If you've been waiting for my usual banner link to the latest page of my Sunday fairy tale comic, The Princess and the Giant, now's your time! You can click this sneak peek banner to jump to the Princess' latest page:
Speaking of other comics drawn--at least partly--with the Lasso Tool, I found one that isn't by me! And it calls itself sci-fi, even--and although it's a little early to tell exactly what it's about, it's certainly pretty far-out. I'm talking about Schizian, so check that out if you're interested in what other comic folk are doing with this unusual drawing tool.
We've got about ten pages to go in episode 11, and it can take me up to a week to write and storyboard the next episode, and I want to have comics for you while I'm doing that, so...if my math is right--I'm sure I got this wrong somehow--then I need to start giving you just one page per day, so I have pages on reserve to cover my writing/storyboarding time in a week or so. Bleh! I hate holding back pages, but I think two weeks of one page per day is better'n one week of two and one week of none, so...eh. Such is life! But we've still got some significant twisting and turning to do here in these last few pages of episode 11, so don't think you can skip out! =p
Here's a self-serving suggestion for more comics! In addition to A*, I do another daily comic--which you probably haven't heard of--kind of a secret *cough*--called Sketchy, and this is a dandy time to start following that, since I've just started another of Sketchy's infamous *cough cough* tall tales, "The Mercenary and the Mariachi"! A rollicking tale of southern adventure, 't'will be. It begins here, we're on the third page today, and just to complete the confusion, here's page 2 as a sampler:
"How many weird comic series does this nut have?" you might be wondering. Well, five...sorta. Three of 'em are updated regularly, and the other two are more fly-by-night affairs. There's a handy auto-updating list of them on the more comics by me page, always available from this site's top menu.
If you watched that short NASA documentary on Apollo 13 that I embedded/linked a few days back, you probably heard those characteristic periodic high-pitched beeps in the background of the radio dialogue between mission control and the spacecraft. If you need a refresher, here's an Apollo radio dialogue with a bunch of the beeps: listen (specifically, this is a transmission system test between the NASA Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas ("Houston") and their Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station near Canberra, Australia ("Honeysuckle")). ("Honeysuckle is go!")
Turns out those beeps have a name! They're Quindar tones, named after the manufacturer of the tone generation/listening equipment. There are two of them: one triggered when ground control pushes a button to open their microphone channel to the spacecraft, and a slightly lower one triggered when ground control finishes talking and releases that button to close the transmission.
The beeps were actually a signal to NASA's worldwide network of transmitting stations to open or close the broadcast channel, so it only stayed open while mission control was actually talking to the astronauts; without that system, that channel would have to have been left open all the time, subjecting the astronauts to static and mission control background noise 24/7. So while the somewhat shrill tones are a little annoying, in theory they probably saved the astronauts from a lot of headaches! Or "save," rather, because they're still in use in use in half-duplex UHF Space Shuttle transmissions--at least until the shuttle program ends later this year.
"What?" may be exactly what you're wondering at this point too but, never fear, at least some of this strange sequence should be a bit clearer before we hit the very end of this episode in a week or so. We've got some drastic action yet to go here, too!
This article shows a cool time lapse, using ISS astronaut Paulo Nespoli's photos from space, of how the moon appears to squish--or unsquish, rather--as it comes up over the Earth's horizon; it's something you can see for yourself from down here on the planet, but the effect becomes much more pronounced if you're at the right angle just above the atmosphere, which is refracting light from the moon, making it appear to bend.
Oh man! Am I going to end every episode with Selenis blowing a stickup and getting shot? Well... Uh... Okay so episode 12 *probably* won't end that way. Although that could change if I get really inspired. >_>
Speaking of inspired (see how I did that), obviously you've all been wondering what gets listened to while A* is drawn, and happy day, I'm here to bore your ears off about it! See I've been kind of obsessed with Pandora for the past three weeks or so, basically ever since SomaFM's seasonal "Christmas Lounge" station went off the air (;_;), because I spent like a week looking up other streaming Christmas music stations and none of them were really very good--so I decided to try making my own on Pandora!
You all probably know that Pandora is this online music thingy where you tell it what music you like, then it plays music that isn't quite what you like, *except* that once in a blue moon it plays a track that you probably already have on CD, at which point you click the little Thumbs Up icon for it in the hope that Pandora will play it again for you at some unspecified time in the future, instead of clicking the little Thumbs Down icon you click the rest of the time because it's decided you like bad country music or rap. So obviously it's a great deal of fun and I'm completely addicted to it.
My Pandora profile is here, and I think you may need a Pandora account to see it, but anyway it should show you the little channels I'm trying to manage, underneath some horrible picture of me. My "QuickMix" is currently a mix of classic vocal jazz Christmas music (Bing Crosby, Nancy Wilson, Nat King Cole...hopefully) and modern techno-ish remixes of them---basically trying to copy SomaFM's channel. And it actually kind of worked! Except that suddenly this past Tuesday at about 2:30 pm the Christmas spirit left me, so I probably won't listen to it for another ten months or so. Ah well, there's always next year.
In the meantime I'll probably be listening to the little trip hop station I'm trying to wrangle there (stop trying to make it a Brazilian lounge music channel, Pandora; I like Brazilian lounge music but that's not what this is supposed to beeeee :P), and actually mostly to the (hopefully) classic vocal jazz station, because that old stuff keeps me nice and peppy while drawing. And oh man is it so satisfying to ban overplayed modern "jazz" singers when they come up--I won't name names but they've been torturing me for the past year and a half while listening to the streaming music stations I used to try.
Boy, pretty much *everyone* got shot in this episode, didn't they? I'm so mean to my characters. :o
I finished drawing the remaining art for this episode--four more pages--yesterday, so that means I start writing the script for episode 12 today, and then get the storyboards done in the first-half-ish of next week.
I don't really like working ahead and not being able to post what I've just drawn; for one thing, I keep spending extra time twiddling around with it nervously while it's just sitting here, and then I've got to be careful I don't upload the wrong future page, as I did accidentally on the ComicFury A* mirror for about fifteen seconds :P. And it's all got to be kept very secret and I certainly couldn't do something like take part of one of the future pages and slap it up as a shiny new background on A*'s Twitter page. No, what a horrible, irresponsible, spoilerish action that would be--jeez!