Sunday, December 10, 2006


LibraryThing is a neat online service for cataloging your library (free for up to 200 books). It delves into social networking territory, allowing you to create a profile and connecting you to others who have similar libraries. It even offers book suggestions based on your catalog.

When Julia showed me this site, I kicked my heels with joy (figuratively speaking) - this is exactly the kind of thing the Inter-web is for! In a more civilized world, people would connect with like-minded peers using a site such as this, instead of trolling for jailbait on myspace at 3:00 AM.

Friday, December 08, 2006


If you're a comic artist or fan, check out ComicSpace - it's a brand new site, brought to you by the same fellow who brought us, and it's pretty cool. Yes, it's basically - well, exactly - myspace, but less meatmarket-y and more comic-y. Extreme!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

What I'm Reading

The Perks of Being a Wallflower didn't impress me at first, as it seemed just another coming of age book, in the vein of Catcher in the Rye, starring the type of protaganist who combines the qualities I find most annoying: cloyingly callow and good (much like John Irving's Owen Meany), hopelessly in love with a girl who, it would seem, won't return his affections, and maddeningly passive.

But this novel has a way of sucking you in, and I found myself enjoying Charlie's tumultuous journey through a year in high school, narrated in a series of letters Charlie writes to an anonymous recipient he barely knows. Author Stephen Chbosky has a warm, unaffected style, and almost anyone can identify with the sensitive Charlie and the archetypical cliques of teenagers with whom he interacts; in particular his friends, who would fit into the "freak", "goth", "alternative", or "artsy" category recognizable in any high school. And most of the annoyances I found in Charlie's character are vindicated in the epilogue's surprising revelation; this I think made the novel especially memorable.

I feel this book probably would have resonated with me more had I read it at a younger age. Nonetheless, I would recommend it unhesitatingly to anyone as a sweetly inspiring look at human nature and adolescence.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Root for the home team!

I read an interesting piece which examines the idea of "the home team" - something that I've often wondered about. When watching professional sports, isn't it ridiculous to associate oneself with a team, just because the franchise is geographically close to your home? To take the analysis further, isn't the idea of a local team even more meaningless when you can be sure that virtually none of the players actually originated from the city that the team represents?

This may be especially true in baseball, where it seems as if the great American pastime has become dominated by expatriates from the Dominican Republic and Japan. But hey, I fully embrace and welcome this irony - it is the red-blooded American tradition to invent something, and then let others do much better at that thing.

Sports is funny - nothing about it makes sense when analyzed. Why should we cheer on the accomplishments of other people, especially when the "accomplishment" is throwing a ball through a net, or carrying a ball past an arbitrary line, and the people we cheer are often little more than steroid-riddled neanderthals? But we do, or at least I do; and sometimes the bad performance of your favorite team can ruin your day a little - another concept which is really ridiculous when you think about it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

What I'm Reading

Philosophy for Beginners is a book I may have poo-pooed in the past, having little interest in either philosophy or "Dummies" type books. However I recently resolved to learn new things every once in a while (especially things in which I wouldn't normally have interest), and it would certainly be snobbish of me, as a webcomic guy, to look down on a beginner's book made from cartoons.

I find the book to be quite fascinating, and actually inspiring. I enjoy learning about people who broke the mold of conventional thought and defied oppressive authorities, even if their philosophy seems silly to me. Did you know that the term "dunce" came from the followers of Duns Scotus (1270-1308), who were called "dunses", because they opposed classical studies? Neither did I!

In the chapter I'm reading on medieval Scholasticism, I found particularly interesting all the information on great thinkers like Roger Bacon and William of Occam, who show up as constant references in one of my favorite novels, The Name of the Rose.

Other tantalizing subjects in the "Beginners Documentary Comic Book" series: UNICEF, babies, sex, the Black Panthers, and yes, the history of clowns (!).

Monday, September 25, 2006

Aldo Kelrast, may ye rest in peace

My god, they killed Aldo, creepy captain Kangaroo lookalike and octogenarian stalker; the man who single-handedly transformed Mary Worth from a frumpy senior-citizen soap opera, into a riveting national addiction! Oh Aldo, you will be missed.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Guest comic

On this fine September morning, I am honored to have my guest comic posted on the most excellent Toasted Pixel comic site.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Atlanta pictures

As promised, I've posted the pictures I took during my brief romp at Dragon*Con in Atlanta. These include the very friendly and knowledgeable Klingon who taught me how to say "thank you" in the his native, made-up tongue (it's always nice to meet a polite Klingon!), Electro hamming it up with his reality-defying electric sparks, scantily clad Princess Leia walking down some stairs, the icy Ice Queen, and even what appear to be porn stars. And yeah, I'm a terrible photographer, and every picture is an unsatisfying blur.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational comic site

I finally finished writing the various Python and bash scripts that act as the gum and duct tape for this site, so now I plan to settle into a regular weekly update schedule. Look for a new comic every Monday morning, starting next week.

This week has been very busy, fun, and rife with addiction, due in part to the following:
  • The second season of Lost just came out on DVD, so Julia and I have been doing some marathon video renting and TV watching. This series is so addictive it boggles the mind.
  • We recently joined our first fantasy football league, which I found to be more enjoyable than anything involving statistics and AOL has a right to be.
  • The Cubs season is drawing to a close, and they are going out in style, doing what they do best: losing, losing, and losing some more. Yet I love 'em and can't stop following these guys. I figure all this abuse just makes me stronger. As George Will wrote, "Chicago Cubs fans are ninety percent scar tissue."
  • Julia and I spent a great weekend in Georgia, visiting friends in Atlanta, and then running a 5K in Athens. I'll have to post the pictures I took when Kristian, Ed, and I walked around at Dragoncon in Atlanta. How often do you get to hang out with Orcs, superheroes, and Klingons all in the same day?

Monday, August 28, 2006

What I'm Reading

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood. This is one of those classic books that I've meant to read for decades, but only recently got around to it. I didn't really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The story is chillingly unnerving, the writing poetic and efficient.

The novel's cautionary political and feminist message is no less relevant today than when it was written. But I like that Atwood conveys her message through the strength of the story and her relatable protagonist, as opposed to dogmatic exposition and characters that serve soley as mouthpieces.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

New Comic Strip

Guess what? I created a new webcomic, The Remonstrance. However, before promoting it to the world at large, I would like to create a buffer of several more strips, as well as finish coding the Python scripts that make the site tick. Hopefully this will happen within a couple weeks.

Who would enjoy this comic, you might ask? Well, do you like kitty cats?
How about cats addicted to psychotropic drugs? Then this one's for you!