Archive for December, 2008

State of the comic: some movement at last

December 6th, 2008 by Reinder

We'll finally have some new updates again, and they'll be on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen website. Starting Monday, December 8, the Invasion series will update again, once a week on Mondays, hopefully until the storyline is finished, which should take 8 updates in total.

Feral is still in limbo. The day job is still taking up too much of my mental energy to do meaningful work on it. I hope to have some script for it ready after my next vacation, so there won't be any updates until the new year.

There's something else coming up, and it may not be all that significant to long-term Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan readers, but it's still kind of significant to me: Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan Re-runs on Drunk Duck will reach its 500th update on December 12! That's 500 daily installments without missing a day - clearly the secret to reliable updating is to have a 17-year buffer. For what it is, the re-run project is quite succesful too - it gets three-digit pageviews a day, which is good considering I don't actively promote it and the contents have been available on other sites for years. It gets proportionally more response from the readers there than at the main site too, though this is largely because in the culture within the Drunk Duck community, commenting on a comic and awarding it five points out of five is the local way to say hi (it's still appreciated, by the way - thanks all who commented). Perhaps more importantly, the project has kept me involved with the comic through the past 15 months, because even when I wasn't drawing it, I still had to upload "new" installments, check if things updated properly and read the comments. It's been a beacon for me, a daily reminder that I have this comic and it's unfinished. It's a powerful thing.

The death of consumerism?

December 4th, 2008 by Reinder

If you go to frugality blogs, you'll occasionally see comments from trolls telling the frugal blogger "thanks for wrecking the US economy, buddy". This was easy to ignore and be skeptical about as late as three months ago, when the live-within-your-means crowd were very much the outliers. What, a bunch of guys who tore up their credit cards were going to wreck consumer spending?

It's a whole 'nother story if millions of people, voluntarily or not, tear up their credit cards all at once. In those conditions, there is, to say the least, something to the idea of the paradox of thrift - the notion that what is good for one person (living within your means, cutting down frivolous expenses, saving) can be bad at the collective level.

But it seems to me that there's more going on than Americans and to a lesser extent (so far) Europeans deciding to be all virtuous about their personal finances out of fear over their own future. The consumer hasn't just capitulated like that Krugman article I linked to says in its title. I think the consumer has also decided that he or she has had enough. As the blog Of Two Minds says, one of "the structural realities which have yet to play out" is that

7. The U.S. already has too much of everything: too many hotels, malls, office towers, homes, condos, strip-malls, lamps, furniture, CDs, TVs, clothing, etc. As 50 million storage lockers filled to capacity with consumer crap are emptied in a desperate move to reduce expenses and raise cash, the value of literally everything ever manufactured will fall to near-zero.(via Financial Armageddon)

And I think he's right. The change that is in the air isn't just economical although that aspect of it may well turn out to be so god-awful that it's going to block out all other aspects over the next few years. It's cultural. Over the past few years there's been a boom in online resources relating to frugality, decluttering and related lifestyle changes; a small house movement has sprung up, and local food has become a fad. As I've said before, those issues are related; they reflect a desire to simplify and a realization that enough is enough, that we don't need to have that much stuff in our lives. Or, alternatively, they reflect a new calvinism for a new era of sobriety, envy and conformity. Take your pick. I'm more inclined to the former but I might end up loathing the tendency a few years down the line.

In any case, I think we just might be seeing consumerism dying in the next couple of years.

State of the comic update: weekend evaluation

December 1st, 2008 by Reinder

Another page from Invasion.

Another page from Invasion.

I've sent DFG one more page I drew over the weekend. So I kept my promise of cranking out one other page.

I didn't really enjoy it though. All weekend, I've been fighting back fatigue and so I wasn't focused on anything and got gradually more depressed. It didn't help that I didn't get any exercise all week - it's making me feel weak and sluggish. Also, I have hardly spoken to anyone who wasn't a co-worker all week, except Aggie who I talk to online all the time. I love Aggie... but it's not good for me to just talk to a person on the other end of a webcam.

So I'm back to square one in terms of how focusing on my projects is working out. I have to push myself to get out there and run, to keep seasonal depression at bay, and I have to push myself to socialize with people in my own area and in meat space. That will, however, leave me once again with proportionally less time to finish the work that I feel has been breathing down my neck for some time. I won't make any claim to being a great artist, but I do have an inner need to be working on my art or else I don't have a sense of purpose. So not having time for it because after my work day I have to perform social and physical maintenance on myself, even though I realise that I need that too, that I need to be out and about and meeting my friends, frustrates me.

I did no work on the other projects - I was going to read the script to Muscle again but I ran out of time. I overslept again on both Saturday and Sunday - it seems like I can't wake up in the morning anymore once the pressure of the working week is off me. Just doing that one not very complicated page was all I managed.

Well, that, and Christmas shopping, which is now halfway done. Only 5 hours of trudging through town and another 2 hours of looking online - so if I can spare another 7 hours next weekend, I should be golden.