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  Moving apartments--A* returns next week!Feb 28, 2013 2:41 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:'Cause Friday is bingo night at Earth's Revival.
 
I mangled... Hm... I guess it has some decent parts; maybe I can just fix up those other bits with some white ink... Okay well it's got a frustrated artist crease down the middle where I folded it in half and chucked it in the bin, but eh anyway here's a sketch I did today, another design sketch for an upcoming character who's been causing me some trouble; the eyes got a little too close to Selenis eyes (I'd meant them to be more like Audrey Hepburn eyes :P) but I was happy that I finally hit on a hair style I think will work for this person:
 
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Okay remember as I mentioned on Monday that this will be the last update for this week, because I gotta pack up all my junk and move it to a new apartment. I think unpacking and cleaning the old apartment and etc will probably take me through the early part of next week, but if all goes according to plan, I'll be settled in and back to regular updates in a week or so.
 
Meanwhile, you could:
 
a) Well golly it's a perfect time to flip back through some A* art and see if there's anything you'd like to put on your wall, in the form of a print (I can do them up to pretty large, poster-like sizes now) or even the one-of-a-kind original art, which you'll find to be surprisingly affordable!
 
b) Okay you pretty much have to catch it today because it leaves Netflix streaming at the beginning of March, but if you've got that service, I think you can't go too far wrong with the 1944 Fritz Lang film The Woman in the Window, starring Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett. Oh say here's an interesting factoid about it from that Wikipedia page:

The term "film noir" originated as a genre description, in part, because of this movie. The term first was applied to American films in French film magazines in 1946, the year when The Maltese Falcon (1941), Double Indemnity (1944), Laura (1944), Murder, My Sweet (1944), and The Woman in the Window were released in France.

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Today's page originally went up without the dry brush shading on the left side of the face; a reader on Twitter very politely pointed out that all the hatched shading wasn't quite cutting their mustard; I tried a mock-up of tone shading in Photoshop
 
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was tempted once again to start using clean and easy digital shading like that for the strip, then buckled down, got out the big horsehair brush, and dry brushed the shadows in as best I could manage this late at night. It's a much messier look than that temptingly smooth digital stuff, but, on the other hand, it's real. That's what I'm clinging to for now, anyway. :P
 
Well but seriously I think it's better to avoid resorting to digital for stuff like that if you can help it, because it easily becomes a crutch; even ink wash did that for me, I would skimp on the inking part and just say to myself oh well I'll just lay some washes in over there, it'll be fine, and ultimately it *isn't* and besides that your drawing skills don't sharpen up as much as they should.
 
The inking on this page *did* have problems in the first place, though. Maybe a few days off from inking'll do me some good, bleh. Also my brush finally appears to have lost its tip--it lasted a fantastically long time though. Actually...can this still have been the brush I started using when Selenis was landing at the moon base back in episode 17? ... That would be nuts. Hm I must've switched to a new one at some point since then but darned if I can remember when.
 
 
 
 
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  It's only paper, manFeb 27, 2013 3:14 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Tried a sketch while burning dinner, I think it ended up being a little too ambitious for a 15-minute thing; may have to try this subject again with more sleep and a different approach:
 
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I used a lot of white ink today. :P
 
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If you have Netflix streaming, one of the movies leaving the service at the start of March is Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moon, a story of a con man and the young girl who might be his daughter who almost out-cons him so she can stay with him, set during the Great Depression. It's a wonderful character and period piece, with a fairly unique style of 70s minimalism taking on the 1930s, and in black and white, even. It's only available for another two days or so, so check it out if you get a chance, you might enjoy it.
 
(Interesting to read on the Wikipedia page that it was filmed through a red filter--I guess since that blocks the more energetic parts of the visible spectrum, it's what gave the final black and white version its finer gradations of mid-tones--lots of very nice mid-grays that aren't washed out by intense whites like they might have been if it had been filmed unfiltered.)
 
 
 
 
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  A selfish post about only 3 pages this week!Feb 26, 2013 3:35 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here is a quick sketch I did for a self-portrait art challenge on ComicFury:
 
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Way overdue for a haircut. >_>
 
And on a related note in that it is about me, I have important news! I'm moving apartments this weekend, woo. So Thursday and Friday I'll be trying to pack most of my earthly belongings up into boxes, which means I very irresponsibly *won't* be making A* pages for you. So yes, there will only be three new pages this week rather than the usual five. Egads! Also I will probably miss some days early next week while getting stuff set up in the new apartment, cleaning the old apartment, and probably having a nervous breakdown or two because I fear change. After that, though, ie some time next week, comic production should resume as normal! Yep so that's the big news, I am kind of terrified.
 
 
 
 
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  Starfish Prime and nuking the MoonFeb 23, 2013 4:03 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Speaking of blasts and seismometers, did you know both the US and the Soviets had schemes for nuking the Moon? I didn't until I came across this page while looking around for info on lunar seismology, and besides a nice diagram for a lunar seismometer, there's another nice diagram showing radiation from a nuke detonation filtering down to the lunar surface, and you can even download the pdf file there of the 1959 Air Force Special Weapons Center report on how best to nuke the poor ol' Moon. These schemes were a bit hazy on the exact scientific benefits of doing this, but there were some ideas of having another probe swoop in afterwards to scoop up blasted-up Moon dust and bring it back to Earth, or just having a bright flash visible from Earth and being able to say "we did that first!," although that goal faded quickly once it was realized that, with no atmosphere to support a nice big mushroom cloud, such nuclear glory would quickly fade from view.
 
Exciting times! And I had one photo of one of these detonations almost exactly two years ago, but anyway before such plans had been given up entirely, there were high altitude nuclear tests, particularly 1962's Starfish Prime, which detonated a 1.4 megaton nuke 250 miles (400 km) above the Pacific, the 11 pm blast being clearly visible in the night sky above Honolulu:
 
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image by US Government (source)
 
There's a little extra tanning for you! Well it was decided that this type of high-altitude test wasn't the greatest idea after the resulting radiation quickly disabled three orbiting satellites, and eventually formed into man-made radiation belts around the planet that "crippled one-third of all satellites in low earth orbit"--namely, seven satellites, including the first commercial communication satellite, Telstar 1, which just happened to launch the day after the Starfish Prime blast; those artificial radiation belts, you see, lasted at least five years, bolstered by radiation from high-altitude Soviet tests.
 
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I spent at least an extra hour or so fussing over the nose and eye above it in today's page; it was one of those things where something just bugged me and I couldn't quite figure it out so I just had to take some pokes at it and see what happened (some of this facilitated greatly by stabbing at digital photos of it in Photoshop first). Here are the last three stages:
 
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What I finally realized was that, while I've learned to draw reasonably convincing noses, at least from certain angles >_>, I don't always have to draw the whole schnozz--and didn't used to, you know, and while some of that was skipping over unpleasant and hard-to-draw bits of anatomical detail, another part was streamlining the presentation and focusing on the nicer-looking parts; in other words, the bridge of the nose didn't really need to be there in this drawing, and in fact was kind of getting in the way and not working realistically with the lighting, anyhow. Gotta keep the ol' "less is more" thing in mind more when working in ink. White ink, yay!
 
 
 
 
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  Speculation on the first photo of Sgr A*Feb 22, 2013 1:06 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I came across an interesting and topical article sorta recently called "What Will First Photos of Black Holes Look Like?" But it isn't speculating about the look of just any black holes--it's talking about what the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A*, the giant black hole at the center of our galaxy, may look like once someone actually gets the capability of taking a picture of it; the Event Horizon Telescope, for instance, is aiming to do just that with a massive coordination of radio telescopes across the world. Nobody has the resolving power to pull together an image of A* yet, but initial data collected by the Event Horizon Telescope project fits the theory that A*, or the area immediately surrounding it, anyway, will look like a crescent: that would be the superheated gas in the accretion disc getting sucked into the hole; the prediction is that the disc will appear lopsided due to the Doppler effect: the disc may be rotating so rapidly that the side rotating toward us appears brighter, while the side rotating away from us fades from view. And it could have a crescent shape because the event horizon of the black hole in the middle carves out a hole there. The article has a simulated view of what this might look like; maybe we'll actually get to see an image of the real thing some day!
 
 
 
 
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  The speckly surface of asteroid 25143 ItokawaFeb 20, 2013 11:33 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I had to draw the surface of this asteroid close-up for today's page, and as I sat down to do that I realized that the close-up view of what we've seen in most asteroids is kinda boring up close: a fairly smooth dusty surface with the occasional impact crater here and there. So I got to looking around to see if I could find an asteroid with a little more in the way of compelling surface detail, and what came up was 25143 Itokawa, the 535-meter-long asteroid visited by the Japanese probe Hayabusa in 2005. The surface of this asteroid--there are plenty of images on Google Image Search; I'm not going to post them directly because the Japanese space agency JAXA's terms for doing so are unnecessarily complicated and restrictive (just make them copyright-free like NASA, guys; sheesh!)--has a spiky appearance, speckled as it is with small to large rocks and boulders, some as large as 25 meters wide, and perhaps weighing in themselves as much as 50,000 tons. Much more interesting to look at!
 
The asteroid is what is known as a "rubble pile": rather than being a solid chunk of rock, it is a low-density accumulation of smaller rocks and dust, rather loosely held together by their own gravity. A study of the surface sample returned to Earth by Hayabusa suggested that the rubble may be pieces of a larger asteroid that had shattered, then collected together about 8 million years ago. This article goes into detail on 25143 Itokawa's surface and composition, and mentions that "rubble pile" asteroids could be very handy for mining, since you don't have to cut them apart, but can just lift off pieces of the size you want.
 
I don't necessarily mean for the asteroid in our A* story here to be a pure "rubble pile," but I do like the look of having surface rubble like that.
 
Incidentally, here's an interesting photo in which the Hayabusa probe captured its own shadow crossing the face of the asteroid.
 
 
 
 
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  The First Seismometer on the Moon!Feb 20, 2013 1:59 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Since Selenis is currently involved in placing some on this mysterious asteroid, let's talk about seismometers! A seismometer is an instrument that measures ground motion, including motion induced by seismic waves. You've probably head of seismometers--or seismographs, which are seismometers with a chart-producing mechanism attached to print a visual readout--being used to measure the power of earthquakes, but scientists can also use them to learn about the interior of a solid body, because seismic waves travel at different rates through different types of matter, and, like light hitting a prism, can even reflect when they hit a boundary between one type of sediment or rock and another. Here's a diagram showing how seismic waves from an earthquake can take different paths through the layers of the Earth, for instance:
 
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image by US Geological Survey (source)
 
The idea for Selenis to probe the interior of this asteroid came up because humans have actually used seismology to study a body in space before--the Moon! In what is called lunar seismology, NASA astronauts on the Apollo space missions placed seismometers on the Moon between 1969 and 1972. They learned of the existence of moonquakes from these instruments--tremors in the lunar crust caused by tidal forces in its rotation around Earth--as well as information about the Moon's interior. Here are some photos by Neil Armstrong of Buzz Aldrin setting up the first lunar seismometer, during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969:
 
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images by Neil Armstrong for NASA (source)
 
There's a photo of a prototype of that seismometer, with the cover off so you can see the innards, here. It looks pretty complicated, but the basis of modern seismometers is pretty simple: they keep a mass suspended by electromagnetism, and any jolt to the instrument registers as a precise voltage change in that field.
 
 
 
 
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  College drawings of my pointy earsFeb 18, 2013 11:54 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Last two scans of prints from my old college senior project--these would be from 1996:
 
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Nothing quite as artistically self-indulgent as self-portraits, is there? :P And I wasn't depressed or particularly angst-ridden or anything--that second one is just the expression you end up with after you give up trying to hold an expression for hours of staring at your own mug in a mirror and trying to draw it, because it's too hard--well, for me anyway!--to hold any other expression that long.
 
Also yes I do have pointy ears. =p
 
 
 
 
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  The Chelyabinsk EventFeb 16, 2013 6:01 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Space news hit the Earth in a big way today--not from the 150-foot asteroid making a close pass by Earth, which had been watched closely by eager eyes for a week or so, but from the sneak attack by a 50-foot, 10,000 ton asteroid that exploded in the air above a remote area of Russia, causing injuries to some 1,000 people by broken glass and the like. NASA says this is the largest such event since the meteor that exploded over a nearly unpopulated area of Tunguska, Siberia, in 1908, flattening trees for miles around. In that case, the cause wasn't understood until much later, but it was pretty obvious with the one today, as it was captured by many cameras as an incredibly bright fireball streaking overhead, leaving a long trail of clouds in its wake, and then exploding in (***you may want to turn down your speakers for this video***) a loud, window-shattering kaboom.
 
Maaaaan. So the next time there's a big hoo-haa about some asteroid passing near Earth, just remember...it may only be a decoy. >_>
 
There are some more videos over in this article.
 
 
 
 
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  Flowers & a portrait & Giannis MilonogiannisFeb 15, 2013 3:24 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Another day, another set of scans of prints from my old college senior project of self and flower portraits:
 
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Got pretty Lasso-Tooly in an A* vein in that self-portrait there, didn't I? And all the way back in 1996!
 
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I've been following comic artist Giannis Milonogiannis on Tumblr for a little while now and finally just realized he has his own sci-fi sorta webcomic--with small amounts of gore and adult language--Old City Blues; I say "sorta" webcomic because it's in one of those Flash-style "graphic novel" reader interface things.
 
While obviously extremely manga influenced, his art comes at it in a reasonably unique loose and intuitive style that sometimes doesn't quite nail perspective, anatomical structure, or specific action, but is pretty darn good at achieving a certain mood and zest, particular with the light gray tones he uses over his thin black lines. It's the kind of feeling-out approach to drawing that I was able to do when I worked digitally, with the quick give-and-take of the Lasso Tool, and which I've struggled to find an analog for (I may have just misused that word a bit) since I stopped working digitally. But you can also see, if you compare his more recent chapters with his first, that it's a delicate art that treads a thin line--pun not really intended but I'll take it--between order and chaos; in his early chapters or issues or whatever you can see that he was using heavy black lines and areas, but these tended rather to obliterate the sense of the more delicate linework and shading. And that's something I find even working traditionally as I do now: you can have something that looks really lovely and subtle in the low-contrast, thin-lined world of a pencil sketch, and then you try to translate it to ink, and the higher contrast just blasts away the feel and meaning that was so clear in fragile graphite.
 
So finding a way to keep that sense of spontaneity and delicacy in ink has been tricky for me. I have to watch myself because especially if I'm tired or just too sort of set on getting something just right, the art will get all clenched up and lose the looseness and life and light that I'd like it to have. I realized while thinking about it today (and I think I realized this before at some point, and forgot about it, as I usually do) that if you do it right, you don't even have to be going in and painstakingly drawing heavy and exact shadow shapes everywhere; one variety of magic is organizing the drawing in such a way that dark shadow is implied in a white area.
 
Another thing I have to watch is overcomplicating a drawing with too much cross-hatching and so forth; it can all look kind of neat on its own on the page, but then when you scan it in and try to take it all in as a single comic image, it's just way too broken up and scattered to comprehend. I had to go back and cover large sections of page 68 in black ink, for instance, because all the white-and-black shaded ground and sky and armor detail I had left in initially was just impossible to read all at once. So cohesive black and white areas would seem to be the way to go, for the most part--only how do you manage to form those and yet still keep them loose and light? Well, that's one trick I'm still working on getting down. Once in a while I think I pull it off in a minor way--the figure of Selenis on page 65 of this episode, for instance, got closer than I've otherwise managed lately.
 
Oh yeah and another thing I'm still working to get over is a fear of screwing up; there's no Undo key when working traditionally, so you can't just feel things out or cut back and forth like you can do so easily in the digital realm--I relied on that ability in building up my digital drawings with the Lasso Tool, but in ink you tend to be much more committed when putting something down. One way to help, obviously, is to plan things out better beforehand; that can cut into the spontaneity of the thing, though, so past a certain point I just have to train myself to be willing to run some risks in black ink, and then to be willing to go back in with a lot of white ink, and worth them back and forth like that. I've got waterproof white and black ink so I *should* be able to do that, but contemplating mistakes and cleanup in real ink is still a little scary--not to mention time-consuming. Some of the best magic can happen in those unexpected backs-and-forths, though, so I just gotta push past those misgivings.
 
Hm uh okay /end art ramble. For now!
 
 
 
 
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  A portrait of a corner of the Broadview HotelFeb 14, 2013 2:54 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Continuing on from yesterday with scans of prints of digital work I did way back in the sepia-toned days of my college senior project, here I am still in flower and self-portrait mode, but with a bit more emphasis on shadow and mood:
 
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That second one is all extra-low-res because it was a small part of a larger composition, but the rest of it was pretty blah so we'll just stick with this detail. Oh and that first one was some flowers posing in a corner of my sophomore-through-senior-years dorm room on the second floor of Broadview Hall in Chicago's Hyde Park; in the Google Street View it's the one sort of centered there, with the half-open shade just to the left of the two with the fancy moulding around them above the front doors. I worked at the front desk (like one hour a night while the real receptionists were on break) to uh not really make a dent in tuition. Ooh and if you turn the Street View to the left you can see the well-known Museum of Science and Industry down the street, one of the more impressive things left over from the 1893 World's Fair held down there on the Midway (I dug up and posted some contemporary photos of the Fair in action a while ago, back here). And as it turned out, a great-aunt and uncle of mine (he was a retired big-time radiologist at the U of C Hospitals) lived in the building right next door (to the left in the Street View); they gave me an old Zenith TV I watched Bulls games on back when they had like Jordan and stuff, and my great-aunt made a mean Watergate salad. So now you know everything!
 
Oh and also Broadview used to be like a swanky hotel or something; hm I thought I found when it was built the other day but now I can't, dang. Probably the '20s or something, I dunno/forget. Here's a nifty old postcard from 1949 showing the swanky lobby it had at that time; it wasn't quite that opulent when I was there, but they did have a Samurai Shodown II arcade machine in the ballroom under my dorm room, so that was nice. I was awful at it and anyway didn't have cash to spend on a few seconds of getting digitally samurai-sliced, but I watched its demo mode a lot. :P
 
 
 
 
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  Senior project: flowers and self-portraitsFeb 13, 2013 3:33 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's some stuff I did for my Art & Design degree project back in college, probably senior year, '95-'96:
 
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The theme I sort of settled on was self-portraits and flowers (ie things I could get to model for me) done both in oil paint and digitally. What I have here are scans of prints from the art department's nice printer of the digital stuff, which was done on my Amiga 4000 using a program called ImageFX, which it turns out is actually still available for Amiga computers. It was (is?) a neat program because it had a tool a lot like Photoshop's Lasso Tool, only it automatically filled in with the color and opacity of your choice when you released the stylus, which was quite, quite handy, and which I still miss to this day. I think I generally worked at 800x600--that was about all my spiffy Commodore monitor could handle--in the Amiga's funky pseudo ~18-bit HAM8 lossy color mode.
 
The first two are artificially color-reduced; I like these versions better than the full color versions--I'll show you full-color versions of some others I think I must have done later when I was a bit better at handling the color. I hadn't remembered that I was playing with color reduction way back then until my parents dug up these prints a few weeks ago; unbeknownst to me at the time, the limited-color stuff was preparing me for A*!
 
 
 
 
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  What finally defeated Fresh-ManFeb 12, 2013 1:20 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The last of my freshman-year comic strip that I'll inflict on you--I ran out of halfway-decent ideas remarkable quickly! :P By the way, I have terrible handwriting.
 
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Yes, I devolved down to Chicago weather jokes (and worse subjects that shall remain unscanned >_>) that quickly. Next up, some of the digital work I did for my final project, which was self-portraits and paintings of flowers, in oil paint vs digital paint. Yeah I dunno, but it was fun!
 
 
 
 
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  Supermassive bake sale!Feb 09, 2013 9:12 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Boy, it's late--guess I stayed too long at the art opening chatting and eating raspberry truffles. :d Ummm so I have to sleep but here are the tortured pencils for today's page
 
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and have a nice weekend!!
 
Oh also The Chocolate Shoebox on Seattle's Phinney Ridge, where my art is showing, is having a huge vegan bake sale this weekend in case you want to check out my original art while perusing some of the tastiest carbohydrates around.
 
 
 
 
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  A* art at The Chocolate Shoebox, SeattleFeb 08, 2013 4:51 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:New art show! For the rest of this month, my work—and almost all of it is A* artwork—is on display at The Chocolate Shoebox on Seattle's Phinney Ridge. I'll be there for the reception during this month's neighborhood art walk, which is tonight! Friday, Feb. 7th from 6-9 pm; I'll probably be there for some period in the 6:30 to 8:00 range. They promise "decadent vegan treats"!
 
Also this is their last month before going online-only, and they're having a pretty massive sale on their kitschy collection of shoes and other assorted items—maybe the chocolates, too, but I'm not 100% sure about those (my dad bought us some, they were tasty :d). I was making eyes at some pretty sweet whale socks, myself.
 
 
 
 
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  On his way to the freshman convocation...Feb 07, 2013 3:08 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a little comic strip I did at some point during my freshman year in college...uh that would have been '92-'93 I guess:
 
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I did have a roommate freshman year, which I suppose was making a big impression on me. He was a nice guy, but also large and athletic and from Rochester, NY, which is apparently colder than Chicago in the winter, because he would open the windows--in the middle of the Chicago winter--to cool down. He also came and went with some fanfare at times when I would have preferred to have been asleep. This predicament was tidily solved when I moved my bed into the closet. ... It was a big closet!
 
These strips were drawn with a regular rollerball pen--probably a Pentel Rolling Writer, which is still my preferred writing pen, messy, fat line and all--on typing paper, because I didn't know any better. I'm impressed by how neatly I got the panel borders drawn! I would totally not have the patience to do that now.
 
There are obvious influences from superhero comics here--my brother and I collected a bunch, mostly Marvel, through high school--and I think maybe some Phil Foglio in how those big excited eyes and mouth are drawn.
 
 
 
 
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  College comic capers cont.; a Star Trek funkFeb 06, 2013 1:57 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The last of this particular series that I posted on my college dorm room door in in the mid-90s:
 
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Ah yes, highly developed sense of humor I had back in college! ... That did actually happen, though. :p Next up will be an even earlier little series I did in college, in my freshman year, that is much worse. >_> I can't even show a lot of them because they're just *that* bad. Soooo that will be fun!
 
But I'm sad today because I've run out of original-cast Star Trek stuff to watch on Netflix. :| I actually misted up at the ends of the second and third movies--even though I'd seen them before (a long time ago, I guess) and knew what would happen! Boy, am I becoming a sap in my old age or what? I'd never actually seen all the episodes of the original series, though, so watching through all those was a lot of fun, even if some are pretty amazingly bad. I even watched all the episodes of the animated series! :o Hum. Maybe I'll watch Twilight Zone now, I dunno.
 
 
 
 
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  #cmdprompt returns! & The non-Donate buttonFeb 05, 2013 1:32 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The reader who snapped up the original art for the recent episode 18, page 52 sent me a nice photo of what he's done with it:
 
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I dunno if it's as impressive as that physics degree hanging under it, but it's looking pretty spiffy in that frame, if I do say so myself! Nice job! :)
 
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You may or may not remember the "#cmdprompt" Twitter text adventure game I started up a year and a half ago, before discovering that it was gonna be way too much work, but brave reader @jrmoore91 has had it in mind of late to the point where he's starting it back up! If you like text adventure games, and you like Twitter, or maybe just one or the other, this may be the hot cup of Chai you've been waiting for. You can always find the latest progress under the #cmdprompt hash on Twitter, and J.R. tells me he'll be keeping a history of it logged elsewhere on the internet in case Twitter only wants to show you the most recent parts.
 
I've taken some clumsy pokes (you know, if I recall correctly, I never *was* really much good at text adventure games!) at helping start this new story of J.R.'s off, and of course anyone is welcome to jump in at any time and tweet some commands to @jrmoore91 using the #cmdprompt hash tag. Basically it goes something like this. J.R. might tweet something like this (this is an actual tweet from today):
 
@jrmoore91 wrote:
You find a massive tome with a locked clasp, a small notebook, a flask, pencils, and a jackknife. The voices approach the barn. #cmdprompt

And then he'd take the *first* usable reply back, with a #cmdprompt hash in it, as the next command to parse. I sent this:
 
@smbhax wrote:
@jrmoore91 Eep! Quickly examine barn. #cmdprompt

And then in theory he'll give an update based on that, and the adventure will go from there. Simple, right? But who knows where this is gonna go! (Also my dilly dallying seems to have put us in some trouble in the barn there, so hopefully someone can bail us out of that. :o)
 
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I started last week with the "contribute" button on the A* store page, and over the weekend finished with the purchasing buttons for downloadable e-book A* episodes on the episodes page: switching them from PayPal's "Donate" button to a customized version of their "Buy Now" button.
 
I'd been using "Donate," like many people do, because I wanted people to be able to give whatever amount they felt like giving. PayPal's mini-documentation on the Donate button says you're only supposed to use it for "fundraising," and once you raise a total of $10,000 from Donate buttons, they'll ask to see the paperwork showing that money has actually gone to some sort of charitable cause. I knew about that, but I'd used "Donate" anyway, like everybody else, because I didn't know how else to have a button without a fixed purchase amount. (Besides, I'm a poor webcomic artist, I need fundraising for food and rent! :P) But I was listening to an old episode of the Webcomic Beacon Newscast--listening to webcomic podcasts makes me feel better while working on A*, somehow :)--in which they reported that a while back PayPal actually did crack down on someone who raised a load of dough with a Donate button--shut down their account, freezing the funds! Well, as a webcomic artist I am pretty much reliant on my PayPal account for income, so while I don't expect to get anywhere near $10,000 from episode e-book downloads or donations in this lifetime, I don't want to do anything PayPal might frown upon if I can possibly help it, so I thought I'd better take another look at seeing if I could find some other way to make these transactions happen.
 
And It's bad because I don't remember now where I found it through Google, but somewhere I noticed that as long as you don't specify an amount for a "Buy Now" button, it will act just like a "Donate" button, and let the purchaser specify their own amount. Perfect! So I got the buttons switched over and we should be all super-legit now as far as the big PP is concerned.
 
During this process I also happened across some webcomic site selling e-books of their chapters much like I sell A* episodes--in fact the selling page looked pretty much exactly like mine does in general layout, with a big vertical list of the episodes, and buy buttons down the right--and they were using Donate buttons too, and I *should* have made a note of what webcomic it was because I meant to try to contact them and mention what I've just told you about the buttons. Dang. It was some fairly popular webcomic too, as far as I recall, and hm the page background was white, and the Donate buttons were modified to gray, maybe? Darned if I can find anything that sounds like it in my browser history, though, ugh. Well, if you know which comic this is, maybe let me know so I can send them this tip just in case they find it useful.
 
 
 
 
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  Where's a Guggenheim when you need one?Feb 02, 2013 5:31 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Man, now I know why Pollock flung paint around: it's super-fun!
 
Speaking of cryptic modern art, here are some more comics I made for posting on my dorm room door in the mid-90s--by the way, if your language is read from left to right, you should never have word balloons start on the right like I did here:
 
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One rather tragic thing I hadn't known about Pollock--aside from his alcoholism and related death in a car accident--is that while he's pretty much solely remembered for the huge, abstract "drip" or "action" paintings he executed between 1947 and 1950, the darker and more figurative stuff he progressed into after that, until his death in '56 at the age of 44, has been, by comparison, pretty much entirely ignored.
 
 
 
 
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  Go Go Power Art MajorsFeb 01, 2013 3:02 AM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Yes it's still more comics I posted on my college dorm room door in the mid-90s:
 
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"ArtDes" was the common abbreviation for my major, which was "Art & Design." What with no classes before 10:00 am, no classes on Friday, and homework consisting primarily of making abstract dot patterns on massive pieces of paper with a cork dipped in ink, being an art major in a rigorous academic institution with a yearly art major total in the single digits had its lonely moments. Fortunately, Power Rangers was there every afternoon to keep me company.
 
 
 
 
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