Aug 30 2011

Lachwen Learns a Little Something About Dwarves

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I haven’t posted much about Lachwen lately, mostly because she’s been busy grinding her way up in levels and I haven’t had time to come up with much storywise for her. I will try to fix that soon — I’d like to post a bit about her roughly once a month starting in September, now that I’ve built up a fair collection of screenshots with her. I do know how her story starts — but I have no idea where it will go from there.

But she did have one entertaining thing happen recently. 🙂 You see, Lachwen is from northern Mirkwood originally, i.e., the kingdom of Thranduil (Legolas’ father), and the elves of Mirkwood are some pretty hearty partiers. (See also Bilbo’s adventure riding the wine-barrels out of Thranduil’s halls.) Lachwen is no exception to this.

So when some dwarves invited her to toast their comrade Nykr, fallen in the depths of Moria, naturally she was happy to join in!

Lachwen toasts to Nykr! And then toasts to Nykr again! And then toasts to Nykr AGAIN...

What she was not expecting, was that just how many friends Nykr had — and that they would all want to drink with her, one at a time. In rapid succession.

You seem to have misplaced your pants. This makes you sad.

Even a hardened veteran of the Drinking Wars of Mirkwood can only take so much. The lesson learned here: be wary when offered a drink by a dwarf, or you might wake up in the crazy cat-lady of Bree’s house, mysteriously missing your pants.

-The Gneech

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Aug 30 2011

Internetting Weirds the Society

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So this morning my various social media feeds are buzzing with the story of the gal who dated a geek, discovered he was a geek and went “OMG Yuck!” and then proceeded to post a ranty blog about it, only to have the rest of the internet rightly tell her what a nasty thing she’d done.

Okay. I would submit that anybody who posts to any blog anywhere has no business blasting someone for being a geek, but that just serves to underscore the ridiculousness of her tirade. But that’s not the point.

See, almost immediately after I read that, another story came up about women bloggers being systematically targeted with death threats pretty much for being women with opinions about things. That leads me to look at some of the more vicious reactions to the gal’s rant with a bit of a wince.

Having recently been blasted for stating what I thought was a perfectly reasonable opinion and having the reaction be that Diana’s pack of hounds chased me down and tore me to shreds, I find myself in the curious position of being sympathetic to Alyssa Bereznak, not for her piece (which was awful) but for waking up one morning to discover that the internet hates you.

It’s not fun. 🙁

So please internet, I ask you, exercise some restraint. Yes, her blasting of Jon Finkel was not cool, but she’s a human being too. Don’t forget that.

-The Gneech

PS: Spreading the word about this idea would be appreciated. 🙂 Thanks!

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Aug 23 2011

I Feel Da Erf Move Under My Feets

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So I’m downtown at [agency redacted] going through the second step of getting an official Government Identity Card from the Department of Big Brother Is Watching You Homeland Security, when the building starts going rumba-rumba-rumba-rumba and we all start giving each other quizzical looks. One guy says, “It’s the train, it runs right behind the building.”

Looking at the windows buckling in the building across the street, I say, “That’s a hell of a train!”

Fingerprint and Registration Lady says, “That’s no train, that’s an earthquake!” just as it comes to a stop. She adds, “If it had kept on going, I would have evacuated.” (The “floor warden” vest and helmet hanging in her cubicle added weight to the statement.) With perfect sitcom timing, a security guy steps in the door and says, “We’re evacuating the building. Everybody out!”

Turns out, it’s the largest earthquake ever recorded in Virginia — which is not that impressive on the global scale of earthquakes, but given that our usual amount of earthquakes is nil plus heavy traffic, it’s quite discombobulating. (Imagine southern California reacting to three feet of snow — the sheer “what do we DO with this”-ness of it makes it comparable.) Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to have been a lot of damage and I’ve heard no reports of injuries so far — the biggest problem has been dealing with people’s reactions to it.

Basically, every building over six stories or so appears to have been evacuated and everybody was either sent home or stood around the sidewalks of D.C., chuckling nervously and making jokes about whether or not the earthquake damaged the debt ceiling, har har. All of the phone services were blocked to “non-emergency” use, making Twitter the only means of communication for a while, and even that was slow, but I was grateful to have anything at that stage.

The Metrorail was closed for about twenty minutes while they checked there was no damage to the tracks, and then the trains all operated at 15 MPH (presumably to minimize the chances of a major accident due to aftershocks). This made for a long and stressful ride home for me — I cannot seem to ride the Metro without there being an annoying 6-year-old boy next to me the whole time. You’ll be happy to know that 6-year-old boys still sing “Plop-plop, fizz-fizz, oh what a relief it is,” still think it’s hilarious, and still think that nobody else has ever heard it before and therefore want to hear it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

But I digress.

The point is, we’re all home and fine now, and very grateful for the concerned texts and e-mails. 🙂 This was not my first earthquake, but it was the first strong and extended one, so I can at least add that to my list of life experiences.

Unfortunately, I still don’t have the gov’t ID, so it’s back to [agency redacted] again on Thursday to try again. Watch that be the day Klaatu comes back.

-The Gneech

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Aug 22 2011


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“This con just gets bigger every year,” said Alex.

“It does,” said Greg. “And every year I think about not coming back next year, but I always do.”

“You know you would be miserable if you missed it,” said Alex. “Don’t even pretend.”

“Yo, ‘sup dudes?” called Treville, ambling over to the pair of them.

“Well, this might change that,” said Alex.

“Oh, uh, hi, Treville,” said Greg. “I wasn’t expecting to see you here!”

“First time,” said Treville. “How about those cosplay babes, are they hot or what?”

“The work they put into their outfits is certainly impressive,” said Greg.

“I don’t get cosplay,” said Alex. “I mean, spending all that time on money on something you’re going to wear one weekend and then put in the closet for the rest of your life? Crazy.”

“It’s a craft,” said Greg. “I like it. The amount of creative energy that goes into it just amazes me.”

“I like it if the right girl is doing it,” said Treville.

“Yeah, I’m not surprised by that,” said Greg.

“I just got back from the ‘Slave Leia’ contest,” Treville added.

“I’m not surprised by that, either.”

“You shoulda seen the gal who won. All I gotta say is, ‘that’s no moon, that’s a space station,’ if you get what I mean.”

Greg blinked. “Actually, no. I haven’t the slightest clue what you mean.”

-The Gneech

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Aug 18 2011

A New Arclight Teaser

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Well, after some introspection and a fair amount of throwing away bits that didn’t work to make room for new bits that do, I think I may have Arclight Adventures moving in the right direction again. Fortunately, the changes I’ve made don’t require throwing away any of the finished pages!

And because I don’t want you to think I’m all talk and no action, here is a teaser page:

Arclight Adventures, Page One, art by The Gneech and color by Richard Wyatt

I think I’m ready to get back to work. 🙂

-The Gneech

[1] Artwork copyright 2010 by me, color by Richard Wyatt. “Steamcycle” design by Leo Magna, used with permission. Thanks, Leo!

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Aug 17 2011

Fear of Being Committed, No Wait, That’s Not Right

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This week I punted on a story that just wasn’t going anywhere; I hate doing that, and I especially hate doing it when the editor for whom I was doing the story seemed so keen to have it, but it was frankly not my best work and I suspect he would have had to reject in the end anyway. Better in the long run at this stage to let it go so both he and I can devote the mental resources to something else.

This, combined with the gear-grinding on Arclight Adventures, has led me to reflect on just what it is I want to accomplish with my creative endeavors, why it is that I do them — and why I seem to have been having difficulty with them lately. And I think I’ve discovered at least one psychological factor that’s been holding me back, i.e., “fear of commitment.”

Y’see, Suburban Jungle and NeverNever consumed so much of my life for so long, that there is a part of me that’s frankly afraid to get that wrapped up in something again. I loved doing my comics, don’t get me wrong, but there were plenty of times when it could also be a draining, demoralizing, downright painful experience, and part of me is shying away from that.

Another issue has been my own underlying motivation for doing the work, and here I have not been pleased with what I saw in the mental mirror. Y’see, for both NN and SJ, my motivation was that I loved the work — I was making those comics because I wanted them to exist, I thought they were good and worthy things that would make the world a better place by being in it. This has been less true of my more recent projects. In fact, at the end of the day, what has been motivating me lately has been ego.

I don’t want the entirety of my creative output to be “ten years of webcomics and done.” I don’t want the history of pop culture to say of The Gneech: “Known, by those few who do, as the guy who did The Suburban Jungle.” I want to leave a bigger footprint.

A natural feeling, perhaps, but a terrible reason to be doing any major undertaking. Somebody recently described me in my LiveJournal as “dedicated to my own epicness” — said as a joke, yeah, but it still had the sting of truth to it. I should be thinking about the work itself, and the readers out there who will hopefully get something out it, not about what it will do for my prestige and/or fragile egg of a sense of self-worth.

So … what to do about it? Well, for starters, I’m blowing away all of my current “projects” (which have been more placeholders than actual work anyway), except for the Short Story Geeks Podcast, because I have made a commitment to my fellow podcasters on that one and I intend to honor that. But for everything else, as of this blog entry, I’m no longer “working on X” for a half-dozen half-formed ideas.

Second, I’m going to look at each of the things I have been working on with a critical eye and determine which, if any, are actually worth doing on their own merits, rather than because I think it’d be “good for my career,” so to speak. If a project can actually justify its own existence, then I will add it to my to-do list, even if the due date is “sometime after 2015,” but if not, it’s going into the proverbial sock drawer indefinitely.

I do know of at least one project which will move up in the priority list, a YA collaboration with Mrs. Gneech, actually, which we’ve been talking about on-and-off for several years now. We recently sat down and hashed out a lot of things about it, to the point where I think we have a pretty good vision for what it should be like. It’s not something that really builds on anything I’ve done before (except in the vague sense of having some fantasy elements), nor really is likely to have immediate appeal to my established audience, but it is something about which I can confidently say its existence would be a +1 for the world. 🙂

As for what other projects will be added back in, I couldn’t tell you at this stage. If you have one you’d like to advocate for, I’d love to hear it!

-The Gneech

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