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Scott Johnson

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[18 Nov 2005|08:23pm]
[ mood | worried ]

Been a while since I posted. Hopefully I'll get a chance to post more soon, but for the moment:

Someone tried to call me today, and then hung up before getting much of anything out. I don't know who it was, but if you're reading this, call me back, please? I have a tendancy to fret over things like this.

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.hack//EPILOGUES: In the case of Misono Mariko [06 May 2004|12:14pm]
[ mood | creative ]

And, finally, a section of a fanfic work in progress I'm still grappling with. Seeing the talented camwyn's stories in progress has given me a bit of confidence that my stories won't be totally ruined by posting them while still half-finished. (Not that I yet aspire to be as skilled as her, but I'll take what I can get.) Warnings: fanfic, non-uber popular series.

[The server is currently down. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. If the problem persists, please try connecting to another server, or contact CyberConnect's twenty-four hour technical help line. Regular status updates on technical issues are posted to The World's web site at...]Collapse )

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Name That Tune [06 May 2004|12:08pm]
[ mood | bouncy ]

Second of three posts for today, and possibly the lightest and fluffiest. (If you don't care for more serious topics, skip my first one, below.) Warning: memeage, music.

You know the drill by now. The first 20 non-instrumentals from a random playlist I made in iTunes. Brief snippet of lyrics from each. Name the tunes, and win absolutely nothing. Void where prohibited.Collapse )

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Torture [06 May 2004|12:06pm]
[ mood | dark ]

The first of three posts today from me, and the heaviest (relatively). Warning: discussions of torture and politics.

"And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq." -- George W. Bush, 4/30/04.

I'm sure that by now just about all of you know how untrue this is. There's a very good, thoughtful overview of the topic at the New Yorker, which I recommend everyone read.

A quote from Rumsfeld: "I think that -- I'm not a lawyer. My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture. I don't know if it is correct to say what you just said, that torture has taken place, or that there's been a conviction for torture. And therefore I'm not going to address the torture word."

So. It wasn't 'torture.' And Bill Clinton did not have 'sex' with that woman. Honestly, if this doesn't get as wide coverage as Clinton's gaffe there, I'll be quite disappointed. (Not surprised, just disappointed.) Going into legalistic technicalities over whether it was 'torture' or 'abuse' or 'bad manners' or whatever isn't going to change the facts of what happened... or how it looks in the eyes of the world.

Frankly... I think this is a huge turning point. The Bush administration has been able to give itself a paper-thin veneer of credibility by saying 'no matter how many civilians we're bombing to death, no matter how many of our soldiers are dying, at least things are better off than they were under Hussein!' But now, fewer and fewer people are going to believe that. They're going to look at the American occupation force and see a beast that turns ordinary people, presumably quite decent and average folks, into cheerful, smiling torturers who take home movies as souvenirs.

And this isn't a problem that can be solved just by disciplining a few grunts and leaving it there. There's evidence surfacing that knowledge of this, at least, went all the way up the chain of command. Quite frankly, I don't think that anything short of a new administration and a complete rebuilding of the Armed Forces from the ground up would restore any trust in the US worldwide, and possibly not even that. From now on, if I'm right, nobody's going to buy that the US is going into any war for humanitarian purposes. Not while the image of people laughing and joking around as they torment and humiliate human beings is anywhere in memory at all.

And, quite frankly, I think they'd be right not to buy it at all.

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I'm Back! [04 Feb 2004|07:47pm]
[ mood | pleased ]

Yes, my DSL is now fully functional again. The final problem was very simple -- instead of just using my bare user name, or username.ppp, as I vaguely recalled I should, it turned out I needed to log in as username.dsl . Simple as that.

Now to indulge in massive net sufing gluttony, and consider Comcast. :-)

(And feed Mickey and Samantha in a bit. Mickey's meowing quite a bit, which is normal, but what the hey.)

I did miss out on going to the comic shop, both to have access to technical help before it closed if I needed to, and to sign up (on a whim) for the Worlds of Warcraft beta. Probably won't get in, and I'm not huge on MMORPGs anyway, but what the heck -- it grabbed my imagination momentarily. Time enough for comics eventually.

In any case. Glad to be back!

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[13 Jan 2004|03:19pm]
Well, I almost never particpate in the polls, quizzes, and so forth going around LJ. But since I routinely take my entire mp3 collection and shuffle it up randomly anyway, courtesy of my iPod, I thought I might as well. So...

The first twenty mp3s from my random shuffling.Collapse )
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[05 Jan 2004|12:52pm]
[ mood | tired ]

I'm home. Had a fun week and a half or so out in California, seeing family, having Christmas/New Year's/Dad's Birthday parties, and got to see a great amount of my family (including my mom, who lives on the east coast, and my paternal grandparents, who just moved from southern California to northern and who I hadn't seen in years). Gave some good Christmas presents, and got some neat ones in return. (Though I think most of you reading this will think me mad for being vaguely disappointed at recieving a Tivo and lifetime subscription. Still, you'll probably agree that it can't beat the huge two-volume complete Far Side collection.)

And now I'm back. Ran into highdancer, ohimesamamama, their Katlet, and cadhla at the Source over the weekend. (To the latter, I apologize for the unprovoked skritching -- it's like a reflex for me.) They did quite well at taking care of the cats in the face of adversity -- Mickey and Samantha are a little quirky at the best of times, and it seems strangers bring out the worst in them. Samantha thinks she's a lot stealthier than she is, and Mickey... well, he chews on and claws me, and he likes me. (Though that's mostly friendly wrestling, or trying to secure himself in my lap.) For someone he doesn't know... Well, that these stalwarts kept on braving him enough to keep both cats well-fed and healthy is quite admirable. They must be rewarded.

Anyway, home, healthy, largely pleased, and getting back into the swing of things. (And vaguely tired, due to the fact that Mickey's getting much better at pushing open my bedroom door. Must get that latch fixed.) Taken the comic down for the moment due to disk quota issues, but I'll try to get some new pages built for it. Hope you've all been well!

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24 Hours: a Retrospective [18 Dec 2003|10:15pm]
[ mood | thoughtful ]

Well, in response to some encouragement I've recieved (though I think ohimesamamama and especially my dear twin condotierre may be just a teensy bit biased), I've decided to put my 24-hour comic on line for all to cringe at. I haven't yet made web pages for them, but in the interim, you can go straight to the image files. The first is at http://www.io.com/~zagyg/comic1.jpg. The others are comic2.jpg, comic3.jpg, and so on up to comic24.jpg. Warning: those of you with actual art training or experience may want to keep something on hand in case of eyeball bleeding.

Some thoughts ahead -- to be read after you've formed your own opinion.Collapse )

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[14 Dec 2003|04:18pm]
[ mood | content ]


I'm done.

I almost hit a wall a couple of hours ago, though. I had just finished up page 22 and was inking the panel borders... when my pens stopped working.

I'd bought a couple of Micron fine-tip pens yesterday at Wet Paint, on the grounds that learning how to use the standard dipping pens, with the nibs and inkwells and all, would be rather more than I could deal with at this point. They'd been working okay, though I think I may have either slightly damaged or drained the .5 pen when trying to color in a black nightgown in a big shot on page 4. (I almost immediately had the character change into lighter-colored clothes.) Still, the .2 pen was working decently up until then. I think either I'd used up all the ink, or I'd mashed the tips too hard so they were jamming up somehow.

After a brief attempt to clean them, I decided to switch over to a ballpoint pen. I'd heard they give much poorer-quality lines, but I didn't exactly have time to run down to Wet Paint again before 5:00.

My favorite ballpoint inked about three panel borders and then gave up the ghost. I was pretty sure there was still ink in there -- it's transparent, and I could see it -- but either that was just residue clinging to the cartridge walls, or this, too had jammed.

A desperate scavenge of the apartment ensued. I found a pen which had come with a 'How to Draw Manga' set, but it was beyond me -- apparently it was a dip pen with a standard pen body and a completely sealed small cylinder of ink inside. (I must look up how to use this someday.) I did, however, find a fairly poor-quality ballpoint somewhere, and proceeded to finish with it. Which is why the lines on the last few pages look even scratchier than usual.

Looking at the comic... Well, it's bad, no doubt about it. Characters don't look the same from one panel to the next, though they retain a certain simplicity. I don't think I got across everything I wanted to. And there were lots of 'cheats' -- splash pages, big panels, and some panels of random objects with mysterious-overseer-type dialogue over them. I think that works in context, but still.

But -- I got it done. Even with the oversleeping and the rebellion of my writing instruments.

And that's pretty okay.

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[14 Dec 2003|02:01pm]
Three hours left. And I've actually just made it through page 19. So... five more to go, if I'm going to finish it properly.

Can I do it? Well... I don't know. I'm certainly better off than I was predicting when I woke up. I'm willing to try, though I've only gotten this far by sharply reducing the panel count on several previous pages. (The big splash on page 16 has to be my most blatant case of hurrying.) Don't know yet whether, if I fall short, I'll go for the Gaiman Variation (end at whatever page I'm on at 5 PM) or the Eastman Variation (keep on going until I've got 24 pages, no matter how long it takes). Depends on how close I am to being done, I think. (Neil Gaiman actually only ended up with 13 pages in his 24-hour comic, though the story and art are both far better than mine.)

Anyway. Probably last update until the end...
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[14 Dec 2003|11:00am]
Well, twelve pages to go. And six hours left. Yeah, looks like I may be trying one of the 'Noble Failure' variants this time around... If I hurry, I may get to page 18 or 20 by 5 PM, which I suppose is pretty good for my first try at drawing comics since I was something like ten years old.

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[14 Dec 2003|09:53am]
Well, I went to bed around 1 AM, having gotten ten pages done total. I set my alarm for 6 AM. Later, I woke up, showered, and was getting dressed when I looked at the time -- and realized it was only 3:20 or so. No idea how that happened. So I dropped back into bed.

And just now woke up. Oops.

Expect a lot of splash pages if I really do manage to get this done...
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Final report of the night [13 Dec 2003|11:42pm]
[ mood | tired ]

Good news: its 11:42:20, and I've just finished Page 8. A full third of the way through! Bad news is I'm flagging fast, growing tired and not sure where to take it from here. I could just call it a night and go to bed, getting up at 6 AM tomorrow to finish the other 2/3. However, that would leave me with 16 pages to do in 11 hours. Not impossible, but faster than I've been going, and I'd need to do stuff like shower and eat, too.

I may grab a soda and see if I can't stay up long enough for another page or two. We'll see how that goes. Anyway, more updates tomorrow. (In general terms: the art's still looking hideous, the story's a bit unfocused, and I think I've attempted some more advanced page layouts than I should have. Oh, and I'm stealing humor from Sam and Max now. Still, it could be a lot worse.)

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[13 Dec 2003|08:02pm]
[ mood | rushed ]

8:02:30. Page 4 done. Though that's in part due to my making Page 2 a splash page when it didn't really warrant it, I think, and much of pages 3 and 4 being a very similar pose. Still, I've got a main character now, who's hovering in that nebulous territory between 'stick figure' and 'super-deformed.' Now if only I knew where I was going...

Still, 1/6 of the way done! Yay!

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[13 Dec 2003|05:48pm]
[ mood | busy ]

Time: 5:48 PM. Page one: complete. A little behind my rather optimistic schedule, and it's still extremely simple and I have no idea where it's going, or even what it's been saying so far, but... Still. It's a start.

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24 Hour Comic [13 Dec 2003|04:57pm]
[ mood | nervous ]

All right. I'll begin work at exactly 5:00:00 PM, Central time. I went down to Wet Paint to pick up a few supplies, and I'm as ready as I'll ever be. Which isn't very.

Status updates if I have time!

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24 Hours [12 Dec 2003|09:12pm]
[ mood | hopeful ]

I have decided to do something that may well be extremely silly.

I was browsing through Scott McCloud's website (home to the creator of, among other things, Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics), and happened to take a look at the 24-Hour Comic page. Essentially, it challenges a comic writer or artist to create a 24-page comic in 24 hours -- a rather fast pace.

I am a bit of a writer, but not an artist at all (condotierre and olna_jenn's chicken-related delusions notwithstanding). Nevertheless, a little doodling convinced me that I could at least manage a vaguely interesting and not-quite-painful-to-look-at cartoony scene at random in the time allowed. So... I'm going to try it. Probably sometime from tomorrow afternoon to Sunday afternoon. If I can manage a page and a half an hour, then I'll even have enough time to sleep and do miscellaneous things like feed the cats and eat.

I don't know at all how this will turn out, but I definitely plan to scan it in and at least show it around to a few people. If I judge it to be somewhere short of mortally embarassing, I may even link it here. We'll see.

Probably going to drop by Wet Paint and the Source tomorrow to pick up some last minute supplies, and then go to work. If I have time, I may even post progress reports here, though Pillowfort's probably out until I'm done.

It's an imposing project with a definite, immediate deadline. I actually seem to work fairly well under those conditions (no time to procrastinate, for one). So... here's to trying!

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[25 Nov 2003|10:41pm]
[ mood | tired ]

Really need to write more, and more often, here and elsewhere. In lieu of that for the moment, though... Some random bits and pieces:

  • My Dad and my brother Matt showed up to visit over the weekend, and we had quite the good time. Went shopping at the Mall of America, saw Lost in Translation and a DVD of The Music Man, and had dinner with ohimesamamama and highdancer and their Katlet.

  • I've often thought that micropayments were a highly important near-future technology. Now, at least a first stage implementation of them is here to a degree that I've actually bought into it. BitPass may not be an absolutely perfect implementation of the concept -- some people are still raising concerns about anonymity, convenience of purchase, and the minimum $3 buy-in cost -- but I've been able to read Scott McCloud's The Right Number and Patrick Farley's
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Really need to write more, and more often, here and elsewhere. In lieu of that for the moment, though... Some random bits and pieces:

<li> My Dad and my brother Matt showed up to visit over the weekend, and we had quite the good time. Went shopping at the Mall of America, saw <i>Lost in Translation</i> and a DVD of <i>The Music Man</i>, and had dinner with <lj user="ohimesamamama"> and <lj user="highdancer"> and their Katlet.

<li> I've often thought that micropayments were a highly important near-future technology. Now, at least a first stage implementation of them is here to a degree that I've actually bought into it. <a href="http://www.bitpass.com">BitPass</a> may not be an absolutely perfect implementation of the concept -- some people are still raising concerns about anonymity, convenience of purchase, and the minimum $3 buy-in cost -- but I've been able to read Scott McCloud's <a href="http://www.scottmccloud.com/comics/trn/intro.html">The Right Number</a> <em>and</em> Patrick Farley's <a href="http://www.e-sheep.com/apocamon/"</a>Apocamon 3: Attack of the Locusts</a> for twenty-five cents each, and that's more than good enough for me.. And I'm planning to page through BitPass's links page for new content to look at over the four-day weekend -- <a href="http://www.nothingsostrange.com/">Nothing So Strange</a>, a feature-length pseudo-documentary on the 1999 assassination of Bill Gates and the conspiracy/investigation culture that's sprung up around it, is already pushing all the right buttons for me.

<li>Bad news on the political front. Key parts of the Patriot Act II, a sweeping expansion of covert investigative powers at the expense of civil liberties, have been slipped into <a href="http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,61341-2,00.html?tw=wn_story_page_next1">an intelligence funding bill</a> that slipped under the radar and passed. Anyone who's been following this journal at all (when I update) should know why I consider this a very bad thing.

<li>A nice synopsis of the state of the moment with <a href="http://www.reason.com/links/links111103.shtml">electronic voting</a>, and why Diebold and the other voting machine companies are giving reasonable people hesitation on the matter.

<li><a href="http://www.mindspring.com/~kimall/Japanese/index.html">Japanese for the Western Brain.</a> I've been teaching a beginning Japanese class one lunch hour a week at my current temp job, and this page has been an invaluable aid. Some very useful, simple articles that explain much of Japanese grammar better than I can.

Probably more to come, eventually.
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Another Trip, and Thoughts on Current Events [16 Aug 2003|08:17am]
[ mood | busy ]

Well, I'm off once again. This time to Maine, where the Evil Twin will meet me for a few days, and where I'll be celebrating my mom's birthday. Leaving just after noon today, and I'll be back late on Friday.

It's been a while since I did a decent political post, and I want to pass along a few links before I head out. So I'll preface them with a lj-cut and a bit of trivia, courtesy of infojunkies: True or false: Barring an economic miracle that would trigger the creation of more than two million jobs in the next eighteen months, George W. Bush will end this term as the first President since Jimmy Carter to oversee a net loss in employment.

The answer may surprise even those with views close to mine...Collapse )

On a more personal note, I made a rather peculiar cheesecake for ohimesamamama and highdancer to thank for all their help lately, and Mars kindly transcribed the label for me. And then batyatoon came up with a clever addition I wish I'd thought of myself.

Anyway, I'll be off in just a few hours. See you all when I get back!

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Better Days [07 Aug 2003|11:37pm]
[ mood | productive ]

Well, today's turning out rather better than yesterday. I'm not feeling quite so sick, though my back's a bit stiff and I've still got a runny nose. Plus I'm hungry without having much of an appetite, if that makes sense. But at least I don't feel like curling up and sleeping for 20 hours out fo the day.

And my computer's fixed! More or less. I was flipping through the phone book looking for various places to compare prices at when I decided to try out something that the Apple store had recommended. They'd mentioned it could be a problem with a SCSI device attached to the computer. At the time, I didn't think I had any, but I subsequently remembered that my DVD-ROM drive, my Zip disc drive, and even my hard drive all counted. So I unplugged the Zip drive, closed the case to boot -- and voila. Problems seem to be all fixed.

Of course, it means I can't swap things between my laptop and my main computer any more, but I hadn't done that in quite a while. And it all still could go belly-up at any moment, but things seem to be going smoothly for now. birdfigment, thanks for the recommendation -- I'll probably take it down to Southdale if things go bad again, or if I can't find a way to fix the SCSI connection myself and decide the Zip drive's important enough to go to the hassle for.

More later, including a Boston summary if possible.

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