Archive for January, 2009

Moose River Mobile Site

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Sometime soon I’m gonna compile a version of the site that is best formatted for mobile phones. I’ve already converted pages of Moose River for small, 300×300 screens as well as iPhone’s and Google G1′s 480×320 screen. I think it’ll help make my comic a bit more accessable to more people.

I am still trying to get new pages done up…. but school started this week.

Updates Finished… For Now

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

OK, as far as I’m aware, all of page conversions have been made, so now my entire archives are in a 3w by 2h format versus the previous 2w by 3h format. This will make it easier to read the entire page on computer screens without having to scroll much. Now although I’m finished with reformatting my pages, updating my archives is a process that is never finished until I’ve absolutely completed Moose River. The next stage of my updates is to go through my older pages and remove the lines that are in the backgrounds, which is a shading method I used to use before I started halftoning my pages. You’ll notice this line shading in my earlier pages but I stopped using them about a third of the way into my archives. Fortunately this is an archive updating process that won’t take long, but it’s still one that I need to accomplish in order to keep all my pages looking uniform. I’ll probably start on that sometime in the near future.

In this time I’ve been waiting for myself to be inspired to draw new pages again. I think I am now. The thing is, I’ve since come to realize that the webcomic format just isn’t for me, mostly because I find it impossible to continually work on new pages on a regular schedule. That’s just not how my brain and system work. I tend to only work on pages whenever I feel inspired to work on them, and that inspiration comes and goes on its own whim. That’s why sometimes I can go like five months straight with constant two to three times a week updates, and then other times I can go three months without working on a single page (just like recently). I can’t help it, but again, it’s obvious that this webcomic method and style just isn’t for me… my style is more suited towards spending my time writing a single book and releasing a book once every few years.

What Is Reality?

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Writing reality means not denying the existence of something, even if you don’t necessarily discuss it at all. Batman The Animated Series and My Little Pony are both kids cartoons. But what makes Batman better than My Little Pony? It doesn’t deny the fact that people can be cruel and evil (like, Hitler Evil, not cake-stealing, Super Friends Lex Luther evil), or that stuff like drugs, guns, sex, religion and death exist. Maybe an entire episode isn’t spent focusing on pointing out that those kinds of things exist, but the show doesn’t go out of its way to say it doesn’t exist either. My Little Pony doesn’t have that; in that universe death doesn’t exist, neither do guns or hatred or drugs or… well, reality. That in of itself makes it a badly written (kids) show relative to Batman The Animated Series.

It isn’t limited to kids cartoons either. Fantasy and sci-fi stories can be great pieces of fiction, in spite of its fantastical form, simply if it reflects reality properly. Lord knows how many Star Trek episodes sci-fi stories were spent criticizing some of the backwards social norms of the 1960′s their times. Good writing means sharing observations about reality using the Quaagars as the pawns. Bad writing means… telling a story about the Quaagars; focusing on the Quaagars for its own sake denies reality outright.

Webcomics are just as vulnerable to this as much as anything else. So you have a gaming comic and you make jokes/stories about video games and stuff. A great gaming comic is one that doesn’t deny reality, to the point where its jokes/stories, even if they’re video game related, are ones that can be understood by anyone. And by that I mean, the joke/story is still understood when the video game references are switched out with just about anything else. You begin to deny reality when you start writing gaming jokes/stories that can only be understood by gamers; good writing takes the word “reality” and paints it in whatever color you wish, while bad writing is about the paint itself. Ooooh how’s THAT for Zen like?

So I guess the moral is…. don’t deny reality. You don’t really have to say something exists outright, but just don’t deny the fact that it exists. Write while taking into account all sorts of things–morality, addiction, hatred… as with one less piece of reality that doesn’t exist in your world, you’re taking one step after another from writing a good story.

Two Things

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

ONE: OK so new comics will be put on hold (like that’s any surprise, huh?), but for a good reason. I’m going through the archives (yet again), only this time to convert pages from a 2×3 format to a 3×2 format. This is mostly just to make them look a little easier to read as they fit on a screen a bit. As you can tell I’ve already done it for Chapter 6, and have since completed Chapter 1 and 2. It’s actually really easy to do… each page takes about 30 seconds to a minute to convert in Photoshop (through Photoshop’s Actions feature, thank God for it). Of course we’re dealing with maybe a hundred pages left as well as whatever other distractions I need to take care of–I tried some ketamine last night and it just make me sick–so it’s not something that’ll happen quickly or get finished anytime soon, despite the quickness involved with Photoshop’s Actions feature. But at least it’ll be maybe a day or two versus a whole week or two. I mean, I remember back in the day when I used to run my Pokémon TCG fake card website when I had to go through some 150 fakes in Photoshop just to change something, or like reedit a shitload of HTML pages just to change one little thing before I discovered the wonders of SSI. Or like when I would redesign the site every like four months. Talk about a pain in the ass. … Oh and then on a totally separate yet related note, in about four months it’ll be ten years since I started my Pokémon website. Ten years before the start of my Pokémon website was 1989, and that’s when I was in Second Grade. That’s totally weird… the time between the start of my Pokémon website until now is equal to the time I was still in Second Grade until the start of my Pokémon site. 1989 to 1999 just seemed so much longer than 1999 to 2009 did. But then again, I guess it has to do with how much that time was relative to the length of my life. Ten years when I was 16 (I was 17 on October 20th, 1999) was like, 62.5% of my life. Ten years for me today, now that I’m 26 (I’m 26??) is merely 38.5% of my life. And then the next ten years will seem even faster since it’ll be only 27.7% of my life. I guess that also explains why time seems to go faster as you grow older; each unit of time gets smaller and smaller relative to the length of time you’ve been alive (or conscious) for, and therefore it seem quicker than it used to. I mean like, a minute that gets smaller turns into a second, a day turns into hours.

ONE (AND A HALF): Why can’t I just say “New comics will be put on hold while I convert my archives from it’s original 2×3 format to a 3×2 format.”? Why do I have to ramble on and on, or even have to write a “(TL;DR)” version of what I wrote? No wonder no one reads my essays whenever I post them on forums. And here’s a tip along those lines too: never send a nine page essay to the person whose heart you’ve broken after you decide to break up with them… they’ll never read it.

ONE (AND THREE QUARTERS): Why can’t I just say “I stretch things out too much when I write, and I need to write less.”?

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TWO: Here’s a very short story for you.

I took a sip of my beer while keeping an eye at the entrance of the room. Two cute boys flanked me; one was Brian, the boy of my dreams, while the other was Owain, a coworker of mine that I wanted to introduce to my best friend, Anne. I kept Brian along side just so Owain wouldn’t get any ideas with me. Now Anne’s always late to these things for whatever reason, but she’s usually never THIS late, and so Owain was growing a little listless.

“Is that her over there, Shea?” Owain asked while pointing to some random partygoer who just walked into the room.

I took a quick glance above my beer. “Nope. No, you’ll recognize Anne. She’s a slightly tiny girl with short blonde hair. She doesn’t dress as fancy as that person too, kinda plain-like.”

“‘Kinda plain-like’… I see.” I saw his eyes turn away a bit.

“Well, plain in a sort of cute way. She’s a walking, one of those…” (I twirled my hand and then snapped twice to help jog my memory) “…hidden beauty movies, like she didn’t realize she was born a princess, if you get what I mean. If she dolled herself up, maybe let her hair grow out so that she doesn’t look like a ten year-old boy, then I’d say she’d look pretty hot.” He smiled a bit, I smiled too after realizing that I salvaged things up a bit.

Just after I say that, in comes Anne. My coworker’s eyebrows twitched up a bit and his tiny smile grew to a sizable yet almost fake grin. Anne looked around with that sort of perky blank stare she always has on, then spotted me with my two boys. We quickly traded pleasantries and I then introduced Owain to Anne. Anne’s eyes sized him up a bit, then noticed his hands were empty.

“Hey guys, I’m gonna go grab a beer now that I’m here. Do you want one, Owain?” Anne tilted her head slightly towards the beer room.

Owain nodded. “Sure, I’ll take a Redweiser, or whatever they’ve got. It’s cool with me.”

Anne smiled then pranced right back out of the room, presumably to get some beer for Owain and her. Or maybe she went off to ponder her options, maybe both. Actually the beer thing seems a bit more like her, she’s far to shy and reserved to sort of… jump on the idea that she could go out with someone. And usually when she allows herself to let it crosses her mind, it’s always too late. I can’t see why meeting Owain would be any different for her.

Owain was a suspiciously quiet, so I thought I’d try to break the ice a bit. “So what do you think about Anne?”

Owain wiggled his head a bit. “She doesn’t look plain to me much. I can totally see where you’re getting at with that hidden beauty thing of her. But she really needs to do something about her outfit; black coat, black capris AND pink Converse shoes? Where does she think she’s at: a hipster funeral? Cute, yes, but she’s a fashion disaster!”

My mouth hung slightly ajar. “Wait, you’re not gay, are you?” Great, just what Anne’s need AGAIN. Hell, you’d think Anne would have spotted this immediately. Maybe she did?

Owain shook his head. “When do I need to be gay to have an eye on fashion?”

“Point taken.” I sipped on my beer again thinking of what else to say. “You know, to be honest, I’m kinda jealous of her. She’s more beautiful than me and certainly more than she thinks of herself. She even got boobs before I did, and a cuter nose than me; she shouldn’t be complaining about how ugly she things she is an’ shit.” I can kinda tell I’m slightly more than ‘a little’ drunk by now, but I think Owain sees what I’m getting at anyways. I try my best not to make Anne sound too much of a loser though. I mean, honestly, despite being in a room full of her friends, she is almost completely alone. She kinda needs someone like Owain, but I dunno, she usually doesn’t take kindly to fashion attacks. She’s sensitive enough about it as it is and gets enough of it from her bitchy-ass mother. I don’t think she could handle any more from a potential boyfriend.

Anne returns with three beers; one for her, one for Owain, and a surprise refill for me.