December Sun – A Web Comic

September 19, 2011

Revamping this stale site…

Filed under: 3 — admin @ 3:25 pm

Haven’t touched this web comic in awhile. I’ve revamping it now.

December 28, 2010

New Blog: Coding Adventures

Filed under: 3 — Tags: , — admin @ 11:52 pm

I just started up yet another Blogger blog called Coding Adventures, this time to document various coding experiments that I’ve work on.  I’ve been a hobbyist programmer for a long time now and just haven’t bothered documenting any of these experiments, so I thought putting this into print online would be a good discipline for me.  The fact is that I’m fascinated to tinker around with code and a half-readable programming book from time to time, so why not just use Blogger as a big online repository for notes and comments?  Currently I’ve been tinkering with things like Javascript and C#, so there will probably be some posts on topics like this in the near future.

The image is from one of the recent pages of December Sun #5 posted here – just with a little color splashed in.  I thought that an evil, uncontrollable robot, rising from the ground, would make for an ideal icon for the blog.  I think it’s amusing that at the library the programming books tend to be categorized near the oddball supernatural titles like bigfoot and UFO’s, as if the two subjects are somehow related.  Maybe they are?

December 8, 2010

December Sun #5 – Really bad first draft

Filed under: 3 — Tags: , — admin @ 11:44 pm

Most of this has already been refined/illustrated and posted here, but I thought for kicks I’d post this.  This is the original first draft of the first half of DS#5, warts and all:

DS #5

Ludosomnus was a theologian, educator and cheese-maker from the later part of the 15th…

No, I mean, who cares about some stuffy old guy anyhow?

Well, other than the fact that his biography encompasses over a thousand pages of dry tedium,  the least of which describing his fascination with fromage…

Nope!  Sorry.  This isn’t what you’re about.  You’ve got super powers, and you’re in hiding here… around all these dry, old books.

What?

Follow me! Look, I’m going to steal this book from the library, just to see your reaction, hotshot!

Uh…

I say, did that young woman say she was stealing a Ludosomnus biography?

Yes, and I’ve got an exam on that text tomorrow!

thinks
How did she know where to find me, and how did she know about my powers?  I’ve done everything I can to keep a low-key identity here, and she just walked right up and found me!

Speeding away in a van?  This screams of a setup.  Blast!  I don’t need this now.
My paper…

running
sigh…

Alright, enough of this!  Give me back the book now or…

gun guy
smile

Stun blast… wasn’t meant to kill me.  Whoever this is, they’re leading me to a…
The Smart thing to do would be to go back and call the police, and let some super team handle this.  And…

The bull man smashed me flat, and Castillo nearly fried me.  I… can’t keep running and failing.  Plus theres nothing more inane than being a tragic hero.

Tragic virtue.
Paper due tomorrow.
who was that girl anyhow?

buildingtop -
They left the van, and there’s the book.  Like a cube of colby-jack in a mousetrap.
Dang, I’m hungry.  Should have had a snack before…

shadow
hola!  You know this is a trap, guerrero?

Ah, yeah.  Hey, you shadows never show up during my conflicts.  Are you going to help me out this time?

We did help you last time, amigo.  Remember Castillo, the bandido calvo?  He’s almost in Canada now with this tail between his legs.

Well why not help me now?  Obviously someone, something, is waiting to pound me.  Together we’d be unstoppable!

No can do, compañero.  But tell you what.  You’ve got this fight won if you just do one thing:

foco.  Focus.

Great, thanks.  estúpido shadow.

Maybe he’s right.  The power is on, and I’m going to use it, and maybe today will be the day… wonder what the opposite of a tragic hero is?

8080… attack!!!!
Destroy!
mame!

yield, mortal, to thy superiors!  Feel thee the justice of the shield of Frankenmuth!

Torchmaster… eliminate yon enemy.

Verily, Axemasterman!

Alright, look… I didn’t really come prepared.  In fact, my only outfit was shredded with 10,000 volts of electromagnetic radiation.  And now this…

We know.  Here’s an outfit for you that can withstand a majority of gunfire and projectile weaponry.  It was specifically tailored for your experiment today.
Experiment?
Trust us, you’ll be fine.  We promise you won’t die.

that makes everything better.  Excuse me, I’m going to change and ponder why the heck I’m here.

You’re here to get your little book back.
You’ve just got a few hundred obsticles to get through first.
hahahahaha!!!
I could just report you to the library.  They might take away your circulation privledges.
hahahahahaha!!!

inside
I should have stayed in bed.

but no, I’ve got a morbid curiosity to see who these people are, and how they know me.  hopefully I can get to the bottom of this, get home, change, and finish my paper…
hey, this is a nice fit.  Generally I’d hate the idea of a pine-green super-costume, but this isn’t bad.

I just need to focus.
I can do this.
Beat the army.
Get the book.

Amazing… fireproof material!  Even my standard black and whites couldn’t take a shot like this without some warping.

And a cape.  Trite, but I’ll play along.  If they want to experiment with me, then I’ll give them an experiment, and… dang, I sound so maudlin.

I think he’s in there shaking with fear.
I don’t think he’s coming back out.

No… here he comes…

Is it working?
Yes, the sensors are all in place in the suit.  We can monitor all of his vitals while he fights.  So far his power levels are extraordinary…

Give it time.  The batallion will wear him down.

{
Give the 8080 some time.  They’ll break him down.  He didn’t last long against Bullbeast, remember.

Different situation there.  Nothing can last long against Bull.  Besides, so many members of the 8080 battalion are just so plain… goofy…

It’s part of their gimmick.

Why would a super-hero sub-team need a gimmick…?
}

Need to focus.
Concentrate on keeping the power active, and directing it into each action.

I wonder if self-doubt has been draining these powers?

baddies:
We

Amablu Blue cheese
American cheese
Bergere Bleue
Brick cheese
Capriole Banon
CheddarJack
Clemson University Blue Cheese
Colby cheese
Colby-Jack cheese (Cojack)
Cold Pack
Cougar Gold cheese
Cream cheese
Crowley
Cup Cheese
Cypress Grove Chevre
Farmer cheese
Frankenmuth cheese
Great Hill Blue
Hubbardston Blue Cow
Humboldt Fog
Kansas Cow Cheese
Liederkranz cheese
Maytag Blue cheese
Monterey Jack
Muenster cheese
Peekskill Pyramid
Pepperjack cheese
Pinconning cheese
Pizza cheese
Plymouth cheese
Provel cheese
Teleme cheese
Texas Goat Cheese
Tillamook Cheddar
Vermont cheddar

November 3, 2010

Sketchbooks from years long ago…

Filed under: 3 — Tags: — admin @ 2:18 pm

Rob's old sketchbook nonsense

I’m updating my pointless Miscellaneous blog to include tons of old pages of my art class days, mainly so I can get these into a digital format and get rid of them.  There are LOTS of pages, most of which are completely nonsensical, yet I find that some of these really make me chuckle, either at the content or at how stupid some of my ideas where.  Yeah, Fine Arts degree.  Brilliant career path there, Rob…

October 26, 2010

Tron Legacy: Fearing the Worst

Filed under: 3 — Tags: , — admin @ 2:45 pm

I’m really fearing the worst for the new TRON reboot.  Sure, the graphics look pretty good (everything looks rainy, dark and city-like) but I fear when cinematic favorites from my childhood are taken, revamped, and ruined.  The Star Wars prequels and Indiana Jones IV would be good examples of entertaining childhood favorites taken and destroyed with terrible CG, bad stories, bad acting and, sadly, the less-than-prime work of John Williams that was horrible mangled and cut-n-pasted for these films (and by whom, I wonder?)  The original Tron film had Wendy Carlos as composer, but from the sound of it she’s not scoring this new Tron film, which is unfortunate.  Maybe they can keep the music similar in nature, but I doubt they will.

Anyhow, TRON was, and is, one of my favorite films ever.  Incredible special effects with a genuine “human” element to life inside the machines.  Fairly clean PG rating with little objectionable content, and plenty of rich spiritual aspects to the film (there’s the messianic figure figure of Flynn, as well as computer programs petitioning (praying) to their users.)  I fear all of this will be ruined with the new film.  “Rob, aren’t you prejudging a film you’ve not even seen?”  Yes, well, just remember, Indiana Jones in a refrigerator.

October 13, 2010

Letter to Disney

Filed under: 3 — Tags: — admin @ 3:51 pm

Aging animatronics

To whom it may concern:

I recently traveled with my family to visit the Disney parks for a number of days, and while the experience was for the most part ok, there were a number of notable disappointments this time around, enough that I wanted to put this into a note. I was hoping for a little more to the experience this time, but there were enough things that I found bothersome that I wanted to put into a note. Here they are, in no particular order:

The rides

Granted, it’s been 20 years, and I’m a lot older since the last time I visited the park last, but I couldn’t help but notice that rides in parks like the Magic Kingdom are really starting to show their age, and even the newer “improved” rides like the Tiki Bird house really don’t seem all that much better.

Some of the examples that come to mind specifically:

- The “Country Bear Jamboree” features a stifling room and a very dusty-looking collection of animatronics. I couldn’t help but notice that for a few of these robots, there seem to be strange defects with the eyes – some of these robots have one eye strangely closed or erratically blinking, such as the lead bear at the Country Bear show. The audio was also terrible, and seated in the back row of the theater I could hardly understand the words of the bear’s dialog or lyrics.

- The “Jungle Cruise” additionally is showing its age, and many of the animatronics seem to be showing fading and wear from the water sun. For instance, some of the elephants have permanently-etched water-lines on their rubbery bodies. Some updates would really seem to make sense, or at least, some new coats of paint.

- “Pirates of the Caribbean” was, by far, the biggest disappointment of the bunch. The ride could easily be called “Captain Jack Sparrow of the Caribbean”, as the “Johnny Depp robot” has over-saturated (and subsequently ruined) what was once my favorite ride in the park. There is far too much Captain Jack in the ride, and this newer robot and newer technology doesn’t seem to blend with the rest of the ride (the final Captain Jack just seems wrongly-placed, and I really found myself missing the blackbearded pirate that used to be there, shooting a gun from a pile of loot.) Just because George Lucas does this sort of revamping thing with his films, doesn’t mean that you need to as well with the rides. This really was a let down.

- “Tiki Birds: Under new management” was another animatronic exhibit that, although aged, wasn’t greatly improved by new robotics. In fact, I couldn’t help but notice that the red parrot bird (I can’t think of it’s name – from Alladin) really had a unbelievably fake quality to it, with Elmo-quality red fur, and oddly, metal robotic pipes clearly visible at the bottom of the bird’s body connecting it to the perch.

Which isn’t to say that there wasn’t some of the old nostalgia from rides like “Peter Pan” and the “People Mover”, but for the most part, I really encountered a lot of disappointment with so many of these rides. Equally frustrating was how Sep. 12-18 seemed to be “repair week” at the the Disney parks! A massive crane flanked Cinderella’s castle, several buildings were closed out for repair, and most frustrating was that “Its a Small World”, a ride we really wanted to share with the kids, was closed (also disappointing was that “Star Tours” was closed for us at EPCOT, and this was one of the few that I really wanted to try again.)

Some of the newer rides like “Philharmagic” and “Monsters Inc” were amusing and were a nice newer direction for the park, but just weren’t enough, in light of so many of the frustrations above. Another thing that we noticed particularly with the Hollywood studios park is that there are far too few rides, resulting in a MASSIVE back-log of people waiting for the few actual rides like the “Toy Story” ride (we even went past this ride right at closing [9:00ish on Sept. 15th]) and even 30 minutes before park closing time there was a 70 minute wait to get in! That’s ridiculous, and even the fastpass tickets were all gone for this one. As far as the Animal Park, other than a couple shows there was very little to have us go back to this ever again. Most everything of interest to the kids could just as easily be seen at the Houston zoo (with much shorter lines as well.)

Oh, and one other observation about wonky animation: in the American Pavillion of Epcot, after Ben Franklin and Mark Twain finish their show, when they move to shake hands their hands didn’t even connect.

The employees

In the past one of the things noteworthy about Disney was how everyone seemed to be genuinely happy to be there, or at least did a great job at maintaining a facade. This time, the pretense seemed to be gone, and I noted quite a few otherwise unhappy and frustrated-looking employees. I can distinctly remember one guy working at a food court near the Country Bears who I would almost guarantee was gritting his teeth behind his disingenuous smile. Two female employees in the Peter Pan gift shop seemed more interested in talking to one another than in working.
Ticket people, ride employees and merchants seemed to show a lot less friendliness that I remember years ago (to Disney’s credit, though, at “Starring Rolls” at Hollywood on Sept. 16th for lunch there was an exceptionally-kind black woman who, following a frustrating-long line for food, actually came by and talked with us and our kids. I can’t remember her name, but she was one of the few park employees who still had that genuine vestige of kindness and happiness that the parks are supposed to incorporate. I wish I could remember her name, because her extra-effort of hospitality was appreciated.)

The Dining

I really wasn’t impressed with the dining plan. The sit-down dining was fine for the most part (other than strange exceptions where you had to use double-dinner credits) but I really wasn’t blown away by the quick lunch options. Most of the selections seemed very generic and similar: mostly just burgers or chicken nuggets or salad, with dessert and soda. Maybe this is what most people want, but I started to find the selection a little bit dry after awhile and would have liked to see a little more variety.

The smoke

I know that there will be smokers at these parks, but I noticed that even though smoking is supposedly only allowed to take place in certain designated areas of the park, that didn’t stop people all over the place from smoking wherever they wanted. At Hollywood Studios, I recall that there was a bench near the “Starring Rolls” restaurant that had a constant stream of smokers camping there, even though the area was NOT a designated smoking area. So what’s the big deal? The smoke was all being puffed right downwind into the eating area of the “Starring Rolls”! Yet no park employees ever seem to be on the street to do anything about this. Designated areas exist for smoking, fine, but apparently it doesn’t matter because you can still do it anywhere you like. And I’m actually highly-sensitive to the smoke, where I’ll start sneezing after being around it for awhile, so little actual restriction of this was not appreciated.

The Marketing

It seems as if the marketing direction of Disney has gotten worse and worse at the theme parks, and more and more rides seem to be built around exiting you directly into stores and shops. I know it’s been like that in the past, but it seems to have progressively worsened – especially with plugs for the “Disney Vacation Club” all over the place! Come on – for the cost of getting into these parks there should not be infomercial booths camped out all over these parks. That wasn’t cool. Likewise the Magic Express bus ride back to the airport featured basically a 30+ minute stream of commercials for other Disney cruises and activities. No more Donald Duck cartoons like were played on the way IN – nope, when we’re on our way out, its nothing but commercials! NOT a nice final touch.

Park transportation

We stayed at one of the Disney resorts this time, and while EPCOT was an easy walk from the resort, travel to some of the other parks involved waiting for buses that were often delayed (we waited for over a half hour for a return bus from the Magic Kingdom park, and actually decided to take a bus to a different, adjacent resort in order to walk back from there around the boardwalk area.) The bus drivers were, for the most part, not very friendly or talkative, and one seemed genuinely testy with questions I needed to ask.

Finally, the Trip planning DVD

The format of this was just plain fruity: people walking around in the clouds, talking about their dreams of flying. Fruity. What I wanted to see, that would have been so much more helpful, would be practical video information about what the parks offer, new rides, old rides, changes, etc. Hearing a “touching” account of some employee talking to a kid was just pointless – I wanted more planning information and I didn’t get it – I needed a Birnbaums guide to get that.

It will probably be a long time before we go back again. For what was paid for this, I really hoped for a lot more. Maybe I’m just getting older, but the experience seems like it could have been much better.

October 5, 2010

Sort of midway with issue #5… I think…

Filed under: 3 — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 9:57 pm

So issue #5 has been an interesting one in that I don’t have it finished, nor do I formally have most of the pages selected that I want to use or keep. I’ve been cropping a lot of this up, and also spending an unnatural amount of time on my blogger blogs (on my favorite subjects: theology, music, nutrition and nonsensical miscellany) so I just haven’t had the focus to finish this one up. I’d like to, though, because I’d like to have another finished issue at comixpress (issue #4 seems like a million years ago that I sent that to press) but at the rate I’m going, who knows.

I’m also not sure where I’m going with this character after issue #5. I’ve got most of issue #6 draw, a good deal of #7 started, and yet part of me wants to explore some strange new directions, so I really don’t know. What do you think, Russian spambots who frequent my site? Am I ever going to finish this issue? Or are you only interested in my insanely popular (with the spambots) post about how Google Chrome scrambled up my site long ago. I really don’t get that, but as of this writing, I think there are over 150 spammy comments on that particular post. That one was a goldmine of spam-search-engine goodness.

Ah well. Stay tuned. More pages on the way…

September 10, 2010

How Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull Should Have Ended

Filed under: 3 — Tags: , , , — admin @ 2:14 pm

Some pretty funny stuff, particularly George Lucas munching away on money…

August 23, 2010

Give Free Rice to the Hungry by Playing Games

Filed under: 3 — Tags: — admin @ 3:24 pm

Free rice donation site

Free rice donation site

Freerice.com has a clever (and very generous) system in place in which by playing online learning games you can help give rice to the hungry and poor. The site lets you choose between subjects like geography, art, languages, etc, and by answering questions and learning new things, you help donate rice to the hungry. Very cool system, and I’ve enjoyed some of the things I’ve been able to learn from this site. Worth checking out!
Help end world hunger

August 20, 2010

Free SimCity Online!

Filed under: 3 — Tags: , — admin @ 10:14 am

I just found the original SimCity game online for free, and its one of those games I used to enjoy playing about… 15 years ago? Anyhow, I gave it a quick spin and…. oh no!!!

Apparently, its not a good idea to build an elaborate city, leave the game running and then go off to another tab and forget about the game...

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