A little link management

Occasionally I like to go through my links and remove outdated ones, ones to pages I don’t read anymore, etc. Did that today and thought I’d document it, so my biographers can know what I was reading at this time of my life.

First up, I removed a link to a friend’s private blog which has now been deleted. The blog had been gone for a long time, but I only now got around to removing the link. I really enjoyed the blog while it lasted; she wrote about the exercise program she was doing and the outfits she wore and occasionally about her travel experiences. I don’t know what compels people to delete their blogs (obviously; have you seen my archives?) but I’m always sad when it happens.

Next, I removed some webcomic links. Quiltbag is, all of a sudden, over. I was sort of surprised by T’s reasoning, especially his citation of Girls with Slingshots and Dumbing of Age as suitable replacement reads. I already read and enjoy those, and Quiltbag does different things for me.

T’s writing has something I don’t get from any other webcomic author. I’m not quite sure how to describe it. Other comics are, generally, easy to read. I may have to refresh my memory about plot details, but in terms of following character motivations, I tend not to have trouble. Not so with T’s comics, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think he presents characters with personalities completely different from mine and from what I am accustomed to in storytelling, and I enjoy trying to figure them out. I’m really going to miss that. Quiltbag, like Penny & Aggie, was an ideal setting for this sort of storytelling, as there are no conceits or epic storylines to distract from the character interactions.

So I’m disappointed that I won’t have a T Campbell comic in my read list anymore. I don’t really know anything about Guilded Age; fantasy stories aren’t usually my thing, and what little I read about it didn’t sound all that exciting to me. Meanwhile, I haven’t read the sci-fi epic Fans! since Rikk and his new beard rode off into the sunset with Rumy and Alisin. I loved the series, but I pretty much figured it was done. (Maybe I’ll jump back in again someday.)

To be honest, not continuing with Quiltbag strikes me as playing it safe. So Quiltbag ended up being more challenging than it seemed it would be at first. So what? It’s good. It’s got the potential to be great. It’s uniquely positioned to tell stories only T can tell, in a way only T can tell them. And the kinds of stories T was telling there were important. I don’t think deciding not to tell a story because you don’t think you’re good enough to do it justice is a good reason. It’s a decision based on fear.

I know from fear. It’s why I haven’t written a damn thing. Don’t be like me, T :>

But I digress. Back to my link organization.

I finally removed the link to No Need for Bushido. It’s been on hiatus for three months. There was a Kickstarter, but it was unsuccessful. The artist is trying to step back, gain some perspective, and return fresh to the comic, and he estimates that will take about a year. If NNFB is ever reborn, I’ll definitely check it out again.

Shadowbinders is now gone from my link list as well. It’s not over, but I’m just not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. The story feels kind of tired. I’ll stick to The Dreamer for my “girl gets pulled into another world” itch.

And so here are the comics I am currently reading:

Abominable Charles Christopher: I love the art and the stories that are almost imparted rather than told.

Bad Machinery: I’ve been a fan of this universe since Scary Go Round.

Darths and Droids: We’re finally into the Holy Trilogy and I’m loving it.

diesel sweeties: I don’t read this one for the storylines. I can’t keep track of which robot is dating which human, or who hates who, or whatever. I just like the jokes.

Dreamer: Beautiful art and intriguing story, plus US history! What more could you want?

Dumbing of Age: David Willis does it again. (Is this the only DW comic whose title does not end with an exclamation point?)

Erstwhile: I’m really enjoying these retellings of lesser-known fairy tales, so much so that I funded the Kickstarter and will be receiving a print copy of the first several stories soon.

Girl Genius: The story can seem to move slowly (each day’s update is written like a page in a comic book) but the humor is quirky and hilarious and the overarching tale is epic. Also, a bunch of smart people and a bunch of insane people (and a bunch who are both) all fighting to rule the world mwahahaha!

Girls with Slingshots: I actually somewhat dislike the main character, because she doesn’t really do anything but get drunk and complain, but the other characters are really interesting, and the series tackles social issues in a funny way.

Kevin & Kell: The only furry comic I imagine I will ever read. It gives me a Sunday comics feeling, but with interesting stories and good jokes.

Minion Comics: I link here for Wizard School, which just wrapped up its first storyline. I’m actually not sure if I’ll keep reading, because I’m getting a bit bored of the conceit (Voldemort-inspired bad guy chooses Archer-inspired grown man as his Harry Potter).

Misfile: At this point I just want to know what’s going to happen. Kind of the same reason I will read the rest of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Multiplex: The current zombie movie storyline is driving me a little crazy. I am not a fan of monster movies generally, and while I can develop strong attachments to certain titles in the genre–Night of the Living Dead, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series–I ultimately find the whole vampire/werewolf/zombie/whatever hysteria to be pretty boring. Kind of like pirate/ninja obsessions. It sometimes seems like people like things because they have these elements. For me, if I like something that has one or more of these elements, it’s usually in spite of them. Don’t give me gimmicks. Give me good stories. That all said, Multiplex has a great story and great characters, which is why I’m still reading.

Nimona: This series is pretty new, but I’m enjoying it a lot so far. The art is really cute, and the story offers a fun twist on good vs. evil.

Nukees: I may just be reading this out of habit. I’ve been reading it for so long. Could I tell you how the story has progressed throughout the years? No. But I can tell you about Gav, Danny, and King Luca’s personalities. And I still vaguely remember Suzy Gee…

Penny Arcade: Another habit read, though it can still make me laugh. I used to love reading Tycho’s news posts, but I don’t have time to wade through them anymore :( Not being a gamer, I’d often have to follow a bunch of links just to understand what he was talking about, and I can’t commit that much time to a webcomic these days.

PvP: Don’t really know what to say about PvP. Story-wise, I’ve been a bit bamboozled since the setting change to Seattle. I don’t really feel the same connection to the characters as I once did. I love watching the changes in art style though.

Questionable Content: Love love love love love this comic. Love it so much. The characters are so interesting, the art is so wonderful, there are people with different body types omg, and the discussions of anthroPC rights are really intriguing.

Red String: Lovely art and compelling stories.

Roomies!: Yeah, I’m reading it again from the beginning as Willis posts them, because why not? It’s fun to compare his storytelling abilities from years and years ago to his storytelling abilities now. Just goes to show that practice does indeed make perfect.

Shortpacked!: Love the one-offs, love the storylines. Love David Willis (though not in that way).

Sluggy Freelance: The first webcomic I ever read. I still love it and I’ll read it until it ends. Which may be soon. It sort of feels like all the stories from the entire history of the comic are being pulled together somehow in the current story. Gives it a sense of finality…

Wandering Ones: I think I read this comic out of a sense of vague curiosity. I’m interested in the author’s interest in naturalism, and how he renders his post-apocalyptic (or whatever) world. But I don’t find myself really remembering much about the characters or plotlines.

With Fetus: Another new addition to my reading list, this comic is extremely well-written and I appreciate and enjoy the accompanying notes. I wish the creator had partnered with an artist instead of taking on drawing the comic herself. She does a passable job, but better art would give the comic a broader appeal.

Wondermark: I adore this comic.

xkcd: There are times I don’t get the jokes. When I do get them, I feel like a boss.

Zap!: I may give up on this comic soon. I’m not exactly sure why I still read it. Probably because I like the art.

So that’s an update on all my links. As far as other sidebar changes, you may have noticed that the widget that showed my latest tweet is gone; I’m not real happy with Twitter these days and have been spending more time on App.net Alpha. I tried pulling in the RSS feed from my ADN account, but it looked pretty dumb, so I took it right back off. I’ve also removed the RSS feed of my latest SmugMug photos. To replace all these things, I’ve simply created a link category called “Heather Meadows”, under which I’ve linked to my various profiles. (I’d call it “Me”, but then WordPress alphabetizing would put it below “Japan”, and I want it to be at the top.)

On the “if I have the time and inclination” quasi-to do list in my head are a proper About Me page and a new graphic design for the blog. I don’t want to change the theme really, but a new header and background and some nice matching text and link colors would be spiff. I would eventually like to create my own WordPress theme, but I seriously don’t have the time to commit to that sort of project right now.

Sweet rig

Today’s Penny Arcade is absolutely hilarious, and so is Tycho’s rant:

It’s a little inside baseball I guess, but at the same time the story was so delicious that we couldn’t leave it be: a District Attorney in Texas is on trial for building himself a sweet rig on the county dime. The machine in question sports “two hard drives, seven fans, high-end video and audio cards, a wireless Internet connection and cables that glow under ultraviolet light.” It’s a crime, yeah, but it’s an awesome crime. I make an exception for awesome crimes.

“I would not configure a backup computer in that way,” says Mr. Gregg, FBI senior forensic examiner and reigning Understatement King.

Webcomics 1/2

Me (12:53:55 PM): okay, here’s a question
Me (12:54:01 PM): why are there so many webcomics where men turn into women?
Jered (12:54:08 PM): are there?
Me (12:54:20 PM): why do guys want to be girls? do they think it’s awesome to be marginalized?
Me (12:54:23 PM): they’re all white guys, too
Jered (12:54:28 PM): must be because every web comic artist, or at least those responsible, are turned on by Ranma 1/2
Me (12:54:32 PM): maybe they just want to know what it’s like to be a minority
Me (12:54:39 PM): hahaha
Me (12:54:48 PM): actually I’m sure the minority part doesn’t even occur to them
Me (12:55:07 PM): when you’re default, you think you can be anything, and the possible problems don’t occur to you
Me (12:55:18 PM): the only problems these guys have with being girls is that they are no longer “manly”
Me (12:55:24 PM): and they get hit on, which is comic relief
Jered (12:55:30 PM): I always thought Ranma 1/2 was kinda sexy in some of the most absurd and disturbing ways possible.
Me (12:55:46 PM): there is one comic, Exiern, where they deal a little with prejudice and whatnot
Me (12:56:00 PM): but for the most part it’s “hahaha that guy turned into a hot girl”
Me (12:56:07 PM): and they ALWAYS turn into hot girls, it’s not just a girl
Jered (12:56:10 PM): lol
Me (12:56:34 PM): I want to see a webcomic where a guy turns into Daria
Jered (12:56:47 PM): I dunno if I can summon up the maturity level appropriate for this conversation
Me (12:57:06 PM): lol

Girl Genius yay!

When Studio Foglio put their comic Girl Genius online, there was already quite a backlog from the print version. So they released the new and old concurrently; those like me who hadn’t read the comics could follow the originals day by day from the very beginning.

Though I knew about the comic for some time, it was awhile before I actually got into reading it. I think I had to wait until there was a decent archive before I could really get a feel for what it was about.

Now, of course, I’m completely hooked. It’s one of my favorite webcomics. It’s grandstanding yet epic, overblown but real. The characters are varied and rich in depth. And the main character learns to use powers she doesn’t know she has, which I think is my favorite plotline.

Today, the originals have at last caught up with the new, online-only stuff. Which means I have a lot more reading than Harry Potter this weekend :D

I’ve already dug in, and I’m really enjoying being able to read the story so quickly, rather than having to wait for each new page. It’s going to be tough when I’m through the archives…but I’ll survive ;>

In the meantime, I’m really enjoying myself. This one made me laugh out loud.

If you haven’t read Girl Genius yet, click here to start from the beginning!

Edit: This gem from the archives has always delighted me.

Edit: Fixed those links, since they changed their archiving system. Also, the “laugh out loud” link was wrong.

To the MAX!

Oh my god, Brian Clevinger (you know, 8-Bit Theater, Nuklear Age) posted the most hi-larious rant on the recent comic. (Scroll to the bottom of that page.)

Loonatics, man! ‘Cause they’re CRAZY. They make regular x-treme look, like, y’know, something so not x-treme you can’t think of a word for it. You can’t talk about them without excessive use of BOLD ITACLIC CAPS, MAN, TO THE MAX!

I find the philosophy behind being a television or Hollywood executive fascinating. Apparently these are people utterly devoid of taste or culture. They are completely without a sense of what is good. It’s like how sociopaths are incapable of feeling empathy. They can maim and kill and torture people because they are hardwired not to understand that it’s bad to do that. You can’t fix these people, they are broken from the factory and need to be destroyed after studying how fucked up they are so we can identify and destroy them better in the future.

That’s what these executives are like, only instead of lacking empathy — which they may very well also lack — they lack a sense of what good is. The rest of humanity has it. Sure, we might disagree about specifics, but there are certain instances where crap is crap and no one can deny it. I’m not saying Catwoman was one such movie, but it was.

Go read the rest, seriously. It’s a hoot.