Back in the early 90s, my family hosted our first of many foreign exchange students. Her name was Melanie, and she was from Germany. At the same time, or possibly shortly after Melanie came here, my oldest sister Jennifer went to Germany herself. It’s been quite a while; I was like 5. However, I do clearly remember making Melanie play with me with my My Little Ponies.
Anyways. When Jen was in Germany, apparently we wrote her letters and told her how much we missed her, and sent them off to Germany. Jen recently found some of the letters I wrote to herself and Melanie at this time, which she then passed on to my other older sister, Kelly, who showed these to me at Acen. BEHOLD!
[Transcript: Dear Jennie: I love you. But I don't miss you. And I'm even sleeping in your bed. When it's hot. Dartmouth Dr got replaced. It's very smooth. PS: Maybe I'll miss you next week. Love, Alex.]
And on the back are some lovely seaponies:
Apparently I didn’t miss Jen much, since I could sleep in her room. Which makes sense, as she did have an air conditioner in her room, and I didn’t. And it seems our street had recently been resurfaced. Exciting!
Meanwhile, I also wrote a letter to Melanie:
[Transcript: Dear Mellileny[sic] I drew you a picture of Babs. I miss you. I’ll see you soon. Love, Alex H.]
Hmm. Maybe Jen should’ve played Ponies with me more often, then I’d have missed her more. Anyways, have a 20-year-old drawing of Babs Bunny.
Last August, Sanford announced the imminent release of the Sharpie Liquid Pencil, a product that caused waves of twitterpation among the artist circles I watch. Many people couldn’t wait to get their hands on it to try it out.
Personally, I thought it was a really cool idea and then promptly forgot about it until I noticed the pen/cils in my local Target a few weeks ago. Then, when I was out buying some supplies this morning at Staples, I ran into them again, so I decided to try them out.
With my trusty Office notepad at hand, I tested out some writing samples in various pens (and a pencil) I had lying around my desk for comparison.
Results? Disappointing. The pen writes like a ballpoint that’s drying out, and skips a whole lot. The ink comes out inconsistently, and reminds me of an erasable PaperMate ballpoint I had in junior high. It may not be noticeable enough in the scans, so here’s the liquid pencil sample at 300DPI:
As far as what I was expecting… I expected something smooth and bold like my Staedtler or Pilot above. I probably still would’ve been satisfied if it turned out like the PaperMate ballpoint sample above. I love doodling with ballpoints, so an erasable version would have my little brain exploding in joy. Unfortunately, it’s just not the case.
At first I though the pen had a nib-type tip, similar to a pigment liner/micron pen or the ultra-fine Sharpie, but alas it’s a ballpoint. If they could magically put the liquid graphite into, say, the ultra-fine Sharpie or Sharpie Pen, which both have nib tips, I think it would be a much better product.
However, it does erase very nicely. Clearly, erasable ink technology has come a long way since the late 90s when I used that “erasable” PaperMate pen. I did some rubbing tests on some scribbles here:
The liquid graphite erased (then immediately smeared) when I rubbed it with my fingertip, so there you go. But you can clearly see my erased bits, and there are no artifacts or smearing there, so good job Sanford.
But you still need to make a better pen. Perhaps pens mating with pencils is just not a line Man was meant to cross.
Posted in Musings
As I was randomly browsing r/Webcomics today, I ended up at Piperka’s webcomic listing. As I passed over the lists upon lists of webcomics, I realized that I was familiar with quite a lot of them. If I didn’t read the comic regularly, I had at least heard of them and maybe even met the creators at a convention. So it occurred to me to wonder exactly how many comics have I encountered in some form or another on the internet?
I decided I would find out. I copy-and-pasted the top 1200 comics* on Piperka (as of October 10, 2010) into a spreadsheet, then went through the whole list marking down my relationships with every comic that I recognized:
- Read Regularly: I am up to date with the comic and read it on a regular basis.
- Read Previously: I at one time was a regular reader but am not now; a comic that is either finished, I lost interest in, or I lost track of.
- Archive Trawling: I am currently working my way up through the archives of the comic.
- Reading List: I wish to read this comic, but I haven’t started to yet.
- Know Creator: I am friends or acquaintances with one or more of the creator(s) of the comic. This is anything more than a casual introduction at a convention; they will more than likely remember me and my work.
- Met Creator: I have encountered one or more of the creator(s) of the comic somewhere, but it was only a casual introduction and they are unlikely to remember who I am if we meet again.
- Heard Of: I do not read this comic, but I have heard of it. This can range from knowing roughly what it’s about to simply having seen the name somewhere.
*The comics listed on Piperka also include some newspaper comics and image blogs, all of which are counted in their popularity rankings, and side projects for the same comic are sometimes given individual listings as well.
Overall, the data is interesting. Out of the top 1200 comics, I have at least heard of 297 of them. Of those 297, I currently read 44, and there are 36 that I used to read. I have met 60 creators, and I know 17 of them.
When I first browsed through the list and came up with this idea, I thought these numbers would be a lot bigger, simply due to the fact that the more popular comics, duh, are more visible. Still, I ended up including the top 1200 comics just because I kept recognizing other names every time I clicked through to the lower and lower ranks as I was collecting comics for the spreadsheet.
I’d be interested in some sort of social network that could plot these kinds of relationships in the webcomics world. It would be interesting, especially for obscure comics, to see how many people recognize it by name versus how many people actually read it.
Did a little gardening today, now that I have a backyard to do so! It’s way exciting!
I repotted the little plants I’d brought with me, which are on the top shelf. On the left is a wildflower mix, daisies, and forget-me-nots, and on the right is a strawberry plant.
On the bottom shelf, some new seedlings I just started. The back row is two wildflowers, daisies, and forget-me-nots, and the front row is oregano, basil, and chives.
Next on my to-do list is my Matsuricon report. ^_^; This was just too much fun to not post first!
Well, I’m just about on the other side of moving to the other side of Columbus. The worst of it has been the last couple days, mostly owing to the fact that I suddenly had big issues going on with the brakes in my car, and the car is now in the shop. My mother had come down Monday and Tuesday in order to help me clean out the old apartment and take over my last load of belongings, so fortunately I didn’t have to face the tail-end of the move without a vehicle of some kind. She was an amazing help, by the way.
So yeah, up until having to give up my car, I’d been suspicious at how well the move was going, and wondered why more things hadn’t gone wrong! ^_^; On Friday, my friend Susan, two coworkers (Deborah and Kellie), and Chris helped me move my first load of boxes and smaller furniture to the new place, which is a room in a house owned by some friends of ours, the Beargies. Thanks to Kellie’s SUV, we got a LOT more done that night in a very short amount of time than I thought we would, which was awesome. Then I took everyone out for pizza at Hound Dog’s and we played Cthulu Dice a couple times while we waited. Deborah got VERY excited about the game and promised to not be too crazy at work for the next week with the promise that we would invite her out to play more nerd games. XD
On Saturday, my friend Justin brought over his truck, which we used to take over my bed, bookshelf, and other leftover furniture. Susan came by again, as well as another friend, Chad, so we loaded up all the vehicles and got all of that stuff taken over. It was then decided that we were all hungry, so I took everyone out for pizza in between loads. ^_^ The last load was actually all in Chad’s car, because Justin and Chris decided to take a few last-minute things up to his parents’ house in Worthington. The Johnsons are nice enough to let me store some of my extra furniture and boxes in their basement until whenever I move somewhere I can use them again. :D
So we got all the really important stuff out of my apartment in two days with a surprising degree of efficiency. I’m feeling a little self-congratulatory for being so on the ball.
Of course, one of the more annoying issues that lingered on for days is the fact that I had a bunch of furniture that I was neither taking with me nor storing; a couch, a broken lift recliner, a giant console TV, and a glass patio table. I spent days posting ads to Craigslist and to my Facebook friends, but none of it really moved until the very last minute. It was pretty frustrating.
And on top of all THAT, our neighbors kept using our building’s dumpster for their moving trash, too. It was pretty fucking ridiculous: by Saturday afternoon the thing was packed to capacity with trash and mattresses and shit like that, so for the rest of the weekend everyone else just piled things all around the dumpster. I mean, what else could we really do? It didn’t even get emptied until Tuesday, either.
But right now, I’ve got all my stuff moved over to the new place. It’s all still in boxes and tubs, and I’ve got a LOT of work to do this coming weekend… Since I’m without my vehicle, I’m essentially staying with Chris since it’s so close to work, so I haven’t even spent a night in my bed since last Thursday. I’m so regretting that I didn’t ask for these last few days off work, since having to close at Tarjay has been a real pain in the ass amongst all this other moving drama.
But I do have Friday and Saturday off, which I’m really looking forward to. The dust will all settle here very soon.
Posted in Musings