Archive for April, 2005

Finntroll at Vera, April 29

April 30th, 2005 by Reinder

... I don't remember ever seeing crowdsurfing at Vera. Turns out that Finntroll aren't just big names in the metal subculture, but have actual hero status, complete with loud cheers, hands in the air and a major buzz going through the audience when they walked on stage.
They did a pretty good concert, as well, although they weren't nearly as tight as on the records, especially in the first few numbers. Singer Wilska did a decent job reproducing some of the joik-singing in tracks like "Jaktens Tid", and the signature keyboard sound was there despite the fact that the keyboard player was new.
What didn't translate well to the stage is the tongue-in-cheekness of it all; I suppose that on stage just playing a good metal set is difficult enough, so it was all a bit more straight-faced than on record. But as the gig progressed, the band got tighter, and the guitar sound gained in clarity and depth. On the whole, I'd say it was a good concert but not a great one. The crowd at the sold-out venue loved it though.
The band toured with two support acts. I gave the first one, Amoral, a miss but did catch a few numbers from Naglfar, a decent thrash-metal group. They looked and sounded all right but suffered from the emotional flatness that affects many metal acts; the songs were just made of bits following one another, with no real buildup or mood change. So suddenly there might be a bit where the audience is supposed to go "Hey" in time to the rhythm, but there's no reason why that should happen in that precise part of a song instead of any other.
I liked the crowd. Metal people tend to be friendly and wear interesting things - I was amused by the sight of a girl wearing a tiara. Apart from the tiara and the two young guys in Crusader outfits, the dress style was more restrained than the Gothic style, and a lot more tasteful - for a given value of taste. Many in the crowd had shirts with gruesome imagery or suicidally depressing slogans, which is incongruous if the person wearing the shirt is a fresh-faced, even angelic-looking teenager. Ages ranged from about 13 to mid-fourties, by the way. Americans may be interested to know that alcohol was sold despite the presence of minors - but hopefully not to the minors.
After the concert, Jeroen, Danny, Sidsel and I had a heroic drinking session, which makes the final work on my presentation (I have decided to give it after all) a bit difficult right now.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Kitten Collective

April 29th, 2005 by Reinder

Resistance is futile. (Via)

And the Worse than Microsoft award for this week goes to

April 29th, 2005 by Reinder

... OpenOffice.org's presentation software, for turning an unfinished but functional presentation into a mess of broken images. And this two days before I'm due to talk at Clickburg. Because making the presentation was torture in the first place, I am disinclined to do the work again. After all, the software might destroy my work again once I close it.
I don't like working with Microsoft products, and Powerpoint gets quite a bit of flak, but I do remember from my days working a Respectable Day Job (*crosses self in the hope of never going back to those days*) that it was easy to learn and use and actually saved what you made. This open-source knockoff doesn't even get those basic requirements right. Oh well, at least the word processor is good enough. I use the word processor a lot and the presentation software basically never.

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High Powered Corporate Hemichordate!

April 29th, 2005 by rahball

Reinder showed me a clipart of one of those Dynamic Businessmen on Barry's Clipart Server (www.barrysclipart.com), but I got bored of the people so I had a peek in the animals category instead.

And what did I find there? A clip art of a hemichordate!

What particularly impressed me was that despite the fact a very limited number of people in the world actually know what a hemichordate *is*, the artist had rendered it accurately enough for me to recognise it, even though its proboscis wasn't so phallic as to make me shout "penis worm!" (see image from my invertebrate zoology textbook, below...) They've even drawn the hepatic sacs!

I also like this swimming gastropod (not sure whether it's a nudibranch..) But it's clearly been engaging in kleptoplasty, the practice of nicking useful things out of other organisms' tissues and sticking them in your own. It's full of chlorophyll from the green algae it's been eating. Now it can photosynthesize for itself!

Is this intended as a hint to ambitious businessmen?

Behind the Sofa again

April 28th, 2005 by Reinder

As you can tell from many of my latest posts, I enjoy the new Doctor Who series tremendously. However, I feel obliged to point out that I don't watch TV as critically as I listen to music or read books. Between 1995 and 2003 I watched hardly any TV, and even now the set usually remains switched off between Doctor Who episodes unless I'm watching a concert on DVD. So if you want in-depth commentary on things like acting, effects, editing, direction and all those other things that go into making a TV series, go to Behind the Sofa Again, a collaborative blog from a bunch of very critical viewers. Their criticisms are often severe, but well-argued and fun to read even for viewers who don't share such a critical approach.

Because I can’t get enough of the TARDIS-jockey

April 28th, 2005 by Reinder

leya on IRC #crfh has been filling me in on bits of the Doctor Who mythos, and pointed me at the UNIT website. Unfortunately, even with the password you're not allowed to shoot conventional missiles at Downing Street 10. There are things that even the BBC won't do. (Oh, wait. It's case sensitive. Never mind.)
Via the Keenspace forums comes another link to UNIT, and one to Mickey the idiot's website.

I've met the Slitheen. They're not nice. And I know that the Doctor, this God of Outer Mystery, walked in, and saved the world. There was death. There always is around him. But this time, I'm starting to think that he really meant well.

I just wish I still didn't suspect he'd brought it all to earth. Somehow.

What I like most about this one is that it suggests some behind-the-scenes continuity: Mickey, or was it Ricky, has clearly joined forces with the family of the conspiracy nut from "Rose", episode 1, and is using his photographic materials.

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A quick reminder about the filler comics

April 28th, 2005 by Reinder

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I'm getting some concerned responses in the mail because of the recent switch to penciled filler comics. Just to clarify:
1. I'm mostly cured from my last cold. While these affect me harder than they do most people, they're not the main reason I'm posting work I can do quickly.
2. The main reason is that my time is taken up by non-comics work - preparation for Clickburg. I normally need two solid blocks of at least 4 hours to do the inked and coloured comics, and I haven't got blocks like that right now. Yes, I'm slow. I'm trying to get faster, but if it involves drawing animals like in the Courtly Manners Unicorn Race and doing so at a decent standard, I'm not going to be fast no matter what I do.
3. I wouldn't be posting comics at all right now if it wasn't for the 100 or so readers coming in each day from Fokke & Sukke. I wasn't really motivated to do the regular update thing but when you get that kind of influx, the least you can do is have some updating content up there so they don't think it's a stalled website.

I still need far longer for the penciled things than you'd think. This is partly because the technique I'm using is a bit unfamiliar to me still. But at least I can do them in one smallish block of time instead of two large ones. And I will get better at producing decent art this way. Eventually.

The search for the Netherlands’ dirtiest child

April 27th, 2005 by Reinder

Are you, or do you know someone who is, the dirtiest child in the Netherlands? Can you walk out the door, freshly showered and in your best clothes, and get grime on you before you're past the garden fence? Does dirt like you? Then the parenting magazine J/M wants your story as part of their celebration of Annie M.G. Schmidt week, May 17-23. Annie M.G. Schmidt was the Netherlands' best-loved childrens' book writer, and this year's featured character is Floddertje, a little girl with a penchant for getting very very filthy indeed.

If you're not the dirtiest child in the Netherlands, you can still go to the Floddertje website to enjoy Fiep Westendorp's fantastic illustrations (see Voorpublicatie).

I need these

April 26th, 2005 by Reinder

These will come in handy during my presentation at Clickburg: a browser emulator to recreate the Web's Trilobite days, and the browser archive preserving the real things for posterity.
Ah, Netscape 0.9! Those were the days.

Tangents

April 25th, 2005 by Reinder

He's been at it for a week now, and he's not slowing down just yet: ROCR reader Rob Howard has changed his old Keenspace site Tangents into a webcomics review site. (I told him he should use a proper blogging service, but he's attached to his old hub, and with a tagboard, a Keenspace forum and promotion-by-the-sweat-of-his-brow, he can achieve everything a blog can achieve, except a decent RSS feed.)

It's a good read. Rob writes with enthusiasm and discusses at least three comics a day in a style similar to that of Websnark. That is, he focuses on individual episodes he comes across during his daily webcomics trawl. Worth a read if you want to be pointed to outstanding webcomics episodes.