Archive for November, 2004

Shaun of the Dead

November 30th, 2004 by Reinder

I'm feeling too much like a zombie myself to write about this at any length right now, but Jeroen and I watched Shaun of the Dead ("A romantic comedy. With zombies") on DVD last night, and gave it two thumbs and two big toes up, each. That's a lot of digits in the air. It's a funny, well-written, well-shot movie that was just what we needed because both of us are under the weather. It's very English, by the way, which means that it was full of normal-to-ugly looking people, the group that was fighting off the zombies didn't do anything outrageously stupid until the stress started getting to them (despite the fact that one character is pretty damned stupid — his stupidity is believable), nobody knew how to handle a gun and British idiom were used throughout.

Rásdondr’s testimony temporarily free

November 29th, 2004 by Reinder

As part of my ad campaign on Clan of the Cats, and also partly as a favour to readers who have been away for the thanksgiving weekend, I've made the last few comics free. You can catch up with Rásdondr's testimony starting here.
I wouldn't mind seeing some screenshots of Clan of the Cats pages with the ad on them! I'll probably make them myself, but hey, if you could send me some, please do. I'd be most obliged.

welcome Cleveland, on this sunday afternoon

November 29th, 2004 by cmkaapjes

It was probably afternoon in Cleveland, but we were several thousand miles away in Groningen, where it was, in fact, night. Weary of touring, probably, Rachel Nagy, lead singer of retro garage rock band the Detroit Cobras greeted the audience thus, with a wink and a smile, and a puff of her cigarette. Smoking incessantly, drinking steadily and looking almost bored, her performance was nevertheless entertaining. The Detroit Cobras are a coverband playing '50's Rock 'n Roll and Soul in their unique garage rock way. Standing there looking so blas? I sometimes wondered how Rachel Nagy would sound when actually interested in singing: though her attitude is more likely a pose and her singing was pretty amazing as it was. At times raw, sometimes suave, often beautiful.
In that light it is worth mentioning the opening act of the evening, studio-mate Josje's band the Monroes. Same genre, '50's and '60's inspired Garage Rock, Josje's voice has less range than Rachel Nagy's, though is somewhat sexier. Also Josje's stage appearance is far more enthousiastic. That she's having fun on stage was obvious and this being their first major gig, they did great. If the Monroes manage to get their sound right, they'll be a band to watch. Go Josje!

Doing an Arafat

November 29th, 2004 by Reinder

The Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst is emphatically denying that Prince Bernhard is dying. Presumably, royalty-watchers are already updating their obituary files.

Seriously, I was hoping the old rogue would live to be a supercentenarian. He's a colorful figure, one of few in the Royal family with a brain of his own, and one whose opportunism was always good for a story or two. No wonder he recently became the subject of a biographical comic although having seen it in the shops I can't recommend it. The authors of that comic are very lucky to be putting it out at a time when the Prince is in the news so much.

I wanted to like CSS positioning, but CSS Positioning IE didn’t like me

November 28th, 2004 by Reinder

Many years ago, I developed websites for a living. I wasn't, truth be told, very good at it, but it was the tech boom and a chimpanzee could get a web design/development job if it managed to hit the < sign half the time.
One thing I found out back in 1998/1999 was that while CSS was great for avoiding "tag soup" HTML code in which your code was cluttered with <font> tags, it was unusable for positioning.
Since then, a lot has changed, right? After all, Moveable Type uses default CSS templates which also position the blocks of text, and there are many nifty websites that demonstrate perfect, swappable CSS positioning. Surely it's come of age?
Well, yes, if you ignore crappy old not-updated-substantially-since-2000-but-still-used-by-80%-of-all-web-users IE. Creating CSS positioning that works in Opera, Konqueror, Firefox, what have you has become really easy. All you need to do is swipe some code from a tutorial page like this one and modify it. If you want it to work in IE, though, you'd better not change a jot nor a tittle, or you'll find yourself banging your head against a wall trying to figure out what broke. I used the code from that tutorial site (because the CSS code in Moveable Type's templates is complicated), modified to fit my needs, in a new About Page for ROCR. I don't have IE at home but it looked fine in Opera, Firefox and Konqueror. So I thought, "let's ask my friend Mithandir if it looks good in IE", and sent him the URL, thinking that there might be a few trivial little problems. Several hours later, we still hadn't found a way to fix the broken left margin and sidebar position — at least not one that didn't break it for Mozilla/KHTML-based browsers. And Mithandir's web design skills considerately exceed those of a chimpansee so it's not just me.
Because we both have lives, I eventually gave up and made a version using tables. I also had quite a bit of content for the page to finish, so I had no more time to spend on the CSS implementation.
But I hate giving up. Does anyone reading this know how to make this CSS setup behave?

Money stuff

November 27th, 2004 by Reinder

Today, I'm taking most of the day off from drawing to do money stuff: sending bills, writing a cover letter for one of the bills, filling out forms, signing my Hello You! contract which arrived belatedly a few weeks ago (not their fault - they sent me one in May but it never arrived. But it's a bit odd to sign a contract for work that is two-thirds done and one-thirds printed) — boring stuff like that.
I'm itching to get back to the drawing board because I'm drawing next week's Grimborg sequence. It's taken me many months to get out of the court, and the new scenery and visual focus of the next sequence is a breath of fresh air to me. But the boring money stuff comes first.

“Boobgate” actress has blog, swears like trooper.

November 27th, 2004 by Reinder

Actress Georgina Verbaan, whose breasts have dominated the less serious side of the Dutch media for the past couple of days, has a weblog, which is actually a pretty good read. Of course, scurrilous tongues will soon suggest that it's actually written by her publicist, doing his impression of the untutored but lively writer that people would imagine Georgina to be; but a woman who will go as far as to have a mammogram to prove her breasts are real won't have any problem shutting those scurrilous tongues up.
Anyway, there are only a few entries but if she continues blogging after the scandal dies down, it could become one to come back to regularly.

And before I knew it she grabbed my left breast, pushed it onto a machine and started twirling a knob so that a plate came down. Yes, down, onto my breast. I thought it couldn't go any further down and decided to ask: "This must be about as far asaaaaaaaaaoooooooow!!!?" With gritted teeth and a sweaty brow I looked down, and through the transparent plastic I saw an, uhm, EGG CAKE? My dear breasty had changed into a big puddle of flat tit! This couldn't be right - if I didn't have any lumps before then, uh...

(A young woman's first mammogram. Original quote below the fold)
Georgina can also swear like a trooper which this country needs desperately right now. I'm not going to translate that though.

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How high is the Euro, papa?

November 26th, 2004 by Reinder

$ 1.33 and rising.
Well the dollar's gotten into free fall,
It's gettin' hard to keep track of it all
I'll make Amazon my shopping mall.
$ 1.33 and rising.

UK Webcomix thing

November 26th, 2004 by Reinder

The other day I talked to Adam about Clickburg, because he's interested in going there. He mentioned that he didn't think there were any such conventions in the UK... I mentioned Caption which is downright venerable if small in scale and creator-oriented, but didn't mention UK Web and Mini Comics Thing which is probably more interesting for web-oriented folk.

Confirmed: The UK Web & Mini Comix Thing 2005 will go ahead on Saturday March 19 2005 at the Great Hall, Mile End. We are now looking for exhibitors, organisers, sponsors and people to draw the artwork for the event.

GOSH!!!: Gosh!!!, Gosh! have decided to sponsor the thing for a second year!!!! Not only are they sponsoring the event but they'll be exhibiting and making a fantastic collection of good quality comic books available on the day as well. More to come!!!

The 24 Minute Comic!!!: There will be a 24 minute comic event run by Ade Brown on the day. Ade is taking names now for the 24 individuals or teams to take part now. Each team will have 24 minutes to draw a page based on certain keywords. At the end of the 24 minutes the pages are collected, collated & printed and will be on sale by 4pm. Check out the attractions page for more details!!!! Or e-mail Ade now!!!

Vaclav Havel for UN SecGen?

November 25th, 2004 by Reinder

Sign me up. If he feels fit enough to do it and actually wants the job, he's my man.