December Sun – A Web Comic

March 31, 2009

December Sun #2 – Page 9C

Filed under: 1,comic books,comics — admin @ 8:05 am

“Hey Rob, getting a little long-winded with the pre-battle dialog, huh?”


March 30, 2009

December Sun #2 – Page 9B

Filed under: 1,comics,december sun — admin @ 7:26 am

March 29, 2009

The 301 redirect

Filed under: 3,computers,misc,programming,web comics — admin @ 11:05 pm

an image that has nothing whatsoever to do with this post, from DS #5




I’ve been hammering out the woes with this webcomic since December of last year, and one of the things from the beginning that’s puzzled me is the fact that the basic URL is supposed to be: 

…yet all of the actual site content is stored away in

(in and of itself a problem, as what happens to this directory structure if I decide to upgrade WordPress?  Am I going to be stuck in 2.6.3?)  

Anyhow, the problem was that I wanted the primary site to be DSCOMIC.COM, yet I had to redirect the site visitor to the wordpress directory.  What I had been doing originally was an HTTP redirect, using the following logic:

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”1; URL=”>

This worked, I suppose, but never seemed like the right option, since when you’d go to DSCOMIC.COM first, you’d be at a blank white page with the text “December Sun”, then you’d be routed to the index file in the  /wordpress sub-directory with all of the site content and goodness.  I suppose I could have kept doing this, but it seemed like this wasn’t the most efficient way to go (and I seem to recall reading in the “Building Findable Websites” book that these sort of redirects weren’t a good thing for a site, as far as search engine ranking went.

So I dug around a little more, and found a more simpler option: now if the user starts at DSCOMIC.COM, the following springboard kicks into play to shoot the user over to the wordpress subdirectory.  Instead of an index.html file with the meta listed below, it’s just an extremely simple PHP program that quickly does the move…. 


header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved!”);




I thought I’d share this here, in case this of any benefit to anyone.  More than likely, though, is that this post will just elicit eye-rolling from readers as to my total naivety with PHP and redirects.  Ah well, I just like drawing funny books…

March 28, 2009

More ridiculous nitpicking over ‘Hancock’ film

Filed under: 3,movies — admin @ 10:37 pm

yes, Wil, this film really made no senseDrat…. just like the ridiculous Wil Smith movie ‘I Am Legend’, now I’m finding that I’m obsessing over nitpicky details from another one of his films, the ‘Hancock’ film. The more I think about it, the more implausible and ridiculous the situations of the film strike me. Here are a few more observations, rife with spoilers, so if you haven’t seen this film yet, don’t bother reading (unless you wisely have no intention of seeing the film, then read on…)

- How on earth could, or would, Wil Smith’s reformed hero vandalize the moon? To somehow create an enormous pink heart on the face of the moon was completely ridiculous, and would have taken an insane amount of materials and time. Wil would have had to fly across miles of lunar surface, dumping tons upon tons of pink paint for this effect to be visible on the earth. And does he eventually undo this damage? And is he powerful enough to breath in vacuum?  And how on earth would vandalizing the moon be any good for the reputation of the Jason Bateman character?

- Why, if the wife character wants to remain hidden, would she bother slamming Wil out of the house? Wouldn’t simply ordering him to leave have been enough? I understand this was done for the supposed surprise twist of the story, but alas, that surprise twist was COMPLETELY RUINED early in the game when I read the back of the box! Great job Columbia Pictures! Why not just reveal the entire plot on the back of the box while you’re at it! “Wil Smith is a reformed boozer who cleans up his act and, after a series of illogical and ridiculous scenes, the end of the film arrives and he becomes an interesting super hero right… in time for the film to be over!”

- How could Wil get nailed with a bus and not have all of the clothes completely ripped from his body? Wouldn’t it be like putting clothing on a statue made of really strong metal, then smashing a bus on the statue? The statue would remain mostly intact if the metal was solid enough, but the clothing would be ripped apart, right? (a side-note: Silly things like this I debate in my own title – and the material of December Sun’s costume will be the topic of an upcoming issue…)

- Would severing the hand of a criminal, who’s hand is on a detonator, really be the best approach?  Wouldn’t the thumb reflexively be released from the trigger from the sudden amputation? (I guess if Wil moved fast enough, held the guy’s thumb to the button then did the amputation, it would work, but all the same this seemed like a sloppy solution.  Why not simply grab the guy’s hand quickly and pin his thumb to the device?  Then, it would just be a matter of walking him out and keeping his hand in place until…. oh for crying out loud, I’m wasting my life with this… I can feel my soul leaving my body…

March 27, 2009

‘Qwirkle’ – a very entertaining and easy to learn board game, and “game strategy #1: the Jerkl”

Filed under: 3 — Tags: — admin @ 10:42 am

game boxMy kids and I get a kick out of the game Qwirkle, a very colorful and etnertaining game that’s sortof a variation on dominoes, but buildings on shapes and patterns.  The gameplay is easy enough to learn that you can be playing this in no time, and even young kids can figure it out fairly easily (they just need a little monitoring since it can be easy to think you have a valid play but, because of a connecting row, the play is actually invalid.  Generally players keep one another accountable though, especially when a qwirkle-play is involved…)

The gameplay is actually fairly simple: the game is composed of tiles that have six different shapes in six different colors.  Each tile played is 1 point, plus one point for any connecting tiles already played.  The aim is to find ways to score a ”qwirkle”, or 6 of the same shapes or 6 of the same tiles, played on the table.  A qwirkle is 12 points, so these are a good thing to get in the game.  Honestly, much of the game depends on being lucky with tile drawing, although there is some skill involved to find the best places to play.

Anyhow, one of the stupider “strategies” in the game is what we’ve come to refer to as the “jerkl”.  The play is basically to take a 5-tile row and then block it off, to ruin the potential of anyone else getting a Qwirkle from the row.  It’s a very annoying practice, actually, because it ruins the row for everyone.  Here’s an example:

We have a row started.  One tile away from a Qwirkle, then…

watch out, watch out for the jerkl

Some Jerkl ruins it all for everyone by playing some tiles that caps it so that a Qwirkle could never be played.

the jerkl strikes

There is no way humanly possible to play a qwirkle on these five blues, so if you have the blue square tile in your hand, you’re out of luck (and frankly annoyed.)  I’m tempted to incorporate a no-jerkl policy in future games that we play, but hey, I guess being nasty is just part of the fun.

Anyhow, it’s a fun game that we’ve enjoyed playing.  I like the fact that kids get into it, yet it’s also engaging enough for adults to play and enjoy as well.  The only negative (other than the occasional jerkl) is the fact that towards the end, when there are only a handful of tiles left, generally someone is far enough ahead that the 3-4 point plays aren’t going to make much difference and you know the person in the lead pointwise is going to win (similar to Scrabble, I guess.  By the end, as you’re just getting rid of the last few tiles, you know who the winner is already.)  But this is a minor complaint: it’s a fun game and we’ve enjoyed playing it.

December Sun #2 – Page 9A

Filed under: 1,december sun — admin @ 8:13 am

I know, I know…. more Photoshop experimentation with the buildings in the background.  Listen, I’ll admit it… I’m lazy!  Shortcuts are fun!

March 26, 2009

An unexpected snakey visitor

Filed under: 3,misc — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 10:21 pm

So I was heading down to the curb last night to bring back the trash cans, and I spotted an oddly-shaped stick on the driveway and…. wait a minute! That’s a snake!  So I grabbed a couple quick digital snaps then headed inside (the trash cans could wait until morning). Any idea what kind of snake this was?

I'm quite content here on this driveway
don't mind me, Rob.  Go ahead and bring your trash cans back up

Alas, this is the best resolution I can get with my ol’ digital camera, plus being nighttime, the lighting wasn’t the best.  It was a big old guy, I guess, and he didn’t stick around for long.  I just hope he didn’t head for my cozy garage…

My Completely Arbitrary Movie Rating System

Filed under: 3,movies — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 4:37 pm

One of my more unfortunate vices is movie watching. Granted, I never watch films in the theaters anymore (the reason for that is a future blog post in and of itself) but I do catch plenty of films, both through the video store and library (with the rare, occasional purchase if the film is decent enough to be bought… very rare situation indeed.) And the more I think about it, I decided to write this post and create some buttons with various ratings, and the buttons will link back to this guide for further definition. So without further ado, here is my arbitrary film rating system:

very good Expect to see this rating virtually never on this site.  There is frankly never anything really deserving of the unfortunate movie theater going experience anymore.  Plus every time I’m in the theater, there is some major disruption to ruin the experience (but that’s a post for another day.)  I can’t think of the last time I recommended a ‘see in theater’ of anything (although I did see the ridiculous ‘Crystal Skull’ film in the theater, and I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone.  Indy 4 is strictly a ‘library rental’ recommendation.
semi bad ‘Rent this movie’ means that this film is decent enough to rent, but not worth seeing in the theater.  When I mean rent, I don’t mean a big chain like Blockbuster (nothing against Blockbuster, I just don’t rent from places like this anymore)  Instead, I’m content with the $1 kiosk things at Walmart.  The way I figure, most all mainstream movies these days aren’t worth more than $1 to see, so these things are perfect.  Plus I’m always tragically at Walmart at least once a day, so returning these things on time is never a problem (the problem instead is the lines at these things… I don’t know why Walmat doesn’t just install about 5-10 of these things.  Clearly they work, and clearly they draw traffic.  Anyhow…)

ok ‘Buy the DVD’ is a fairly rare recommendation, but I can think of abiding by this for a couple films (such as the Star Wars original trilogy, which is worth buying… and buy it once, without rebuying it over and over again, even though the George Lucas empire could desperately use the money.)  Tron is another good film to buy (hey, I think so, at least!)

fairly bad A great number of films that I watch fall under this fantastic category, the category of ‘Get it free from the public library’.  The system is simple: I log into the county library’s difficult to navigate (and often crashed) website, find the catalog to request titles, then I sit back and wait, sometimes for months.  Yes, these films are so minimally interesting to me, that I’m willing to wait in order to pay nothing to view them (other than local taxes, I guess.)  The library does a fine job with this material, and I can watch the title for about three weeks before having to return it (better than the $1 a day kiosk!)

awful Last but not least is the ‘Skip this Turkey’ ranking.  Unfortunately a great number of films tend to fall into this category (a recent one that comes to mind is The Notebook…. ugh!)  A Skip this Turkey means don’t waste your time: the studio has clearly wasted enough time and money, and there’s no need to bother watching this particular title.

There you have it.  I toyed with adding another rating for ‘safe for kids to see’, but the sad truth is that virtually NOTHING I’ve seen recently is safe for kids.  The PG-13 rating just seems to get worse and worse (I’m not sure how that works… can rating quality diminish with age or something?)  Even the Superman:Doomsday DVD, an animated Superman CARTOON, wasn’t ideal for kids to see (as Doomsday is SLAGUHTERING Lex Luthor’s minions towards the beginning of the film.  Oh yeah, great idea there…)

Anyhow, there’s my arbitrary rating system.  Expect these goofy buttons to appear with future film ratings.  Oh, and the old guy in the button is Wilford Brimley.  A few years ago, I had written a Java game in which you controlled Wilford Brimley and had him jumping from one block to another.    I haven’t updated it yet for this site, but one of these days expect an ‘ARCADE’ link with jumping Wilford and other nonsense.

“Hancock” – Mediocre and overly-violent super hero film

Filed under: 3 — Tags: , — admin @ 3:35 pm

Hancock was one of those films that, when it came out, I saw the trailers and though, “Yeah, wait for that one and get it free from the library” (I have an elaborate movie system in which I categorize all films by a series of ratings ranging from ‘see in the theater’ to ‘don’t bother’, with a number of ranges inbetween.  One of these days I’ll blog about this too.)

Anyhow, the premise behind Hancock is that he’s a drunk, loser super-hero, but all it took was some good PR (and a completely ridiculous plot twist) to get him back on his feet, off booze, and fighting crime again.  The film goes into a little bit too much information about Hancock’s pre-redemption lifestyle of basically being a drunk bum, and then finally when he becomes a hero, there just isn’t enough of this: the story gets too involved with the ridiculous “other” hero story idea and the nonsensical prison-break idea (so just how did the crooks break of out prison and make it all the way to the hospital undetected and know exactly where to go to find Hancock?)

Equally puzzling to me was the physics of this film.  So as an example, Hancock flies around in socks and sneakers then lands on the pavement, leaving a huge crater behind.  Wouldn’t the force of his invulnerable feet/legs totally rip apart the shoes and socks he’s got on?  Equally puzzling (and appauling) sequences take place in this film, such as a prison confrontation sequence with some tough inmates that, frankly, boggles the mind (and serves as one, or many, scenes making this film completely INAPPROPRIATE for children.)

Sadly, this film reaches it’s greatest potential during the last couple minutes of the film, and by then…. it’s over?  I wouldn’t recommend this, nor would I want to pay money to see this film, nor will I ever see it again.

One other thing: I couldn’t help but notice a vague similarity between Wil Smith’s costume and the December Sun costume: namely, a black-collared bikers outfit with a stripe.  Granted, this is a stretch, but when I see an all black outfit like this, with a simple stripe, it does seem oddly familiar. Granted, this was a mega-million boxoffice flop and my comic is, well, a flop, but all the same, I designed this costume about 7 years ago when I drafted issue one… I can’t help but wonder if some costume designer was really bored and by some fluke found a copy of my DS#1 online somewhere?  Well, probably not likely, but who knows….
a movie based on December Sun?  Hahahaha!

Anyhow, using my new movie scale system, Hancock receives a rating of… horray, a new movie rating system

December Sun #2 – Page 8C

Filed under: 1,comics,december sun — admin @ 7:58 am

No real comments for this image, other than to note that yeah, I took some cheap shortcuts with those background buildings.  What can I say… I was just experimenting with faux perspective with Photoshop.  I think I actually created the windows for some of those buildings using the high-tech application of MS Paint, then later incorporated these into PS (no idea how I got started with Paint).

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