server, and the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan archives, to come back up, here's something that Branko linked to a few days ago: Robert Newman's History of Oil, a 45-minute comedy-tised documentary about the history of Western, ehrm, involvement in the Middle East and the desire among countries to control energy resources as a motivating factor in this, ehrm, involvement. You'll never take the phrase "bringing democracy to the Middle East" seriously again, and as for Tony Blair... well, I for one was already convinced the guy was a weasel, but Newman brings it home well.
I never rated Newman and Baddiel all that highly, apart from the History Today skits, of course, but History of Oil is superb - funny, educational and interestingly structured. (45 minutes)

August 21, 2006

Gogol Bordello at Noorderzon

Yesterday, I went to see Gogol Bordello at Noorderzon. Now, I could write a review, but why should I, if I can show you what they're like?

Gogol Bordello live on the Jimmy Kimmel show last March

YouTube eliminates the need for reviews, or indeed basic literacy.

I think I mentioned last year that the free music stage at Noorderzon is at one end of a pond, so the bands play facing a body of water. Which in Gogol Bordello's case meant that they couldn't do this:
Percussionist, dancer and human stage prop Pamela and singer Eugene Hütz crowdsurfing on a bass drum, with poor sound
but they did get a number of people fired up enough to jump into the pond. The strange setup does create some problems: if you want to be involved in the gig, the closest spots to the stage are to the sides of the pond, where the sound is too loud and pretty unbalanced, whereas the best sound can be enjoyed at other end of the pond, where you can't see the musicians all that well.

Performing "Not A Crime" on Later with Joolz Holland

Most of the Gogol Bordello material available on YouTube has poor sound and video quality but this clip from British TV is all right. It's time they put out a professionally shot concert DVD though.

August 22, 2006

Next on rocr.net

I have one more bonus piece for the Keenquest/Even in Arcadia storyline. It's another comic originally made for the The Pantheon website. After that, I will run "Roadworks Goblins", a short story I made for an anthology book that's about to come out in September. It's not a Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan story — it's more related to the Little Cottage in the Woods stories I made with Geir a few years ago.

After that, I hope to fill a few days with a short ROCR story while also buffering for the next proper ROCR storyline, "Feral". The art for the first few pages is very labour-intensive, so I need a little more time to create a nice buffer, even with the schedule moving back to Monday/Wednesday/Friday.
"But wait," I hear you ask, "Didn't you say you weren't going to do the regular schedule thing anymore once you got back to doing new material?" I think I did, but I've changed my mind. Let me tell you what happened last week.

I was trying to write the next Gang of Four page for Hello You! magazine. I spent two days practically dozing in front of my iBook, then at 3 PM on Thursday, my editor asked me when she could expect the script, so she could send it to the language corrector before she went on holiday. So I took a deep breath, made tea, sat down on the studio balcony with my sketchbook, and wrote it in ten minutes.

I need deadlines. Without them, I go slack and become easily distracted. For a while, I was burned out on producing to a deadline, and it was a relief to just publish old material for a year and a half. But now it's time to jump back in the grind.
"Feral" will be produced on a deadline, but it will have to be a realistic, reachable one. To make this possible, I'm delaying the story's start a little, but I am also joining the second edition of the Lazy Grind, a competition among webcartoonists to see who can update on a thrice-weekly schedule the longest without missing an update. That starts on September 11, leaving me with four days' worth of updates on the old schedule to fill between the end of "Roadworks Goblins" and the start of "Feral". The comic will update on those days.

That's the state of things for now. Do take care to read my guest storyline at The Bare-Pit, Geir and Daniel's Alcydia and Abúi's misadventures in the world of Chasing the Sunset.

August 23, 2006

Oh yeah, the apocalypse. Totally didn't happen yesterday, did it?

It says on the blog's home page that we're supposed to write about the impending apocalypse, and I'll admit it. I've been remiss in my duties. This is because I don't read wingnut blogs, preferring to read material by writers who aren't completely out of their minds.
Apparently, "Islam scholar" Bernard Lewis predicted that August 22 would herald the return of the hidden Imam and that Ahmadinejad would start nuking the rest of the world that day. Or something like that; like I said, I can't be arsed to read that sort of thing, and predictions of the End Of The World look extra-insane the day after the announced date. But Jim Henley got a nice riff out of it:

I experienced the carnage first-hand. This morning on the Washington Beltway a guy drove really slow in the left lane - right in front of me. Couldn't have been going over 50.

I was as resolute in refusing to be cowed by this unprovoked Iranian aggression as I was enraged at the fecklessness of our leaders, who failed to preempt the outrage by launching a major and of course purely defensive war on the Islamic Republic.

But where the craven Bush Administration and its puppeteers on the decadent Left fail America, the blogosphere can fill the void. We are fighting this war too, no less than the meeting planners at the think tanks and the guests on talk shows and the dumpers of fluids into airport bins. So I'm offering this blog item as a sharing - and yes, healing - place. Each of you, please tell us how you coped with the Day of Dodecahedral Doom. Whether acolytes of the Twelfth Imam cut in front of you at Au Bon Pain or put you on hold without asking or failed to note that your blog linked something before any other blogs you happened to notice, no enormity is too, well, enormous, for us to bear, together...

I'd like to add that I was feeling a bit sleepy all day that day, presumably as a result of mind rays from the Twelfth Imam sapping my mental strength. Also, all the good reading matter in my studio had been mysteriously replaced by Bob & Bobette albums, all of which sucked except a very early one that had... get this... muslims as the supporting characters. If that isn't a sign of a conspiracy I don't know what is.

I apologise for my lack of attention to matters eschatological. I'll pay more attention next time.

I did not sign this!

Just got an email to my gmail address thanking me for signing a petition entitled "Save Salem's Sweetheart which apparently supports the return of some soap star I've never heard of to some soap opera TV program I've never heard of. The petition does in fact have my name at the signature number the email said it would be at.
For the record: I did not sign that. I don't believe in Internet positions and tend to yell at people who forward email encouraging me to sign one. I think I may have signed something in support of the EFF or something like that in the past, but as a rule I don't touch these things with a ten-foot pole. The apparent ease with which my name and email were added to this petition rather confirms my suspicion of them.
I wonder if this is some clever scheme to make me contact the website the petition is on, give up my personal details to them to have my signature removed, or otherwise put myself in virtual harm's way. Does this sort of thing happen a lot?

Update: Bo Lindbergh points out that the other names on the petition include a Lea, a Shaenon, a Dorothy, an Amber, and a Dirk. This suggests that someone's been pranking current and former Modern Tales cartoonists. Iiiiinteresting...

August 24, 2006

I need to go and rip some spines out.

I have a longer post on this issue brewing in my head, but it may turn out to be the sort of thing that I end up not posting because it's too inflammatory and risks burning the already quite bombed-out remains of my bridges with the right-leaning folks in the webcomics community, both among the readership and among my cartooning colleagues*). For now, though, allow me to swear profusely at fucking pigheaded bigoted motherfuckers like the dickwads who got on Raed-in-the-Middle's case at JFK airport:

One of the two men who approached me first, Inspector Harris, asked for my id card and boarding pass. I gave him my boarding pass and driver's license. He said "people are feeling offended because of your t-shirt". I looked at my t-shirt: I was wearing my shirt which states in both Arabic and English "we will not be silent". You can take a look at it in this picture taken during our Jordan meetings with Iraqi MPs. I said "I am very sorry if I offended anyone, I didnt know that this t-shirt will be offensive". He asked me if I had any other T-shirts to put on, and I told him that I had checked in all of my bags and I asked him "why do you want me to take off my t-shirt? Isn't it my constitutional right to express myself in this way?" The second man in a greenish suit interfered and said "people here in the US don't understand these things about constitutional rights". So I answered him "I live in the US, and I understand it is my right to wear this t-shirt".

Then I once again asked the three of them : "How come you are asking me to change my t-shirt? Isn't this my constitutional right to wear it? I am ready to change it if you tell me why I should. Do you have an order against Arabic t-shirts? Is there such a law against Arabic script?" so inspector Harris answered "you can't wear a t-shirt with Arabic script and come to an airport. It is like wearing a t-shirt that reads "I am a robber" and going to a bank". I said "but the message on my t-shirt is not offensive, it just says "we will not be silent". I got this t-shirt from Washington DC. There are more than a 1000 t-shirts printed with the same slogan, you can google them or email them at wewillnotbesilent@gmail.com . It is printed in many other languages: Arabic, Farsi, Spanish, English, etc." Inspector Harris said: "We cant make sure that your t-shirt means we will not be silent, we don't have a translator. Maybe it means something else". I said: "But as you can see, the statement is in both Arabic and English". He said "maybe it is not the same message". So based on the fact that Jet Blue doesn't have a translator, anything in Arabic is suspicious because maybe it'll mean something bad!

[...The woman from Jet Blue] asked, what kind of t-shirts do you like. Should I get you an "I heart new york t-shirt?". So Mr. Harmon said "No, we shouldn't ask him to go from one extreme to another". I asked mr. harmon why does he assume I hate new york if I had some Arabic script on my t-shirt, but he didn't answer.

Bastards. Stinking, racist, wilfully ignorant, small-minded, disgusting, cowardly swine. May they squirm in hell. Fuck them back to front and side-ways and then fuck them again.

Feeling better now, I think. Via LGF Watch who have been documenting the end of what I thought was our civilisation in excruciating, red-mist-inducing detail.

*)Though frankly? "This website is a wingnut-free zone" sounds better to me with each passing day.

I tried to like YouTube but YouTube didn't like me back

Five attempts.

Is what it took me to get past the Verification Code script while trying to sign up as a member. Four times, it returned a "invalid response to verification code" error, even though I'm pretty sure I typed the code in correctly at least some of these times.

And each time, it made me re-type my (weak) password twice, and reset the "put me on the mailing list" to checked.

And there was no way out. Apparently they think no visually handicapped or dyslexic people will want to sign up on a site offering video clips. How silly of me, to think that there might be a middle ground between being perfectly sighted and being blind as a bat. Or to claim that YouTube eliminated the need for literacy. Not if you want to get past the sign-up form, bub.

Visual Confirmations, aka Verification Codes or CAPTCHAs, work against spam and against fake signups by spambots. But I really wish they didn't.

Because they are really, really awful.

August 26, 2006

Consumerist dreams

Last night I dreamed of buying not one, but two Macintosh computers. A desktop and a laptop. No, really.

In the non-dreaming world, I have less income than I've had since 2002, and I haven't exactly been rich in the mean time. Something needs to be done if I'm to make that dream, or similarly materialistic ones, a reality.

I might want to do one of those "extra updates for donations" things like the one Spike is doing. I don't know if they worked that well for her, but for all the talk of Templar, Arizona being WCN's break-out success, it's actually less popular than Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan is (ROCR is at the same level The Bare-Pit has been at these past two weeks while our cross-over was running), so I should stand a chance of doing at least as well as Spike has.

Dsquared speak

You listen:

As he did in Iraq, Chirac has played a blinder diplomatically. I don't think anyone ought to have ever believed that he was going to unilaterally cough up the men and money for this forlorn hope of a peacekeeping force. All that France provided was a convenient pretext for Hizbullah and Israel to walk away, in a reasonably dignified fashion, from a fight that neither of them wanted to be in.

Having got that, the international community ought to just say, "Thank you, monsieur," and walk away, not start complaining. Asking for the peacekeeping force is just childish, like asking for a kiss from the Easter Bunny when you've already got the chocolate.

This is what diplomacy looks like. You may say that it looks dishonest, sleazy and unpleasant, but I reply: we tried it your way for most of the month of July, and I can show you some pictures that would make your stomach turn.

August 27, 2006

Alcydia tooncast

Alcydia is now shown on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan front page as a tooncast, below the regular comic. I had my doubts about doing this, because the only available spot for such things is below the fold on the front page, but after experimenting with tooncasting The Bare-Pit in that spot, I found out that people did notice and read comics posted there. So I'm giving it a shot.

I've been hopeless at giving Alcydia and Chronicles of the Witch Queen in general the promotion they deserve, and I hope that this will in some way make up for it.

Update (August 27): There was an outage on Webcomicsnation, slowing down the loading of my front page, so I took the tooncast out again.

August 28, 2006

Want an invite to a book presentation?

I've got until tonight to send a list of invites to the presentation of the "Groningen bij Nacht" book and Ricky van Duuren's collection of comics at Vera on September 8. Anyone want an invite? I know I've got a few readers living in the Netherlands... Email me at reinder.dijkhuis@gmail.com.

An English version of my contribution to "Groningen bij Nacht" is currently being serialised on ROCR.net.

August 29, 2006

Housekeeping

As you may have noticed, I've been switching tooncasts around on the ROCR front page. For the time being, I'll switch manually between Alcydia and Guðrún, probably until I get fed up. I'm still dubious about whether people actually see the tooncasts in the spot they're in, but they do push those comics up the Webcomicsnation charts, which should get them noticed elsewhere.

I've reorganised the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan archives a bit. There's now a crossover section which includes Keenquest/Even In Arcadia and Incognito, the latter in larger scans than during its run on The Bare-Pit. I still need to add some annotiations to Incognito but will do so ASAP.

Things that make you go 'Gods, not again'

1. Angela Merkel wants herself some God in the European constitution. Because, you know, the last time that idea was tried it was greeted universally with smiles and flowers and candy. I have nothing to add to Nosemonkey's comments on the matter, except this: I'm a long-time supporter of the idea of a European constitution, but I've voted against an appallingly bad implementation of that idea before and will do so again if our dear leaders fill it up with unnecessary and divisive guff again. Is it really so hard to come up with something on the American model? The US constitution takes an hour to read from the preamble to the end of the Bill of Rights, and that's if you read it carefully. Study it and emulate it - if anything make it simpler.
2. Ed Brayton cannae take it anymore, and quite rightly so: The "War on Christmas" season has started early this year, and we'll spend the next four months getting steaming piles of bullshit dropped down our chimney by America's mullahs. By the way, don't think you'll be safe from this if you live in the UK or the Netherlands: Stupidity is highly contagious, as both Education Minister Van der Hoeven's "openness" to Intelligent Design and the Daily Mail and Daily Express reporting that Andrew Rilstone analysed have shown.

About August 2006

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

July 2006 is the previous archive.

September 2006 is the next archive.

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

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