Month’s end roundup, January 2008

It’s the last day of January already, and since one of the things I wanted to do with this new blog was sum up each month as it passes, it’s time to try it for the first time.  A month strikes me as the logical place to pause for an evaluation; not a short enough time that the thought is always breathing down one’s neck, but not long enough to forget all  about it and take one’s eye off the ball.

If one may be permitted to mix a metaphor.

This January has been a long month, and while I feel like I have been treading water, I’ve actually accomplished quite a lot.  I had my eyes examined, ordered new frames, had both pairs of my glasses made, and went through a particularly unpleasant Eyeball Twisting Week as my astigmatism was rather forcibly corrected by my own eye muscles.  It began a week ago yesterday and seems to be pretty much over.  My eyes haven’t watered at all today, and I’ve stopped having to blink to bring things into focus.  Very disconcerting, that.

I picked a new blogging site, and started this nifty new blog.  And, to my delight, a lot of you followed me here and have even posted comments.  Thank you muchly.

I’ve made surprising advances in my on-and-off interest in computers.  Most of this can be attributed to my growing affection for my new ASUS Eee PC,  which was a Christmas gift from Mr. Shark.  I’m using it a lot for writing and editing, and it has inspired in me a vague desire to learn something about Linux.   How weird is that?  I’ve acquired a couple of books and a disk with a core install of Fedora and some basic apps, and Mr. Shark says he will build me a Linux box to mess around with out of spare parts (apparently it doesn’t have to be particularly state of the art) as soon as he has finished building his own new PC.  In the interests of furthering my education he let me install the OS on his new system (under careful supervision, of course) and it was actually pretty cool.  More to come on this, I think.

But the Eee is proving practical right now, since I’m getting a lot of extra writing done in my spare time.  One of the projects that have moved to the new platform is writing “Hopelessly Lost, But Making Good Time”, my monthly column for Sequential Tart.  I’ve started a new series about superhero characters in comics, and the next few installments are already outlined.  Part one is finished and should be out on February first, at www.sequentialtart.com

I finished the script for my next minicomic, very moody and experimental, discovered the seed for an upcoming issue of Kekionga, and finished both covers for  Kekionga #2.  Random pages are partially pencilled, and the whole issue is thumbnailed.  This is where the month kind of fell down–I was hoping to be a little further along with that comic at this point, but part of that can be blamed on the damned Eyeball Twisting. 

Otherwise, it was a cold, snowy January.  I walked when I could, and will always remember Toby showing me the hawk.  Chester is doing well, in spite of the cold, which is hard on an old dog.  I worked well enough, making real progress every day, if not always on the “right” projects. 

My goal for next month is to work substantially, every day, on finished pages for Kekionga #2, and to get ready for SPACE,  my first con of the year, at the end of the month.  If I do anything new for the show, it will be produced in my spare time and will not interfere with the first goal. I hope.

And February is the month of the Auto Show, which means NSC will be returning, at long last, to its roots as an occasional car blog.  

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll stick around for the second month of version 2.0.

Sharkipede 

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Published in: on February 1, 2008 at 4:07 am  Comments (1)  
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Somewhat less vexed and ratty.

Hmm.  Things seem to be looking up, as three out of four of yesterday’s rantworthy problems seem to be solved, or are at least showing progress.

UPS arrived at the sterling hour of 7:10 pm yesterday– our neighbor at the wheel of the brown truck, looking like he’d had a long day.  The motherboard, once unfrozen, seemed to actually work.  Mr. Shark reported seeing the BIOS setup screen (or some damn thing that it’s good to see) before he had to stop work for the evening.  He says he will give me all the specs of the new computer when he gets it up and running, and I will share them with you.

Aren’t you lucky?

 I got my newspaper this morning.  Snarky emails containing the word “unacceptable” continue to work their magic, particularly when accompanied by promises to take the problem to the same paper’s editoral staff.  Apparently there is such a thing as bad publicity.   We will file this under pending, since there isn’t really much more they can do to fix it except deliver a paper every morning.  Well, apologies and sucking up might help too.

And, best of all, I have my new glasses– both pairs.  I had substantial changes in all three of my corrections and a large shift in my astigmatism to boot, so it’s going to take some getting used to, but I can tell everything is basically right.  So now I feel like I’m alternately living in HiDef and am about to fall over.  It’ll pass.

A huge shout out to my very favorite eye doctor in the whole world, Dr. F, and her lovely sidekicks P and T, who got my scrip just right, my glasses described so the lab was able to get everything in the right place, and the new specs fitted perfectly, respectively.

And to Vick at the Optometrist Attic, what can I say?  Full sized, traditional frames, not the teeny weeny “fashion” ones?  On the internet?  At a fair price?  You rock.

The last problem was the weather. Still damn cold.  What can you do?

On the work front, both covers of Kekionga #2 are finished!  Now it’s a matter of coloring them, but that’s a huge step forward.  I’m quite happy with them.  The front is a strong but simple portrait of Soup with Josef standing on his shoulders, as he’s seen partway through the issue, and the back is an out-take– full length figures of Bud and Sumac, sharing a moment of conversation that takes place a few minutes after the end of the story.

Maybe we’re getting somewhere.  I sure hope so.

Sharkipede 

Published in: on January 25, 2008 at 7:27 am  Comments (2)  
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Starting the year off right

It’s nice when your belongings, old and new, start the year off right by behaving themselves.

The weather has been ghastly here at Sharkipede World Headquarters, some of the worst winter we’ve seen in several years, with heavy snow earlier in the week followed by below zero temperatures over the last two days.  It’s certainly the coldest and snowiest it’s been since I learned to drive, and I’ve been doing a little dogsitting over the holiday.

So I’ve been doing some winter driving, and Junior has been coming up aces.

For those of you who may be newcomers to NSC, Junior is my 1997 Buick Century Limited,  just exactly like this,  Sandhurst beige over matching leather:

http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/1997-to-2005-buick-century-5.htm?photo=2
Junior is possibly the most boring car in the known universe.  This model, in this color, is a favorite of local retirees and serves admirably as a “stealth car”.  Even I have trouble finding it in crowded parking lots.

But Junior is 100% reliable in all local weather (so far), with a nuclear powered heater and defroster, and plenty of room in the footwell for driving in snow boots.   Nothing like good old fashioned American iron.  Icontinue to be quite glad I made a conservative choice and did not indulge my taste for “interesting” cars that probably don’t start and run in single digit temps.

There are a lot of these nice cars around used at moderate prices, and they are well regarded by consumer organizations.  Smooth, comfortable, and quite peppy, but inclined to gasket problems (mine have all been replaced) and not exactly fuel economy champs.  But if you don’t drive a lot of miles,  you might want to consider one.  And no one will see you coming.

On the other hand, interesting computers are hard to resist, particularly when they too seem to work reliably.   I got a wonderful Christmas present this year– an Eee PC from ASUS, and it’s a terrific little item.

http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=24&l2=0&l3=0&l4=0&model=1907&modelmenu=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASUS_Eee_PC

(Mine’s black and I think it looks way cooler than the white one shown in the official pictures.)

I’d been wanting one of these for a while, being amazed by its small size and light weight and intrigued by the idea of using a computer with open source software.  So far  it’s been more fun than I could have imagined.  The Open Office word processor seems to be 100% compatible with Word on my Home Base PC, and the included graphics programs are really powerful and lots of fun to use.  I can see myself making a whole comic on my Eee PC quite soon.

I’d be interested in hearing from anyone else out there who is messing around with an Eee, particularly anyone who is using the Linux graphics software to make comics.

And anyone else, of course.  Don’t be worried if your comments don’t show up right away.  The default here at WordPress seems to be that comments are moderated by the blogholder, and I’m going to leave it that way for now.  Don’t worry, though.  I won’t censor you, my loyal readers!

Sharkipede

Published in: on January 4, 2008 at 8:44 am  Comments (1)  
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