Fri, Oct 3 - VP smashout!
I had big feelings about last night's Vice-presidential slapdown. I spent several hours talking all about how the story of the night would be "Biden is an asshole!" Part of me predicted thusly because I thought it would be that way, part of me predicted the same in the hope that my prediction would be wrong as so many other of my predictions have been.
Now that it's done, I'm gonna collect and distribute some numbers. My basic premise is that, in a vice-presidential debate, one wants to spend maximum time attcking the other candidate and minimum time defending your own. This comes from a basic axiom of American politics: when it comes down to victim and victimizer, the victimizer wins every time. To defend is to lose.
So! some numbers:
My numbers come from my drunken census of the New York Times transcript, so I'm likely off by one or two here or there. I took "Barack" and "Obama" as ticks as I took "John" or "McCain" as ticks.
Straight away I wanna say that neither vice-presidential candidate shit the bed. That is, I didn't feel that Palin came off as a retarded looney, nor did Biden seem like a gigantic asshole. Those were the flat-out lose conditions and to my estimation neither of them flat-out lost.
So, given my earlier remarks --a VP candiate's job is to rip up the opposing P candidate while refusing to defend his or her own P candidate-- how did it go down?
First off, Biden close to doubled Palin's total P candidate mention count. And since Palin and Biden were almost dead even in total number of times they mentioned their own running mate, that means that Biden talked shit about McCain, well, damn, look at the numbers, one shy of three times as often as Palin did about Obama.
As I type this I see a flaw in my pre-debate model in that it fails to distinguish between a VP candidate talking up his or her P candidate and a VP candidate defending his or her P candidate. Praising and connecting is needed; defending and justifying is weakness. My numbers don't reveal anything about how many times when Biden said "Obama" he was connecting versus when he was defending, even as they say nothing about how often when Palin said "McCain" she was talking him up as opposed to defending him against an attack. So, really, that part of my model has no evidentiary support and I'm gonna drop it.
But the bit about VP candidates wrecking on the opposing presidential candidate? I think it holds. One can debate whether a vice-presidential candidate was praising or defending his or her running mate, but we can be decently clear that when a VP candidate brings up the opposing presidential candidate, it's to slam him.
And on that? Biden.
I wonder if this is the collapse of the McCain campaign. Palin pulling off something magical could have sustained it for another week, but now we're left with the facts. And the facts, or at least one fact, is that the Republican message of government is the problem, we gotta get government off our backs, we gotta get the government out of the way of the private market so it can do everything the government can't do, that message is coming exactly the same time as the private market is crapping out and begging for money from the government. Can Republicans truly argue that the reason we're in this mess is because the government regulated the financial markets too closely? Republicans can't argue deregulation while the economy teeters in the teeth of a market gone wild. Instead they find themselves, as Palin did last night, arguing for better and more oversight, a position flatly alien to the modern Republican worldview.
Now, if they were to follow through on the free-market, help yourself, no-handout philosophy they espouse, they would tell the failing banks to go to hell. Free market, baby. And a bigass pile of their constituents, Democrats and Republicans both, would be behind that. But nobody's gonna call the market's bluff on that one so the Republicans are left with a message they can't deliver. What's left? The flashing lights grow wearying.
Oh yeah, and I've got a cartoon.
Pamplemousse still is at ComixPress.
Fri, 26 - Urg
Sick today, surprisingly so, to the extent that I actually stayed home from work, a first. But what could I do, sniffling and blurred and wrecked as I was? And all due to that damn
Its can happen. Three weeks ago McCain's desperate Hail Mary Palin pass seemed unstoppable, the ultimate distraction, a flashing light to bewilder and befuse all who beheld her. Now it seems all it takes to wrench Americans' attention away from a pretty face is an impending economic collapse.O fickle heart! And what's all this craziness about McCain bailing on the debates? Madness, I tell you!
It is here.
Fri, Sep 19 - Voted!
Thass right. I wrote the name of my preferred candidate on my absentee ballot, put it in the inner envelope, sealed the inner envelope, placed it in the outer envelope, sealed, signed and dated the outer envelope, placed the outer envelope in the mailing envelope, wrote my return address to the outer envelope, departed for work, dropped the mailing envelope on the street, entered the smoke shop, realized I no longer had the mailing envelope, scrambled desperately back up the street, discovered the mailing envelope, recovered it, returned to the smoke shop, bought bidis, proceded to the postal outlet, purchased postage to Canada, affixed the postage to the mailing envelope and deposited it in the mail slot. As far as I'm concerned that's voting. It was sweet.
Cartoon? I has one.
Nights, as in Peggle
Yep, it's gone down. A game on which I've spent the last year and a half and most of my attention is out. It's shipping. It's at PopCap.com. Look, here's a picture:
See those little glowy things around the infinity symbols? Those are particle effects, my friends. They are emitted. By emitters. They are dope.
So yeah. Give Peggle Nights a shot. It's even free, up to a point. Taste the fun! Let it dribble down your chin and stain your neck with rich funness. Then pay money.
And by mousse I mean Pamplemousse, this thing. It is for buying.
I got a question for y'all. I'm considering making Pamplemousse available through Amazon's print-on-demand service, Booksurge. It'd be nice to have the book be buyable by impulse buyers through Amazon's one-click system. Unfortunately, I would be required to charge $16 for it rather than the current $14, and that price change would have to apply to the copies I sold through ComixPress. On the other hand, the new versions would be slightly nicer. Anybody got opinions on that? Lemme know if you do.
Fri, Sep 12 - Vey, Oy
Well, it's been a week and the circular jerking around Ms. Palin continues apace. Will it go on forever? Is this where the whole deal turned? I say, it's dizzying, it's almost enough to make a displaced socialist
It occurs to me I haven't posted a new PopStrip in close to a year. Well, that's not quite true, I've posted a bunch since then but they all had helpful img tags like "file:///C|/Documents and Settings/Steve/My Documents/bob/poPCAP/popstrip28.jpg." So let's see if we can fix that a bit, kicking off with this little baby:
Fri, Sep 5 - Somethin'
Shhh. Did you hear that? Was it
That Sarah Palin chick put quite a show on Wednesday. Check out the zingers:
"This is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate."
"We tend to prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco."
"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."
Are these statements fair? Accurate? True? Who cares? They're zingers! Obama got zinged! Oh snap, etc.!
It's not so much what she said but that she said it with youth and vitality, two qualities prevously unlinkable to the McCain campaign. Now the Republicans have their own sexy celebrity candidate --what an upgrade from the doddering antique they had before! Is it a masterstroke of evil electoral cunning? Have the Roveites trumped the O by picking a hot chick?
She gives good speech, and Obama supporters have to believe in the power of good speeches to change elections. I don't know if she's gonna appeal to disaffected Clinton voters but she's sure gonna draw crowds. I suspect many Republicans would love to let McCain fade and have the rest of the election revolve around her beating on Obama. It would be way more entertaining TV. But I can't help imagine it being anything other than ultimately self-defeating; if your rock star is your vice-presidential candiate, doesn't that make your presidential candidate look even more feeble and powerless? How much of Palin's sex appeal is transmissible to her running mate?
When asked about Palin's speech, Obama shrugged her off, saying "I've been called worse on the basketball court." He's also ordered his campaign to back off on the Palin's-teenage-daughter thing, which I think is a smart move. Jumping into a feeding frenzy on a vice-presidential candidate would make him look small, and besides, other people can do that. Better to leave his hands clean to hammer on that poor old man McCain. We'll see.
Certainly, though, we've seen some fun stuff in the last couple of weeks. Damn, this thing's gettin' almost entertaining!
And of course
you can still purchase
Fri, Aug 28 - Obama bama bo-bama banana-fanna fo-fama
Hey, looks like we got ourselves a gen-u-ine Obama candidacy goin' now. Sweet. He don't quite got the glow on he did a few months ago, what with getting down in the political mud and votin' for FISA and all, but he's a scrapper. Smart, too. I likes that. Makes me wish I could vote for him.
Anyway, a cartoon.
You can still buy
for a finite number of American dollars!
That's Penny Arcade Expo, in case you weren't "hip" to the webcomics "scene." I'm kinda looking forward to it, or at least the Omegathon first heat today from 3:30 to 4:30 pm, just to watch hapless noobs taste the steely fire of the special Peggle level I helped whip up for the occasion. It's ballriffic!
Fri, Aug 22 - No!
So very sleepy! Must not wimp out on update! Must provide cartoon!
Must provide more! Even if it's merely a link to a bunch of posters that combine the Dungeons and Dragons moral duo-axes ethos of lawfulness and goodness with comic-book figures at some site calling itself mightygodking.
Some folks have attempted or even succeeded in buying
from ComixPress. I'd just like to here note that after discussing the issue with them it is now possible to buy the book and have it shipped to you in Canada for less than $10. Now it's, like, $3 or $4ish!
I'm a-Bear Called Jer-e-my
And why not kick it for one minute and twenty-seven seconds with one of my oldest friends?
Fri, Aug 15 - Whatever I Think Up
I imagine I'll throw some text down here like so, and then bam!
Sorry it's taken me this long to get my own self organized, but took this long it did. But the taking is done and now it's time for the getting. So now, please enjoy (and buy)
Buy! Buy! Buy! It's funny! There's stuff in it!
Thu, Aug 7 - Gone Again
I'd known that I was going back to Edmonton for Animethon, but I hadn't quite realized it was so close to Comic-Con. As in, like, the week after. So I'm a bit frazzled trying to get all my con gear back up and ready to go on such seemingly short notice. Barely time to pack --again!-- and write lists of things to remember --AGAIN!-- while still ensuring my eternal duty goes not undone.
Just before I departed for Comic-Con --what was it, eons ago?-- a reader e-mailed me this link to something I'm sure all if not most of you have seen before. But I hadn't and I must here confess it moved me, soft-hearted goober that I am. Perhaps it will you too. Try it!
Fri, Aug 1 - Ahh Gods
Lordy, it's tiring. Tiring to do the Con. Gratifying also, but man, work. But as Batman: Gotham Knight teaches us, if you're not working through pain, you're likely not working at all.
I wish I had more to say about the Con this year but I spent it all attached, leechlike, to my table nursing early and persistent pedal blisters brought on by the hellish 9-to-7 Exhibitor Hall hours. Not once did I ascend to the main floor of the convention center, nor even a single time brave the daylong lines to see a panel -- not even for Futurama! It had become clear early on, even before Saturday, that seeing panels involved commitment, deep hours-to-days-long commitment I could not in good conscience give. Watchmen panel? Missed it. Seeing megathrob Carla Gugino in human person? Went undone. Actually getting out onto the Con floor to pick up goodies? Delayed until 4 pm on Sunday such that I ended up not returning to my table at 4:30 as my note promised. To those who waited for me then in vain, I apologize.
Still, good times wound their ways into my lightcone. I had the privilege of *almost* seeing Captain Sisko and Commander (surely also Captain by now) Riker sing a drunken duet in my hotel's bar, merely glimpsing the pair at the door before Riker departed as Sisko/Brooks remained, gloriously and drunkenly white-shirted, to sing a few more rounds. Bizarrely, that particular gathering was a confluence of Starfleet officerhood and webcomix excellence, featuring in the same room the aforementioned space heroes as well as one Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade, one Randal Munroe of XKCD, one Randy Milholland of Something Positive and one Nicholas Gurewitch of Perry Bible Fellowship. And me, I suppose. I was at best half-there, bitching my mind out as I was at the hotel staff for having destroyed my bidis in a thoughtless act of housekeeping, the drink barely scratching the surface of my rage.
Ah, the Con. Thanks for all who showed up, bought books, entered contests and shared another brilliantly phantasmagorical San Diego experience in this, the year of our Lord twenty hundreds and eight! Let's do it again!
Wed, July 23 - Whoof!
Tumurruh's the day, folks, by which I mean today, Wednesday, whereby the time you're likely reading this I'll be either transiting or arrived in San Diego for San Diego Comic-Con Oh-Eight! Full wildness! I probly shouldn't've but did anyway get a bit drunk this (last) evening to watch Top Gear, a show so witty and effervescent and British it makes me feel a surge of English pride even though I have to go back beyond my great-grandparents to dig up my mainline Brit/glish heritage... or is that ethnicity? Likely both.
So, quicklike, here's this week's cartoon, a pair of days early:
By which I mean Con, as in San Diego Comic. I'll be in the Small Press Section, K16, Aisle 1400, selling mad copies of the brand new Bobber,
to what I hope and carelessly assume will be throngs, no flocks, no torrents of humanity eager to check that shit out. Be among them!
Last-minute packin'. Early-mornin' wakin'-upness! I'm on it! I must be on it!
July 18 - Nanton
It's where I'm goin' this weekend, there to attend the wedding of longtime ally and Pamplemousse contributor Darren Zenko. Should be a wild one. Damn it if I can't get some Dark Knight-seein' in there as well. There's packing and odd ends of gettin' ready for Comic-Con, so I'm just gonna fire this cartoon off and get back to it.
Oh, and I just quickly wanted to mention to Con-goers that I'll be in the Small Press Area, K16, Aisle 1400. Do it!
And I guess the Watchmen trailer is out. Zany! I got big big doubts about this movie but I won't deny it's neet to see those figures movin' around. Knowing the book I know where all the images come from, but I wonder what someone who hadn't read it would make of it all. A cheap-lookin' superhero movie with a glowy blue guy? I dunno.
July 11 - Helboy Ariseth
Man, lemme tell you, last week was crazy, I mean we got so drunk, and the syrup and it was all rockety and Davros was there and... um... what did I do last week, again? Oh, right, right... went back to Edmonton on a lark. And lark it was!
This week, though, this week is an entirely different lifeform. Tasks must be done, shirts bought for weddings and object corralled into existence and projected to San Diego. No time for frivolous drinking, expensive partying, eye to remain fixed on ball for next fortnight. So, cartoon, and then to the moving of things.
The Boy of Hell
It was a pleasant surprise to have Helloby II sneak up on me this weekend. I knew it was coming but I hadn't made a point of the date. Suddenly a television told me I could see it this Friday. This Friday? Impossible. And yet, like so many other things, it's happening. I've only just recently discovered a real yen for it, a "Yeah, Hellboy II's comin' up... Y'know, it's probably gonna be pretty good!" kinda thing, so I'm comfortably ready to see Del Toro and Perlman do their things.
San Diego Comic-Con's comin' up in less than two weeks, folks, Wednesday July 23. It'll be the first and only place to buy the exciting new sixth Bob the Angry Flower book,
Bob the Angry Flower: Pamplemousse
featuring such extraordinaries as
- pages, numbering over one hundred and fifty
- cartoons, many hilarious, featured on those same pages
- the astonishing Dramatis Personae section, revealing secret details of longtime Bob beings
- annotations, revealing secret details of longtime Bob creators
- a foreword so mad no mind can escape it untouched by Desert Peach and Stinz creator Donna Barr
- other things!
So git git git yerself on down to Comic-Con if'n y'get a chance!
July 4 - Made it
Whew. July. Never saw that one coming. Baffling. Not sporting at all, I'd say. Speaking of unsporting,
Saw a few recently. WALL*E, of course, is gorgeous; it's not so much a movie as 139,680 posters organized sequentially through time. The empty earth is all browns and dust, and the spaceship has the slick, Apple-y look of Syndrome's coolass shit in The Incredibles. It is, as Stephanie Zacharek of Salon pointed out, a melancholy movie, more disquieting in tone, bending further over backwards to get to the happy ending than you'd expect. If only the little bastard didn't look so much like Lovebot!
Wanted was as advertised, cocky, preposterous action. Some fun. I wasn't sure what I made of James McAvoy as the dude until the very last line of dialogue; then it clicked for me.
And then, dammit, Hancock. This reviewer pretty much nails the big problems, but I just wanted to add that it had some of the most spastic camera work I've seen in some time. Cloverfield had nothing on it. At least in Cloverfield with the shakey handheld camera thing, the guy holding the camera would make some kind of effort to hold it sort of still when he was actually trying to record something. With Hancock, there are all these reaaaally tight closeups that look like theyve been shot from 100 yards away through a zoom lens. I guess it was supposed to look "edgy" and "real," but it ended up looking "annoying" and "jittery as fuck." And then, yeah, don't even get me started on the mythology or the logic of it. I mean, it's s superhero movie, right? Or a superhero parody movie? So how can you complain about leaps of logic when you've got a dude who can fly, right? But flying drunks are frickin' Boolean compared to the contradictions and incoherencies of Charlize Theron's character's motivations. I'm not talking about plot logic here, I'm talking about emotional common sense. No. Seriously. Don't get me started.
Fri, Jun 26 - I Can't Decide
Honestly. It's down to the wire -- far past due, really-- and I still haven't made the decision: of Wall-E and Wanted, both opening this weekend, which do I see first? Wall-E looks like its got that Pixar quality stink all over it, but the cars and bullets are gonna be humping each other backwards in slo motion in Wanted. Can't I watch them both at the same time? WHY DO I HAVE TO CHOOSE????
I'm practically chewing my own fingers off in nervous anticipation of the proof of this damn book. C'MON! Let's DO THIS! Gotta get this thing printed AND mailed in, like, TWO WEEKS! Yelling in all caps on my web site is SURE TO BRING THIS ABOUT!
Whew, been a while since I posted a Peggle replay, but here's one. Checkest it thou out.
Jun 20 - Don't Post Angry
It's a bad habit. It shouldn't even become a habit, I shouldn't do it even once. Who does it help? Myself? My readers? God? Where's the benefit? Sure, I get to spew all my furious thoughts onto some HTML then to be delivered to the open eyes of anybody who cares to read. But what is gained? Sure, it feels good to spew, and there's something about spewing that makes it feel even better the more people get spewed on. But what does it have to do with the work, the actual job getting done?
Right. Nothing. So, the cartoon
A reason I'm angry is that I didn't like The Incredible Hulk. But I feel like it's my fault for not liking it. I wonder if I was just spoiled and pissed during the show, dead to coolness and attentive to fault. When the movie was over, I unbelievingly confessed to myself and others that I liked the Ang Lee version better. It came as a shock. I'd condemned the Ang Lee movie before for reasons that now look like utter folly, but after watching The Incredible Hulk I found myself missing Lee's Hulk's greenness, the strange long shots and variety of visions that made Lee's Hulk feel actual in his best moments, Hulk ripping off that turret, holding it up as a shield against a tankshot, getting blasted off the tank and dropping the 10-ton turrent on himself, that's gotta hurt, and indeed in the next shot he's getting up and it did hurt, but he comes back and bashes. The Incredible Hulk's Hulk is more finely rendered, and greyer, but he's not the Grey Hulk. He's an infintely stronger version of the TV series Hulk, Ferrigno's cabinet-tossing wordless brute finally given the raw Incredible strength and power of comics Hulk. Which... is.. cool... and yet I didn't feel it. I should probably watch it again. Must stay calm. Must... not... explode... in... raaaAAAAAAAAGGGGGGE!
GRAAAAHHHHH!!!!! NOTLEY SMASH!!! WHY MOVIE NOT LIKE??? FUUUARRRRUUUUCK!
Wait... what time is it? Jesus, really? One a.m.? No time for smashing. PopStrip to color tomorrow, and levels! Must sleep!
So remember, everybody, anger is a good, purifying emotion! Let that shit out! Else you'll become... a HULK.
Fri, Jun 12 -- I Shan't Shrug
Okay, let's work. First, the strip.
Articles of Awesome
Second off I just wanna take a coupla seconds to address folks' attention to Dennis Kucinich's super awesome Articles of Impeachment, delivered Wednesday, June 10, 2008, against one George Bush, known currently as the President of the United States of America. There are lots of articles, perhaps too many if you want to really take them all seriously. I heartily recommend examining not only the titles of the articles but the supporting quotes also, arguments and info and citations of each following the broad overview. It may be self-defeating to list so many, in that any one or two or few can be challenged on their merits and dismissed, leading to total dismissal. But can all be dismissed? Truthfully, may any be dismissed? Read and decide.
I admit it. I'm reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Why? A colleague at work gave me shit for mocking the book when I hadn't read it. My only, inadequte defense was that I'd read a screenplay based on the book, but that was not enough to justify myself. I'm reading it now and I will confess I'm enjoying it. I'm liking its plot-drivenness, its host of characters who get straight to the point. I'm reading it as a book, evaluating its entertainment. I'm also taking mental notes on its political philosophy but I'm intending to refrain on a summary judgment until I'm actually done. This far in I feel as though my original strip contained much that was facile and unfair. Dagny knows how to cook and Rearden really did make his own metal, as opposed to only paying people to create it. Also, Francisco d'Anconia probably shouldn't have been blonde. I'm halfway through so I don't wanna go on too much, but I will say that it's affecting me. I'm finding truths in it. I suspect once I'm done I will be compelled to do a follow-up strip. Stay tuned.
Fri, June 6 - Brief
It's what I'm gonna be this week, folks: brief. Not because I'm ill or injured, but because I am very, very sleepy. Hell --throw a couple more veries on there. I'm super very tired. But with good reason, for last night I got the full interior of Pamplemousse, every page, and went over it p by p with my most trusted layout dude, Dwayne Martineau. I feel strongly that all y'all will be pleased with the results. It's actually looking like a rather cool book. But the toll was taken, I'm tired and want to go to bed, so I'll leave you with this "insightful" cartoon.
Fri, May 30 - Not in a Good Way
Earlier this evening it was my privilege to hear someone tell a story about seeing a dog's penis which was huge and bloated, evidently "not in a good way." I don't know the good way a dog-dick can be huge and bloated, but I took it to heart. It's an important story and I think we can all learn a lot.
In sharp contrast to the worthiness and universal appeal of the above story, I have a cartoon for y'all.
Fri, May 23 - Throw Me the Whip
Oh, you don't have a whip? Or do you simply refuse to throw it me? Well, I can't control you. I won't control you. Keep the whip if such is your wish.
Anyway, another strip this week, another instance of Bob's Bible Tales, a little old school action, and by school I mean Testament. Grab your whip and prepare yourself for
Skulls of Crystal Dealt With By Indiana Jones
I never wanted another Indy movie. There is a long list of movies I want more, a list bulging with classic and personal favorite sci-fi books, comic book storylines and original material for the screen, a list to which I could continue to add eternally before I would have said, "Okay, enough, after all these get made, sure, make another Indy movie." Not that I hate the films; not at all. I simply felt that we'd had plenty already and the time, energy and talent to make another would be better used elsewhere.
Turns out my frame of mind was a good one in which to see the new Indy movie. There are fun gags and nice moments, and it skates along well enough that I didn't start to get fidgety as I do in the truly bad and boring movies. With no long-standing desire, no hole that needed filling, I was able to nod and smile and casually enjoy being around Indiana Jones again without being controlled by disappointment, angered by failure, wincing at every missed opportunity and groaning at everything they did differently from the way I would have done it. I didn't have to spend my movie-watching experience holding it up to the other Indy movies and finding it wanting.
No, that was for after. Once the movie's finished it's hard to resist attacking it, regaling fellow Indy-watchers with its absurdities and incoherencies. It's easily the least of the Indy movies. No part of it is better than any part of the original films. Awe is absent. The end is bogus. But now I feel like I'm just being mean.
I had a fun enough time that I can't get mad at its crappiness. And I suspect it will offer much enjoyment in future considerations and arguments and debates about just how it fails where the other movies succeeded. Its very suckiness will increase our knowledge and appreciation of the earlier films. So for that I'm grateful. Welcome to the Indy Movie family, Indy 4!
May 16 - Really
I'd like to go on and on in this update, just babble for paragraphs and paragraphs on really meaty subjects and things, maybe even submit a movie review or two --Iron Man and Speed Racer, enjoyable both-- but here's the thing. I just got the Essential Incredible Hulk, and I 've just turned to a page that announces that the Hulk is about to battle "The Gladiator from Outer Space." Furthermore, the final three panels of the facing page say, in order,
So you see I must find out what happens next. Therefore, this week's cartoon.
July no wait May... May 9 - Urg
What time is it? 2:07 am???!!?!! Jesuses! Gotta do an update! Right, okay, yes, focus, you know how to do this, you just throw the strip gif down like
and that's the update.
But And Yet!
Received word about an old character, one Bijan by name, who hit the headlines last week with contorted tales of Effortless Prosperity. oDd, that.
I wanted to put up this tempy back cover to assuage.
Earlier updates? Here!