Fri, Sep 30 - Windy Rainy
Well, the last couple of days have seen some pouty weather around here, the kind of thing I heard Seattle was famous for but hadn't yet seen. Kinda makes a man droopy. Still, that doesn't mean I don't have a cartoon. I do.

Wow. That's big. Anything else? Well, the new PopCap newsletter wnet out... actually I think it was last week, so here's another PopStrip.

Um, and that's about it, this time around. Got plans to see Serenity tomorrow and the reviews seem favorable. Cross them fingers! And a buddy of mine has been bugging me for an eternity to get into a comic called Achewood and it's finally started to happen. Dude plays language hot, straight up saying science for the man on the go.

A few folks have e-mailed me to ask when I'm going to get my book sales up and running again, and to be honest I don't have a good answer. I'm not yet prepared to start up the full CCNow credit card stuff, but if you send me a mail order according to the instructions a little ways down the book page, I will fill it.

Fri, Sep 23-- It was my birthday!
Arg, I'm so wasted from an unexpected PopCap birthday drinking party, I can barely type out words. So many backspaces y'all are not seeing because of drunken updating. My birthday was yesterday, 35, and now I'm updating because I must. Cartoon? Yes.

Arg! I haven't scanned any of this crap in! Now I gotta scan and prepare and do all...

Tiffs! Grayscale! Drunkenness! Arg! I'm dying! Can I put together an image?

Crap! I put in the wrong one! DAMMIT! What's the right one?

Okay, I'm out of it. Let me know if now this appears...

Fri, Sep 16 -- Burnout! Revenge!
A rather slim update for y'all this week, as I've been up two nights in a row playing Burnout: Revenge. I gotta say, even though I like that you can smack into cars from behind and send them tumbling down the road in front of you, I kinda miss the wham-wham-wham chain takedowns of Burnout 3: Takedown. And the organization of the menu system is cracked. But still, whooshy whoosy. Here's the cartoon:

Apparently Bush apologized this week. Or rather, "took responsibility." I was startled; he's never done *that* before. Gotta give it to Karl Rove. Just when you think you've seen everything he's got, he surprises you. Only the great coaches and Machiavellian kingmakers can do that. Of course, as Molly Ivins has multiply pointed out, Bush is the great "Watch what I do, not what I say" president. And what's he doing? Oh, only stripping Katrina reconstruction workers of their wage protections. You tell 'em, Goerge! Those greedy workers have too much money as it is!

Wed, Sep 14 -- Ha ha, Jon Stewart is funny
Thank the Designer we have Jon Stewart's Daily Show, the only news on television. This week they're doing "Evolution, Shmevolution" and yesterday they had Kurt Vonnegut:

Vonnegut: I want to say something in defense of the president. He is not the dumbest man at the White House. The Secretary of Defense is the dumbest man in the White House. He is so dumb he thought he could take over a country of 25 million people, Muslims, and their oil, with 200,000 American soldiers who didn't even know how to say "Hello" in Arabic... And we're supposed to be giving them democracy. Well, democracy means that after a hundred years you have to give up your slaves. And after a hundred and fifty years, you have to let your women vote. And during the early period all kinds of genocide and ethnic cleansing are quite all right. So that's what we've got over there.

Stewart: It's sad to see you lose your edge.

So good! Watch it!

Fri, Sep 9 - Shorin' up the Levees

Last week, in a fury about the horrors unfolded in New Orleans, I posted an update in which I complained bitterly about George Bush's response to the disaster. I wondered if the breach of the levees in New Orleans might be accompanied by a similar breach in the wall of Americans' denial about the ruinous criminality and incompetence of the man occupying their President's office.

Now, just as the levees in New Orleans are being rebuilt and the pumping stations set to work, so to are the sandbags of ideological support being thrown into place and the bad or shameful realities are pumped away. This week the President's defenders launched two parallel and contradictory lines of argument, sometimes simultaneously: "It's wrong to play the blame game when people need help" alongside "It was the local and state authorities' fault."

Ah, the blame game. I'm all for it. The blame game serves two enormously useful functions. First is the practical: if somebody already screwed up big time, it's stupid and negligent to leave them in the position where they can do it again. The dude who drunkenly grabbed the wheel and ran the van into the river probably isn't the guy you want handling the gettin'-the-van-out-of-the-river duties. You blame so you can fix rather than just making it worse.

But more importantly, blame is a necessary emotional response. When we've been shocked or horrified or hurt, the natural reaction is to want to retaliate, push it back out, even if that just means yelling your anger at whoever's responsible as though he was there. People crave someone to blame. With 9-11 it was easy, since the horror was an act of human will; the blame game went through the whole season and post-season in about 3 hours. It was the terrorists' fault. Unfortunately the terrorists who actually did it were all dead so "the terrorists" needing stretching a bit to include the terrorists' co-conspirators and their allies and supporters and those who share similar ideologies and those who speak the same language and live in vaguely the same part of the world. "The terrorists" have been a very plastic, resilient Blame Bag. Or, if you like, a highly attractive Blame lighting rod.

But with Hurricane Katrina, however, there is no direct human agency. You can't blame the storm, and for some reason the people who believe in God don't blame him even though if he exists it's clearly his fault. But people still need to blame. I know I do, and for me, there's ol' reliable: George Bush. I revile his Presidency, and given what a horrific monster of a president he's been it's very easy to send my blame his way and to wish others to do so that, after a lifetime of evasion of responsibility of every form, George Bush can become the lightning rod and endure the storm of blame that is rightfully his.

That doesn't mean he's solely responsible for this catastrophe, or that he's the only one to blame. Oh, no. For an occasion this horrible there's blame for everybody. As more information comes to light, it's becoming increasingly evident that Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco did a very, very poor job of handling their responsibilities. I have yet to hear Nagin's explanation for the hundreds of unused buses swamped out in the flood, and at the very least Blanco didn't handle her interactions with the Feds very well. I have no doubt their failures will be exhasutively illuminated in the coming weeks. Emergency plans were neglected, obvious problems were overlooked, it was a mess.

But if a month ago you'd asked people "Do you think the Federal Government has a responsibility to render immediate aid and assistance to the victims of a National Emergency like a terrorist attack or natural disaster?" I think most folks would answer "Of course." And if you then asked, "Yeah, but what if the local and state authorities really screwed up? I mean really blew it. Wouldn't that absolve the Federal government of responsibilty?", most people would (should) look at you like you were nuts.

A wise comic book once said "With great power comes great responsibility." Responsibility goes up. It doesn't stop when the guy below you drops the ball. Indeed, it is activated. As you go higher up the chain of authority you get more power and more responsibilty. That's what being the boss is. That's what being the President is.

And what's been so galling and angering and horrifically appealing in all this is how George Bush has been so perfectly George Bush during this crisis. He played out his part as the clueless asshole sham president to a T. Monday evening he relaxed at his mansion. Tuesday he popped over to San Diego to spin bullshit about Iraq and clumsily play some chords. Wednesday he grumpily returned to Washington and chuckled during his speech. Thursday he said that nobody had anticipated that the levees would be breached, by "nobody" meaning him, by "not anticipating" meaning somebody had told him a few times about this disaster scenario in New Orleans but he hadn't really been paying attention. Friday he finally dared to visit the scene and complained that the people that had just gone through the worst week of their lives hadn't done enough. The man who cut short his vacation and usurped state authority to extend Terry Schiavo's living corpse for political advantage couldn't bring himself to do either when thousands of American lives were on the line. Classic Bush.

I want to hear someone ask this President "Are you satisfied with your own performance during this crisis?" I honestly wonder what his answer would be.

Fri, Sep 2 -- "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."
Well, horrible. Over the weekend I'd caught the news about Hurricane Katrina'a approach to new Orleans and the devastation it could cause. It was to hit Monday morning, and I checked the news to read that the storm had weakened before hitting the city. Forgot about it. Didn't notice on Tuesday or Wednesday except for reading about an evacuation plan that had no provision for people without a car. Fabulous. And suddenly Thursday it's thousands dead, helicopters getting shot at, rapes in the Superdome and rats eating dead bodies in shit-covered streets. Holy fuck. Slow motion 9-11.

The hurricane was coming no matter what we did; nothing could be done about that. Well, except for prepare for it. And somehow, astonshingly, that didn't get done. Molly Ivins says it's tacky to start playing the blame game before the bodies are even counted, but the range and depth of fuckupery at play in this disaster are too much.

There's the pre-hurricane phase of general and specific neglect, the fact that this has been on Bush's desk since 2001 as a real threat that needed attention and the mindboggling direct cuts in levee construction and maintenance earlier this year, which is bad enough. But then there's the runup to the disaster, the days of warning that resulted in no mobilization, no readiness to get people out of the city, no provision of food and water until Wednesday. Wednesday. Just enough time for thousands of people to die and tens of thousands more to be driven desperate by days without food and water. As a Canadian, I've seen disasters hitting America before, devastation, people pulling together, the National Guard slinging sandbags and handing out watter bottles. This time, the National Guard's not at home. They're busy right now.

This is the second major disaster on Bush's watch, making him 0 for 2 on anticipating real dangers to America and effectively addressing them. We recall the summer of 2001 when Mr. President was warning America that it needed a $150 billion dollar missile defence shield to protect itself. Whoops. Missed that one. And then last Friday an enemy marches towards America with murder on its mind but since it's not a terrorist, nothing gets done. Missed the ball again.

"Nobody anticipated the breach of the levees." I wonder if, perhaps, the levees in the American mind have been breached. There is a wall around 9-11 and the things that have been done in its name. That wall has been astonishingly resilient, protecting bandits who've raped the public interest at will. Is the loss of an entire city enough to crack it? Have the levees been breached?

Oh, right...
A cartoon:

Fri, Aug 26 -- Dammit!
Dammit, I say! Another week has rolled around and it's pushing 2 in the morning and all I have for you folks is another cartoon. It's this one:

Do I have anything else? Oh, wait, I do! Tachyon Publications and I have figured out what we're gonna go with for the new book, so click here to check out the mockup of the cover. The mockup's a bit rough, and it'll likely change a bit by the time the book comes out, but this should give any of you curious folks the general gist.

Fri, Aug 19 -- Early!
Well, not that early, but The Daily Show's not even on yet (my time), so that's early in my book. What do I have this week? A few things, some stuff.

First, of course, a strip.

Next, quite a fascinating article about the inventor of the neutron bomb, forwarded me by one of my colleagues. He described it as required reading and indeed it's pretty eye-opening. I was a dutifully lefty anti-nuclear kid in the 80s, decrying the neutron bomb for the way its creators valued property over human life. I never knew about the strangely moral roots of the bomb, and I certainly never could have imagined the oddly revealing trip it took through the halls of government.

And lastly, another PopCap Packet has gone out, which means it's time for another PopStrip! And here it is!

Fri, Aug 12 -- Late!
Sorry folks, I went to unexpected dinner and didn't end up getting home until 1:30 am. On a school night! Thus, this is a-gonna be a real quick update, pretty much the cartoon. But hey, it's a LoveBot cartoon!

Fri, Aug 5 --Nice in Seattle
That's right, the weather's been lovely, so I just wanna help put the lie to the notion that Seattle is nothing but rain and misery and overcast. It's only that much of the time.

Anyway, a strip, a drawn entertainment:

And was there anything else? I seem to recall there was...

Oh, right --Vezun's Comics List!

Vezun's Comics List
Vezun (pronounced "Vision") is this Las Vegas graffiti/comics artist dude I often hang out with along with Keith Knight at the various conventions I attend. He sent me his summary review of the pile of stuff he got at this year's Comic-Con and he said I could post it, so here it is: Vezun's Comic Book Reviews.

Wed, Aug 3 -- Wednesday!
Well, I swore I'd do a Wednesday update and here it is. The only question: what to put in it? There are no new cartoons, and I'm not quite ready to debut the new cover yet. What does that leave? Well, links.

Last Friday I did a quick interview with a gal from the Bellevue Community College student paper The Jibsheet, and thanks to quick student-journalism turnaround the article is already up. INSANE! What else? I got sent a bunch of robot links. They are: Japanese Female Android, Reception Robot ACTROID, Robot Company Goes Public, and Timeline For the Future. Fun for the kids! What else? How about a bunch of San Diego blogs? Here's Mark Evanier's blog, and here's Scott McCloud's pictures and some guy named Rick Simmons, he's got one, too.

Hmm... anything else? Well, there's this dude at something called The Exile (apparently a Moscow-based alternative newspaper! Wild!) who's written a pretty good timeline of various statements made by the White House and others about the training of Iraqi security forces. As you might expect there's a fair bit of fumbling with the numbers in the White House's staements, with a anywhere-between-100,000-200,000-number floating around as how many are on the job/slated to come online right quick. Then there are some much smaller numbers in the 5,000-50,000 range which describe how many of these guys are actually considered to be able to carry out their duties. And then there's another interesting figure, the absentees, who are considered to run in the tens of thousands. So if you think about it, the American training efforts are turning out almost as many or more trained people who quit as who stay.

We've heard about some of these absentees in news stories quoting American commanders registering their disappoinment in how poorly their Irqi fellows-at-arms have performed in this action or that, usually with the implication that these Iraqis just don't have the stuff, the ability or the committment to fight for their freedom. More likely they're tired of getting shot at by or shooting their own people for the sake of the Americans and their puppets. So it's hardly difficult to imagine plenty of those folks turing right around and using the skills and equipment they received from the Americans against them. If you're a committed insurgent, signing up with the "Iraqi army" for a couple of months would be pretty much the best possible way to learn about your enemy, and they'll even pay you to do it.

"Training Iraqi security forces" has been the White House's catch-all pathway out of Iraq. Once those security forces are trained, everybody can go home. But as we can see, little progress is being made. If anything we're making antiprogress. Perhaps a new approach is in order?

Fri, July 29 -- So much for July
Crimeny, I have about 8 minutes to get this done before the Daily Show comes on! Can I do it? It should be easy! Where's the cartoon? Dammit, I put it... no... it's... dammit... wait...

And... crap... I don't really have anything else. My colleague Darren keeps harassing me to do more updates and there are some thins I want to talk about, but I'm too sweaty and sleepy to do it now. Forgive me. I swear to you this: I will do a Wednesady Update. It will have content. Or at least some yabber. Promise.

Fri, July 22 -- Back from C-Con
Well, San Diego Comic-Con went well, though it was a lot more work than last time. It took longer to sell more books, but money was eventually made. Here's a photo I was sent of me and this gal who interviewed me for... hell, I can't remember.

** Mini-update ** I've been informed that the gal in question's name is Alison, and she was making a documentary on behalf of Witty Fools Productions. Wacky!

If any of you folks stumble across any good blogs talking about Comic-Con (particularly if they have good dirt on all those cool panels I didn't get to see), let me know.

Is that what you want? Here it is.


Umm, I think that's it. Saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a satanic vision of merciless judgment and punishment. I liked it, especially the songs, which I've been listening to compulsively since Tuesday. And man, am I ever digging the heat on Rove. I hope it holds.

Wed, July 13 -- ComicCon!
I'm outta here, folks, off to San Diego and ComicCon. I'll have stuff and things and words and pictures -- the whole show. Come by table M16 in the Small Press Area and chat a bit. And buy.


What about the contest?
I have three winnners. They are Brian Johnson, Andre Bordelon and Jeff Miller. There were many incorrect guesses, among them Uncommon Wisdom (very popular!), So, Hedorah, (also big), Diplomatic Immunity (not bad), Kerry Wins!, Your Oppressors, Two Words, Too Polite, Fear Party, and lots of titles of cartoons from previous books. As for the actual title, I'm gonna hold off, not just because I want it to be a ComicCon exclusive, but because I haven't finished the discussions with Tachyon yet and it might end up being something different.. I'll have something for you when I get back.

Sat, July 9 -- Contesty Saturday Update
See, here's why you should check in every so often even when it's not Friday, for little popups like this. So, quick contest: the first three people who correctly guess the title of my next book will get copies when it comes out next spring, plus another of their choice. Guess away!

** Mini-Update ** I've received a fair number of guesses, but none of them have been correct, so here's a hint: it's two words.

Fri, July 8 -- kaboom
I've been working in my room hearing the folks on Fox News congratulating themselves on how unfazed Americans are by the bombings in London, taking it in stride since they've been through so much worse. I wonder how unfazed they'd be if this had happened in Chicago.

Anyway, enough of that. Cartoons, more than one. First, the Bob.

Next, the latest PopCap newsletter just came out, bringing to two the PopStrips I haven't put up on this site. Let's fix that with

followed by

Go to PopCap! It's my job!

What else? Oh, yeah, Comic-Con
I'll be there; to be honest it'll be the most familiar thing I do this year. I'm at table M-16 in the Small Press Area, right next to Keith Knight, so con-goers can be assured of maximum con-nonsense emanating from those quarters.

For the first time, I'll be on a panel, though now I feel bad I didn't sign up for the other ones. Let's see, what does the program say... something like...

Friday, July 15, 6:00-7:00 Comic-Con WebComics School 101: Getting Started—What should you write about? Should you collaborate? Should you build your own website? Bill Barnes (Unshelved) leads fellow web cartoonists Jonathan Rosenberg (Goats), Dave Kellett (Sheldon), Kristofer Straub (Checkerboard Nightmare), Ted Slampyak (Jazz Age), and Stephen Notley (Bob the Angry Flower) in a discussion of how they found their unique voices and surmounted the technical and logistical challenges of publishing comics on the web. Room 4

I don't know what useful anything I'll have to say about any of that, but I'll be there.

What will I have? Same old books. Same old posters. Nothing super new to sell. On the other hand, since I'm not selling these things on the site at the moment, this would be a good time for folks to snap them up. And, I'll be debuting the cover and title for the next book, due out next spring from Tachyon Publications, so that'll be a Con exclusive. Cool!

Um. Is that it? I think so.

Fri, July 1 -- Happy Birthday, America!
Birthday weekend, anyway, something like that. I'm not sure.

So! Is there a cartoon this week? There is. It is this one:

Anything else? Well, I suppose there's a review, kind of, of War of the Worlds. A little truncated, and I admit it, a little hasty, but it's the best I can do given the amount of effort I'm willing to expend. Also seeable on the reviews page.

And, that's pretty much it. Off to Edmonton for a wedding this weekend, then back, then off to San Diego the following week for Comic-Con. Should be nuts.

Fri, June 24 -- Spargle!
Dammit, I didn't mean for this to happen, but I had guests from out of town (well, guest, anyway) and I just plum fergot about the update until this morning, so I have time for little more than that cartoon, which is here:

Jeez, and I had a whole big thing I was gonna write about how to break the back of the insurgency in Iraq. Maybe next week. Also expect to see some kind of writing about how much Spielberg's War of the Worlds friggin' RULES. Not that I've seen it, but I'm confident.

Thurs, June 17 -- Quickly, now...
I don't have a lot of time; I gotta work tomorrow. So, swiftly, the cartoon:

And then, the review of Batman Begins, also found on the review page..

G'night! Sweet dreams! The Republicans are Hurting America! Pass it on!

Wed, June 8 -- Eaaaaaaarly
Got your update early this week. See how it pays to check in mid-week sometime just in case? And why, this time? Simply put, when the regular Appointed Time of Update rolls around later this week on Friday, I simply will not be home to perform the necessary operations. I'll be in Sacramento. So I'm doing it two days in the past (Friday time) to make sure it gets out there. Because it needs to get out there. After all, who can look away from the harrowing truth of


Fri, June something... 3, I think
Another Friday, another month, another cartoon. It just keeps happening! Nothing and nobody can stop it!

Ummm... and that's pretty much it. I haven't really seen anything recently except for Doctor Who which has actually been kicking my ass, the most recent 2-parter "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances" (off bittorrent) serving as quite a nice chilling little Who story in the old style, with some great moments of flair for Eccleston's Doctor as well as a great new character, Captain Jack, a spaceship-havin', time-travellin', Rose-mackin' refraction of the Doctor through the flash prism. Quite good.

And I guess I'm going to the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists convention next week to drink for four days and maybe see Schwarzenegger give a speech. We'll see how that goes. And PopCap's been pretty interesting so far... the next newsletter goes out in a week or so, so I should be able to put up the next Popstrip, an amusing little trifle.

Fri, May 27 -- Quick n' dirty
I'm drunk, I'm wasted, I'm returning to Edmonton tomorrow, and my head is full of green worms and intertextual villainy. So, the briefest update for some time, just the cartoon:

Have a good weekend!

Fri, May 20 -- Seen Sith
Though I don't really have a review for it. I may write one in the days to come, but at this point, I'll just cut-n-paste some e-mail comments at the end of this post. But first,

Great Beams of Cinema
This was an idea for a feature that I once had and never wrote, and eventually my good friend Darren at Vue Weekly went ahead and wrote it admirably, so check it out. Great Beams of Cinema.

MP Slaps Senate
A helpful reader sent along an e-mail with a transcript of the remarks made by British MP George Galloway to a US Senate Committee accusing of profiteering on Iraqi oil sales. Now, I can't say I know enough to say whether this guy did or didn't profit from Iraqi oil sales, but his defense of himself is so satisfying and refreshing to read, I pretty much gotta post some of it:

"Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf.

"Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.

"Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.

"I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.

"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defence made of his.

"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and doing commerce.

"You will see from the official parliamentary record, Hansard, from the 15th March 1990 onwards, voluminous evidence that I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do and than any other member of the British or American governments do."

It just gets better from there. The rest is here.

Sith Thoughts
As I say, no formal review, a quick thumbnail.

I dunno, it may sound crazy, but I think I prefer Clones. One thing that really bugged me this time around was how totally artificial it seemed, particularly with the clonetroopers. Maybe I'm wrong, but seeing all those Temura Morrison heads on clonetrooper bodies it was like they just glued his head onto totally computer-animated troopers without even bothering to stick him in a trooper costume to get even a single bit of real-life stuff. Those troopers never looked real for a second to me.

And on the larger stuff, it seemed to me like Lucas was just piling on as many "why does he turn evil?" motivations as he could for Annikin, with the effect being that they kinda cancel out.  Among the reasons:
Annikin is afraid for Padme and wants the power to prevent her death.
Annikin is angry and resentful at the Jedi for holding him back and not trusting him.
Annikin accepts Palpatine's arguments that the Jedi way of looking at the Force is too limited and blocks the way to true understanding.
That's already three, and I'm sure there are more. I mean, if you accept the idea that the lightside/darkside construction is simple-minded Jedi propaganda, then why would you still refer to the Light side and the Dark Side?
These sound like niggling things, and I guess they are, but they're the things that pop up in my mind when I think about this movie. There were a few moments here and there that I liked, and it certainly didn't help that I had to spend the first 15 minutes learning to ignore the big fat head of the big fathead sitting in front of us, but I can't say I came away rocked. The first half just seemed like confirmation of how lame all this prequel/Clone Wars stuff really was, and the second half just felt muddy. Bizarely, I'd say the most touching moment for me was Padme pleading with Annikin on Mustapha or whatever volcano-land is called. That felt kinda real. Not very much else did.

Fri, May 13 -- Yep...
Yes, time certainly does keep on a-tickin' through that big ol' time machine we call Our Universe. Or does it? Einstein tells us that time is an illusion, or at least he imlies it, and I think he actually said it once. Or maybe not an illusion, but certainly this thing we call "the present" doesn't really exist, anyway.

What was I talking about? Oh, right, cartoons.

Pretty basic, pretty much a cartoon. Here's another, one that just went out with the PopCap newsletter:

A wee bit funky, this one, mostly cuz I was still negotiating the transistion from my-style lettering to computer-style lettering. The next couple are much cleaner --and funnier! To get 'em, subscribe to the PopCap newsletter. Now's the time to do it, since it gets you first crack at PopCap's ridiculously addictive new game Chuzzle. And I'm not just shilling for my new employers, either; it really is good.

Serenity: Goddammit!
So after the wild success of the first Serenity sneak previews (and by "Serenity" I mean the movie verison of Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon's sapcey western show "Firefly"), they decided to have another set of previews. And, like the first set, this one again sold out in the time it takes to click "refresh". Bastards! So, in the vague but persistent hope that there might be some tiny overlap between Seattle-based Bob and Serenity fandom, I ask: did any of you readers out there score a ticket I could get/buy/have/blow you for? If so, please e-mail me at

Fri, May 6 -- Whoops! Almost forgot!
This working-Monday-to-Friday thing has, paradoxically, really screwed up my sense of weekly time, such that I almost went to bed without realizing it was time to do an update. Almost, but not quite. As promised, a harrowing cross-border tale of

TN1 Terror

And speaking of American security...
In telling folks about my TN1 experience I forgot one particular detail until today, which was that during the process despite my reservations I allowed the U.S. government to take my fingerprint and retinal scan, something I'd really, really not wanted to do. So far Canadians who travel to the U.S. have been exempt from this requirement, but I guess it's the way for those of us who want to work here or for anybody from anywhere else in the world who wants to visit. Fun! I didn't need that privacy anyway!

On a similar subject, Americans should be comforted to hear, if they even do hear, that Congress is bringing in a national ID card next week. This delightful piece of legislation was tacked onto a "must pass" bill --in this case another multi-dozen-billion dollar Iraq War funding supplemental-- without any debate, and basically it not only requires states to demand 4 pieces of indentification in order to issue a driver's license but also requires the states to contact the issuers of each piece of ID for verification. Golly -- that sounds like an efficient process! Better yet, all the data then gets plunked into handy statewide databases to be perused by any government employee with a computer. So far the Republican supporters of the bill have backed away from requiring it all to go into a *federal* database, presumably because they realize they don't need legislation to get access to the data since they can just get it on the sly whenever they want. Awright! Let's hear it for FREEEEEEEEEEEEE-DOM!

That aside, I'm quite enjoying my time here in America.

Another reminder
For friends and enemies alike who may not have checked the web site last week, I just wanna point out once again that my e-mail address is now And as for all you industrious web-mining programs out there, I expect to start receiving the Nigerian Investment Opportunites I've come to rely on--STAT!

Sat, Apr 30 -- Mini-update
Hardly anything, really, just a not-for-profit review of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Fri, Apr 29 --

Yes, I'm here, inside the very city of Seattle, Washington. Indeed, I've been here for going a week and a half, but I've only just gotten my precious, precious Internet lifeblood up and running, only just now become able to update the page. And the first and biggest consequence of that is that my e-mail address is no longer It is now Friends, countrymen, Americans, please update your address books accordingly. That's, and though I've updated that information on the major pages of the I haven't gone through the whole thing to amend all the e-mail links, so for cryin' out loud use your head and don't go digging through the site to e-mail me from some long-old page. Do it from here.

Where's a cartoon, dammit?
Yes, yes, a cartoon, dammit. I admit I missed a week of cartooning in all the fuss of moving, but I've got the one from last week, and it's this:

Absolutely Effortless Prosperity with Bijan

So the TN1 Visa thing went okay?
It did. I expended much worry for not much hassle, and the process generated a cartoon, TN1 Terror, which I will share with you in one week's time.

So how's Seattle?
Not too bad, not too bad at all. I owe enormous thanks to Max at PopCap, who gave me a futon on my first night here and took me on an Ikea run last Sunday. With his help much wretchedness was avoided. Thanks, Max!

I'm still far from settled, but getting my material possessions and Interweb connectivity does wonders to calm the mind.  I'm living in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, on Melrose Ave. between Pike and Pine, mere metres from storied Bauhaus coffee shop. I've found a couple of seemingly nice drinking spots, Linda's and Lounge, just up Pine. There's a place that sells genuine New York pizza nearby. Plenty of devilishly handsome girls around. The weather is much nicer than expected; despite the legend of soaking-wet Seattle, it's only rained twice since I got here. I suspect in that it's much like Edmonton, ie. Edmonton snows all the time and Seattle rains all the time. Kinda true, kinda way off. Reality, as always, defies our efforts to confine it within any particular model.

And PopCap?
Cool so far, with expectations of increasing coolness as time goes on. I'm pretty confident in my writing ability even though my Photoshop and HTML wizardry is vestigial at best; I must develop big skills quickly lest I be canned like so many before me. If you're interested in the kind of stuff I'm doing there (and why wouldn't you be?), I direct you to a preview page for PopCap's sensational upcoming game, Chuzzle. I wrote much of the copy for the page and then watched in awe/fear as the sorcerers at PopCap fancied it up and made the layout beautiful. There's a thingy on PopCap's site where you can enter your e-mail to receive the newsletters I'll be writing; I advise you to go there and click "Yes".

I'm also doing a strip for them featuring the various PopCap characters, the first installment of which I provide here under the hope that my PopCap masters won't mind:

Get to Work!

Though actually the cartoon that got sent out featured "And have fun! NOW!" as the punchline, a toned-down version of "And have FUN, dammit!" which couldn't fly in PopCap's intensely family-friendly format.

Anything else?
I'm blanking at the moment, though I sure stuff will occur to me later this evening. I'm furiously looking forward to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy tomorrow. Yesterday I heard there was going to be a screening of Joss Whedon's Firefly movie Serenity at a neraby theatre last night (man, I'm so living in a city where cool things are going on all the time!), and even though the tickets were sold out I made an attempt to weasel in, an attempt that failed because it turns out the screening isn't until next week. And to be honest, my weaseling would have failed anyway due to the shockingly tight security at Loew's/Cineplex Odeon/Landmark/whatever theatre company it is. I swear, America's theatres are far, far more secure than her airports and nuclear plants; just try to get in with a cameraphone and see how fast you get gulagged. Or Gitmoed, these days, I suppose.

The previous update is here.