Thursday, December 13, 2007


I went, I swore, I got my citizenship certificate. The high point of the ceremony was when we all had to stand up in turn and say "I, Gianna Masetti", "I, John Doe", etc. then wait to repeat together the rest of the formula. There was a lady who kept repeating "I, Council of Lewisham", "I, Lewisham Council?", "I... I... Council!" with increasing panic in her voice. I wonder if it was just stage fright or a complete lack of basic English skills. Or maybe it was just her name, by an uncanny coincidence.
Apart from that, the council staff performing the ceremony had that uniquely British brand of cheerfulness that reminded me of that Life of Brian's scene where they line up prisoners. "Good morning! Crucifixion? Jolly good! Out of the door. Line on the left. One cross each. Next please! Crucifixion? Splendid! Out of the door. Line on the left. One cross each."
They even had balloons, red white and blue, and a table of refreshments that I didn't try because a very large, angry woman stabbed me in the back with a plastic fork to get to the food (I couldn't move because there was a small kid in front of me stuffing his face with scotch eggs straight from the tray).
I didn't even complain to her because most of the people seemed to speak no English, despite the fact that you need to pass a written test before the ceremony, where you show your knowledge of Britishness answering questions like "Who is the patron saint of Wales?" and "From what countries did bus drivers come to England in the Fifties?". If I ran a pub I'd ask these questions at quiz night and I'm willing to bet that most born and bred Brits wouldn't have a clue.
Now I can apply for a passport, but I'm told that before they give it to me I'll have to go to yet another interview, where I will have to demonstrate that I am in fact myself. I hope that they don't go for a philosophical angle. "Good morning. Sit down. Tea, coffee? OK, to start let's define the concept of "self", shall we? Consciousness constitutes the reflected or relational level of the spirit, the level of its appearance. The self is the infinite relation of the spirit to itself but a subjective relation, as self-certainty. As this absolute negativity it is identity in its otherness; the self is itself and..."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Repeat, repeat, I, I, your name, your name, solemnly swear...

This afternoon I'm going to a ceremony to become a British citizen in addition to Italian.

I'm a bit nervous about it, especially the part of the instructions that says "then we will all stand up and sing the National Anthem". I realised that I only know the Sex Pistols version so I had to google 'youtube british anthem singalong' and practice a bit. At least I know the words now, they don't say "no future" as a foreigner may be led to think.

Aside from the first part of the anthem that everyone knows because it's sung at football matches, there are other verses that apparently are only sung on special occasions. I could find two on the internet - one is quite nice and wishes well to the Queen and invites people to send her gifts etc etc., the other one is a lot more pissy and has a bit of a rant about enemies and their plots and knavish ways - I assume that they mean the French. Anyway these parts aren't sung at normal ceremonies so I won't have the embarassment of starting with the wrong verse.

Also, the instructions don't mention having to walk on crosses to renounce my popish ways or anything hardcore like European merchants had to do to be accepted in Japan a few centuries ago. In fact, this is a country that welcomes and encourages diversity, to the point that the instructions of the ceremony invite me to wear my national costume if I am so inclined. I considered wearing a Roma jersey but I'd have to go and buy one for the occasion.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Short Q & A

A reader from Ukraine, Tassadar, wrote to ask some questions - here are the answers.

1) What is you favorite MMORPG ?
Well, I guess that the best game out there at the moment is WoW - although I'm a bit bored with it right now and I'm not playing it. I left it for a long time before and came back for the expansion but now I'm taking another break. I've also bought LOTRO to try it, it's very pretty but it makes me sleepy ;) The part where you play hobbits elves etc has no pvp so it's like playing The Sims. It has a pvp area though, more of that in answer 2. Historically my favorite games were UO and most of all Asheron Call 1.

2) What MMORPG do you think has the best pvp and pk system ?
I agree with you that WoW isn't really a pvp/pk system. I go afk for an hour in places where I will probably be killed because who cares? I can just run back. Battlegrounds are fun for an hour. Arena is fun but again, it's like a minigame. LOTRO has an interesting team pvp setup, where once you are level 10 you can go to a Fell Pool (or something like that) and make a level 50 evil character (orc, warg, etc.) and then fight high level good guys in a contested area that has fortresses that you need to control etc. This is done in raid groups and the bad guys require a lot of strategy to win because they are disadvantaged (but they are usually more skilled). You get points for kills that you can spend on abilities etc. to become stronger. There's in-game voicechat (although quality sucks) so you can logon and be in a pvp raid within 5 minutes, at peak hours. However, it's not free for all pvp in the way that AC1 Darktide was (it was great). I don't play it but I hear often that EVE is the closest you get these days to a free for all pvp setting. As for the future, I hope that Darkfall will finally get released because they promise ffa pvp, and I'm looking forward to trying Conan.

3) About your comic - Have you ever thought about meeting characters of The Noob irl ?
I've met plenty of people in game that inspire the characters. Not as in specific people, but as in human types, the pker, the roleplayer, and so on. But to answer your question specifically, the characters of the Noob are just fictional characters - I never actually thought that I'd like to meet them irl ;)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Noob e-mail

I received several emails while I was on holiday in Scotland, so I'll answer them here.

Simon writes about a free mmo that he plays, Eternal Lands, where high level miners can move on from diamond digging and start harvesting precious substances from public toilets. Apparently there's rare gunpowder to be found in human faeces (which possibly requires a dinner of curry vindaloo the night before). Maybe the designers of Eternal Lands were fed up with miners asking for craft improvements when they made this update. I was about to say that WoW designers can only dream to have players with their arms up to the elbows in dung piles then I remembered that there are quests in Nagrand where you have to do just that. Are they trying to send us a message? ARE THEY FED UP WITH PLAYERS? How's that possible!?! After all, listening to endless whining, moaning and complaining from people with an overinflated sense of entitlement has never killed anyone.

Earte writes a long suggestion for the plot based on Apocalypse Now/Heart of Darkness. Thanks, it's very interesting and detailed. I won't use it but I really appreciated it and had fun reading it. Anyway I have ideas that I haven't scripted yet, that are based on Apocalypse Now. The last time that I quoted it someone said that I was quoting Surf Ninjas, so I'm really curious to see if anyone thinks that "oh the horror... the horror" is a quote from Scary Movie IV.

I have received emails from several Swedish readers, horrified at the thought that Basshunter is embarassing their country outside national borders. I don't know what you're talking about, all I sing in the shower these days is "on enemies ve creep-ah lalalah ve sleep-ah". Mattias points out that the correct spelling is "vi sitter hÄr i venten". Double-dot omissions are seriously frowned upon in Sweden, I'm told. They may even creep-ah on you and bitchslap you, if you do it too often.

Borys from Poland likes the bored dwarfette/chavette in the last panel of 262. WTF, chavs are known outside Britain, now? Now that's embarassing - much more than Basshunter. I drew the dwarfette looking at a still image of the girl in the white gym suit in the video - a.k.a. the swedish version of Vicky Pollard.

J would like to see some eccentric newbies in bronze armour in the comic. Well, ok, but they'll have a hard time looking eccentric in Beacon of Hope, though, what with the flower guys and the squids and so on.

Then there's the usual bunch of people who want a piece of me, like some guy who signs his emails as Dynamo Ace. He offers to format in PDF and sell my comic with chapter bookmarks (chapter bookmarks, no less! welcome to the world of tomorrow! Don't you need some special expensive machinery to enter bookmarks in a PDF file?). He would generously give me 50% of the profit. How very kind! He'd be selling my work and keeping only half of the money! What a great deal.

And while the distribution of the comic is in safe hands with Dynamo Ace, I can rely on Janet from Nigeria to take care of the online store:

"Hello sale,
hen i come across your website, i observe that you have different product in your store and available items, well before i procced i want to know if you can ship your product to one of my store in Nigeria.


I really like the "hello sale". Nothing like the informal, human touch to start a business partnership.

This is all for this bunch of emails, thanks for writing and take care.