Friday, November 17, 2006

Please continue to hold

An old episode has come true! British Telecom have double-billed me for my broadband and I can't get through to their customer service!

"Please continue to hold. You are moving up the queue and you are now #35703895 in line to speak to our customer support desk in Bhubaneshwar."

Although they're not quite as awesome as the support line of a friend's broadband, who play MIDI versions of Pachelbel while you wait and wait.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why I love the Sims 2

Because of their amazing bugs. I've bought the Sims 2 Pets on Friday and I was browsing a fansite forum, when I came across this post by a concerned player:

I had the weirdest thing happen after installing Pets. I created a dog and then called for an obedience trainer. They trainer sim came to the house but just sat in a van in front of the house sobbing and crying continuously! I couldn't get it to stop and I couldn't interact with the trainer sim. I ended up moving the family out and demolishing the lot. Has anyone else seen this?

That's such a great bug.

It seems that people don't have much luck even if the trainer is not upset, though, according to this answer:

My trainer won't train either. She came, I purchased training, then she sat on the couch and watched TV.

Are you unable to connect to the main webcomic site?

Two readers have posted comments saying that they have been unable to view the main webcomic site for over a month. I've spoken to the network administrator of the host who told me some things that you can check out if this is happening to you. He would also appreciate if you could post/email the results of these checks. Comparing them for all the people who are having problems would help him to see if there is a problem at our end.

These are the checks to do:
1. In windows, press start, then Run, type in CMD (win 2000/XP/Vista) or COMMAND (Win 98/ME)
2. In the command window, first type:
the IP should be

then type:
the IP should still be

If the first fails, but the second works, it is your local DNS server and you should be able to fix the problem by contacting your ISP. Even so, please send us the results so the network admin can check them.

3. If both work, type tracert to see how far you get. (Tracert displays all the hops that you do to reach the page.)

In the command window, type the following (where filename stands for whatever name you want to give to the file and [ENTER] stands for pressing the Enter/Return key):

nslookup > filename.txt [ENTER]
nslookup >> filename.txt [ENTER]
tracert >>filename.txt[ENTER]

Paste the results of the text file here as a comment or email them to me at

In the commands above, > writes to file and >> appends. If you want to write the file in a specific folder, e.g. a folder called misc on your c: drive, just type the whole path, > c:\misc\filename.txt.

In the meantime the network admin has made some small change at his end so you may be able to view the comic website already. I hope this helps!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Minor things that annoy me

Commentary in some documentaries.
The sensationalist spooky bullshit, specifically. "There's something haunted here... something scary... IN THE POSTAL MUSEUM!"

Labelling in grocery stores.

Tesco, the supermarket where I normally buy my groceries, sells normal sized bananas and slightly smaller, misshapen ones. Instead of calling them honestly grade B bananas or something, they label them "Fun sized bananas". Fun sized? FUN SIZED?!?
Oh yeah... hilarious...right... "Joe! JOE! Oh God, come here, you have to see this!!! IT'S A SMALL BANANA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!". Jesus.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Force of gigantic dis

I'm participating to season 6 of Sketchbattle (with AF writing the scripts) - which is a lot of extra drawing but is also good fun. Today KC Green destroyed the other contestant in the best battle since the creation of the website. Just the hands spelling "Bitches" is pure genius - I was transfixed. He should win the season automatically just for that. The guy's comics are very funny - those I've read, anyway, because it would take 10 years to go through all the archives. By the looks of it, he draws two dozen strips per day. And most of them are very good.

Another contestant that I really like is Fabricari. His art is amazing (I'm not so sure about his bespoke sound effects though - zottlx?!?) and he's had a very good idea about setting a webcam on his drawing table so that people can watch him draw in real time. He explains how to do it and I am tempted to set it up too.

Monday, October 02, 2006

UK Webcomic Thing 2007

I've booked a table for the UK Webcomic Thing 2007. Now I MUST get book 3 ready - maybe even book 4. I just shudder at the thought of printing episode 200 because it would have to span across two pages. It's a pain in the ass to do things by trial and error by normal post across two continents.
I'm also thinking of buying a badge maker and make buttons. I don't use them but I've seen people walking around the convention last year with so many badges on their clothes that I wondered how they still managed to move - so I guess that they are a popular item. If not, I can try to use them instead of coins in soda vending machines.
What else? I have some fridge magnets and stickers from last year (the pirate parrot was particularly popular) and very few t-shirts left. Time to print some more.
If only I didn't suck at organising this kind of stuff.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

:-( B.C.

I spent a weekend in Paris where I made an important discovery while visiting the Louvre. As you can see in the photograph that I took, the sad smiley had already been invented by the Egyptians more than 4000 years ago.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Where do I get ideas? In the Retarded folder

I haven't read message boards for ages and my brain thanks me for it, but who knows how many countless gems I'm missing. When I used to read them, I'd copy and save posts that were retarded enough to stand out for exemplary stupidity even in the great Ocean of Dumb of gaming forums. Unfortunately I changed PCs at work and when I did a backup of my stuff I forgot to copy over my beloved Retarded folder, so I have almost nothing left. These are two of the few things that remain.

The first is a sample of an insanely long drama post on a WoW forum. I already had in mind to feature a drama queen in the comic so I copied it for future reference:
He told me the reason he broke up with her was because she wanted to have a 3sum with him and some other guy. He also told me about Zenithfaith/Zenithstorm, and said they knew eachother in real-life. He said that she was too shy to make out with him, but that they would fool around all of the time. He said she was the reason he started playing WoW. At the moment, he is dating someone I thought was a friend, Lunarflower, who after 20 minutes of knowing my friend Serujisu, whispered to me she thought she had a major crush on him. Gawain and I laughed and made fun of her, and talked about how pathetic they both were (which later we found out Serujisu never had interest in her, so it was just her). I also found out from a friend that she's tried dating Bouncerr and someone else from Judgement. We cracked up for a day on how lame she was, but now he hypocritically went to her because he knew she was easy."
She goes on and on AND ON like this for pages. Amazing. I'll use choice bits to script Emonika's dialogue. Seriously, you can't make this shit up.

The second is a three year old post from someone who was extremely saddened by the introduction of pvp in City of Heroes (when they announced City of Villains). I really don't see how I can use this in any way in the comic, but if I could somehow re-create the pathos and drama that this moron infuses in a post about a FUCKING GAME, it would make for some fine script:

"Beta reports made me dream of a game that brings out the best in players. Finally, a game relatively free of d00ds, griefers and silly immature behavior.
I thought I would see players that care for other players, who know that grief in the game actually hurts the real person in front of the screen... those players that know that hurt is bad.

Now its pvp... now the griefers come. Lets welcome the d00ds, powerlevelers and leet-speak kids.

It doesnt matter if pvp is separate. They will be all over the community, like everywhere else. Their issues will be on the boards, their playing style will contaminate every discussion.

Its a mindset, a way of thinking. If there is a chance to mess with other players, those who like to mess with other players will come and do just that.
I wished so hard to for once be able to avoid them - to forget about them.

I think it will feel much less fun being a hero now. It doesnt feel like fun at all.

There comes the attitude, the foul mouth, the silly behavior.

Right now, hope is gone."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Make a wish emails

A reader on the tagboard asked me to blog more and I was so surprised that someone would want to read my drivel that I decided to indulge him/her. I've even enabled comments, so all the viagra dealers have a place to append their spam. I very rarely have anything meaningful to speak about but nothing is easier than talking without nothing to say. That reader will rue the day he asked for this.

A colleague sent me one of those chain emails that normally I delete on sight - make a wish, read the prayer to St Teresa, send this email to 12 other people and your wish will be granted within four days, etc. etc.
The email also mentioned that I had to include the sender in the group of 12 people, so I feel a bit bad not sending it back to my colleague. One thing is to think "WTF did you send me, did you lose your mind?" but keep the thought to yourself, another is to let your silence say it for you. Maybe this lady wished for something awesome like peace on Earth and I'm fucking it up for her.

Of course I could send it back saying "I MADE A WISH THAT YOU'LL STOP SENDING ME THIS RETARDED SHIT - BUT FAT CHANCE OF THAT HAPPENING, YOU MOTHERFUCKING MORON!", but that would be just as rude as not answering. Maybe even a bit ruder.

Let's have a look at the requirements. Let's assume for sake of argument that St Teresa really exists and that she cares about this email being forwarded it exactly twelve people. Maybe that creates just enough Heavenly Mana points for a small miracle. I guess that sending it back just to the colleague and pretending that I sent it around wouldn't fullfill the conditions.

So I wonder - what if I forward it to my colleague and 11 people picked at random from my spam box? Would that satisfy the requirements? For example, there's a Lara Leary who's been eagerly trying to get me interested in a "fine-looking Innoccent Cutie getting splendid it anallly!" (how does one get splendid anally? maybe it's somehow related to mystical ecstasy and they would appreciate a prayer email to St Theresa); there's a Sushi bar in Spain that keeps sending me emails about their home delivery service (that'd be some ripe salmon nigiri by the time it got here); and so on. Do these count as people for the purposes of email miracles? If they don't, St Theresa may get really pissed - and who knows what other superpowers she has aside from granting wishes by email? Better not risk it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mediocre movie night

I spent most of yesterday evening colouring episode 203 and I watched a disappointing movie called The Village. It was very much how I imagine Live Action Roleplaying to be, muddy, overacted and with nothing really going on.
When it started I thought it would be cool, but what totally killed it for me was
*SPOILER WARNING* (stop reading now if you haven't seen it!)
seeing Miss Piggy dressed like a spanish inquisitor walk past in the background. Also, the characters kept doing things that made no sense, it was really irritating. Maybe that's why the retarded guy was the best character, at least he was justified.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Our Exalted Leader

I was reading the EQ2 forums looking for interesting material to use in the comic and happened on this mindblowing statement in a thread about gold farmers (the bold is mine):

I have said it before and i'll say it again that the only way to really cripple these people is to get the governments involved. I don't think the US president, European Primeminister, China leader, Japanese Emporer and such will be too happy they are loosing money from these people. This stuff is unfiltered un taxed money like paying a person under the table you start billing these people for tax evasion and punishing them severaly enough it'll start to stop for a bit.

That's why gold farming is rampant! That lazy European Primeminister isn't doing anything about it. He's not getting my vote at the next elections, that's for sure.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Football fever

Football craze is upon us, for the next month (or earlier, depending on results), England flags will be the hottest item for sale at pound shops all over the country. I went to the supermarket two days ago and it felt like I was the only person not flying the colours - I vaguely worried that I may be confronted and beaten up in the car park, because my old car has a Roma sticker with the Italian flag colours in the background.
Anyway, the next episode, #191, has a World Cup theme.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Virtual fashion

I've been browsing for screenshots from old UO days (Found them! Please don't send any) because I want to draw a large group scene in #189 - a fight night - with a retro look and the 3rd person view angle from above that UO had.
I've found a bunch of screenshots of assorted pwnage on a guild website of some pk guys who probably had their site designed by Dakilla (minus rotating skull gifs, I'm sorry to say), and a bunch of screenshots from some online wedding found googling with the usual orderly crowd of people in cloaks and feathered caps spamming *cheers* and *claps*.
I realised while I was looking at these two very different groups of people that in UO - since it didn't matter really what you were wearing and you were just as likely to see guys in full plate or guys in loincloth and skull helmet running around - people could come up with all kinds of different combinations of clothing, crossdressing and weirdness - and ended up making fashion statements about themselves just in the same way people do in real life.
I don't mean by having "unique characters" like you can do in many games now, where you can spend 4 hours choosing the nose shape and the angle of the eyebrows and all kinds of minute details of your character's face, when anyway you'll never see much more than its butt while it runs around the game and no one else will ever give a second look (or a first) at its facial features.
I mean instead in the same way that a goth, say, or a smartly dressed businessman, make a fashion statement about themselves, so as soon as you see one you label them in your mind. I could have cut off and mixed all the guys on those screenshots and guessed who was one of the pks and who was a roleplayer just by looking at their clothes.
I think that it's cooler than games where everyone looks like cookiecutter character #1843475. WoW has great graphics, but people of approximately the same level and gear quality are going to look very much like variations of each other, whoever they are and whatever their game style.
Now, I'm not being nostalgic - after all there are games like City of Heroes where it doesn't matter what you're wearing so you have great freedom to customise your looks, but I think that it'd be nice if gear-based games like WoW allowed players to display any kind of clothing, hats etc. on their characters, if they wanted. Right now, everyone looks like a clone.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'll never reach nirvana this way

I think that the consensus, among levitating gurus & co., is that you need to trascend all earthly desires in order to achieve cosmic peace and nirvana. So far I've coped with earthly desires by trying to buy stuff that I coveted as soon as possible - since it's generally nerdy stuff like books and new computer games that's not a big deal - but now I'm in trouble. I've seen a Wacom Cintiq UX21 graphic tablet, I've TOUCHED IT, and SKETCHED ON IT, and I'm in love. It's also very, very expensive.

I went to the Adobe Live expo yesterday to get information about software that I may use for work (my day work, rather than the comic) - and since I was going to wear a badge and didn't want to disgrace my company with shabby looks I made a huge effort and wore a girly shirt and extremely fake pearls. When I got there I discovered that it was a show aimed at creative industry workers, though, who were all hippy-looking people eyeing with some suspicion my pseudo-semi-corporate look. After playing City Life with the social classes that set each other on fire I was vaguely uneasy. Maybe I should have shouted, WAIT! I'M NOT A SUIT! I'M LIKE YOU! I'M LIKE YOUUUUUUU... AAAARGH!

Anyway there was a Wacom stand, and I got to try the Cintiq. Imagine a 21'' monitor at 1600x1200 resolution that you can lie flat and draw on. At the moment I have to zoom in even 6x to get my lines not to look too shaky, so that often when I zoom out again I discovered that I drew, say, the legs of the character twice as large as they should have been, because I couldn't see the whole figure. On this tablet, I wouldn't have this problem at all. I can get a firm line even at 1:1 resolution. It's really like drawing on paper. BOHOOOOO. I DESIRE IT SO MUCH. I've been telling myself that since I spend at least 20 hours a week drawing in Photoshop, it would make perfect sense to spend my savings and then some on this thing, but then I do a reality check and realise that I'm just being crazy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nerd points - Current tally 125

Last night, my karate instructor was telling us of a guy who could make people faint just by applying light pressure, or even just brushing, specific points on their necks.

This morning, looking at some flowers while I was walking on a path in a nature reserve area on the way to work.

If I had to count all the nerd points that I scored in my life I'd be totalling millions, but I reset the count to last night.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Yesterday afternoon I slept for a couple of hours and woke up in such a daze that I coloured the comic for two hours without saving. THEN PHOTOSHOP ATE IT! This morning I'll have to do all that colouring again, booohooo...

Last night I went to Cargo and I particularly appreciated the video that the band (Pet) played during a song - a video of a race game with a car going the wrong way.

Two or three weeks ago I went to a club where they were looping a long video on a wall with all kinds of shots, from people crossing the street to fashion shows for bishops (AWESOME) - and I wondered how much fun it must be to do that shit.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Busy May

Life is very busy at the moment. Things at work are hectic (with weekend work looming) - on top of that my two dojos (karate & aikido) have scheduled gradings one after the other, in two weeks from now. I'll have to test for karate 2nd kyu on Tuesday 16th and aikido 5th kyu on Wednesday 17th. I'm glad it's not the contrary, because karate gradings are exausting - when it's all over you feel like you cycled up a hill. Anyway I feel absolutely NOT ready for either grading, but since nobody shoots me or scratches my car if I fail, I don't see why I shouldn't try.

The effect on the comic is that I'll have to find a way to fit drawing around 4x a week evening training (I should always train 4x, but I usually slack one or two days a week). This weekend looks good for drawing though, aside from going out on saturday afternoon-evening, I should draw all day on sunday - they forecast rain.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I wasn't lazy yesterday! Honest!

I know that the progress bar didn't move from 75% tracing, but I've actually been drawing all evening. What's happened is that once again I wasn't happy with the upcoming episode. Heck, with the next two episodes. I can't do without though, because it's central to the story, so I've concentrated both episodes in one long strip. It doesn't really have a punchline but it's full of drama! My creative consultant was unavailable for last minute fixes to the script so you'll have to live with this unfunny #182, then we go back to Fred the Dread and his romantic adventures.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Proud to be a dickhead

I really am.

From the Guardian:

Silvio Berlusconi was accused yesterday of dragging Italy's already raucous general election campaign into the gutter when he declared that those who voted against him would be "dickheads".
Speaking to journalists about the expected outcome of the election next Sunday and Monday, the Prime Minister said: "I have too much respect for the Italians to think there are that many dickheads around who'd vote against their own interests."

Unbelievable. If this clown gets re-elected I'll seriously consider changing citizenship.

Monday, April 03, 2006

13 years to the day

I've moved to England from Italy exactly thirteen years ago, on the 3rd of April 1993. I did it because I had fallen in love with a Brit, and when we split up years later I already had a job, a car, two cats, etc. etc. So I stayed mostly because I'm too lazy for massive changes unless there's an overwhelming reason, but also because London is an amazing place. The best thing is cycling along the river in summer from Greenwich to Tower Bridge and back on the other bank, where the smugglers and pirates used to hang out.

Friday, March 24, 2006


I found the script! The USB key was simply hiding behind the monitor. I'm working hard on episode #175 which is 1.5x length and will be a bitch to colour, right now I'm trying to finish some stuff at work by tonight so that I don't have to come in during the weekend again and be late with the update.

Yesterday I had this surreal conversation with my best friend, who is GENERALLY an intelligent woman but has some really weird theories.
Me: "Did you install yet that DVD recorder that you bought last week?"
Her: "No, I'm waiting to do it after this Saturday, because at the moment Mercury is retrograde and that's really bad for all things related to technology"
Me: "Hold on a second, you don't believe this crap, do you?"
Her: "Of course I do! Mercury is the god of communication, and what are DVDs if not..."
Me (interrupting): "You can't be serious, do you really believe that a chunk of rock in the sky determines how easy it is to install a DVD player?"
Her: "Well, don't believe it if you don't want to, but I've had plenty of problems with tech stuff in the past when Mercury was negative!"

Now I'm a bit concerned. I had planned to buy a new TV this weekend at Comet in Greenwich, but maybe I should check first if the store was built on an ancient burial ground.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dude where's my script

My beautiful script! I keep it in a USB key that I keep in the front pocket of my jeans along with change, and now it's not there! Either it fell off at the gym in the locker, or it fell off at home... I HOPE! Otherwise it's going to be a pain in the ass to retrace in my memory the latest stuff I've written. I have saved a copy on the work PC a few days ago, but yesterday I'd written a couple of episodes that I was very happy with, for a change - so I'd be really pissed off if the key's gone. That'll teach me drinking three big glasses of wine when I go to the pub.

Oh God oh God... just checked the backup file I have... there's so much missing! At least three solid episodes that I really liked. BOHOOO! That USB key better turn up.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Tales from the crypt

Or rather, from my office desk. I'm sorry for being AWOL if anyone was searching the site for a write-up of the UK webcomic con. I haven't had time to do it because work is omfgpwning me at the moment. I'll do my best to write about it asap!

#174 is another double length episode, with a couple of very crowded large panels. I'm going to be working overtime all day Sunday. When am I going to find the time to colour it? Fuck knows. I'm going out tonight, so I'll try to finish it tomorrow. I may even do a 1 or 2-colour update rather than a full colour one, because free time is horribly scarce these days and I'm already having trouble updating once a week as it is. I don't think that people give much of a shit about pretty colours all the time, anyway.

Monday, March 06, 2006


This is so annoying... I spent 250$ to have volume 2 books sent by Lulu, back on the 23rd of January, and they're not here yet. If I don't get them by the end of the week in time for the con, I'm so screwed. I've got one sampler copy, maybe I should just write down the email of anyone who wants the book and let them know when I finally get it. Fuck you US Mail and Royal Mail! Fuck you both! Anyway, I guess that it's no big deal, I can always keep the copies if and when I get them for another convention.

Speaking of which, sooner or later I should be bold and brave and go to a convention in the US or Canada, since about half of my readers are from North America. There are lots of conventions over there, maybe the best would be Otakon in Baltimore (ComicCon is way too huge for small fry like me, and DragonCon - on the 'too big' side as well - is more of a generic nerd extravaganza than a comic convention). Otakon is anime comics and my comic isn't anime by any stretch of the imagination, but neither is Little Gamers and they do go to that con. I'll see if I can ask about it to the authors if they are at the UK Thing.

I doubt it that it will happen this year, because I don't think that I can afford it. Besides I have an old fashioned passport, while the new US post-terror regulations require passports with biometric data, such as fingerprints, iris data etc. ("Is this to be an empathy test? Capillary dilation of the so-called blush response? Fluctuation of the pupil? Involuntary dilation of the iris..."). Getting a new passport done means taking half day off to sit and wait for hours in a room packed with other expats at the Italian Consulat. I don't know why, but it always makes me feel a bit sad, especially when some old person talks in broken English AND broken Italian. I keep worrying that I'll end up the same, incompetent in two languages.

The #172 solution

After agonising about it for a bit, I decided to put together #172, which I didn't like, with #173 in one big strip. It's taken a while to do, but at least I avoided posting an episode that I didn't like.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I hate #172! - Gamer diet - UK con

I really enjoyed drawing #171. It's such a simple idea, but it's a good one. I know in advance when a strip is going to be good, so I was looking forward to #171.

I also know when a strip is NOT going to be good, so I'm loathing the idea of drawing #172. It's bad in so many ways... it's not funny, I HAVE to do it because of the fucking story, it's complicated to draw. I enjoy having an ongoing story in the comic, but not when it forces me to draw strips that I don't want to draw. Normally (but not always, unfortunately) shitty strips get deleted from the script when I revise it, but I can't find a way to get rid of this one.

Gamer diet
After signing for the diet-for-charity event Biggest Webcomic Loser at the beginning of the month, I started to feel terrible because after two weeks my weight hadn't moved, if anything, I had put on two pounds. Then I decided to try the free trial of EQ2 on the new pvp server. I'm completely hooked. I spent four days eating much less than normal just because I was so engrossed in the game that I didn't want to stop playing it unless I was about to pass out for lack of food. I don't think it's particularly healthy, but as a result the weight is finally dropping. Now, if only I could maintain the same level of interest in either EQ2 or some other game until I lost the remaining 17 lbs, it would be awesome...

Anyway this made me understand something about myself: I eat when I'm bored. I had never realised it because I never want to admit with myself that I'm bored, but right now that I'm honeymooning with this new game the number of trips to the kitchen has gone down dramatically.

UK con
Oh my God, less than two weeks for the UK con. I'm worried because I spent 250 dollars to have send me copies of book 2 to sell, and they aren't here yet. I shouldn't have been cheap and should have chosen the faster mail option, but it was mid-January, for crying out loud. I'm a bit nervous and very excited about the convention, in the next couple of days I should update the page with a big banner or something, to let the British readers know that I'll be there. I hope that someone shows up! I can't wait to get myself some Scary Go Round and Beaver and Steve stuff, maybe a book or two.
An organiser wrote me to ask if I was available for a panel, if they select me for it I hope that my Italian accent will be understandable. I also hope not to ramble, babble and trail off as I usually do when I talk. Then again, maybe I won't have to sit in the panel, I don't know yet.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Who can blame her?

From today's Metro (London, UK) newspaper:

A nurse put a patient's glass eye in a cup of Coca-Cola to give to a colleague as a joke, a disciplinary panel heard yesterday.

As for webcomic news, I'll have a lot to colour in #169 (there's a panel with something like 10 people) and I'm not too sure where to fit it in with the other stuff I have to do - karate tonight and aikido tomorrow. Since both classes are lateish, 8:30 pm or so, I'll skip the gym beforehand and run home at 5 to get 1-2 hours of colouring done. Ideally I should finish it sometime tomorrow night, but there's really a lot to do on it. I've received the fridge magnets for the convention (from Alaska, where they probably stick them on icebergs) and they look awesome. If I get round to taking photos of my fridge I'll post them.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Yesterday I stopped at the vet to pick up food for my cat (who's old, has a bad liver and leads a very extravagant lifestyle of expensive special food) and there was an old lady who creeped me out. For the whole time that I was there in the waiting room she kept talking incessantly to the dog, who never moved an inch and looked quite bored throughout: "Now you have to sit here because you're such a good girl, yes good girl, you know there have been other babies here today? Lots of other babies! Like you baby, because you are such a good girl, sit, yes, sit, now the doctor's going to have a look at your paw because you're such a good good baby, sit darling, sit..." She was at it for five fucking minutes non-stop while I was waiting to get my stuff. I almost wanted to walk up to her and tell her, lady, for the sake of this dog who can't talk and tell you, SHUT THE FUCK UP. Anyway this morning I woke up because the old cat was clamouring for food ("what's up with the service in this house? Breakfast should be served at 8!"), I told him "ok, ok, good cat, quiet now" and froze in horror. Fuck! I'm going to become batshit crazy like that old woman and talk to cats! Well, if I ever become a crazy old woman I'm going to be hardcore about it, I'll go to the park and talk at length to other people's dogs while the owners squirm and smile all embarassed and wish that I'd go away.

Yesterday I had my first aikido grading, since it was newbie grading it was very undemanding and I think that in order to fail you'd have to faint, or maybe run up to the instructor and be sick on his shoes, but I still managed to build up a nice panic beforehand. Bolstered by the fact that I had passed (along with everyone else), I stayed for the following intermediate/advanced class and we had to do some drill with forward rolls. Now, these fucking aikido forward rolls are nothing like the stuff I did as a kid, you're actually supposed to roll on your arm and shoulder like a wheel, and when you look at people who can do it properly they look like circus freaks. I've googled aikido images and this site has a photo of a guy doing a roll. I find it quite scary, because you start them from standing up, looking at the other guys it seems that once you've mastered it, it's completely natural and painless and easy, but I find it hard to let go and just do it. They tell beginners that we can go down on one knee to start the roll and make it easy if we want, but I get in this adrenaline-induced delirium where I want "to do like everyone else" so I start from standing up too. The result is that I manage some approximation of a proper roll on the right side, but the ones on the left SUCK. I don't know what's wrong with my brain's wiring, I'm left handed and footed, and still I can't roll for shit on the left. My shoulder is hurting because I somehow fucked it up last night, even if I didn't have the impression of doing anything different from what I do on the other side. Blah!

On the comics front, I registered for the Biggest Webcomic Loser and I really hope that people are going to pledge for me. If I find the time I'll draw a PC wallpaper as a thank you gift for pledgers. #168 is coming along nicely, I'm very fond of it even if it's a bit vulgar, but what can I do, I like lowbrow humour. It features (in a memory from the past) Drakoola before he lost his body, following a friend's advice I drew him in UO bone armor to give him that retro look - I wonder if anyone will recognise the armor set (especially with my limited artistic skills). It would have been much more recognisable if I had drawn him with the skull helmet, but I wanted to show his face. I drew him as a dashing pirate-looking type. Yesterday I came home too late to finish it, but I count on finishing and posting it tonight.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dieting for charity

I'm thinking of joining the Biggest Webcomic Loser charity initiative:


In their words:
"Biggest Webcomic Loser is about webcomic creators getting together to raise money for UNICEF, the United Nations Children Fund.

Pledge donations for the extra pounds of your favorite cartoonists. You can pledge any amount per pound you choose. Those pledges add up so that every extra pound lost by a creator can be worth a lot of money to the Children of the World.

With this in mind, yesterday I found the scales from their hiding place under the bed, stuck them on lbs mode and stepped on. After a moment of dizziness (I hadn't stepped on scales since BEFORE xmas, and I underestimate my lardiness by sucking in cheeks and stomach and making thin faces everytime there's a mirror nearby), I found myself facing a problem. My weight in lbs last night was 178. Most of the other comic authors participating to the charity thing have starting weights ending with a 0 or 5. Should I lose 3 pounds before I even sign up to have a figure ending in 5, or have some extra cake for a figure ending in 0? Or even go berserk and stuff my face to put on 8 pounds before I start dieting?

OK, I know that the only reasonable option is to lose 3 pounds first, or just round up my weight WITHOUT having to actually put it on, but I abhor the thought of dieting. I tried to as a new year resolution and it lasted until Jan 2 afternoon. However, if I do it for charity, I should be motivated enough to stick to it, because I'm not doing it just for myself (a self that keeps suggesting that extra servings of pudding would be much more welcome as a sign of caring). It'd be really cool if people pledged and I managed to lose the 20-25 lbs that I'm going to set as target, and get all that money to Unicef. Now I just have to get off my ass and sign up.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's too early in the morning to think of a title!

I've started making more and more long episodes, #166 is a 6-panel update. It's all well and good when I script them, but then it takes for f'n ever to colour them!

I'm very slowly crawling out of the creative block phase I've had recently and I've started writing again some episodes that I haven't deleted right after. #165 went so well with the readers, with many saying how they liked the return to the roots of making fun of the game mechanisms, that I'm going to bug the co-author again for help as soon as I get round to translating my script notes from Italian to English.

This is an example of how my scripts look like (from an old strip with El D34dlito and Your Name Here in a restaurant):


Idea: Darkie cerca di prendere la mano di YNH nel corso delle vignette, che per reazione cerca di infilzargli la mano con una forchetta.

Tutte le vignette sono lunghe.

Scena 1: Da sinistra a destra, YNH, Darkie e D34dly seduti a tavola in un ristorante. Un cameriere vicino a D34dly (sulla destra)..

Darkie: You’ll see, mylady, the food is fab-u-lous here! *smiles charmingly*
Cameriere: As entrĂ©e’, monsieur, may I suggest our miniature crab cakes with sauce remoulade, prepared with ze freshest …
D34dly: Wha?

It's impossible to follow, unless one can read Italian. I'd never thought that I'd be discussing my script in advance with anyone, but now that I stand corrected I've started writing notes in English.

Friday, January 27, 2006

#165: Script rescue - giving credit where it's due

The original script of #165 was giving me trouble because I didn't find it funny at all and it had no jokes or punchlines, but I needed the queen to enter in Ohforf's room to link up with the upcoming episodes so I didn't want to get rid of the episode altogether. I was so depressed about not having any idea on how to turn it funny, that was thinking of adding a complimentary Yo Mama joke at the end of it. For real. (Well, there's a particular yo mama joke that I'd like to draw, but that's unrelated.) So I went to an irc channel of people I game with and whined about it. Whining pays off!

Readers seem to really like #165, but the people they should praise are two friends of mine:

-AF, who helped me rewrite it from scratch. He's had the idea of the queen using a house break-in bug to get in Ohforf's room, as well as Drakoola's reaction (I had written at first "Aaah, 'sploiter!", which is more what a Baconian of Hope would shout, while "Hax!" isn't so judgemental - and you believed that there was no thought involved in writing forgettable gag strips about games!).

-Lan, who suggested that she could use a bug like the one in UO circa-1998, when people broke into houses from the roof by doing some weird shit with piles of crates.

Incidentally, AF had already suggested in the past that I make a strip about house break-in bugs, his original idea was that it would be used by Jehova witnesses to break into people houses and preach. It was an awesome idea, but it's fairly hard to work it into the story. Darkblade is going to experience a religious epiphany sometime soon, though, so it's not necessarily discarded, yet.

At the moment I'm going through a creative block, by the way, so I'm glad that I have script to last me 30 episodes because almost every time I start adding a new episode I decide that it's rubbish and discard it. The problem is that instead of thinking of the script in every waking moment, as I do when I'm inspired by a storyline (like the pks kidnapping Ohforf, or his meeting with Cyborella), I only think about it when I sit down in front of the blank page and it doesn't work. I spend every single waking minute doing something that doesn't give me time to think about it (such as gaming, working, reading etc.) and even if I am on a train for 5 minutes I'll read two pages of a book. Today I thought about the script for a solid hour during lunch and a few ideas started to pop up, so I should make a habit of doing that until I get past this draught. It's weird how it always happens when I've just published some episode that I'm inordinately proud of. Last time it happened when I posted the updates about Ohforf ninjaing the orb, which were good stuff, and this time I've just posted his meeting with Cyborella which was an idea that I had been holding on to for a whole year. I think it's because if I post something that I find particularly good, anything else that I write feels like shit in comparison and I keep throwing it away.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Episode #165 is going to be one of the longest I've drawn so far, double size length. I was afraid of putting pen to tablet, yesterday, when I started colouring it. Progress has been slow yesterday because I got home at 11pm and first had to do unspeakable things to some chicken strips with chilli oil and stirfry sauce. Tonight it's karate night, so I'll probably get home at the same time (and first do unspeakable things to broccoli with garlic and anchovy fillets). Tomorrow though, I should have time to do a lot of work on it. Once I post it, I'll explain how it happened that a short and painless update ended up as this monster double-length feature. I hardly ever do last minute script changes (the episode with the giant duck is a sad testament to this) but this update was an exception.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Do's and don'ts

There's a thread on the comicgenesis forum about do's and don'ts of webcomicking so I added mine. The third "do" is actually one of my pet peeves as a webcomic reader.

Do care very, very much about your script. Script well in advance and keep re-reading it and tweaking it all the time. This is particularly useful if you have more than one storyline progressing at once. Be your worst critic and if you think that an episode is not going to work, can it.

Do realise what are the pages that a new reader is going to check:
1. The latest episode, maybe the one before last. You can't always have the best work on your homepage, but someone said that your comic's as good as your latest update, and that's very true.
2. The first 5-10 episodes. Here is where you keep or lose your new readers. Many times I've seen some author lament their low readership, checked their story, and it didn't suck. It just lacked that humph in the beginning that made you want to keep reading. Do you think that your initial episodes are crap and don't do justice to your improvement as a webcomic artist? Think of the best possible prologue to your story, think what makes you sit on the edge of your seat when you watch the beginning of a great movie, and draw 5-10 amazing pages of prologue that will be the first thing the new guy sees after the latest page. If you outdo yourself, chances are he'll put up with your so-so early work after that.

Do understand that new readers don't give a flying fuck about your characters. In your eyes Nebula Coltrane, Galactic Detective, may be the epitome of cool, so cool in fact that she can carry a whole episode just by standing coolly in a corner lighting a cigarette and making smart remarks, because she's so, you know, cool. That works for YOU. Possibly for existing readers. A new reader is just going to think, what's this shit? When is something going to happen? Why am I reading this?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Uh oh

Yesterday the WoW Europe page linked the comic again, but the strip I'm drawing at the moment makes fun at the expense of WoW... It's going to be kind of rude of me to have it linked straight from their website! But what can I do, it's already all drawn and halfway coloured... Maybe next time I logon my shaman, a GM will show up and rip my First Sergeant badges off! Oh well, I had no idea, and now it's too late! I better keep colouring.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

#162 - The noob Graduate

I wonder how many people spotted the reference to the Graduate in episode #162. The episode seems to have been liked, but someone said that the script was confusing. Maybe it's because it follows The Graduate's script quite closely. Here's the original:

Mrs. Robinson, naked, is shutting the
door to the bedroom behind her.

Oh God.

She smiles.

Let me out.

She turns the lock on the door.

Don't be nervous.

Get away from that door.

I want to say something first.

Jesus Christ!

Benjamin - I want you to know
I'm available to you. If you
won't sleep with me this time -

Oh my God.

If you won't sleep with me this
time, Benjamin, I want you to
know you can call me up any
time you want and we'll make
some kind of arrangement.

Let me out!


Mrs. Robinson - I can't do

You what?

This is all terribly wrong.

Benjamin - do you find me undesirable?

Oh no, Mrs. Robinson. I think -
I think you're the most attractive
of all my parents' friends.

Cyborella's storyline is fun to draw as it was to script, but the next two episodes will take a break from it, for the relief of anyone who's getting tired of the slutty queen. I won't have much chance to do a lot of drawing until Friday, so it's unlikely that I'll manage to get #163 ready until Sunday at the earliest. I also have to start drawing the cover for book #2 and various stickers and magnets and buttons for the convention A.S.A.P. and I don't really know when I'm going to find the time for all this. I've started taking the Wacom tablet with me in case I get some free time at lunchtime.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Happy new year and all that

Life's picking up pace again after the holidays, so I can't spend all night playing games and then sleeping until sunset, much to my regret. I'm going back to aikido tonight after getting patched up and encouraged by my chiropractor, I'll hover with my butt a millimeter from the floor before I do any breakfall, hopefully I don't get a repeat of back pain. I'm a bit scared about it, but the chiropractor said that aikido is really good for the back (or did she say for her business?) - so we'll see.

Now, on the comic front, finally Cyborella's made her appearance, after I'd thought about the character more than a year ago. Maybe the story IS slowpaced. The next episode, #162, is BIG. 8 rows, and not much to copy-paste like the backgrounds in the fountain episode, either. I'm excited about it, though, because I quite like the script. Plus, I get to quote a movie, and I love doing that! Given the likely young demographic of my readers, though, I doubt that many will recognise the scene and remember what movie it's from. After lots of wrestling and cutting and cursing at the script, I'm finally at a point where I'm quite happy with the next dozen updates, but I've been cutting so much that it's actually shrinking! It's ok, though, because I've got some new ideas to work on, as long as I stop being lazy and write them down.