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Back Online!

Back Online! published on No Comments on Back Online!

We were out of commission for about a day and a half. A PEBKAC error led me to realize I had some pretty bad security flaws. Changing servers was necessary, and my screwing up part of the wordpress install made it as good of a time as any to move.

The full story isn’t nearly so clean or well-mannered, but I don’t want to mar anyone’s reputation.

Shout outs to Lawrence, Mike, and Ryan for all of their technical support this week! None of them are paid enough.

Presenting: Zounds!

Presenting: Zounds! published on No Comments on Presenting: Zounds!

The Ramen Empire timeline extends out a bit further than you guys have seen just yet, but we introduced Arty (the yet-un-named little girl) in the main comic, and are itching to get the strip about her out and rolling.

In the spirit of Calvin & Hobbes, and very specifically Spaceman Spiff, Zach and I are ecstatic to present the first strip of Zounds!

Her situation within the world will make more sense after the hospital story line concludes, but that’s months away and we want to start sharing these with you guys.

Zounds will, for now, remain behind the Patreon paywall at the $3 marker, and I’m going to update the reward tiers to reflect this. The first comic can be read here, and they’ll always be under the Patreon tag “Zounds.

Reactions to It (2017) — Spoiler Free!

Reactions to It (2017) — Spoiler Free! published on No Comments on Reactions to It (2017) — Spoiler Free!

I’ve watched the new It movie twice, and am so enamored that I’ve gotten the book and have read quite a ways into it. I’m also re-reading Frankenstein and a bunch of short stories because of my responsibilities as a college instructor, and I’m enjoying being able to read without making notes and marginalia.

Naturally, I’ll be writing a comparison up as soon as I’m finished, and will be taking notes and marginalia to help with this.

This film is, I think, the best treatment that Stephen King’s horror has ever gotten on the silver screen. A bad mood tainted my first viewing, in which the sound track and certain CG moments annoyed me. Under normal circumstances, this’ll kill a movie for me. The aesthetics of the film also bothered me – camera tricks designed to make horror-movie viewers feel ungrounded stood out badly to me, the color scheme felt as if it were screaming messages in my face, and I grumped after every jump scare.

And left the theater thinking and revisiting scenes, which nagged at me until I’d gone out and bought the novel. As I read, I wondered if I had not made a critical mistake, and watched the film against its intended grain. I went again. Stephen King is close to my heart. I wanted to like It, and had been prepared to hate it from its earliest conception.

I had seen an early leak of a script that was absolutely abysmal.

I had a supposed edit of the script that didn’t seem much better.

The reveal of Pennywise’s costume didn’t impress me.

The first trailer made me worry about the film’s overall quality.

And despite having all of this and a bad mood on my shoulders, the movie had me in its grips. I was charmed by the cast, and my internal bitching was drowned out by the sort of post-film mental awe that makes watching films a worthwhile activity.

I saw It a second time and have been left entirely delighted. Horror tropes used throughout the film are not there to scare me, the viewer; they’re there to establish pathos for the Loser Club.

Bill Skarsgård nails the role. He is not the Pennywise we grew up, nor is he trying to be. He made the part his own. Tim Curry played a wonderful murder-clown. Bill Skarsgård played an eldritch horror disguised as a clown. Neither one detracts from the other’s performance in any way; they are doing different jobs for different treatments of a story.

In many ways, I see It as a modern mirror of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. We follow young protagonists into a dark forest through a world wherein we understand they can die, and they’re surrounded by horrors that the adult world only cares about in a cursory way.
This is a coming-of-age story first and a horror film second, and because of that, it has significantly more depth than I expected. If you’ve got young teenagers, let them go see this. The R rating is elemental to the material, but I suspect very strongly that they will understand this film in a way that adults cannot.

And this speaks volumes about how fantastically the makers of It have mastered the material. I don’t think I can write more on this topic while keeping my “no spoilers” promise, so I’ll cut myself short, here.

I have criticisms, but they are surface-level, laden with spoilers, and not worth skipping the film over. The release of what is certain to become a national treasure is not the time for me to yuck into the yum. Go catch this on the big screen, and let me know what you think in the comments.

I really only found a job so he’d be wrong, though.

I really only found a job so he’d be wrong, though. published on 3 Comments on I really only found a job so he’d be wrong, though.

Six or so months ago, I got into a nasty fight with some folk in the Democratic party about how Camp Hillary really, really could have worked on its rhetorical approach with college kids. My argument was that she didn’t do outreach with disaffected, younger Bernie voters who are staring down the barrel of paying their student loans off for the rest of their (our) lives, and their argument was that I was an entitled asshole who basically gave Trump the election.

Ahem.

At the height of this argument, it came out that I had no real job aside from the irregular creation of comics and other fiction. This was used to smear my character, mostly, but also someone asked to see my resume when I countered that looking for jobs is much, much easier than finding jobs – a concept that I still don’t think wealthier Democrats seem to understand. At least not in the Midwest.

I low-key thought the person might be hiring, so I showed this random internet stranger my resume…

…and he told me I had wasted my entire life and that my education was worthless. Internet strangers are like that; they’ve got no means of facing consequences for their words, and no investment in the people they’re talking to.

So here’s what all this wind-up was about:

I’m now an instructor at two community colleges.

The classes I’m instructing are all a bit surprising to me. I’ve got a master’s in communication, and at my alma mater, communication and English are different animals, meaning that I thought I’d end up teaching classes like public speaking or history of media if I ever got a gig as a college instructor.

I wanted to teach composition and literature, but I got accepted into a communication program before I got accepted into an English program, and I had already accepted one when the other came through.

Then, as a communication student, I ended up being a worker bee at the PSU Writing Center, helping students write better papers and familiarizing myself with Writing Center praxis.

…only the find, of course, upon graduating, that I was not a hirable person for the Center I had just finished working for as a student. I’m decent friends with the person who heads this Writing Center, so I know that it’s a matter of policy that I’m not really eligible for a big-person job there, or in the English department in general, and I had assumed this would be true of every campus. I had this feeling that the internet stranger was right, and that I’d mismanaged my education and was basically doomed to die in a gutter.

And now I’m working for two different community colleges, teaching as an adjunct. I’ve got two sections of research writing classes, one section of general literature, and one section of English composition I.

All my paranoia and neuroses about finding a job didn’t matter. All my assumptions didn’t matter. Internet stranger didn’t matter.
Two administrators at two different colleges looked at my resume, said, “he’s qualified, yep,” and then hired me.

Tides rise and fall. If you’re down and out on a job, I won’t end this post by promising you that life is destined to get better. I’m a white dude and that comes with a lot of power where finding a place in society is concerned. That absolutely worked in my favor here.

But I will say that, hey, random internet stranger who told me I was worthless? If you’re reading this?

You were wrong. =)

Kickstarter Update

Kickstarter Update published on No Comments on Kickstarter Update

Hey everyone,

We are still alive! We just got the Kickstarter funding today, and are celebrating by releasing what we’ve been working on for the final three pages of the print comic / PDF.

We wanted to put a cool map of the region into the book, and we had previously released a map — but it was lackluster feeling, so we wanted to take some time and really flesh out the region, and design it from the point of view of Sera.

This is the rough version of the new map. We’re pretty happy with it, and are moving toward a final draft of it, which will be exclusive to the comic book (at least for a while.)