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  There is no such thing as a straight lineFeb 28, 2019 10:01 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Time was when I would have resorted to a ruler and some sort of circular thing to trace around (a roll of masking tape might have been about the right size for the foreground ship, for instance ; ) in order to lay this page out, but these days it usually seems to work better just to freehand the whole thing—it keeps the organic feel throughout, and anyway, the point isn't to make straight lines, it's to get the story across; so, hopefully my irregularities aren't too distracting. : )
 
 
 
 
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  Some old painter guyFeb 27, 2019 9:48 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The New York Times Magazine just put up an interesting article about the recent discovery of two previously unknown probably-Rembrandt paintings, the Dutch art world drama around them, and the art dealer scion of an ancient house of Rembrandt collectors, and it offers interesting insights about Rembrandt's world—both then and now.
 
 
 
 
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  I am now a power userFeb 26, 2019 8:54 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Jeez for some reason at the end of the days so far this week I've spent what blogging time I might have had, like, goofing off on Twitter or similar places. I'm not even good at that stuff! Oh well. One piece of information I did get to impart there was my only-14-years-late-probably discovery from the other day that the [F] key toggles full screen on YouTube videos. =P
 
 
 
 
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  Who remembers those?Feb 25, 2019 10:19 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Hey-ho another day another page : )
 
 
 
 
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  Add more ink!Feb 22, 2019 7:50 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:=D Here's an ink sketch I got to send to a reader for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign:
 
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Thanks everyone who's reading and supporting A*! ^_^ I get to keep doing this because of yoU. : )
 
 
 
 
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  Hayabusa-2 picks at asteroid RyugaFeb 21, 2019 10:38 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Japan's Hayabusa-2 probe has just landed (BBC) on near-Earth asteroid Ryugu (Wikipedia) and fired its tantalum (Wikipedia: a hard, high-melting-point metal) bullet into its surprisingly gravel-like surface, which should have knocked some of the asteroid's surface material into the gathering "bell" mechanism at the bottom of the probe, for return to Earth in 2020.
 
This maneuver was originally set to take place in October, but the team had to redraw it after they found that Ryugu's surface, rather than being kind of smooth and dusty like other known near-Earth asteroids, is actually strewn with large boulders—so they had to narrow their landing field down from about 100m to 6m. They seem to have pulled it off, though.
 
And Hayabasa-2 isn't quite done with Ryugu yet: in spring it is due to blow a hole in the asteroid's surface, hop inside, and pick up some of the interior material freed by the explosion. : o
 
Here's an updating NY Times article with loads of cool photos from Ryugu.
 
 
 
 
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  But I wanna stay upFeb 20, 2019 10:17 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Got a page done aaaaand it's time for bed!
 
 
 
 
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  Scanned upFeb 19, 2019 7:45 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I got the backlog of pages to be scanned filled in, so all the pages for this episode are now available as proper scans of the artwork, rather than the photos I filled in with while my scanner was kaput. : )
 
 
 
 
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  Scan scan scan (oh and off Monday!)Feb 15, 2019 9:45 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Got pages 11 and 12 scanned in last night; the ones I missed while my scanner was down and was only able to post as messy photos only go through 17, so just five more to catch up on—maybe I can wrap those up over the long holiday weekend—yep I'm taking off Monday for President's Day. = o : )
 
 
 
 
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  Gotta scan oh look at these artists sketchingFeb 14, 2019 8:55 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:SYFY WIRE has an impressive line-up of comic artists sketching away for them in a big YouTube playlist—neat to see all the different ways these different artists approach their sketches, and to hear them talk about their work and stuff.
 
Okay I gotta go get caught up on scanning those pages I could only post photos of while I was temporarily without a working scanner. : P
 
 
 
 
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  Not a scan but a rambleFeb 13, 2019 11:12 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I got pages 8, 9, and 10 scanned in (replacing the temporary photos of them : P) last night with the new scanner, so those are sharper now, in their proper colors, at the right angle : o, etc. Not gonna get any more done tonight because I became too pre-occupied in 1) making a last try to get my ancient German spam filter program (doesn't even officially support Windows 10 : P) to work with the latest encrypted password protection in the new version of Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail client—it doesn't...oh well people can find me easy on my site or social media now anyhoo, and its not like most of them kept *THEIR* ancient spammed email addresses that remember *MY* ancient spammed email address ; )), and 2) letting an empty peanut butter jar finally finish vibrating across the microwave on top of the refrigerator, where I had put it to remember to take it to the once-a-month volunteer recycling truck at the local church parking lot (the town recently had China stop buying used glass from them, so that was it for the official recycling program) and then forgotten about it, until after several months culminating in tonight it finally finished vibrating itself across the top of the microwave, toppled down the back of the refrigerator, and smashed to pieces on the old iron radiator back there in an attention-getting way. 8o Well it was a good excuse finally to sweep back there, I guess. : P
 
 
 
 
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  New scanner! : DDFeb 12, 2019 7:25 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The scanner arrived! FedEx told me twice during the day that they'd delayed it yet another day—but then it showed up late in the afternoon anyway! : o (I had been suspicious of the delay, because the other package of mine tracking along with it had not been rescheduled, and both still said "on vehicle for delivery." : P)
 
It's a Mustek A3 2400S S-Series Flatbed Scanner, and it works great, just like the old one (a 1200) I used for the first 8 years—it's even nearly the same color of off-white, despite being shown as dark blue/purple or something in the Amazon product photo. In fact it's built pretty nearly identically to the old one, and it looks to have the same fragile situation with the power cord plugging directly into the tiny motherboard inside with no additional reinforcement, so this time I'm trying to be real careful with the power cable, and have it leading into the scanner as gently as possible. Oh well and it doesn't have that dark speck toward the upper left corner that I always had to Photoshop out like the last one developed, or the oddly pixelated far left and right sides—but give it time. : P
 
So now I've got to go back and scan all the pages I wasn't able to scan after the old printer died, going back to page 8; in fact I have to scan in the first 3 of those tonight, because a reader bought them off the daily auctions on eBay, and they're due at the post office by tomorrow. = o
 
If the scanner had arrived between Feb 4th and 7th like Amazon told me it would when I bought it we wouldn't have had all this drama. :P
 
 
 
 
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  The Trouble in Troutdale (scanner delayed :P)Feb 11, 2019 9:06 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Well, the scanner did not arrive today. :? FedEx notified me over the weekend that they'd delayed delivery to Tuesday. A few hours later, they notified me that they'd changed the delivery back to Monday. A microsecond after that, they notified me that they'd re-delayed the delivery back to Tuesday.
 
Now, my town here in eastern Washington—and I think the region at large—has had probably close to a foot of snow since the start of the weekend to now, Monday evening. Maybe that has something to do with it—although I did see a FedEx truck on two separate occasions making deliveries as I walked around this morning. : P But that's probably irrelevant, since the package isn't here in town; it's in Troutdale, Oregon. In fact, according to FedEx's tracking, it looks like it was all over Troutdale, Oregon:
 
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Today it did not budge.
 
I'm sure there's a good reason for this. In fact, I happen to have another, unrelated package (tooth brush heads : P) coming to me by FedEx. Where is it?
 
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So that one arrived in, yes, Troutdale Thursday evening, left just after midnight to go 62 miles in the direction *opposite* mine—SW—and spent Friday moving around Salem (:o), Oregon, sat motionless in Salem Saturday, then shipped back to Troutdale on Sunday. ...
 
And yesterday it went nowhere.
 
So obviously there's a good reason for this. Perhaps a black hole that only affects packages has appeared in Troutdale.
 
I do have one other, again unrelated (a VGA multiplier ; ), package on its way to me, but via USPS. Actually it isn't even on its way to me yet, it just popped up on tracking for the first time this morning, as "USPS Awaiting Item." Where?
 
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(Wikipedia says that FedEx is "the largest employer in the city with a sizable distribution facility,"—and lists Amazon first after that in a list of major employers; I ordered that last package through Amazon. This doesn't explain why packages have just been milling around there since Friday, though. Weather history seems to say Troutdale did not get any really measurable snow; maybe a road between here and there got snowed out or something. : P)
 
 
 
 
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  Last photo page?Feb 08, 2019 8:31 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:FedEx still shows the new scanner as due to arrive Monday ("Estimated: 12:15 PM - 5:00 AM" : P) (it's right next door in Oregon : D), so if all goes well this will be the last page that comes to you initially as a photo rather than a proper scan.
 
Thanks to everyone supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign for helping me pay for the necessary equipment to make the comic. : )) Here's a sketch I got to send to a reader for their support:
 
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And over the weekend I should be sending out download links for the new episode 35 e-book to those at the e-book and higher support levels. : )
 
Thanks everyone for your support! ^_^
 
 
 
 
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  It's the camera's fault : PFeb 07, 2019 8:53 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Boy the writing on the little widget she's holding didn't come out very clearly in the photo. : o Hopefully once the new scanner arrives (still due on Monday...) and I can scan the page properly you'll be able to see that it says "Mother 0.7.7.x."
 
 
 
 
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  Neither rain nor snow but maybe net outageFeb 06, 2019 9:49 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Carried some A* original art a mile through the snow to the post office to ship off to a reader today ("and I LIKED IT!"), only to find the PO was closed because their internet was down. Welcome to the future! : D That was the licensed PO in the grocery store, if they don't have it fixed when I call tomorrow I'll just have to take the longer walk to the real PO to get this painting shipped off—the "closed" sign on the licensed PO's desk said the real PO was still operational. ; )
 
 
 
 
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  Sometimes you're just feeling festiveFeb 05, 2019 7:34 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a sketch I got to send to a reader for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : D :
 
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... I have no idea what it means. : o
 
But thanks everyone who's helping me out with A*! Your support really means a lot! ^_^
 
 
 
 
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  PayPal likes to make you workFeb 04, 2019 8:27 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:FedEx pushed the delivery date of my replacement scanner back again, to next Monday. : P So probably instead of blogging stuff next week I'll just be trying to catch up on scanning in the pages from this week and last week that are just photos right now. On the plus side, I did manage to improve the photo contrast a bit (note to self: don't leave black background layer up in Photoshop behind art photo when using Auto Levels function...), so today's ended up a bit sharper at least!
 
Found out when shipping off some A* art at the PO today that they had a price increase on Jan 27th. : P I held off raising my domestic art shipping prices to match—I don't want to put them over $8, bleh—but I did have to raise the international shipping prices 50 cents or so.
 
Took me a while to do that for stuff bought straight through smbhax.com with PayPal buttons, because PayPal keeps moving the link to their Shipping Calculator (and their help documents have not been updated to reflect its new location, so if you try the old links they'll just redirect you to stuff trying to get you to sign up for their PayPal Business account stuff ; PPP)—it's now under...wait...aw crumbs how to I get back to that menu?
 
... Browser history...... Okay, future me, the current Shipping Calculator link is here; I got to it from the All Tools page, which I got to from the Tools menu at the top of the Shipping Preference page, which I don't think you can get to directly from any regular links on paypal.com, but I guess I got to it through one of their help pages after much searching. : PP
 
 
 
 
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  New scanner due next Friday!Feb 01, 2019 8:54 PM PST | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Thanks to everyone who's supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign! That money goes right to the necessities like well okay rent and groceries but also art supplies and things like a replacement for the large format scanner that finally gave up the ghost this week after 8 years of scanning all my A* artwork! That thing was a workhorse. : ) So I really really really appreciate everyone who pitches even a buck a month my way through Patreon, and at higher support levels I can even take time out to send monthly rewards, like this sketch I sent to a reader pitching in at the $10 level:
 
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Thanks everyone, your support makes a huge difference! : D And after no word all week, the replacement scanner I ordered through Amazon Tuesday night has finally been picked up by FedEx; it's running a day later than the latest initial delivery estimate—no thanks to man-made climate change and polar vortices, perhaps : o—but with luck there will be no further delays and I'll be able to start scanning pages in properly again next Friday (and then that weekend I'll go back and scan these pages that I've had to post as just blobby photos in the mean while : P).
 
 
 
 
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