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Showing posts from 2005

Pointless Man battles the ninjas.

Should have the last one coloured by the end of the year. Will hopefully get relatively high quality scans up on my site (along with the preceding pages of the comic this sequence comes from) around the first week of January.

Happy New Year!

Merry mothafuckin Christmas!

Can a bloke feel down when he's gotten everything he put on his Christmas list and hasn't even hit his stocking yet? Sure, but not this one, mate.

Listening to the Spencer Davis Group and feeling on top of it. Hope everyone else is feeling bout as good. Happy holidays and all that to everyone who doesn't read or comment here!

Megatokyo's Piro is out of his depth.

I have always been of the opinion that Fred Gallagher, alias Piro, is a cartoonist working beyond his own abilities. He's better at drawing clothing than making his characters' faces look unique, laying out his pages, or writing. Unless the girls he draws have bangs, they all have the same exact widow's peak as every one of his male characters. He is incapable of keeping to his own self-imposed 3 page a week schedule. His hard copy collections have gone through 3 volumes and 2 publishers without him fixing the DPI settings so his line work doesn't look jagged and roughly digitized.

His most recent material, complete with a page that went up late, then was taken down, promised to be up by three days later, and then replaced by something completely different which was also late, and is now promised to be fixed and back up some five days after it was supposed to be done.

Then look at the confused layouts he's been using during this time. There's action going on in…

Being bored is a viscious cycle I could do without. Also, comics.

Had a nice bout of drawing about a week ago. I made my kid brother's birthday dinner and cake icing on Tuesday. Outside of that, I can't think of anything productive I've been into in the last few weeks. Semester's over soon, so I got a change of pace coming up. Hopefully, that'll help me out a bit.

It also means I've got some papers I gotta write pretty soon. Papers I should be working on now.

Right.

I'm looking forward to working on some art projects with my mid brother, before year's end. Hope to finally get some of my more recent comics scanned and up at my website. Put up a poor composition there that I've been tooling with in Garage Band. Just something to get me used to the program. Not like I'll know what I'm doing once I figure out how to exploit its features. >_>
...

Been reading manga off the net recently. The names that have stuck out are those of Hiroki Endo and Yamamoto Hideo. Nothing groundbreaking in their art or layout, but…

Let's not and say we didn't.

Was supposed to meet my mom at the hospital about now to offer support until she goes in for surgery. Various problems, including an inability to contact her, her friend taking her to the hospital, and my step-dad who might know what I need to know, have made this rather difficult. Never mind my headache which wants to be a migraine or my having overslept like a dumbass.

I feel like a total heel. This is only shored up by my recent inactivity with respect to school. Good God, Tavis is slipping. Can he turn it around? Can he make up for his mistakes? Fuck forgiveness. Can things be fixed--at all?

Small consolation, and likely a neat piece of mental defence: The aesthetics of disaster, destruction, and misdeeds have a certain horrible appeal for me. They are beautiful in their way. Thus do I marvel at myself, wondering at the neat little hole I am digging.

More people ought to know Douglas Post.

Douglas Post is an excellent, articulate, and accomplished playwright of multiple genres, a fair and original lyricist and composer, and my favorite uncle (out of anybody's uncles anywhere). It disappoints me to see that many in the drama world outside Chicago are unfamiliar with the man and his plays.

Personal bias aside, his Earth and Sky stands as perhaps the best play I have ever read. It was going to be a movie for a while. Somebody bought the rights, commissioned Doug to do the screenplay, then they had him do it over again, then they asked someone else, and then the project died down. But Doug deserved to have that play known. I would suggest reading the play (or getting ahold of the radio production of it) to anybody, even people who aren't into reading scripts. Likewise for Drowning Sorrows. Doug excels at writing mysteries unbound by genre, where the gripping matters are personal more than plot related, and these are my favorite examples of his work in that vein.

He al…

For those not tuned in to the proper message boards...

I give you my, 'The 10 Reasons Why Is Numbering Confusing'

10) If numbers do not exist as objects in space, where are they?
7) If numbers are in our heads and there are infinite numbers, how come our heads don't asplode?
5) If I call 5 6 I can say 2+3=6, rite?
2) People say age is just a number, like age doesn't mean something, but they treat other numbers as meaningful, even when they're the same, like 50.
12) They don't even teach you number theory in school. This prolly means maths is a hoax like the Pilltdown Man, Zeno's parrot box or Shreddinger's Cat.
6) I can never remember what 7x8 is without adding 7 to 42.
8) People compare the number of stories all the time but sometimes a building's story is 10 feet and other times bigger. If they don't actually have a value, isn't the number of stories meaningless?
7) Pi cannot be eaten whole and it just goes on forever meaning no one really knows what it is.
3) If I divide four slices of pi among zero p…

Thought as action. Personal notes.

It seems to me claiming thought as action is a fairly obvious, intuitive thing to do. Along those lines, one might just as easily say some actions are intelligent--that is, they are done intelligently. It is not hard to see how certain tendencies towards action (and sets thereof) may manifest thought and intelligence. This, we might characterize as the rough outlay of behaviorism from its 'logical' days onward. It is troubling philosophers often have such trouble with this view as to find their only useful recourse to be laughter and unreasoned derision.

The apparently simple stance, 'To think is to act,' aligns with many classic and still vibrant religious and spiritual views throughout the world. As an explicit example, Jesus famously claimed to even be angry at another is (at least morally) equivalent to the act of killing that person. Whether that makes the claim more appealing to you is of secondary concern. The point is that world culture has been shaped in part b…

In spite of myself

Been getting the grades I need, though not quite so high as I might hope, despite my stupid, stupid attraction to GameFAQs and the like when I should be hacking out a paper or studying for a test. Right now, I've got a 3.9 in American Philosophy, a 3.6 in Environmental Ethics, and a who-gives-a-fuck in Drama. If I get on the Dean's list this quarter, I'll be totally off academic probation, eligible for federal aid, a major, graduation, and all that. If I don't hit a 3.5, I'll be one quarter or one belated hardship withdrawal away from the accomplishment. Either way, it won't be long 'til I've clawed my way out of this mess and on to graduation.

After spring quarter, I should be more or less free to go hang myself by accruing massive debt to the federal government so I can either go become a teacher or a philosopher with some post-graduate work. Hoorah.

I wonder what the deal is with the GREs?

Baka soku zan.

"Kill the idiots now".

This my strongest sentiment after wasting four hours responding to philosophical morons in a topic of my own creation on GameFAQs. This when I should have been working papers (yes, that's plural) I have due tomorrow. Shit.

Someone needs to ice those fuckers and then come for me.

Idiocy is not the only problem plaguing mankind or this earth, but it definitely is among them, and the Japanese aren't far off when they remark, "An idoit won't learn until he's dead."

So, a solution is available. Someone just needs to enact it.

Benadryl is bad for me.

Left to my own devices, if I take 2 Bendaryl at 11pm, I will stay in bed until mid-afternoon the next day and shall continue to feel groggy throughout. Unfortunately, it is the only allergy medication I happen to have right now, so it's really a choice between that and having the sore throat I'm suffering from right now which (according to past experience) will eventually lead to a fever. Classic dilemmas suck.

What the hell is wrong with philosophers?

Prior to his roundly discredited and immediately rejected 'Meditations', DesCartes might have passed through history without harming the generalised western intellect. Somehow, despite being thoroughly dismissed even in his own time, this specific work of his has attained some sort of immortality in the so-called collective unconscious of westerners everywhere (though presumably mostly in the west, of course).

For Platocrates, knowledge was true belief. Aristotle, I believe, added that it required justification, as well. From this point on, the traditional view of knowledge stood for nearly two-thousand years without much trouble. And then DesCartes somehow managed to get people to implicitly tack on unsightly certainty as necessary to the beast. Knowledge, in italics and perhaps always with a capital 'K', needs must be certain, whereas there may be some sense in which lower-case, not-italicized knowledge does not--but we desire Knowledge, surely! Ultimate, unmitigated …

"Less or More, More or Less, It is What It is"

Mucking about in photoshop with a recent sketch. The original is also on the information superhighway, but you can tell it needed work. The above altered rendition is meant to allow me to show it online without it either looking ugly or taking far too long to download. Hence the simplification. Anyway, there you go.

In which I, uh, accidentally trample over Kant's grave.

Joyful morality and playful ethics, these have we few. A light approach, a pleasant manner are too whimsical for us, we who know Truth and spurn fantasy. Happiness is to be found in dour reasoning, delight in the forthright application of justice, and damned is he who bars our path.

Why dance when you can glower?

What better way to progress in life than to trample all over one's own desires? Sacrifice, duty, and all else which builds character. This is for your own good. It may even be called selfish, or at least self-interested, to nullify one's own wants.

The noble pursuit of the self, from this millions of times over is a good, capitalist, Christian society built. Each individual sets out to be Adam Smith, and all benefit. Thus we find ultimate altruism in our undesirable, unwanted acts of greed.

So it is with discipline in one who loves it not. So too with study, work, and other rewarding pursuits many might have little part of given their ideal worlds. Quite a journey, life,…

Can non-moral agents have claim to moral rights?

A brief question, to be sure, but one may not answer it quite so quickly. If we consider certain animals or plants to be without moral agency--that is, if they cannot or do not commit moral or immoral acts, or if they should not be judged morally--can we apply rights (conditional or otherwise) to them as we generally do to humans?

Can we allow such creatures (which may include the severely retarded, infants, and comatose among humans) moral consideration without assuming they have moral rights? If so, is there a good argument to be made in favor of others following us in doing so?

I have found it easier this quarter to remain impassive and judge each view or philosopher on its merits than to posit many of my own stances in response. I suppose this is what is expected of me as an undergraduate student of the discipline, but my aim has never been to become a historian of philosophy or even merely a critic. I believe this is a field in which one must typically be involved in order to progr…

Soon, on my other site.

Finally solved the problem of logging in to my server over at my Site of Lacking Badassness, as linked in this column's title. Should have several new comic pages and sketches scanned and up within the week. Keep your ears to the rail.

Joyous, Belated Declarations

So I just figured out, if I four-oh my two philosophy classes this quarter, I'll finally be able to declare for the major. (I could have done this years ago, but would have been dropped, I'm sure, for my delinquent approach to classes from 2001 to 2004, extra-curricular studies in a personal philosophy of neo-nihilism notwithstanding.) This is good news as, since I am a senior, the university has been hounding me to get into a department. If I can get an extension until the end of this quarter and get my slot in philosophy, I should be able to register on classes in the first period and in a timely manner for the first time in four years.

A 4.0 may sound tough. I know it is. Just getting to class is hard for me sometimes. Still, I've aced these types of classes before, and I know I'm doing well in my current courses so far.

Here's to the splinter of hope comprised in my abilities.

Sometimes I wonder.

The two Ghost in the Shell movies are replete with theological and philosophical quotes, especially the second one. Assuming this is reflective of the manga upon which they are based, it makes me wonder if the creator intended his title to be as subtly ironic as it ended up. Seeing as the phrase 'ghost in the shell' originated (by Gilbert Ryle) as a derogatory term for the idea of ethereal souls running our worldly bodies, but the point of the series seems to be that souls do in fact exist--and that they can be generated synthetically and transferred, allowing for the classic cyberpunk theme of man and machine, or internet and Real Life being no different. Anyway, it's just a little something that pops into my head every now and then.

Kanye's comment.

I'm sure everybody's already heard about Kanye West's opinion of George W. Bush's care for black people, particularly those suffering the after effects of Hurricane Katrina. So I'll just say this. As a fan of absurdist drama and the stage in general, you could not write a better scene to elicit the often humorous tragedy of man's existence. What Kanye said took guts, right or wrong, and you can watch that video and see a man struggling to say something he feels he has to when he knows he's not supposed to--but it's hilarious, and so are the stunned reactions of his collegues, all the more so because they're the comedians. This is highlighted by the phony prescripted gravity of those around him; at this momement of tragedy, Kanye West was the only one with a human reaction on NBC's program.

Whatever comes of this, and whatever I might think of Kanye's musical career henceforth, I will respect him for this one moment; not just for the courage h…

Meandering

Jesus said something to the effect that he spoke in parables so those with ears for such stories might hear him and those without would confounded. Jesus was a clever sod, and nobody ever accused him of being humble, but he was fairly straightforward in this answer. He spoke in interesting stories and metaphors to bar people from following him when they might otherwise do so. In light of Christian doctrine, I suppose this is a bit cruel, especially when Jesus goes on about how bad it will be come judgment for those who saw him and didn't convert, but it could also be argued to be just--and I suppose this would be a defense of some nimble minded Christians.

Anyway, this all occurred to me earlier this evening when talking with my dad about not getting through to people on deep subjects, especially in writing. I'm not going to place myself up there with Jesus or Nietzsche in terms of dialectical strength or right to weep at misinterpretation (the poor bastards). Not at all. I'…

It continues apace.

My Japanese class is now in its eighth week, so there's tomorrow, and then two more weeks after that. Today, I've got an essay to write, this weekend I'll be studying for a test on Monday, and then the week after that I'll have a 4 minute presentation and another test covering three chapters. But no final.

So. Soon. Soon, I will be free. Yes, free to look for a job, which I desperately want. I went to pains to keep next quarter's classes to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This should give me more than enough flexibility to be able to study and work part time.

If this quarter is any indication, being this busy will keep me reeling onward somehow, which I guess is actually how I weaved my way through much of middle school and high school, so, hey. Sounds like a plan.

There's an old Japanese expression for extemporaneous writing which basically translates to following the pen. If I can be about as passive as all that without feeling too removed from the situation, …

About that thing.

While ranting about the Japanese writing system, I noted that the language and its modes of conveyance had been used to keep class and sex structures in place. Today, while studying for one of my kanji quizzes, I noticed that the character for samatage or 'obstacle' is a single kanji containing the pictograms (radicals) for 'woman' and something along the lines of 'strong' or 'arm'.

This cannot be said dryly enough:


What a surprise.

Less and more, more or less.

Recently, I haven't been getting enough sleep. Add this to the stress of my Japanese class and the antidepresents I just hopped on, and things are spiraling, man. So, I need more sleep. I also need to study more. I grades suck right now, partly because the class is hard, partly because the grading system is cruel, and partly because I have been out of practice and just plain out of it. So, until the end of the quarter, I'm going to have to study my ass off, cut time on the computer, drop weekend activities, and try to get something like a regular sleeping schedule going on--none of which I have done with any long term success for years now.

Is four weeks long term?

Bummer

Apparently, SRIs have weird reactions to useful and serious medication for the relief of migraines. So, I can attempt to treat my depression or my crazy headaches, but not both.

Unless I'm willing to spend $100 a month (being uninsured and all) on some preventative meds that I'm going to be sampling starting today. If they work, I may find myself needing to become better acquained with the marvelous health care system of my birth country.

O Canada!
Our home and native land,
true patriot love
in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts,
we see thee rise,
the True North, strong and free.
From far and wide,
O Canada,
we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land
glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

True, not quite as badass as the French national anthem, which commands the children of the patriarchy to march on until impure blood drowns their fields, but still the only song I know capable of drawing any kind of nationalistic feelings o…

Lamentations.

Had another test today. At first, I thought I did alright, then I began to feel a crushing sense of impending doom. So who knows how it went? I get to stress over it until Monday or try to move ahead somehow, knowing it's hanging over me.

But my own struggles pale in comparison what one of my best friends is going through right now. His girlfriend went back home to Japan last month. She's a great gal, and he's really fallen hard for her, so he's been keeping contact with her via text messages, e-mails, and the like. No big deal, he was going to go see her in August, and then they were to return together in September. Last night, he stopped by and told me she had cancer. I didn't know what to say. Dismay is such a petty expression of sympathy.

I suppose my friend was right in saying, "I know you don't believe in God, but I need you to just hope she's going to be okay, cuz that's all we can do." So I offered my support, and told him everything wou…

Interesting.

Found a spot on campus where I might actually be able to scan in some of my larger artwork (being approximately 12' by 17') and even have it printed out as a poster. The poster thing opens up some possibilities.

For example, the picture seen above could look very nice blown-up with the right touches.

The matter that spurred this discovery was my attempt to scan in the first three inked and coloured pages of that Pointless Man story I mentioned the other day, 'Death to Pretty Boy Bands'. No luck in dealing with the crappy Macs the UW has set up right for scanning, though, so that'll have to wait a bit. In the meantime, I'll be working on a page featuring Pointless Man fighting a ninja.

Everybody loves ninjas.

The cost of getting things done.

Took a test last friday and turned in my first writing assignment for Japanese 311-313 today, and I'm feeling alright about it, I guess. Got an oral test coming up this Friday, and I am not looking forward to that--not that I have a choice. Eh. I get the feeling I'll just be able to squeek by in this class. A 2.5, that's all I need.

Finished colouring the first page of 'Pointless Man: Death to Pretty Boy Bands'. The second page has been inked. Some mistakes were made on both accounts, but the overall product so far has been acceptable. Should be able to pencil the third page by tomorrow. At this pace, I'll be able to have the comic finished and scanned in within a week or two, if I can just get the last few pages scripted to my satisfaction.

I stayed up all last night, partially because of my Japanese assignment, but mostly because I just couldn't sleep. After turning in my homework, I went back to my room, took a sleeping pill, and still found I couldn'…

Half a conversation

Walking around campus today, I was overtaken by a guy, maybe 19 years old, wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, nondescript black jeans, and a pair of sneakers talking on his cell phone:

"I can't believe you borrowed the Corvette to go shopping. ... Taking it out for a drive is one thing, but to Costco? ... No. It's not. Sunday is the driving day. The Corvette is for driving around in on Sundays. ... I can't even imagine what all the guys must have thought watching you drive the Corvette to a Costco."

Is commentary really necessary?

News from the front.

Hadn't drawn anything serious in like a month and a half. Totally stalled out. Over the last two days, I've finished the layouts and writing for the first three pages of a Pointless Man comic, 'Death to Pretty-Boy Groups'. Now comes the hard part, actually doing a bit of research on N-Sync and the Backstreet Boys for my last few pages.

Meanwhile, my first full test in my third year Japanese class is coming up on Friday. I feel less threatened by studying for it than by the way my two instructors keep 'suggesting' we should write using the 170-some new kanji (instead of just being able to read them, as they kept assuring us was all we needed to do) should we use the words in the test.

I found out over the weekend that my little brothers have been wrecking my folks' house in my absense. Within five days of my being gone, my youngest brother, Benny, had tossed a tennis ball through our front window, and my other brother, Devin, had managed to shove Benny through…

Stupid Japanese writing system.

If you could choose between writing a word (in this case, 'go' [language]) in 15 strokes or the same word in 4 strokes, what would you choose? The Japanese dig the 15 stroke option. Supposedly, it helps them understand what they're reading to use Chinese characters (kanji) instead of their own letters. Nevermind that when they talk, they don't carry around signboards to help people understand them, they just speak phonetically and everyone gets it. And when they want to use a Japanese word processing program, they don't type in kanji; they type phonetically and then have to have the program switch the letters to kanji.

Kanji doesn't save time writing, learning, or typing. Even when it comes to reading, there are several ways to read the same kanji depending on the circumstances, and most publications end up havig to give the phonetic readings of at least some kanji just so their consumers can keep up. So, other than wasting time, what's the purpose of kanji…

As stolen from myself: Of Comics

The following is something of an edited version of a few of my comments over on Charles Rozier's blog.

[On reasons for being a superhero and its implications.]
It may be argued that the special attention a superhero seeks--such as Batman's idea of transcending humanity, mortality, and self--is implicitly narcisistic and egoistic (or perhaps a sign of the opposite, as has been argued with, say, Napoleon). This is another reason I think it best for superheroes, particularly those more driven in and obsessed by their struggles, should perhaps have problems socializing and empathizing with others, thus denying either interest or ability when it comes to serious, adult relationships with either sex. These problems are notably often played out in more recent comics featuring meetings between Superman and Batman.

[On Charles's comment that superheroism as alter-ego can be viewed as commentary on homosexuality, and how this leads to greater 'manly' violence and forced attempt…

Could this be a rant?

Am taking an intensive course in intermediate Japanese. Just through my second day and it is kicking my ass. Doesn't help that I had to move over the weekend, I suppose.

Class begins at 8:30, but I've had to wake up with the morning light somewhere between 4 and 6 AM because I forgot my clock, and so have found myself napping off and on during the evening. And, being semi nocturnal, that's been a huge change for me.

Tack on the fact that nothing was working when I got here--my key was the wrong one, my card hadn't been activated (in like 3 different areas each with their own office), my computer account was dead, my own computer was (and still is) in pieces, my Japanese was rusty as fuck, and my pocket was all but empty.

Ah. And when I say I'm out of practice, I mean it's been years since I really used my skills in anything serious. I can hardly keep up with the basic characters in a full paragraph, much less the more complex Chinese ones.

The course I'm in is…

Sociopathic fictional character goes on killing spree.

Watched Funny Games last night. It's sort of like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, only Ferris is a sociopath, Cameron is a chubby psychopath, and they're in the German countryside instead of Chicago. It's well acted, well directed, well written, well fucking disqueting avante garde cinema.

But I don't want to ruin it for you any more than that.

Something close to an artistic explanation.

The following was, until today, my 'bio' at Comic Foundry, a site I go to for its infreqruent and often insubstantial artistic criticism as well as its more useful interviews with comics pros.

Been working on comics (off and on), many of which can be seen at my website, since 1999. These are mainly humourous pieces which try to make the reader see each page as a whole, not just a series of interrelated panels. As such, the flow of the pages can be confusing. I'm working on this, as well as my inking skills.

My figures are usually stylistic, but simple line drawings. My character drawings show what I take to be a healthy mix of art nouveau, older American comic influences, and more rescent forays into cartooning.

I'm proudest of my colouring. I use Copic and Prismacolor markers, which give my work something akin to a watercolour effect. I favor something like a synthesis of impressionist and expressionist marker work over definite or detailed foreground line art without m…

Allergies.

My room is dusty as a room that hasn't been cleaned in as long as my room hasn't been cleaned, which is a long, long time. Cleaning it out is causing me no end of allergic distress. This I take to be my penance for not keeping my stuff organized and clean.

Preparations for moving continue apace.

Moving this Saturday. Gonna stay in the dorms for the summer. Rent's cheap, room's a single, building's five minute stroll from class, food's included in cost. Can't say no. Whatever.

Classes begin on Monday. I am prepared for a major ass whupping. Hopefully, my four and a half hour a day class won't bury me. Yeah.

Happy, happy, happy. That's me.

Continuing to think about my next 3 Guys, 1 Gun comic. Can't come up with the right transitional material to get them where I want them. Meanwhile, I may have finally come up with something of a plot to go with a comic aesthetic I've had rolling around my brain for the last four years about an assassin gone straight. It may star a chick, which would be a welcome change. We'll see where that takes me.

Finished watching Amadeus last night. Quite enjoyable, but, wow, Salieri was a dick. A total, total dick. Incidentally, his reaction to Mozart is what spurred the idea for my assassin comic last night.

"3 Guys, 1 Gun" the story so far.

This is a series I've been working on since mid January this year, and I've only done four pages on it. Worse, it's the only comic I've been working on this whole time. Oh, sure, I've given some thought to other comics' plots and scripts, but I haven't really done any serious drawings for that stuff, and I haven't gotten any scripts written. WTF, you know? I should at least be able to do one of these a week. The first two of these I thought of on a walk and got them written and drawn in like two days. This shouldn't be taking as long as it has, and I should be doing other work.

Shoot.

Whatever, I'm proud of the work I've been doing, there's just not enough of it.