December 29, 2007

I Should Really Get Some Sleep

They say that every dog has his day. But humans only get 15 minutes.

Is this some kind of twisted evolutionary prank? Or maybe whoever crunched the numbers was careful to convert the results into dog-time.

This kind of shit really digs at me when it's four in the morning.

Here, have a WIP from the secret project of mystery while I go fall over into bed:

December 27, 2007


iTunes customer service appears to be staffed by trained spider monkeys today.

Seebs gave me some gift cards this afternoon since he has no love for the service but for some reason they're part of some rebate deal. So woot! Scored music!

I added the cards to my balance, and when I did, the existing balance appears to have been wiped out. I sent in an email to customer service.

I just redeemed 2 gift cards (total of $50) to an account with a remaining balance of $6. The new balance only shows the $50. I've logged out and back in to double-check. Is there anything else I need to do?

This is what I got in reply:

Dear (spanking name redacted),

I understand that your store credit balance is less than it should be.

My name is Mallorie and I would be happy to explain why this is happening.

After reviewing your account, I have seen that the two gift cards with redemption codes ---, and --- were redeemed on December 27th. However, I have discovered that there was only $25 dollars on each card which will total your $50 store credit balance you have available to spend.

I hope this information was helpful to you. If not, please reply back with any problems you may have with this issue and I would be happy to assist you further.

Thank you for being a valued iTunes Store customer. Have a wonderful day and an even better new year.



Now I need to fill out a second report revisiting and emphasizing the whole "where did my $6 go?" theme of my first email, in words of one syllable.

It's only six songs worth of undoubtedly bad electronic music on the line, but that's still a dollar more than I have in my pocket right now and I'm willing to do a little dance to get it back.

December 25, 2007

Art Post - Christmas 2007

...And it's beginning to snow!

I think that before Jesse's folks come over, I'll take Stupid for a nice exhausting walk all around Northfield and take pictures of all the store window displays.

Rah, you are awesome. Thank you so much for the guidebook! I was feeling all sad and loserly this morning and then Seebs showed up with a package from yesterday's mail. Cheered me right up!

I can tell it is going to be mad useful when rockhounding season rolls around again.

Which reminds me: when you get back we need to discuss the details of your not-yet-existing present.

December 24, 2007

Update. Update? Update!

Two new pages of Kagerou have been posted. Have yourselves a merry little X-mas, you crazy kids. I wish I had more pages to share after such a long delay, but if my plans go as expected, the next ones won't be nearly as long in the making.

December 23, 2007

Blow, Wind, HOLY SHIT

Did I really hope for more snow? Did I really?

Well, I got it. And let me tell you, walking the dog into the screaming wind when it's -2 degrees F is quite a bit less enjoyable than several dozen other activities I could name. It was kind of fun walking across the river (all the way this time!) and looking at the cracks and bubbles that run all the way down to the ripply mud bottom, but HOLY SHIT COLD.

The bridge is set low over the water, and I klonked my head on a concrete beam. It really DOES sound like "klonk", doesn't it?

The wind screams through there so hard and fast that the snow deflects around you like you've got a force field up and goes skidding off along the ice in snaky tendrils. My cotton pajama pants didn't stand a chance. Although to be fair, they held up better than my jeans and cargo shorts ever did in similar conditions.

By the time the Captain and I got back, his muzzle was covered in snow and every whisker was completely encrusted in ice. Poor little bugger looked like the harp seal from my last post. Our footprints from the journey out were totally filled in by blowing snow. And the ice, ay dio! Everything that melted yesterday has frozen over in the streets. I tried to flag down the roomies and warn them about it as they pulled out of the garage, but I think they thought I was waving byebye.

I am officially broke. I am going to need to fall back on my contingency plan to make and sell sets of Kagerou stickers. This should keep me going until my big project is ready to fire off to the printers.

I think I'll go drink some eggnog and read a good book while I watch the nasty gray month-old snow get a face lift. And then, art!

December 22, 2007

You don't like waffles?

A waffle shop has opened up in my town. A waffle shop.

What do they sell? Waffles with various accompaniments. Waffles and coffee. Waffles.

Best of all, they're open til 2 am for the utter and complete win. This town pretty much curls up and goes to sleep at 8 pm, and that's barely late enough for me to have put all my underwear on, much less be outside gallivanting around in search of cornfed college girls to savage.

It snowed a little bit today. Not as much as it should have, but it was nice while it lasted. I hope what's still on the ground from the first snowstorm early this month won't melt before the next blow hits.


PS - New AIM name is Luka Pants. I will be phasing out the other accounts shortly in keeping with the spirit of my 2008 New Year's Revolution.

December 21, 2007

Art Post - 13 Lunatic Pileup!

Won't be much longer until the long blah dry-spell of Kageroulessness ends. I've started having honest-to-god DREAMS where I'm working on the comic and overflowing with happiness about it, which is kind of amusing considering how burnt out I got juggling art with real life crap all this fall. The major project is going pretty well, although I can still afford to be working harder on it than I am. It's going to be awesome when finished, though.

Anyhow, on to the point of the post! I took a break from the flurry of inking and panic this week in order to finish a pic that's been hanging around on my hard drive for a couple of months.

Click for make big:

Stay tuned! There will be more comic than you can shake a stick at, very soon.

December 19, 2007

Ow ow fuck ow.

Another dog ran into my fucking knee at the fucking dog park. I didn't even see it coming.

This is really starting to get old. Every fucking time it starts to get better, something comes along and whacks the fuck out of it! It's not healing at all.

On the bright side, I walked across the river beyond the dog park, so I could explore the little island there. The river ice is about two feet thick in the places where it's clear enough to look down. The Captain loved running around on the ice and sniffing everything. I would have gone all the way across, but the other half had patches of open water a couple hundred yards away and I didn't trust it.


PS - It was snowing from a clear blue sky earlier. Oh, Minnesota :\

Cheese, Chairs, Chillblains

We drove up to the St. Paul house yesterday to pack up the trash in my bedroom and haul it to the curb. Oh and clean out the fridge.

Did you know milk turns pink and the buildup of gas splits the carton open if you leave it in the fridge for five months? The result was a spattering of pre-cheese goop that managed to coat most of the inside of the fridge, along with everything in it. It was a real adventure to mop up. Five intensive handwashings later my hands STILL smelled like I stuck them up a hobo's ass.

I was at least able to salvage the plastic storage boxes in the fridge. The food in them had turned fun colors but plastic can clean up pretty good with bleach. I decided to leave the fridge doors open to dry out the last of the milk instead of letting it ferment in a closed space, so the stench of slimy pink death-semen quickly spread through the entire downstairs. Num.

The other day my chair broke clean apart. It was a rickety piece of shit that came with my art desk and I'd been hoping like hell for an excuse to replace it with something that wouldn't slide back from the desk if I leaned forward at all. Lately it's been dropping little metal bits--screws and washers and all those other pointless parts that clearly fulfill no role in maintaining basic chair integrity.

When the magical time of destruction arrived, I was prepared for it and landed on my feet while the whole thing disintegrated and various pieces of shrapnel went spinning across the floor behind me.

I had not considered the very real possibility of a replacement being more expensive than the fifteen bucks or so I have left (all in singles). So for three days I had to stand to use the computer, as the desk is too high for a regular dining room chair and re-adjusting it would take crazy time and effort.

Last night I got the bright idea to borrow Seebs' old office chair, and it was exactly the right height. All is comfort once more. It's even got a back on it so I can lean a bit.

Yesterday the temperature climbed all the way to 35 degrees. It was like summertime.

December 16, 2007

Thou Shalt Not Steal, Because Thou Art A Moron

An open letter to the brain surgeon who went to all the trouble of breaking out the teeny weeny little window in our back door of our old house, then apparently destroyed the dead bolt when they still couldn't reach the lock:

Good job! We at Studio Whipping Boy hope that wading through a freezing house full of dust, mildew and piles of garbage nobody wanted enough to take with us was exciting and fun for you. We also couldn't help but notice that you chose not to take the antique silverware and high-end liquor that were accidentally left behind in plain sight in the kitchen.

You're the best burglar(s) ever. Keep up the good work, and have a safe and hilarious holiday season!

The Captain In Boot Camp

Yesterday was our first lesson with Ms. Malone, the dog trainer, hereafter to be referred to as "Cookie Lady" in deference to the Captain's perceptions. They clicked immediately and he spent the entire session parked at her feet looking up at her with attentive subservience whenever she wasn't demonstrating commands.

She taught us several useful commands, including the "take it, leave it" game. I hadn't taught him "take it" before, and it really adds to the training. To play the game, you put a kibble on his paw and say "Leave it." Then another on the other paw and say "leave it." Then you put a kibble wherever and tell him to "take it."

Repeat as needed until he ignores whatever you put on him until told to do otherwise.

She had her method so down pat that several times he obeyed commands he didn't even know yet--on the first try. I think it was mostly how confident and brisk she was and how casually she corrected his mistakes with simple businesslike taps on the nose or back of the neck. It was really awesome to watch, although he still tends to flinch and run away when I try her tricks. Practice makes perfect, I reckon:

We also put lots of energy and time into "stay" training. By the time she was done with him, he would be solid as a rock even as I tugged at his leash because he hadn't been told "All done." With practice, he's going to be a hell of a good companion animal.

Getting a professional trainer was SUCH a good idea. Next session is the 29th and we're going to focus on door manners and a few tricks involving a footstool, as well as leash manners. That's his worst area by far--he has begun trying to pull again, even with his gentle leader on. Not like it was, but I want a dog who will not need a leash to heel and who will come back immediately when called if he gets loose.

In the space between now and then, we'll be practicing the stuff we covered in this first lesson on a daily basis. I'm happy to note that several of the things she wanted us to do were things I've been doing since we got him, like putting him through all his commands in random order, rapid-fire.

I photographed the Captain during this morning's training session. Call this an exercise in both "leave it" and "stay." Or call it rampant sadism; I'll gladly cop to it.

Then when I had finished laying out the kibbles, I told him "All done!" and let him eat every single one as a reward.

December 15, 2007

Four Reasons To Get A Dog



It are snow!

The famous "Wookiee Lullaby"

In Soviet LJ, Overused Catchphrase Creates YOU!

Because it can only get funnier: A growing list of blocked search strings on LJ.

The censorship (apparently started by 6 Apart before they turned the service over to our new fur-hatted overlords) is implemented so that anyone who wants to join a Maine Coon community, meet up with fellow employees of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain, or trade gossip about the Spice Girls is basically SOL. The examples of censored terms get more and more lurid and awesome as you go along: "Children's Choral Groups" and "Family Morals?" Do read the link, it's a hoot.

Lots of paranoia ever since they made it possible to flag other users and posts, too, but I haven't heard much about the specifics yet.

This is so much more epic and cool than Boldface 07. The members are losing their shit.

December 14, 2007

Burn Baby Burn, Disco Inferno!

Another fucked up dream. This time people were trying to cremate my mom inside an apartment building, only the fire kept going out. Then it turned out other people had gone inside the building during the cremation. There were charred corpses everywhere. I was terrified to go back in with the job partly done, but I did and the half-skeletonized mess was unbelievable. I didn't want to see my mom like that but every body I stumbled across looked like it could be her.

Almost a year later and I'm still having disgusting dreams like this. I'll blame the most recent resurgence on the curious way winter alters the quality of my dreams, and leave it at that.

Jesse made me super-warm rainbow arm socks for Christmas! I will post pics as soon as I find a working camera or get mine going again.

My change jar is almost full again. I'm thinking I might get myself a nice expensive crystal or fossil specimen if there's enough in there. It seems kinda profligate, but the change jar is my annual splurge fund and all I want for Christmas is rocks anyway.

Fuck Your Winter Wonderland, Mrs. Marshmallow Pants

It's been a while since I was out during daylight hours, man. I found this out the hard way this morning as I watched my dog take a big shit in the snow. Steam rose up and drifted away for about six fucking feet. This amazed and horrified me, and I stood around until the toxic waste stopped smoking before I dared to bag it.

I'm sure this happens every time he's taken a dump since the day about a month ago where I was able to put a pint of ice cream outside my door to save for later, but since I usually walk him in the dark, I've been spared the horror of actually seeing it happen until now.

Somebody threw a bike off a bridge a week ago, over the deepest part of the river. The bike's been sitting there ever since. In a couple of days someone will walk out and get it, probably.

The spillway has been trying to freeze over for weeks, but so far the water's been moving too fast. This morning, though, there were three or four spots where ice had built up enough to block the flow. Where the water did come out, it was roaring and vicious and sent up a crazy steam cloud you could see for blocks around.

I would have gotten pictures, but the cool new camera has a defective sensor and stopped working for good right after I videotaped the dog frolicking in the snow on the way out. I hope to god it's still under warranty.

It was fuck knows how far below zero when we first went out. By the time we got back two hours later it had risen to a startling 1*, and I could feel my nose again. I wish I couldn't.

The best thing about winters that plunge below zero is that suddenly 40* seems like the much-longed for dog days of summer. Also good is the way your breath condenses into a hearty pirate beard on your muffler within a few minutes.

By the end of the walk, the Captain was manic and shivering. Five bucks says the little bastard lets me fucking sleep through the night uninterrupted for a change.

I think someone stole the Christmas tree in the town square. There were twigs and small branches scattered around the empty holder thingie. Kids in this town must get so fucking bored.

On that note, I found graffiti on a wall that read "Magically Delicious." The way I see it, someone's trying to start shit with the Malt-O-Meal gang. This could get good! I'll keep you posted.

The goal of this morning's walk was to pick up some cinnamon rolls and fresh Italian bread at the EconoFood place. I also got hamburger, but I was too tired when I got home to cook it, and ate cinnamon rolls and Italian bread with Nutella instead. Carbolicious and very very good.

Saturday, the dog trainer comes for our first session. She does house calls because the entire town is five feet in diameter and all she'll have to do to get to our place from where she lives is turn around and knock. This kind of business model is new to me, but I'll roll with it because I'm lazy and it's warm here. She apparently tailors her lessons based on client needs, so I've whipped up a nice list of ways I want this animal's spirit to be crushed. It's going to be awesome.

PS - People look at you funny when you walk around laughing maniacally. Maybe because they can't see the iPod headphones and thus do not know you're listening to George Carlin performing "When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?"

It's going to be the best fun I ever had with my clothes on.

December 13, 2007

storm country

I dreamed I was about to stay the night at a friend's house, and I went walking down the block to where my car was parked so I could pick up some gear for overnight.

I finished grabbing my stuff and stopped before heading back to blow my nose. As I did, I happened to look up at the sky, and on the horizon there was a thunderhead so gnarly and mean-looking that it was as black as midnight at the center. It was coming fast and little wisps of cloud that looked almost like smoke were swirling around underneath it.

I decided I wouldn't be going back to the house just yet, and dug out my camera to get a picture for my blog of this incredible black thunderhead.

I stepped out of the car to get a clear shot, and just then the first lightning flashed. It was spectacularly bright and jagged, and the thunder was almost simultaneous. I jumped back into the car and climbed into the rear, keeping well away from anything metal. More lightning and thunder while I climbed around, and this time it was even closer than before. Cars are safer than most places in electrical storms, but I was starting to be scared.

The storm hit so fast I barely had time to click the wheel over 'video' and start recording. I didn't have to point it any particular direction because every fork of lightning ended up in-frame. The thunder was savage. At one point I got nervous that my terrified breathing would end up in the video and spoil it, but the noise got so much louder that I didn't have to worry about that anymore after a few seconds.

Lightning started striking all around the car and the sky filled with these horribly distorted sounds. I'd never heard anything so awful in my life. I'd heard something similar once (in walking life) when lightning struck nearby and the thunder sounded like someone waving thin metal plates or wires around before it finally boomed. That had been weird and curious; this was horrifying and deadly.

The lightning was so bright and constant that it started distorting the visuals on the camera's viewscreen into meaningless jagged white wavelengths. I knew the sky was trying to get me, just as it had in all those recurring dreams that had come before. Lightning was striking the car, over and over again, and I kept recording through it all. What else could I do?

I woke up with sick jolts of fear and anticipation surging over my body from head to toe. I knew I was awake and safe, but my brain was still reacting to lightning that wasn't really there. I even checked outside to make absolutely sure, but the foot and a half of snow on the ground wasn't enough to reassure me that the storm was imaginary.

I came over here to type it down without bothering to give myself time to wake up properly, because the paranoia and chills were driving me crazy. It was so fucking real.

December 12, 2007

Orlando WHOM?

(The following chat log contains spoilers for the third installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and not much punctuation:)

[19:57] Luka: and man, orlando bloom hasn't got much going for him beyond his looks.

[19:57] Conrad: tell me about it

[19:57] Luka: and that's sad because that's what people used to think about johnny depp only it turned out to not be true.
[19:58] Luka: he was in the film for like...ten seconds. in the first movie
[19:58] Luka: and even then it was because he was doing an impression of Jack Sparrow
[19:58] Luka: then he winked back out again.
[19:58] Luka: never saw him again, it was bizarre.

[19:59] Conrad: who?
[20:00] Conrad: wait, orlando bloom?

[20:00] Luka: he was credited for all three movies but all i saw was a cameo

[20:00] Conrad: he was all through all three movies

[20:00] Luka: it was really weird when elizabeth married her sword and the dutchman became a democracy with no captain

[20:00] Conrad: lol!
[20:01] Conrad: ah, okay

[20:01] Luka: i did see jack talking to someone named 'Will' but i just figured it was another crazy Jackism.
[20:01] Luka: like maybe Will is what he calls his penis?
[20:02] Luka: he can't have actually been in the movies, they would have put him on the dvd cover and all i see are chow yun-fat, kiera knightley, johnny depp, geoffrey Rush and that silly dude who's always making cow-eyes

[20:02] Conrad: lol

[20:02] Luka: you know the one. from like...lotr
[20:03] Luka: he's in every movie but you just never remember his name

[20:03] Conrad: you mean the movie where no one ever slides down an elephant's trunk?

[20:03] Luka: that's the one.
[20:03] Luka: it's a fucking conundrum is what it is.

Detour detoured

Got the Detour table registration confirmation thing a week ago, where it instructs you to register for the con and pay for the table. Standard con procedure, no problem.

Did not notice the email can be scrolled down to reveal a last bit of text that warns they're using a first-come-first-served method, and if you don't pay for your registration immediately you will get bumped off the table registration list in favor of anybody who pays ahead of you.

Got bumped off the list.

With most cons, the whole purpose of emailing the alley in advance to reserve a table is so that you will have time to fill out registration paperwork and write the checks once you know there's a spot waiting for you. Oh well, I lose.

At least I still have Kiera Knightley's nose to keep me company, right? I've been watching the Pirates of the Caribbean films and I know for sure it would never abandon me.


December 11, 2007

Simpsons Did It!

For several years now, my friend Conrad has been working on a comic called 'Cool Beans' about a candy store run by the granddaughter of a mysterious magic-usey person whose candy gives kids awesome super-powers, which they then use to fight the bad kids in the neighborhood who have powers of their own.

He and his friend Stephen (the artist at the time) published a four-page minicomic that outlines the plot and introduces the characters in an anthology a few years ago, but he's been having some trouble finding an artist so it isn't finished yet.

This September, a book appeared on the shelves about a candy store opened by a mysterious magic-usey person whose candy gives kids awesome super-powers. Even the cover art bears a passing resemblance to the Cool Beans concept art:

He's really hoping it's just a (really unfortunate though ultimately superficial) coincidence, like you sometimes get in this business, but the other writer is well-known, so Conrad's main worry is that people will think he's pulling a ripoff job of the other book.

I know this from experience: being accused of stealing a story you stabbed your claim flag into long before the other guy came along is a real pain in the proverbial. Luckily, Conrad has hard copies that prove Cool Beans predates the other book by several years.

In the event that plot similarities do end up being a problem (again, not likely, but who knows?) he will at least be covered in that respect.

Now, I have a strong desire to have a fat copy of the finished Cool Beans clasped in my hot little hands, so this post is me going on the record to officially state that Conrad got there first and I was there to witness it and his story is ten times cooler anyway so there.

Now find an artist and go go go!

December 6, 2007

Art Post - Visit (1)

I needed to try something new and get a bit of background practice in, so I wrenched myself away from comicking and playing video games today, dug out my photo reference folder, and got to work making with the spooky.

The original photo was of a collapsed roof in a Pennsylvania ghost town.

December 5, 2007

Holy shit, some guy from Bellevue shot up the Omaha Westroads mall.

I'm so glad I don't live there anymore.

Some stupid fucking news bimbo just ruined the ending of the His Dark Materials trilogy. No warning or anything.


This has really been my week for jerks to gleefuly crush all my anticipation for stories I've been really looking forward to.

Oh look, sunlight. I'm taking out the trash and then going to bed.

December 4, 2007

Snape Fans and Car Crashes

After I got back from Cedar Rapids, I was too stupid for real art so I drew this shitty comic instead. It's a true story.

In other news, as I was driving up I-35, the weather got kind of gross. Mostly a little freezing rain, a few snowflakes, that sort of thing. But the EXACT second I drove past the sign that says WELCOME TO MINNESOTA, all hell broke loose. It was a blizzard and the road was so covered over with blowing snow that I couldn't tell where the road edges were (thank god for the rumble strips).

I slowed down accordingly and did just fine all the way up until I got off the interstate, at which point I promptly lost control of Seebs' car and crashed it into a ditch not even two fucking miles from our house.

The interstate had been bad enough, but the road off Exit 69 hadn't been plowed yet and traffic wasn't heavy enough to flatten it down evenly. The car skidded in the other vehicles' wheel ruts, which proved fatal when going around a curve. The wheels shuddered around a little and suddenly I was sliding all the way across the road into the other lane's ditch.

I fetched up in a snowbank that came almost to my hips when I got out of the car, and snow sprayed the windshield from the impact. The brakes did absolutely nothing but I wasn't going fast enough to do any damage. The road was pretty clear of other vehicles, too, so I consider myself lucky as hell. I couldn't find my cel phone so I just grabbed my coat, gloves, ID, inhaler and decided to hike the rest of the way.

I got picked up not ten feet down the road. This was very fortunate, because there weren't any sidewalks and the road itself was, as I've mentioned, very tricksy to navigate.

The guy who gave me the lift was pretty cool and told me about other snow emergencies he's rescued people from in the past. It's kind of like a hobby here in Northfield, from what I can gather. He'd been on peacekeeping missions to Brazil and all sorts of interesting shit.

Anyway, I got home and Seebs took the big car and we went to Target for snow boots (neither of us had a pair) and then to the car to try to dig it out a bit and wait for AAA.

The guy showed up to tow us out a bit later than expected due to the 89 other cars I'd seen off the road by then, and once it was free, I got back in and drove the rest of the way home with extreme caution. Even going under twenty miles an hour, I still slid around like butter on a hot knife whenever there were wheel ruts.

I think I'll wait til they plow it before I go out again.

So, home safe and sound. Dog very happy to see me. I'm told he was very mellow while I was gone, and Rah let him sleep on her to avoid the night-time whinging that had me worrying about everyone's sanity.

Pics of ditch-infested car soon. Woo! My first accident!

December 2, 2007

Hey Rain!

I need directions to your folks' house and I also don't know what time I should arrive. Call me or leave AIM message, yah?

I'm pretty sure that if I load up on cough drops I will be fine for the trip, as I've been feeling significantly better as of tonight.

Got her!

December 1, 2007

This Hole Was Made For Me

This is the most horrifying, claustrophobic short story I've read in three or four years. Kudos.

Still sick. Coughing up bloody leather and my eyes burn whenever I close them. Been doing absolutely nothing but playing video games because I'm stupid. Did take the dog for a walk today, after bundling up nice and warm.

It finally snowed for real-real--about 6 inches. It was bright enough to read outdoors at midnight and the sky was glowing with a wonderful orange-pink light.

The Captain was skeptical at first, but once he decided the snow wasn't going to eat his paws, he was quickly overtaken by glee and became officially frolicksome. On our walk, he was so struck by the novelty of it all that he pranced like a little Broadway dancer. His toes are webbed and spread apart in the snow so that whenever he takes a step the entire paw sort of balloons into a furry mauve snowshoe. For this situation, the appropriate sound effect is 'pratt pratt pratt'.

Later the snow turned to sleet before tapering off entirely, and what was on the ground quickly grew a hard shell. The Captain likes nothing more in the world than breaking through the crust with his paws and sniffing the resulting holes for possible mice.

Also, he has added some interesting new whale song to his whining repertoire. I laughed my ass off earlier when he started singing this yodeling, purring wookiee lullaby to a cat on the stairs who was out of his reach.

Ha ha, Captain. You suck.

Rain! I misplaced my phone again! I'll call you tomorrow once I've dug it out of the laundry or wherever it is.