Archive for July, 2006

48 hours without comment spam, and other stuff.

July 31st, 2006 by Reinder

Thanks to some changes and improvements to WillowCMS's commenting system implemented by Mithandir over the weekend, the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan website has now been free of comment spam for over 48 hours, as has Mith's own site. Allow me to take some time to gloat and flip spammers everywhere the bird in an obnoxious manner.

... right. Mith has improved the content-based scoring system, added the ability to close individual entries for comments, made changes to the comment key system and added a little honeypot for spammers to fall into. None of these measures will work forever, but for now, it's looking pretty good. So far, legitimate comments to the site are getting through, but if you have a problem commenting, email me.

Even failed spam attempts can cause problems for the site, because they use up resources and pollute the usage statistics, so I will want to install Bad Behavior on the site. But that's not too urgent right now.

Meanwhile, the heatwave has finally broken. I can actually concentrate! The 24-Centigrade temperature actually registers as a slight chill now. I can remember as a child that I'd consider a day like today a fine, hot summer day...

I'm looking for ways to spend my tax refund! I've already done the routine of buying stuff I needed but couldn't afford to spend money on, and there's still a decent amount left. First priority will be stuff that benefits my work in comics, including advertising. I've asked this before, but considering how quickly the online landscape can change, I'll ask it again: if you know a good online publication for me to advertise on, please let me know. I have a few hundred Euros to spend on this. I prefer advertising within the existing webcomics community, but am willing to consider outreach-style advertising if the venue looks promising.

Calves

July 29th, 2006 by Reinder

My tax refund came in, so I've been doing some long-delayed spending. Most of it was on mundane stuff like towels and underpants, but some of it was on more interesting items such as Flight # 3 (which I haven't read yet but I've looked at it with googly eyes), and new running shoes.
Buying running shoes is rather less of a chore than buying regular shoes. One fun part of it, at least when buying at Runner Hardloopcentrum in Groningen (I really wouldn't know about any other store anywhere), is testing shoes on a treadmill and getting your running movements filmed. This time around, I was showing a little more pronation on my right, injured foot than in a similar test in January, but what struck me most was how my calves looked.
You know, I've always been against putting photographs of myself on my website, mainly out of a desire to avoid scaring small children, the elderly or the infirm. But I just might add a picture of my calves to my bio page some time. Those are good calves. Me likes.

Lackadaisy

July 28th, 2006 by Reinder

Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler has only just started, but could turn out to be a good'un. The sepia-toned art has a nice combination of anthropomorphic cat characters and a 1920s retro setting. The artist can definitely draw backgrounds and isn't afraid to post large, complex pages on the web. He also uses his documentation well although one suspects that some of the cars were traced from photographs. Well, that's no biggy. I'll be keeping an eye on this comic.

Don't miss the tutorial.

Heat make me stupid

July 28th, 2006 by Reinder

Fed up with heat. Still no relief: weatherman promise thunderstorms but no show. IQ dropping, mood pissy. Heat kill more people, radio say. Lucky Jim Make Light know how deal and have tips.

Alien bug made of plush

July 27th, 2006 by Reinder

Via Pharyngula, I read about this:
Alien Bug Lands in Backyard
PZ think he knows what it is, and so do I: It's damned freaky, that's what! It looks like a plush caterpillar brought to life. What I like most about the video is that there is very little indication of scale, so I can imagine that it eats little yappy dogs.

Sequential Art, a comic

July 25th, 2006 by Reinder

Sequential Art has a rather slapdash cast (Why catgirls? The artist likes them, I guess) and a rather awkward web interface, but it is funny as hell. If you like gags about the heatwave, platypuses and, I suppose, catgirls, check out the 150 comics already published.

“Stepping in my piano”

July 25th, 2006 by Reinder

The phrase "The baron [...] has a regrettable habit of stepping in my piano", used by Countess Alcydia in the comic named after her attracted some comment on the RoCR forum. No, I don't know where it comes from either; presumably it's a Norwegianism. It's a wonderful expression nonetheless, one of those that need no further explanation, and one that the English language really needs. I would like to take the time to urge you all to use it in conversation at the earliest opportunity.

Stabbed in the Back! The Dolchstosslegende explained

July 24th, 2006 by Reinder

Stabbed in the Back! an article from the June issue of Harper's Magazine, was posted on the magazine's website earlier this month. I'd been waiting for it. Some key paragraphs:

The stab in the back first gained currency in Germany, as a means of explaining the nation's stunning defeat in World War I. It was Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg himself, the leading German hero of the war, who told the National Assembly, "As an English general has very truly said, the German army was 'stabbed in the back.'"

Like everything else associated with the stab-in-the-back myth, this claim was disingenuous. The "English general" in question was one Maj. Gen. Neill Malcolm, head of the British Military Mission in Berlin after the war, who put forward this suggestion merely to politely summarize how Field Marshal Erich von Ludendorff–the force behind Hindenburg–was characterizing the German army's alleged lack of support from its civilian government.

The full article traces the legend back to Old Norse folklore, discusses its adoption by the Nazis, and then tackles its use by the American right since the Second World War:

Since the end of World War II it has been the device by which the American right wing has both revitalized itself and repeatedly avoided responsibility for its own worst blunders. Indeed, the right has distilled its tale of betrayal into a formula: Advocate some momentarily popular but reckless policy. Deny culpability when that policy is exposed as disastrous. Blame the disaster on internal enemies who hate America. Repeat, always making sure to increase the number of internal enemies.

Read, and learn.

Dresden Codak

July 24th, 2006 by Reinder

If you think Scary Go Round is a bit too staid and predictable, you need to read Dresden Codak which rocks very hard and is made of mad science.

Bug Powder on the other hand, is giving away live dinosaurs and killer robots to its visitors, because that's the only way they can improve on their coverage of british web and small press comics. Seriously, they do a great job.

How to talk to a global warming skeptic

July 23rd, 2006 by Reinder

A very exhaustive list of questions global warming "skeptics" are likely to ask, with answers and commentary (via Comments in Patrick Farley's livejournal. For the latest in the underlying science go to RealClimate).