24 December 2009

those that giveth

what's the coolest gift you've ever gotten from a significant other?

i've been given gifts in the past by boyfriends. seeing as how i frequently date poor guys from other states, they haven't been numerous. but i was reading about the chaotic nature of Christmas ornaments, and was reminded of a gift i was given in junior high by my first huge, life-changing crush.

it was a 3.5" floppy disk with a program on it that made fractals. i don't know if he thought i would like it or if he just thought it was cool himself.. it seemed an unusual choice. he didn't seem particularly science-minded; as i recall, his main interests were industrial/metal music and slacking. but here was this disk, with a nifty program on it on a subject i enjoyed, that he didn't even have to give me. i'd say that qualifies.

of course, if some enterprising young man were to bequeath an Intuos unto me, i'd have to change my mind...

23 October 2009

grinding along

well. I seem to be going through a bit of depression. pretty bad this time. now this is by no means a recent phenomenon – in fact, feel free to file it under “not news” – but suffering through it in the context of a webcomic launch…it puts a different spin on it. so what do I do?

in fourth grade I had an incident in the lunchroom. food was placed before me and I didn’t want to eat it. just the thought of ingesting it repulsed me to no end. that refusal, and the following outburst, wound me up in the principal’s office. I felt the same repulsion last night when I sat down at my desk to work on my comic. my brain balked entirely; I would have rather canvassed the neighborhood with a gaggle of Mormons. I just couldn’t take it.

but I’m logical enough to know that if I don’t plow through it, even if my mind is throwing a tantrum, nothing will ever get done. back on the horse, full speed ahead, etc. etc. no one said this was going to be easy…in fact, all evidence I’ve heard has been to the contrary. got to concentrate on the good things, no matter how out of reach they seem right now.

13 October 2009

the ABCs of webcomics

so I plowed through my first weekend of hardcore comic-making. as an exercise in self-ass-kickery, I choose a launch date relatively soon, forcing myself to stop dicking around and get my bearings. it worked…for the most part. my observations on webcomicking so far:

  • Webcomics.com and Blambot are awesome resources. it’s great that some of the biggest in the field want to lend a hand with the up-and-coming. very helpful indeed.

  • a tight updo contributes to eyestrain headaches.

  • I’ve written more scripts than I thought, but I need more, always more.

  • the Chicago Board of Trade building is a BITCH to draw in Photoshop. first I drew it by hand, scanned it and tried to ink it in PS. I didn’t like how it looked, so I inked over a couple reference photos instead. not 100% pleased with how those looked either. process: two entire days. I’m not too fond of the straight, clean lines of Art Deco anymore…

  • when in doubt in PS, zoom the fuck in. while doing the CBOT, I got the urge to make a huge banner over my desk that screamed “ZOOM IN, YOU TWAT.” wonder if Kinko’s could help me with that.

  • with “inside time” maximized, I became more domestic than ever. I cooked far more than usual; did my laundry with only a weeks’ worth of clothes; threw out my six-month-old pizza boxes; cleaned the litter box; painted my nails about a thousand times, trying to get rid of bad colors…lengthy drawing periods necessitate many breaks, allowing for small cleaning breaks and other things to break up monotony. the important thing is to not get too distracted by, say, TV or YouTube or vidja games.

  • speaking of distractions, I turned down an invite to a bar. a friend came over to borrow my Internet while hers was down. I mentioned a new place with a good-looking menu (Allagash White and Lindeman’s Framboise on tap? mmm mm!), saying we had to go there sometime. her response: “are you hungry now?” I was, but I politely declined and made my own (scrumptious) pizza instead. this…this will pay off one day.

  • despite basically doing the same things I’d do otherwise on a typical weekend (sitting at my desk, barely going outside, etc), I felt 10x lonelier. I don’t know if it was the constant drawing, listening to podcasts instead of a live stream like last.fm, or not giving myself the option to go outside if I felt like it. maybe I get out of the house more than I realize. this leads me to consider taking on a roommate with similar interests.
now to repeat, ad nauseum.

10 October 2009

choose wisely

"You need to get out more," says my therapist. "It's hard to find someone to date locally if you don't put yourself out there."

She's right, of course. I'm not going to meet anyone in this city if I sit around at home. So I do what comes naturally: I devise plans for a webcomic, thereby eliminating all possible free time for encounters of the opposite sex. Brilliant, no?

I think I'll have some more wine.

19 September 2009

even softer worlds

Joe started a TF2-themed hash for a softer world on Twitter, so naturally I had to follow... (click for full size)

16 September 2009

a softer world tribute

I'd been pointed towards a softer world before, but I never really got into it. however, now that I'm going to SPX at the end of the month (where the authors will be too!), I figured I should brush up.

I'm digging it more than I thought I would. it could easily lend itself to emo hipster douchebaggery, but mostly it's really funny in a cutting way. it also lends itself to easy parodies... (click for full size.)

12 August 2009

brain leakage

la la la.. I have no idea what I'm doing.. whee hee..

okay. somewhere, somehow, I got the following brillian idea: hey, I'm hanging out with all these webcomic peoples, I'm really getting into this medium again...I know! I'll make my own webcomic! not just any webcomic, but a relatively complicated one involving an architectural docent in Chicago who inherits a historical lighthouse that turns out to be haunted, thus insuring a plot-driven story!

oh wait, Twitter and the collective Internet has destroyed my attention span. also, I haven't really written anything since I took some community college English classes back in '02. plus frequent late nights mixed with work and stress are destroying my thought process slowly but surely. and whenever I read anything remotely clever, my brain shrivels up and dies from intellectual jealousy.

welp, I know what I need to do to make this thing successful: steal, steal, steal.

19 July 2009

chainsawsuit tribute

so the past few months, I've become a huge fan of Kris Straub. he's one of the old vanguard of webcomic artists; he's an alumnus of Checkerboard Nightmare and currently draws Starslip and chainsawsuit. Starslip is a self-advertised science-fiction comedy with a continuous storyline; chainsawsuit is completely random weirdness with boobs and naughty words. the latter definitely appeals to my "wtf" side.

long story short, I woke up this morning with an idea... (click for slightly larger version)


this is quite possibly the grossest thing I've ever drawn, if not in actuality, then in spirit. you're welcome.

14 July 2009

Mark me

I believe that, in general, there are two kinds of hauntings. One is brought on by a singular, intense event, such as a murder. Take Resurrection Mary: girl goes to dance, girl gets killed, girl spends rest of eternity haunting nearby stretch of road. The other is disturbance of the dead. Bachelor's Grove is another good example. There was nothing wrong with BG until people stopped taking care of it, inviting vandals and thieves to wreak havoc. Now it's reputedly one of the most haunted sites in Chicago.

That's exactly what's going to happen to Burr Oak Cemetery. Hell, only the gravestones were desecrated at Bachelor's Grove; rumors of disinterrment are thought to be unfounded, the wishful thinking of a morbid public. But when 300 bodies are dug up and tossed into a disused part of the cemetery? That's fucking Poltergeist.

This place...this place is going to turn into a vortex of tortured souls. It defies all logic how the accused could discard dozens of human remains for something as meaningless as money. It absolutely destroys me. Despite my nonreligious stance, I cannot deny that those bones have power. I hope that power literally comes back to haunt them. You just don't fuck with the dead.

03 July 2009

musing

there's a song called "Your Mind Belongs to the State" by Meat Beat Manifesto that i skip past a lot on my iPod. it makes me uncomfortable. not because of the subject matter, which deals with individuality, insanity, violence, etc., subjects that might rub someone the wrong way in their own right. my discomfort comes from a sampled sentence repeated every so often of a man asking simply, "what do you want from the rest of your life?"

i never know how to answer that.

having delved so far into Joe's Ustream (i'm pretty much a fixture at this point, sun-thurs) and getting caught up in drawing again, it reminds me of how many people told me i should draw for a living. my parents would get me character-drawing books. my grandfather wanted me to send me something i'd drawn. (i never did; too paranoid.) my sketchbook was a matter of public record from 5th grade through high school, passed around and doodled in by all manner of friends. so why the slowdown? i'm kind of angry at myself, not so much for the flurry of activity now...but why the dry-up for months, years beforehand? and what's keeping me from taking it on seriously?

(flashback to living with druggie ex, both unemployed, making a point to draw every day on the rooftop of our building...i did it once and never again)

thinking about it, though.. it's not just drawing that gets me. my true desire is to make people laugh. drawing (and storytelling) is a means to that end. there is also the fact that several of the webcomics i read are much bigger on story than graphics...but i think i'd end up frustrated and unsatisfied if i took that route.

no matter what, it's something only the strong can survive. am i ready to test that strength?

30 June 2009

reflections on a dead show

so I finally finished the last two episodes of "Firefly" I had outstanding. I know, I'm horrible at watching things I love, shut up.

of course it was an amazing show; of course it was. what struck me more was the "making of" vignette. they all knew it was special as it was happening. they knew they were a part of something bigger. which led me to thinking about my own future. Joss remarked that the fans of the show just "got it," and that was the singular reason for making art. that.. that resonated.

so say I'm an artist. where does that leave me? say I'm not an artist, that I merely ride others' coattails...is there a life to be had in that? I don't even feel comfortable asking that question, so no. but what path am I going to carve? I have no compass, no blueprints, no guidelines.

I envy those who block out the noise, the thousands of possibilities, and make their own goals. i really do. I just have to wonder...do they ever regret their choice? do they ever think "what if"? their iota of doubt makes me not feel so alone.

10 June 2009

another drawring


done in pen in five minutes in my work's conference room. inked over in Photoshop. obviously a character sketch(es); there may be some fleshing-out possibilities.

05 June 2009

chili vs. burrito

it only vaguely reminds me of my margarita drawing, but i'm stlil light-headed from laughing at this.

02 June 2009

a drawring

click for larger size.

note to self: ink the drawing before scanning it. stupid thing took me three days to clean up. i think it made me a little better with my Graphire, though.

killjoy

so as a result of going to Play On Con over Memorial Day, i met a couple of webcomic artists, Art Frederick and Joe Hills. they work together on Jack of All Blades, a twisted, complicated strip whose unique universe has spilled over into other comics, yet still finds time for dick jokes and mentally handicapped magicians. (really, what more could you ask for?) i compared notes on the webcomics i read with one of them (they visited the New England Webcomics Weekend back in March) and discovered a few that i didn't know.

once i got back home, i started reading JaB from the beginning. i'm still working through it; i keep getting distracted by the other webcomics they mention in the newsposts. so far i've read through all of Industrial Revolutionary and am trickling through Starslip Crisis and chainsawsuit. it's been very enlightening and intriguing, considering (god i love gerunds) i had dreams of drawing a webcomic so very, very long ago.

so i'm reading through all of these great things, right, doubling over with laughter at a chainsawsuit comic, when i glance up at work-mandated CNBC*:

  • Banking on the Banks

  • Is Leverage Back?

  • Playing the China Rebound
i swear to christ.. if humor is orgasmic, bond trading is chemical castration.

* disclaimer: to CNBC's credit, they have been covering parts of E3 this week, but only the most boring stuff, and inaccurately so.

01 June 2009

getcher motor runnin'?

i've lived in Chicago for six and a half years now. just lately, something strange has come over me...the oddest feeling, the queer urge to...buy a car. agh, i feel dirty just typing it.

so far i've gotten along by riding the rails and patronizing taxis, but i think my wanderlust is acting up. relying upon Kim to chauffeur me everywhere is neither reliable nor fair. sure, if she ditches her stick and buys an automatic, i could drive that... it's not the same.

*cue rantings of typical greedy American, a car for every person, etc* seriously. lemme give a positive rundown:

  • i'd be able to go anywhere i wanted at any time.

  • i'd finally learn to drive via trial by fire.

  • it'd be a lot easier on Kim.

  • i could take mini-vacations outside the city without having to fly or figure out train schedules.
  • being able to contribute better on road trips.

  • with enough practice, i could level up to visiting friends out-of-state.

  • i wouldn't feel like i'm tied to a major city anymore, thereby opening up my options for the future.

naturally there are bad things:
  • car payments.

  • license sticker fees.

  • parking meter fees.

  • car insurance.

  • gas prices.

  • Chicago traffic.

  • Chicago winters.

  • parking/street sweeping tickets.

  • repairs and upkeep.

  • i suck at driving.

wow, that's a lot more negatives than i anticipated. this requires some serious thought.

29 May 2009

isolation

i am the pinnacle of this web 2.0 iteration. the ultimate output. bombarded by tweets and FB statuses, i am entertained utterly without having to interface with anyone on a face-to-face basis. why have RL friends when you have crappy quiz after crappy quiz? why search for anything that piques your interest when it's handed to you via multiple Tweetdecks? i never even have to go anywhere again, as long as i have "friends" all over the world posting to Flickr, Tumblr and YouTube. one day the need for real human interaction will be a distant memory. maybe then i will finally be happy.

28 April 2009

a brief missive

THERE ARE SHITLOADS OF GIRLS ON THE INTERNET GET USED TO IT YOU UNWASHED ANUSJOCKEYS

that is all.

13 April 2009

crappy anniversary

how fitting that i made a bittersweet pudding pie for my fifth anniversary at work today. i've had the best and the worst times of my life due to, and sometimes in spite of, my current place of employment...which i wish desperately to leave.

i temped there for almost two years before they finally let me on board. just because the previous two temps turned out to be duds, it didn't mean i was, but no matter. now those two are gone, one off to grad school, the other fired. god, she was something else. in my weaker moments i understand her ever-growing spaciness, which many attributed to drugs.. she wasn't of their ilk either, yet she insisted on staying in the industry, i hear. if you're not 100% devoted to finance - and you're low on vacation time - working there will literally drive you mad.

i'm so exhausted all the time, i just want someone to take over my life so i don't have to think about it anymore. guide me, direct me, i'll do whatever you want, as long as you actually give a shit about my well-being and not just about money. that's all we do. we serve no other purpose except to make ourselves money. that is our greater good. in this economy we're doing a damned good job of it, but i've got to let it go. i've got to convince myself that i'm capable of breaking the tether, of doing something else besides what i've done for the past five years, even if it's sweeping up hair clippings or prepping the hog-rendering vat.

the catch-22, of course, is i'm so stressed i don't know what i can do anymore. i want to stop now, which is such a bad idea on so many levels...it makes me want to sleep. for a really, really long time. and not wake up until there's someone standing over me who will stroke my hair and take me away from all of it.

these are dark times.

04 February 2009

because we are not "owed" flowers and jewelry

one of these years i'd like to have a boyfriend during Valentine's Day, just so i can participate in the great practice that is Steak and a Blowjob Day. seriously, people, i'm all about equality.

12 January 2009

sentience?

my Rush obsession has come back to bite me in the ass, with a little help from Apple.

i uploaded a double live disc onto my iPod last week. something went wrong somewhere, as that album has replaced several songs. i've found two so far, both different artists. it plays as if it's Rush, but the tag info and duration show up for the "host" song on the screen. i've never had this happen in any other circumstance. just fuckin' weird.

10 January 2009

a cautionary tale?

@#%@$J@#X$I@J#RW#OIJQX@IO#$JAW IRJA#I%YVOW%$JYIW$J%^J#$XIQO#RJSAEOI%TJ$^IOJhy!!!!

now that i have that out of my system...

it's snowing like bastard here and has been all night. in weather like this, my brain sometimes takes a leave of absence and i get the urge to go out in it and take pictures. i formulated a plan to travel to Graceland Cemetery, which is extraordinarily pretty in the snow.

since i'm such a lazy bugger, my memory card was still full from my trip to Seattle in September. i never reinstalled my Canon-sanctioned software for downloading my pictures, so i used Picasa instead. i picked a directory that i'd been using with Picasa before, so there were some pics already in it. one of the options was, "after photos are downloaded, what do we do with the card?" naturally i picked "wipe," since 1. i wanted to make room for dead people, and 2. i'm a massive bonehead.

photos downloaded, card was wiped, hooray. i went to check out my photos. ...except... where's the directory i just put them in? Picasa had deleted the whole thing. not moved, not put them somewhere else, not put the folder in the recycling bin, it deleted them all. why? why the fuck would it do this? why wouldn't it at least recycle them? and why did i have an outside program delete all my precious goddamn photos? now i have to see if i can recover them using some deletion recovery program which will probably eat half my hard drive. and, i'm not outside with dead people. fuck.

update: i managed to recover all photos off my mem card using FreeUndelete. mega-whew. Picasa, however, is now on my shit list.

06 January 2009

CNBC: wtf?

it baffles me that CNBC, presumably one of the more high-profile finance channels geared towards bigwigs, would run scads and scads of infomercials. Billy Mays? gold dollar coins? the Snuggie? i've seen classier commericals during sporting events. with men in them.

05 January 2009

rawrrr

it's the new year, and somehow i'm bereft of pithy clich├ęs. highly unusual.

new(er) bits in the house of geekgrrl:

  • i finally sold my soul and joined Facebook. the worst part? it's not that bad. i haven't put up any "flair" or thrown "snowballs" or "octopi" or anything at my "friends," mostly because i can't figure out how to get those things on my page. (i have poked someone, but that's a private matter.) i joined to legitmately flesh out the network of people i know. so far it's gone all right.

  • i took up a 21-day trial at Fitness Formula Clubs, courtesy of my boss. looks like you get a lot of shit, but it also costs a lot of dough. it'd be nice to swim daily or take as many classes as i want, but i really don't know if it's worth $113 a month, especially when my office gym costs $20.

  • my Rush obsession continues unabated. i tend towards compulsive thinking, but this is ridiculous: it's been almost non-stop since Thanksgiving. i've d/l'd several albums; i bought the "Moving Pictures" Rock Band 2 bundle; i have an all-Rush radio station running through my head. i'm even enjoying "Presto" (sorry Scott). it's really, really weird - and not very like me - to "rediscover" something like this, a band i've grown up with all my life. sure, i've grown up with the Beatles and the Who too, but this feels different.. a missing, yet omnipresent soundtrack to all the geek stuff that defines me. everything's clicking: the sound, the lyrics, the vocals, the musicianship, the subject matter.. it's all i want to listen to right now. to me it's beautiful and gives fire to my imagination. most of my obsessions fade out as quickly as they come on, disappearing as soon as something else grabs me. i hope this one sticks around.

  • i've given brief thought to returning to school. very brief, in fact; i don't even know what i'd want to do yet. but a very generous Xmas bonus may propel me towards a refined education. stay tuned?

old bit:

  • i still fuck up the first time i try to code lists.