packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Via lesswrong.com, a brief foray into the realm of philosophy.

SMBC May 12, 2010 )
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] ladibug21 has asked me questions five, and answers five I bring!

(If you'd like me to ask five questions of you to know you better, just say the word. Yes, this is a meme.)

1. Given your answers to the recent LJ Question of the Day, what's your favorite breakfast? Are you a savory or sweet breakfast person? Where is your favorite breakfast place?

Some day ... some day ... I will find the breakfast-spot where they know how to cook an egg over medium instead of over easy.

For the meantime, I believe hotcakes, eggs, and bacon at the Vienna Inn are pretty good, when I get the chance. Hash browns are a little much.

2. Are you a fan of the winter Olympics? If so, which is your favorite event? If not, why?

Not a big fan, really - my interest in spectator sports seems to start with baseball and pretty much peter out there. I think it would be cool to learn cross-country skiing just because it's useful, but, given my current lattitude, a ham radio license would be a higher priority.

3. What's your favorite comic or printed cartoon?

Online right now, it's just about a dead heat between Kaspall (a very metafictional fantasy suspense novel) and Dead Winter (a post-satirical zombie apocalypse bildungsroman). Offline, I would have to decide between my childhood love, The Adventures of Tintin, English translation (a bit of a wandering-the-earth series), and the books I've become interested in more recently, such as Sandman Mystery Theatre, Transmetropolitan, and Invincible.

I think I would go for Dead Winter and Tintin, respectively, and would hate to choose between the two.

4. What do you plan to do once you're done with school?

I think at this point it is abundantly obvious that teaching is in my future.

5. What are your feelings on Valentine's Day?

Is that today?

On the one hand, I don't like obligations, but on the other hand, I tend to forget to do things I should if I don't have a reason and a date. On the gripping hand, I'm single (sighs!).

...well, that's all. Now to throw on some clothes to rush for the library booksale!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (quarter-rear)
(Don't answer that.)

Saw xkcd today - I think it's one of the good ones. Behold:

xkcd #701: Science Valentine



packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
(Or rather, because I was incapable of not reposting this.)

Bag Check
packbat: Wearing a open-frame backpack, a pair of sunglasses, and a wide, triangular grin. (hiking)
Continuing yesterday's entry...

Worlds of Aspen )

Resurrection )

Atomic Robo, Drone, We Kill Monsters )

FCHS )


That's all the FCBD for this year, unless I drop in later this week and see something else - ta!

Comics!

May. 2nd, 2009 11:40 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
Today was a fun day! In between eating Greek with my dad and sis, playing tennis with my brother, and playing Left 4 Dead ... with my brother, I had a chance to drop by the comic shop near campus for Free Comic Book Day! Besides the first trade paperback of Transmetropolitan and the next in sequence of Powers, I got a half-dozen even sample comics, and read them all.

(I also go Book 1 of The Essential Starchild in the mail, but I haven't read it yet.)

Going down the list in order - first, the trades:

Transmetropolitan 1 )

Powers 5: Anarchy )

Then the free samples:

Gold Digger #101 )

Owly and Friends! )

[entry truncated for lateness of hour - remaining four tomorrow.]
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

Describe your morning routine.

Submitted By [livejournal.com profile] its_miley

View other answers



As the man says:

Morning Routine

After that, shower, chat with Mom, go to school. (I brush my teeth in the evening, before bed.)

Comicks!

Nov. 5th, 2008 07:13 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (darwin has a posse)
Dropped by the comic shop in College Park today - I just read Issue #1 of Transmetropolitan (h/t Blake Stacey), and was jonesing for some more.

Unfortunately, Vol. 1 is out of print. Not Vols. 2, 3, 4, whatever, just Vol. 1. Great timing, Detective Comics - I'm proud of you.

So proud, in fact, I got two other DC-subsidiary books while I was there - The Plain Janes (a Unshelved recommendation that I, who read it on the bus, wholeheartedly second) and Global Frequency Vol. 1: Planet Ablaze (also Warren Ellis, but I mainly got it because of the movie that didn't get made). Oh, and I got Whiteout, Vol. 2: Melt (because I got Whiteout, Vol. 1, which because of Free Comic Book Day 2007, which because of Wings of Change, which eventually because of Dad=[livejournal.com profile] zhurnaly emailing me a link to Mark Sachs and I'm cutting this off before we get ridiculous).

So, a fun evening, even before the lasagna [livejournal.com profile] zhurnaly's got in the oven downstairs. Rawk aut!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
From [livejournal.com profile] cdave on [livejournal.com profile] snarkoleptics, here, alluding to David Morgan-Mar's 2000th-comic milestone commentary:

Instructions: Look at the list and...
1) Bold those you are reading.
2) Italicize those you have heard of before recognize from the name.
3) Underline *Star* the ones you LOVE.

(Yes, I'm already screwing with the meme, and I'm only one out from the originator. Hey - I wanted to keep the links, and those have underlines already!)

(Also, I've seen "Dragon Tails" somewhere, but I don't recognize the name.)



Tune back in for commentary, later!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (tired)
Philosophy

*sighs*

Persepolis!

Apr. 4th, 2008 02:05 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (pale blue dot)
Went to the College Park comic shop again today (it's changed names again ... I neglected to ask how much the t-shirts were with the new logo, but they were pretty sweet). Been reading the one-volume English edition of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and just wanted to type a quote. Double-space indicates panel boundary.

Marjane: We Iranians are the Olympic champions when it comes to gossip.

Dad: She's right. We love to exaggerate.

Mom: You seem to have the opposite symptom.
Dad: Why do you say that?

Mom: Even when you see something with your own eyes, you need confirmation from the BBC.
Dad: My natural optimism just leads me to be skeptical.


(Of course, much of Persepolis is much less lighthearted. It takes place in modern Iran - it is a place of much sadness.)

xkcd #287

Jul. 9th, 2007 10:44 am
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Two solutions, right?

(Yes, I brute-forced it.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (butterfly)
(No, I'm not posting about midwifes or the Battle of Puebla – I know nothing about them.)

After posting my Online Comics Day flyer, I went ahead and printed five copies and brought them down to my local comic shop off-campus – the guy (owner?) was fine with my putting them on the counter for people to see. (I don't know if five was absurdly optimistic or absurdly pessimistic, but ink ain't cheap, so I figure it makes no difference.) While I was there, I asked about the first volume of Thieves & Kings – he though it was out of print, however, so I'm going to need to get it online. So I went ahead and got three (the limit) free comics for Free Comic Book Day and went home.

1:'Choose Your Weapon', Tokyopop. )

2: 'comics festival 2007 edition', TCAF )

3: 'Whiteout', Oni Press )

Yeah, this was a good day.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

May 5 Is Online Comics Day!



Every year on this day, Internet comic makers and fans get out to help build community in and build awareness of the world of great comic strips and graphic novels that people make available online. Many are free, many others inexpensive; some serials, some short stories, some daily gags, some personal journals; some beautiful in their artistry, others amusing in their sloppiness; some with millions of readers, others only a few loyal fans; and all available to anyone, anywhere in the world.

If you are already a fan, go ahead and tell your friends to take a look around today. If you aren't, then check out these links for some of my personal favorites - you may find something new and wonderful you've never seen before.


(Comics marked with an asterisk (*) are teen-safe. Or, well, teen-safe enough for the newspapers - use your own judgment.)

Online Comics Day 2007 - http://www.comicsday.com/about/
The hub for this year's celebration of comics on the Internet.
Freefall - http://freefall.purrsia.com/ *
A silly yet serious hard SF comic, following the crew of the Savage Chicken as they work towards fame, glory, discovery, and not getting blown up on and near a newly terraformed planet.
Schlock Mercenary - http://www.schlockmercenary.com/ *
The galaxy-spanning hard science fiction epic of Tagon's Toughs, a crew of mercenaries, as they run from the law, blackmail and double-charge their clients, and set off interstellar wars.
A Miracle of Science - http://project-apollo.net/mos/ *
The complete story of a government agent assigned to apprehending sufferers of Science-Related Memetic Disorder - mad-scientist disease - and the member of the Martian group intelligence he's partnered with.
Dicebox - http://www.dicebox.net/
A beautifully-illustrated graphic novel about a pair of interstellar itinerants in a futuristic world.
Get Medieval - http://get-medieval.livejournal.com/ *
The zany adventures of a group of outcasts hiding on a primitive planet in an minor spiral arm of an average-sized galaxy - that is, fourteenth century Earth.
Bruno - http://www.baldwinpage.com/bruno.html
A down-to-earth story about a confused young woman wandering through life, seeking meaning. Complete story.
Freebird - http://www.freebirdcomic.com/ *
The story of an ex-housewife wanderer leaving her old life to start anew in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Planet Karen - http://planetkaren.girl-wonder.org/
The optimistic and good-spirited graphic diary of Karen Ellis, goth and comic artist in England.
Malfunction Junction - http://www.malfunctionjunction.net/
The pessimistic and irreverent (and hilarious) graphic diary of Matt Milby, artist and gas station attendant in Columbus, Ohio.
Kaspall - http://kaspall.xepher.net/
The fantasy tale of inhabitants of a town built on a swarm of dimensional portals as a supernatural mystery unfolds.
Mnemesis - http://www.graphicsmash.com/comics/mnemesis.php
The complete story of two people waking up in an odd afterlife with no memory of who they were. Exciting and tragic, with a unique look.


Unofficial Online Comics Day poster by Robin Zimmermann - please copy and distribute!

RTF file.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
(I didn't know "midwifery" was a word – did you?)

In celebration of ... none of these, actually, a piece of news: Matt Boyd is first fired for talking about target shooting, then visited by the police for webcomicking about it.

List of suggested 'new-to-webcomics'-comics later.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
A few months ago there was a post on [livejournal.com profile] snarkoleptics where a guy announced he was not going to read Tales of the Questor any more because of the heavy-handed Hard Onions comics being run on the same site. I didn't see it as a big deal – yeah, HO was kinda over the top in Christian/Republicanist propagandizing, but so were several of his other strips. Whereas TotQ, perhaps because it was explicitly set in a fantasy world, escaped the problems of R. H. Junior's biases.

Yeah, yeah, I'll admit intellectually that I'm likely biased as well, but still.

In any case, while I found the HO strips running on the TotQ site annoying, I still stuck around. (And, as you may have noticed, the comics are all separated out now. I heartily approve.) And I'm still sticking around now.

But for the record, if TotQ spirals into a pit of strawman-flaying stupidity, I bet this will be the starting point.

Band

Mar. 4th, 2007 10:26 am
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
Àpropos of nothing: I would now officially pay to see Band in concert, and they don't even exist. Paul is some kind of crazy killer showman.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
The best Su Doku joke I've seen.

Edit: I am shocked at how specific a description of my location the two words "ASME lounge" are.

Edit 2: Okay, this comic officially rocks.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (RZ Ambigram)
The Nuclear Weather Rock prints I mentioned last month are now on preorder, if anyone is interested.

(Here's the original comic, if you want to check it first.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
A little story:

A few days ago, a relatively obscure online comicist known as kirabug published a one-page comic describing the use of a nuclear reactor as a weather rock. It's a cute little comic, and she has a very high-resolution version on disk, so she asked if anyone would be interested in buying a print.

Unfortunately, she only had one nibble. Me. (It's under my forum name, "peri_renna", but it's me.)

Now, as it happens, she does have some ideas of how she might set up a print run. However, as it says in the link, she'd need 6-8 sales to break even on the deal.

So, anyone interested? Let her know.

Disclaimer: The print run probably won't happen if she can't get the sales. And, like I said, I'm the only one who expressed interest.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
Get Medieval, by [livejournal.com profile] ironychan.
Get Medieval - 2005-12-27

Or, alternatively, [livejournal.com profile] get_medieval, by [livejournal.com profile] ironychan. Somewhat unusually among webcomics, Get Medieval is published online as a Livejournal. I don't want to get into that debate, however – suffice it to say that a number of worthy webcomics (e.g. [livejournal.com profile] hollycomics, [livejournal.com profile] bad_rabbit) are published that way, and that I consider it a satisfactory means of posting and updating a webcomic without too much technical difficulty. (Incidentally, the comic is configured to use Livejournal's "Memories" system to store the "storylines" archive. This is an excellent use of LJ's capabilities for webcomicking purposes.)

Leaving that all aside now, let's examine the actual comic!

Get Medieval - 2004-09-13 (First Comic)
Get Medieval is a four-panel black-and-white daily strip, based on the premise of a group of extraterrestrial humans fleeing from the mob and getting stranded on Earth in the Middle Ages. (While the main storyline is generally in regular strip format, Irony has done a few extras in other formats, like this out-of-continuity bonus comic.) While this sentence could describe any number of plots, Irony has chosen to pursue one of the most interesting ones; specifically, the story of individuals from a futuristic society learning to survive in a steel-age one. She is well prepared for this task; Irony is a student of medieval history, and she exercises her knowledge quite usefully in the telling of her tale.
Asher Hane portrait

In many ways, Asher Hane is the main character of the comic. This is hardly surprising; in fact, it is in perfect keeping with a pattern Tangents pointed out for gender-changing comics: the best character to drop a problem on is the one least able to deal with it. And, despite his being an anthropology student studying steel-age societies, Asher is in nearly every respect entirely unprepared to actually live in one. He is far more than merely helpless, though – Asher is quite entertainingly pessimistic, but more importantly he's actually intelligent, when he's not completely out of his depth.

Asher is not the whole cast, naturally. Irony has made a goodly host of characters, and has already introduced a story arc about Torquel, Asher's father. (I expect the others of the stranded aliens will get storylines as things develop.) More importantly, all those we have seen for any period of time are interesting and nuanced, with distinct and plausible personalities.

As importantly than any of that, Irony tells a good story. Naturally, all these things I've mentioned up to now contribute to this, but she has a good grasp of the basic principles of storytelling, and it shows. (As I lack a good grasp of the basic principles of storytelling, I can't really explain, but she does a good job.) [livejournal.com profile] get_medieval is a good comic, with a substantial archive for your enjoyment (and a book out!), and I recommend it highly.

Note: Irony has another excellent comic on Livejournal, a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper. It can be found at [livejournal.com profile] extd_grb_injoke.

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
Just for your amusement, I have compiled a list of all the webcomics I currently read. It will probably be obsolete before the week is out.

Packbat's Webcomic Bookmarks )

I can elaborate further on any of these if you like.

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
"Kismet: Hunter's Moon" by Layla Lawlor
Kismet - p.31

I found this strip through the Webcomics Nation All-Time Top 100 list, because it happened at one time to be one place lower in the list than Eric Burn's Unfettered By Talent. It is no longer, but only because UfBT has risen two places since then – as it happens, Kismet is a fine science fiction comic.

The comic page is relatively simple – it takes good advantage of the features of Webcomics Nation, and the comic is sized appropriately for the screen. One problem I found with the site is the difficulty of locating the cast page and other such features – when I was searching, I first found an obsolete page on the artist's own site about the Kismet universe, and it took a little more luck to find the current Kismet info page. As I later discovered, this is the page she linked on her top-level WebcomicsNation page. While this appears to be the practical move (she hosts several webcomics set in the same universe on that page), it means that those readers who did not first read the top-level page may not to find the info page at all.

One of the more interesting aspects of the series is the setting. Kismet, the town in which most of the story takes place, is an interesting place – a domed city which, as time passed, grew downwards rather than outwards. The characters don't all come from there; in fact, the two main characters, Signy 12 and Linton 95 come from two other planets, Tertia and Secuba, and the history of these two planets is a major factor in the plot of the series. The universe is naturally not restricted to these three places – although little mention is made of other locations in the main series, the info page provides a fair amount of background on the rest of the universe.

Kismet - p. 49
Layla Lawlor's artwork is quite good, right from the start of the strip. Her style is cartoonish in some ways (and literally cartoonish sometimes) and not particularly detailed, but her proportions are always consistent and backgrounds appropriate. She is also good at doing special effects when she needs them. In fact, her use of atmospherics is superb – a cursory look at the three thumbnails included with this review show quite clearly how willing she is to change the color balance to fit the scene.

Kismet - p. 36
The characters are nicely developed as well. They are all plausible, and the influences of their backgrounds are clear in their actions. Very nicely depicted among their traits are the effects of the "memory implants" that Signy and Linton have, both directly and through the characters' reactions.

As I said before, the comic is quite good. Everything holds together, and has continued doing so throughout the reasonably-substantial archive that has developed thus far. A notable confirmation of this lies in the fact that the comic earned a place on Girlamatic, an invitation-only subscription website. It's quite a worthy story, and I recommend it.


A note: This review was inspired by The Webcomicker, which was kind enough to link me as a webcomics commentary site. Since the purpose of this LJ was to get me writing on a regular (hah!) basis, I figured I should go ahead and try to live up to this expectation.

UFbT Meme

Sep. 28th, 2005 03:15 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
Remember Websnark? Well, the same guy, Eric Burns, used to draw and write a webcomic himself: Unfettered by Talent. If you're a fan of his writing on Websnark, you might be interested.

P.S. This is a meme. Spread the linkage to UFbT around. Then do this:

Neener neener.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
I got my copy of "Digger" today. My signed copy of Digger, so feel free to envy me if you have any idea what I'm talking about.

Haven't finished reading it, though. I only got it out of the mailbox around lunchtime, not long before being picked up. It is nice, however. I'm tempted to visit [livejournal.com profile] ursulav's LJ and make off-topic comments about it.

But, je suis fatigué – I am tired. Time for bed; "Sleep well, no dream", as Ed would say. Good night.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Bumper)
It has come and gone, but I am fortunate! As it happens, the comic book shop near campus still had some free comics left over.

Wait, let me start at the beginning.

This afternoon, around 1730 hours, I walked out of my dorm room to take the campus shuttle down to Rt. 1, where the shops are. It was thundering, so I brought an umbrella. My umbrella is terrific, by the way – a classic red and white color scheme, with a hefty aluminum shaft, a fake wood handle probably made of chipboard, and a five-plus-foot diameter when opened, it was a great deal. Probably cost me eight bucks at the campus store at MC. (That is, not the local campus store. I haven't even looked here.)

Returning to the tale in progress: by the time the shuttle reached my stop, the rain had started to fall. It wasn't a heavy shower, though, so I just left my umbrella closed as I walked the thirty feet to the local Potbelly Sandwich Works to get dinner.

The sandwich shop was quite nice, although mildly inconsistent. The first thing I noticed was the decor, which was tasteful in a wooden diner way. It reminds me most of the general store in the TV show Northern Exposure, if you've seen it. The menus and so forth on the walls were beautifully done; the wall behind the sandwich-makers, painted with helpful lists of condiments for the sandwiches, was par for the course. The only real discontinuous point for me was the muzak, which appeared to be a mix of mainly-modern rock music. They did play some Sting as I was leaving, though.

Oh, the sandwich was delicious. I ordered the veggie, with mayonnaise and onions, and it was quite tasty.

After leaving the sandwich shop, I turned to catch the shuttle at the other stop on the way back. As it was still raining, I decided to go ahead and open my umbrella. Immediately after this, as I idly considering the idea of visiting the comics shop, I was hailed by a young kid hanging out of the door of a shop a couple doors down. At closer range, I found that he was hawking the tattoos being sold at that shop. I declined his offer, and he replied with the near-equivalent of "Aw, c'mon..."

I was highly amused to hear the exact same exchange repeat with another person after I'd passed. A few minutes later, I reached the comic shop.

The first thing I noticed upon entering Liberty Comics was the collectible trading card game in progress. My attention was immediately hooked. After setting my umbrella against the shelves by the door, I proceeded over to the table, discovering to my disappointment that the game was not, in fact, Magic: the Gathering; it was The Lord of the Rings. Then I turned to the shelves of comics.

I would guess that there were about three hundred different series of comics on those shelves, on that one wall. That is the impression I have, in any case. As I walked down the shelves, wondering which books I should investigate further, I noticed the Employee's Picks section, and one called "Fable" stood out from those. I'm not actually sure just how much it stood out – it might have been the only fantasy comic there, it might have had the best art, it might have merely been furthest to the right – but I picked it up, and read the introductory adventure in the first couple pages. It turned out to be a well-drawn fantasy satire of some kind. I put it back.

I believe it was near this point that I noticed the sales sign, advertising several deals, including 50% off on back issues. I would later discover that this sale expires tomorrow.

In any case, after circling the store and glancing over the racks of back issues, I returned to the front of the store again, where the game was still in progress. Most generously, one of the players fetched me a folding chair from beside him so I could sit between the players and watch. Thus I spent the next couple hours being shown some of the basics of the Lord of the Rings game, as the two players competed.

Occasionally, one of the players would leave to serve the customers. During these breaks, the other player (who later introduced himself as Mark) planned his moves and chatted with me about a few miscellaneous things. One of these things was the "Game of Thrones" collectible card game, which Mark verified was actually based on the renown fantasy series by George R. R. Martin. He also verified that the series was a good one, but with long books, so it was a slow read. He also joked that if I started now, maybe GRRM would finally finish the fourth book by the time I read the first three.

Eventually, the game ended in a close win for Mark. That done, soon a series of conversations sprung up between the storekeeper (whose name was not John, since that was the name of the game shop owner who Mark confused this shopkeeper with), another customer (whose name I have also forgotten), Mark, and myself. They were fun conversations, spanning bad comic book artists, good comic book reviewers and their reviews of said bad comic book artists, the currently-in-theaters movie "Unleashed", another movie whose name I didn't catch, the Agatha Christie novel Ten Little Indians (also known as And Then There Were None), the M. Night Shyamalan films (all four), spoilers and why they never should be given, the comic book series "Fable", and the TV series The Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories.

As it turns out, the storekeeper is a fantasy comics fan. He said that he would help me pick a few to check out tomorrow. And, while the store was closing, I got copies of the Free Comic Book Day samplers of "Flight" and "Ex Machina", and read the whole of the latter before even getting off the shuttle on the way back.

Today was a totally excellent day.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
Because it's 10:30 at night and nothing's going on!

I think I should go to bed 'early' tonight. Test tomorrow, don'tcha know.

*cracks notebook for a quick review*
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
From the Latin "pro" and "cras", meaning (in this context) "favoring tomorrow". Which is quite literally what I did, almost down to the exact hour.

On the bright side, though, I did nearly finish reading through the Schlock Mercenary archives. As Eric Burns has mentioned, it actually is pretty good "semi-hard" science fiction.

I like semi-hard science fiction. A lot. Throw in puns, mild innuendo, and a good plot, and I like it even better.

Still doesn't change that I should have finished my paper earlier, of course.

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