J233 – RLRAoS: New Jersey

[3/31/2009] So, over spring break I was visiting a friend in New Jersey when I unexpectedly ran into Daniel (my partner from Maslab). He had told me he lived there before … but I guess it just didn’t register. Whoops.

Trying out a different style this time, sort of Haruhi-chan -esque. Kinda liked the way it turned out — it’s got an exxagerated feel that’s pretty good for 4koma.

dcomic 496


So as of this writing, the comics are drawn through 526 and processed through 525. Against all odds, I’m thirty ahead again. This should basically give me an uninterrupted run into the summer and then maybe even towards the end of the story; most likely I’ll throw in some colored illustrations here and there, but there shouldn’t be another three-to-four week break again.

So I want to talk about the comic, but my toughts are somewhat disorganized (ha, what’s new), so I’ll start by hitting what I’ve said in the past. In d217, I mentioned that the comics between 485 and 505 were all drawn very similarly; well, I am pleased to say that the comics between 505 and 525 are also all drawn very similarly. Thank you consistency, for winning out in the end.

Sadly, at 526, I no longer believe that 512 was “within 20 pages of the end”. Within 40 pages, yes, within 30 pages, maybe, but within 2009 is still very, very likely. In fact, if I can hash out a few more pages this break (and even if I can’t), the story can probably be completely drawn and processed this summer; getting it up on the site may take a while longer. At any rate, it’s on schedule.

Speaking of consistency, in d209, I tried my hand at some new, fancy-pants shading that didn’t quite pan out. Some time ago (and I can’t find this update), I mentioned how experimentation done in sketching usually materializes in the comic and then in a painting or two, but it wasn’t the case for this cycle. Like I said, consistency won out; I don’t actually think that’s happened before.

With the back half of the current storyline, my numbering system, as detailed in d199 becomes largely chronological again. At the very least, since 425, the events of the subsequent 100 pages follow each other sequentially with respect to the timeline of the story. Some events that happened before 425 with respect to the story (part 2 remake) were drawn after 425 with respect to my life, but these have, as mentioned, been labelled in the axx series.

Speaking of the remake, the entire story should be getting a final once-over when its done. I don’t think I’m going to edit part 6 for the compilation, but I am going to update that damn summary. I’ve been considering making one or two print copies just to see how it looks in book format, but it’s gotta be cheap. I’ll probably print the pages at a Fedex-Kinkos and hole-punch and bind the damn thing myself. No more Starcrossed-style disasters.

Hmm, I realize now that what I actually wanted to do was comment on some of my entries of the past. I realize now that the best way to go about such a task would have been to start from the very beginning (oh gawd, it’s like that song…). Probably will do that next time. This time, I’m out.

J232 – *yukkuri rant-ish thing*

[3/20/2009] Yeah, it’s early. I’m visiting a friend this coming week (it’s spring break!), so update goes up early.

Anyway, yeah. I feel like sometimes I take this too seriously. It’s one thing to want to improve, but it’s another when you let it take over your mindset to the point where you’re spending more energy worrying about that than just enjoying creating the comic. Furthermore, all this plot hujja-whadja hasn’t been working out for me because, as usual, I didn’t think it out all the way. Worse yet, it’s drama!, and I don’t think it came out as well as I had envisioned it.

At any rate, we’re going to see if I can pull back a bit and take it with a more relaxed attitude from now on. Yukkuri shiteitte ne!

EDIT: Wow, 250th update, by some counting. Whoo~!

dcomic 495


Comics are starting again. I’ll be trying to draw a ton over the break.

It’s been a year (and, ok, this is really obvious, but 250 – 52 = 198 was how I found this original post) since I bought my HP TC4200, so we’re taking a little bit of time to reflect. You’ll notice that the date on my camera is exactly a year behind. I have no clue how to change it.

There are some new pictures. It looks more or less the same as it did a year ago; despite the relatively heavy use, I think I’ve taken pretty good care of it. It never ceases to suprise me that the plastic trim on the thing is dark blue. Even outdoors, you just never get enough light such that it shows up the way it does with the camera flash. Overall, I don’t think I commented on this before, it’s not what I’d call pretty, but it certainly ain’t ugly like HP’s consumer tablets.

Yes, that’s a Strike Pantsu wallpaper. A dark background saves you a miniscule amount of battery life (unless, for some reason, you spend a lot of battery time idling at your desktop with your screen on; mine’s set to turn off after 2 minutes). Battery life and endurance has been nothing short of phenominal. I was getting somewhere over four hours when this thing was “new”; I am STILL getting just under four hours a year down the line. I run down that battery past 50% every weekday of the academic year.

Of course, I went solid-state sometime in fall of last year which may have helped stave off battery run-down by a bit, but nonetheless, something like 90% of battery capacity in the third year is insane. Maybe the original owner didn’t run down the battery at all, but even with my own usage this batter has been through at least 300 full to half cycles.

Drawing performance, after the initial “learning curve” which was more like “figure out which Windows Tablet features to turn off curve” has been very good. I’ve actually completely given up on using scratch paper internally (ie on homework) and just using this thing instead. I hate dealing with eraser scraps more and more, especially in my dorm as I don’t vacuum on a normal basis. Windows Journal is pretty handy in general.

It’s a little bit underpowered in general… the Pentium M 740 can barely playback 720p and there’s no GPU acceleration or anything fancy like that. The CF-SSD is moderately fast for sequential reads and writes, random reads, but pretty appalling with random writes. OpenCanvas will lag occasionally (whether it’s due to HDD or CPU cap, I wouldn’t know), but I’m hesitant to upgrade the CPU due to power consumption and hesitant to buy a real SSD… as it will be worthless when I upgrade tablets (because the next tablet won’t use a 2.5″ PATA SSD; I’m absolutely certain).

It’s noise where this thing has really spoiled me, though. My 500M ran its fan once in a while; my D830 ran its fan close to 24/7… and these machines had hard drives too. So they were always making noise. The TC4200, after undervolting, never spins up its fan under day-to-day workloads (Internet, word processing, etc). 720p and some youtube videos seem to stress it enough to get that thing to spin up. My E6400 runs its fan maybe 10% of the time. And this is already pushing it for me now.

The point is, with the CF-SSD, the TC4200 is absolutely silent. Almost always. It is amazing.

There are two qualms I have with the TC4200. I’m absolutely serious. Only two. One is minor, one is becoming really, really annoying. The minor element is that it’s kinda chunky and kinda heavy. You look at it compared to the E6400; it’s basically of the same height and depth, just not as wide. But it’s thicker when closed and weighs all of 4.5lbs (I measured this on an accurate cooking scale). The E6400 weights exactly 5lbs.

The other thing is that the damn power supply is different. Different from what? Different from the boatload of Dell PA-10 and PA-12 power supplies that I have. I can take my E6400 to my dorm, to my room, to wherever and I’ll have a power supply there, or an extra one lying around such that I don’t need to pull one out of wherever. With the TC4200 I have one. It’s extremely annoying having to take it everywhere. This is one reason I’ve always bought Dell ’til now. Power fuckin supplies.

I wanted a Dell XT. I really did. I bought one on a whim when Microsoft/eBay was doing their 30% cashback program (which, from a business standpoint, is the dumbest thing I think MS has done for a long time) and I really wanted to like it. It solved both the form factor and power supply issues, but the power consumption was just ridiculous. The TC4200 pulls like 9W at idle and light load; the XT did like 13W at idle. That’s kind of ridiculous.

Needless to say, that made it noisy and have a crappy battery life. Unacceptable given my experience with the TC4200, so I sold it back on eBay. Made a little money too. The problem really stems from the fact that Intel doesn’t let you really undervolt their processors anymore. It’s really, really frustrating. Even with the E6400, I think that would completely eliminate that last 10% of fan on-time.

At any rate, that’s it for now. Go buy a tablet and an anime mousepad.

J231 – Mechanized 518

[3/16/2009] As predicted, here’s a colored sketch of 518. I actually drew the sketch in January and was going to color it in then, but Maslab interfered.

Anyway, the crab-claw always struck me as something that might look good mechanized, so that was the motivation for this sketch. Also, I was inspired by this image, which I should probably set as my desktop wallpaper at some point (unfortunately, the original is in an awkward size).

Coloring-wise, I tried to make more of an effort to have a defined light source (suggested somewhat by the background), but I don’t think it came across that well. I’ve still got a ways to go, I guess. More coloring practice!

Until next week, Take It Easy!