Archive for June, 2005

Off to Denmark

June 27th, 2005 by Reinder

I'm off to Kopenhagen for a short vacation. See you around in a week or so. I may update the blog and/or the forum with vacation reports but I'm not promising anything. Not a damned thing!

Update: I am there, and I'm being taken excellent care off. The hotel is so nice I have trouble getting myself to leave!

Hip to be square

June 25th, 2005 by cmkaapjes

Often I get asked: "Oh Chuck, where dó you get those hip tunes from?"
To hipsterize and rockify your MP3 collection, visit this site. A simple and legal(!) way to avoid those stares when you play your Ricky Martin collection over and over; now you can get the pearly whites from those hip chicks and meaningful nods from the cool cats when you play the latest Reverend Beat-Man and the Un-Believers!

Now you've proven your hipness, you can take a step further: überhip!
The Reverend Vince sounds like Tom Waits, but has different troubles: Satan hates him, and he's trying a hard to be an asshole, but he just can't cut it, because he has Jesus.

Island of the Monkey Pirate Robot Ninja Technical Difficulties

June 24th, 2005 by Reinder

Looks like all of Keenspace is timing out again and has done for a few hours. Use Modern Tales or the mirror site instead if you want to read Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan.
Update: Never mind. It's back up already.

Quick links for the weekend

June 24th, 2005 by Reinder

Stuff that people have been sending me or that I've found on other people's blogs:

Doctor Who theme remixes. Quite a few kitchy ones and they tend to hammer the middle eight that Murray Gold rightly cut out of his version into the ground, but some nifty fun ones. Check out "Victory Lap" and the Toxic mashup. Via
Open letter to Kansas School Board, on the off chance that you haven't seen it yet. Via everyone and their mothers.
Gay Coloring Banned by school. Satire, but eerily plausible. Via #crfh.
HOWTO occupy Tunisia. Rule 1. DO NOT ENTER MOSQUES. Rule 2. DO NOT YELL AT WOMEN. Rule 3. NO DOGS. Cultural sensitivity is a life-and-death matter, and a strategic concern. And yes, you can package it in manly talk and have the troops grok it. (Can't remember via who or what I found this).
Andrew Rilstone can't shut up about Revenge of the Sith. This would be a bad thing if it was anyone other than Andrew, who has made his life's work out of discussing epic, popular culture at great length and as a result has become very good at it. Read.

Stone of Contention – Whatcha think?

June 24th, 2005 by Reinder

Hopefully by now readers of Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan have adjusted to the changes in format (large, horizontal, black and white images) and the change of style (much, much scribblier than recent work). I've opened a Forum thread for responses to the new story. Do you think running early work is a good idea? Do you like the different tone - do you perhaps even prefer it to the recent, more ponderous stories? Should all the gaps in the archives be bridged? Let me know!

This takes the entire roll of biscuits!

June 23rd, 2005 by Reinder

Professor DeLong is very unhappy with how software suppliers for Windows do business:

I then thought that I should perhaps upgrade the McAfee virus-protection program on the machine. That turned out to be a nasty and nearly impossible process: McAfee kept throwing pop-up windows up on the screen trying to "improve" my order from $35 to $95 or $125, warning me of all the horrible things that would happen to me if I did not "upgrade" my order. Only by clever parsing of sentences and clicking the correct buttons was I able to repulse this social engineering attack. Then I noticed that the black-inkjet cartridge in the Epson printer attached to the machine was low. I replaced it--and my printer driver promptly threw a warning box up on the screen: I had installed a non-Epson print cartridge, Epson "could not guarantee print quality," and would I like to order genuine Epson print cartridges off of the Epson website? No.

I don't like it when strange movies take over my computer and use it to display adware. I don't like it when Epson lies to me about the quality of Epson-compatible inkjet cartridges. I don't like it when McAfee makes it hard to avoid spending more on virus protection than I need to.

It's a jungle out there in the Windows world. Have Microsoft and Epson and McAfee considered the long-run consequences of the reputations that they are so eagerly creating?

Ghastly stuff, but one of his commenters can top this ghastliness:

On my Windows XP computer, every use of the letters "bed" - as in the word "succumbed" in the first paragraph of Brad DeLong's posting above - is underlined as a link, to find a bed seller, I guess. Maybe the next time the word "succumbed" appears in text, I'll finally decide to buy a bed online. Likewise, the letters "mba," as in "embarass," are always an underlined link. Maybe someday soon that helpful link will lead me to enroll online for a graduate degreee in business. Oh yes, every use of the word, "business" is an underlined link too. I tried anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-adware programs, but this still lingers.

Then there's the ad that intrudes on the left margin of my screen most of the time when I open a new web page. In a year, I have never used the links featured in that margin, presumably directed to a few sites. But it just keeps happening. Recently, instead of a list of sites it has started showing flickering and moving graphics. What a waste.

At least, through much effort, I recovered my desktop image. For months, it was a gruesome black screen with a blood-red eyeball on it, and an ad for software to delete it.

I've had to learn to live with some pop-ups, because when I had the pop-up protection fully engaged, I could not send work messages from my home computer in my office Outlook system - the window in which I would write a new Outlook message was blocked as a pop-up.

Using the internet in Windows is wading through all that junk.

Emphasis mine. The eyeball thing goes beyond the ghastly and into the realm of eldritch and unspeakable.

Did I mention that I want a Mac? I'm likely to do more coloring for money this year, and I would like to do that on a new studio machine with a decent monitor, and I might as well go for graphical-industry standard stuff, especially if it also means I'm going to avoid crap like this.

Only problem is I'm not exactly made of money. Maybe this would be a good time to point people to the Paypal button on my homepage, and I guarantee you that clicking that link won't spawn a popup or do anything ghastly...

Really, one Ig Nobel is enough…

June 20th, 2005 by Reinder

A few years ago, Groningen-based scientist Pek van Andel won an Ig Nobel prize for his paper Magnetic resonance imaging of male and female genitals during coitus and female sexual arousal. The criteria for the Ig Nobel allow for scientifically sound papers to qualify if the idea is crazy enough, which this was.
Of course, as enlightening as Dr. van Andel's study was (and it did correct some misconceptions about what exactly goes on with the male and female genitals during coitus), focusing on the genitals only will only get you so far. This study could be seen as sort of a follow-up: the researchers have used PET scans to figure out what happens in a woman's brain during orgasm. Turns out bits of it get switched off. This will be a comedy writers' goldmine, I'm sure.

Godmoding against the end boss

June 20th, 2005 by Reinder

Suddenly I hear the phrase "Deus ex Machina" everywhere. Even Sean Alexander at Behind the Sofa Again complains that "Parting of the Ways" contained not one, but two of them.
Overuse of Deus ex Machina resolutions (which is practically any use of them) has been a problem in the Doctor Who episodes that Russel T. Davies has written himself, but now people are seeing two where there were none, and this has to stop. Spoilers (and swearing) from here.


Things you have to know

June 17th, 2005 by Reinder

Ursula Vernon has a Deviant Art site with lots of cool stuff on it. Once you've rushed to that site to gaze on her imaginative, stylish art, come back here.

Back? Good. I wanted to point out one piece in particular, to wit, this one:

A nice old lady with an axe

This image is proof that great minds think alike, although it also proves that some great minds are better at getting their ideas into concrete form than others. Those of you who are already familiar with the cast of The Stone of Contention, whether through reading it online in the mid-90s or through reading the print version from the same period, will notice that the Orcish Warrior Woman Ruby Elfgutter painted by Ursula is very similar in personality and appearance (well.... conceptually at least) to Ghrghuha the Gnomian Warrior Woman from "Contention". Ursula's creation has shades of Nanny Ogg in her, which I thoroughly approve of as well.

I wish I could draw like that. Heck, I wish I could afford to hire Ursula for a story or two.

There's plenty in that gallery that I haven't seen yet, so I'll spend some more of my idle time (of which there's been quite a lot this past week as I'm winding down my activities in preparation for a vacation) cyberstalking herperusing her works.

Get Medieval

June 14th, 2005 by Reinder

Via Bo Lindbergh, Get Medieval is pretty funny, sort of like a Narbonic set in the 14th Century. It's a bit unfortunate that it's published on Livejournal instead of on a website structured to support serial webcomic publishing, but the artist has done a decent job in letting the Livejournal interface get out of the way, so the comic can be followed. The link goes to the first episode, by the way.