April 30, 2009

April 29, 2009

Musings on a Phlegm-Filled Evening

You know, I was thinking today that I should try subsidizing my addictions with other addictions. Like trading commissions for geological cabinet specimens. I can't afford to add new stuff to my rock/fossil/gem collection, but I can afford to draw for hours every day. The question would be how to quantify the value of any particular specimen compared to the art, since both are very subjective. The same fossil that will sell for $6 on eBay will go for $100 at a metaphysical shop--it's all about the value the buyer assigns to each piece when it calls out to them.

Hmm. It is a pretty interesting idea, but I have such a particular taste in shinies that I would feel bad turning down offers. But really, I dislike money and the idea of trading with other rock fans does appeal to me. Maybe I should keep pursuing this. If nothing else, it would be funny as shit to try.

Meanwhile, Kagerou is migrating to www.kagerou.org as its permanent home. Adjust bookmarks as necessary, folks! Electric-Manga.com will not be going bye-bye, but Seebs has written a hell of a good piece of code for a webcomic browsing site and I've offered the domain for it. It's by fans, for fans. No aggregating comics, it's just like having a bookmark folder that you can send to friends, write and rank reviews, add your own discoveries and find similar strips to read. It'll also keep track of where you leave off in any given story. When beta testing is done and it goes live, I plan to erase my comic's hideously outdated link page and just post my electric-manga account page instead.

Tomorrow I need to make an appointment with the doctor. I am fairly sure my tonsils weren't this red-streaked and bumpy last time I looked. The cold appears to be going away this time, so there's something to be happy about. It's no fun being falling-down sick during an influenza panic.


Just one so far, but it's a milestone: the first 100% digital page of Kagerou. More on the way soon!

April 27, 2009

Gag Retch Blooga ANIMU Cough Cough

Funimation just gets cooler and cooler. First they rescued One Piece from the rape dungeon of 4Kids Entertainment, now they've gone and solved the Fansub/Licensed Show problem.

Basically, there's a new Full Metal Alchemist series coming out. It's sort of a reboot that will follow the manga plot instead of the TV-only story of the previous series. Funimation said "Dood, let's let people watch the subs for free on our site every week after it airs in Japan!" and there was much rejoicing. Seriously, that is fucking cool of them. It caused a bit of a traffic problem on their site, but letting the episodes load before watching is a small price to pay for keeping current with the series AND supporting the official release.

Roy's new voice took a bit of getting used to, though. Not bad, just different.

The sickness continues. I coughed so hard I threw up three times yesterday, but luckily it was only a little bit and I was able to motor on. Lots of vertigo today.

The news is full of Swine Flu panic right now, which doesn't exactly make me feel better about sleeping 12 hours and waking up with vertigo. I spent the dizziest time curled up in the big chair downstairs, catching Golden Whales on Unlimited Adventure with a heating pad behind my neck. Life could be worse.

April 25, 2009

Sick again. Three times in as many months! This time it's some kind of sinus/tonsil thing. Got a pressure headache too. My plans for the day include soup and napping.

April 24, 2009

Kagerou Cast Lineup - 3

Still need to do Grims, Josh and a few other major ones--who have I forgotten?

April 23, 2009

Kagerou Cast Lineup - 2

Eleven more!

April 22, 2009

More Katamari Imagery Than Is Strictly Necessary

Deciding that taking apart the katamari of fail would be too difficult, I rolled a katamari of win instead.

First I called the rehabilitation services folks to set up a meeting with intake (this is vocational training, not the neck therapy stuff). Then I called my social worker to ask about appealing the cancellation of my benefits for February (forgot to pay a $4 premium) on the basis of the ADD making me forgetful. If I can get this sorted, I won't owe $300 worth of bills for that month, which is a very very good thing. Then I called my health plan about getting a new card. They told me I'm not officially on the plan until May and that's why there isn't a card already sent out. Which means I need to pay for this month's appointments and medications myself and then apply for reimbursement in May.

Then I called the organization that provides the health plan to ask about changing from UCare to Blue Plus when the plan is re-activated, and they told me that will have to be done through the worker as well. I'm waiting for her to return my call tomorrow. Then I called the bank about locking myself out of my online account and reset the password.

Then I called the pharmacy, got them to list the prices for the medicines I need to refill, and worked out a plan to fill only the urgent items. Generic Prozac is $16.99 for a month's supply of 20mg pills. My psychiatrist gave me a scrip for 40mg to see if it cuts the anxiety down a bit better, but doubling the dosage for some reason raises the price to over $80 per bottle. So the pharmacist told me to bring in the scrip anyway, and he'll fill it as two bottles of the 20mg instead, and I can just take several pills to get the same dosage. I did that. They also transferred my prescriptions from the Walgreens pharmacy, saving me the trouble.

Sometime during this flurry of doings, I read two articles on the topics of mindfulness and the science of late blooming that my shrink recommended to me, and took the magazine back to her office. It was closed, so I left the magazine in a box by her door where she keeps her business cards, called her up and left a message to let her know it was there.

I did this all before breakfast.

With that in mind, I drove to the grocery store and spent $7 on a big fat juicy sirloin steak, which I cut in half and shared with Rah. My half was bleeding copiously as I ate it, and it was fantastic. Sadly I mistook cinnamon for Old Bay seasoning and ended up having to spray it with tap water to get rid of it. Even then, it was oddly flavored in a not-so-awesome way along the edges.

But goddamn it, it was a bloody steak and that means it was automatically the best thing in the world. Also broccoli and the last of the steamed rice from last night. Nom.

After that I went to the other store, filled the prescriptions, and bought Rah some cookies. Thus ended my day.

I did not contact my lawyer about the bike information, which is bad as it's getting pretty urgent. I'll make that tomorrow's project instead. I think I did enough life fixing for today. The katamari of win is now 3 meters in diameter, almost large enough to roll up the katamari of fail that's been growing all month.

My life gets tangled in a hopeless ball of unpleasant tasks every now and then, but each time it happens, recovery is faster and less of a hassle, and the faltering takes less of my time and energy. Dr. D says it will keep getting easier with practice, so that's my plan.

As Brother Ali would say, "Keep your lip stiff. Keep your fist clenched. Sometimes you gotta kick your way through this bitch." That song has seen me through some tough times this past year, but things are getting better.

Once the chaos is settled a bit, I think I'll be taking a small number of commissions on a strictly trial basis. Just to see if I'm ready to get back to full-time arting yet.

In Case You're Wondering...

Not my best work. I'll have to redraw Moko again when I'm not recording so I don't get stage fright and mess up.

April 21, 2009

Cintiq Progress and Art Post

In order to learn to use the Cintiq to its maximum advantage, as well as mastering as the Painter 8 interface, I decided to begin from the leftmost character in the Kagerou lineup sketch from yesterday, and draw one person at a time from start to finish. The upside to all this practice is that I'll be left with a great piece of Kagerou character reference, plus the art itself will be visible proof of the speed at which I adapted my skills to the new format. So far I'm surprised and delighted by the speed of improvement. By the time I hit #33 (the Black Angel) I should have a fairly decent idea of what the fuck I'm doing.

Using layers is new to me. Hell, the last time I had Painter was the 2001 version. Getting used to these new options on this new tablet will take a long time, and I'm not good with huge changes. So I'm going to keep going down that line, experimenting, trying new tools, til I'm comfortable with the setup and ready to expand into new and interesting fields using what I've learned.

Switching Kagerou to a Painter comic is a possibility, depending on how the style would change. I'd like to keep the cel shaded anime thing going as much as possible, but I would be happy to sacrifice that for a more organic look if I could do it justice. If it sped up production I'd just about have to at this point :D

But before I go counting comicky coup, I need to learn the basics like a good little newbie. No "I'll learn as I go!" crap, only to find out after years and years that I was doing everything the hard way the whole time. Nope, this time I'm going to put in as much time as it takes to acclimatize to the tools, then unleash the fury of technology upon the cities of my enemy once I'm good and skilled.

It will be tough, but I'm going to figure this shit out and make it my bitch. For one thing, it's redoubled my drive to better my skills. Also it's just plain fun to dick around with this awesome new toy. I've wanted a Cintiq since I was a kid and it was still science fiction, ever since that Supergirl movie where they would draw stuff in midair and make it come to life. Yum.

I spent all of today reprogramming the Cintiq's shortcut keys. My goal is to eliminate the need for a keyboard altogether by putting all the hotkeys on the tablet. This was doomed to failure since there are only ten buttons on the tablet itself, but then I discovered the Radial Menu and its amazing collapsing menu tree.

Now I've got every shortcut-able command in Painter mapped to the back-click button on the stylus, right down to turning the volume up or down on iTunes without touching the keys. For things that still need the keyboard, I use the XP Onscreen Keyboard.

Once that was done, I did it all over again for Corel Photo-Paint (which has different shortcut keys) and calibrated the monitor.

End result: ease of use is fucking unbelievable. My wrist is fucking killing me, but it's the ache I get from drawing for hours and hours, not the one I got every time I used the Graphire. No carpal pain or finger numbness after something like 12 hours of on-and-off drawing.

I do wish I'd gotten the larger tablet, but it would have meant waiting another year to save up the cash. I will be able to afford it much sooner if I use the 12" model to do commissions. Then I can trade up.

Other than the art, my life is in shambles. Forgot to pay a bill, now I owe $300 in medical expenses because I lost coverage. Lost my cell phone (found tonight at least), lost my medical card, ran out of medication and can't renew the scrip (which may explain the rest of my sudden fail, actually). Not sleeping well. Room's a mess. Housework is crazy backed up, and I haven't talked to my lawyer in months. I know it's going to bite me in the ass later, but I'm avoiding everything as much as possible. It's sort of congealed into a giant katamari of suck, and I don't negotiate with terrorists. The only thing I've done well all month is get my Etsy orders out on time.

But all of this is OK, because suck happens. The trick is to break the katamari of suck back down into small, manageable pieces so that it no longer has the power to intimidate. So tomorrow I'll pick a small task from the failbin and start by fixing it. Disability schmisability, I'm a powerhouse of radness. Because why? Because digital watercolor.

April 17, 2009

Update Tiem

Six more pages of Kagerou! The story of what exactly the Gods did to Tcaolin to make her such a raging cunt approaches its thrilling conclusion.

Goddamn I am so excited. This new Cintiq gizmo is going to change everything. As soon as I learn to use it, anyway. There's a mess of programmable hotkeys on both sides, so I have to memorize where I put all the commands.

It rocks so goddamn much. I can't even believe it. I inked two pages right on the screen and it was EASY. I may even get crazy and start using layers sometime!

I also installed Painter 8, and found to my astonishment that it didn't corrupt the brush settings on Photo-PAINT. I can't wait to play with watercolors. Oohhhh this new toy is the best ever. And way more ergonomic. Gush gush.

April 12, 2009

Blow, Wind, BLOW!

I'm happy because the anti-marriage fuckwits have pretty much run out of scare tactics and have begun to recycle gay themes such as the rainbow symbol and the cry of "You're taking away my rights."

This is not going to work. One by one, the dominoes are toppling. In fifty years the Gay Agenda will reign supreme in every land. Butt sex will be in every home, whether you like it or not. Dirty, dirty butt sex. Dicks and trannies will be on every advertising billboard. On the final day of this Sodom on earth, ropy jets of jizz will rain down from the heavens in a planet-drowning bukkake of death.

We call it "The Coming Storm" and it's going to fucking rock.

April 11, 2009

Snow Katamari Revisited

The annotation function on YouTube is SUPER SWEET. Here's why:

I found this old video just now and re-uploaded it (had to put in different music because YouTube mutes unlicensed songs). I like it better now anyway.

Artist's Representation of the Cutest Thing In The Universe.

April 9, 2009

Terminator 2: Low Budgement Day

Cannot stop laughing.

April 1, 2009

how do you say 'Dora is drowning' in Spanish?

Sent to me on DeviantArt:

This is the only acceptable use of YouTube pop-up text. Holy shit I'm still laughing.


Busy Busy Busy!

Where did Luka go all week?




Not pictured: A huge bowl of buttons, a fat stack of prints and an Olympian pile of keychains, all made during con prep.

One more day until Detour, and somehow I feel like I'm just getting warmed up with this round sticker business. What a shame it's taken me this long to make proper Kagerou stickers and buttons. They seem so easy and fun to do now, and I can't help but notice what a difference the Concerta has made in my ability to handle the workload.

Speaking of which: Con prep? A BREEZE with medication. I am fairly optimistic that I may actually survive the weekend on planet conventia with my sanity intact this time. Oh, mind-altering chemicals, you are tops!