< Piro >
Friday - June 18, 2004
One of the things that I've noticed about myself is that I am very much a creature of habit. For instance, when I find a dish at a restaurant that I like, I will order the same thing every single time I go there. Habits are hard to change, it's a lot like trying to divert a stream - it takes a lot of digging, engineered fill and concrete pipes to encourage it to go somewhere else.
My worst habits are all time management related. Simply deciding, for instance, that I will start working on a comic at 10am instead of 10pm is about as effective as trying to coax a stream to flow uphill just by talking to it. For months I've been battling this subliminal habit of mine which had arbitrarily set the real deadline for MT comics to "within 12 to 18 hrs of the 1am deadline I keep telling people." Upon returning home from my last trip, I decided that it was time to change this bad habit.
It's amazing how long it took for the actual change order to filter thru the various bureaucratic levels of my brain. Yesterday was like a bit of a breakthrough. I was able to start early, do things mostly to an acceptable level of quality, and finish things a whopping four hours early. This is what I hope becomes a habit.
Like all changes, of course, things don't always go smoothly. After going home, making dinner, and sitting down to watch the midnight re-broadcast of the Keith Olbermann show and taking in what I felt was a well deserved couple of episodes of Full Metal Panic Fumoffu (of which I will speak more later), Sarah says to me... "Did you post the comic? it's 1:15am."
Of course, by the time I went thru the process of getting it up, it was 1:20am. Technically, given the fact that the comic is usually REALLY late, I shouldn't berate myself for this little trip up at the finish line, but still, it set me in a bit of a glumpy mood that only another episode of Fumoffu was able to rectify.
The new website backend, which is coming along nicely, will enable me to actually enter comics into the system and set them to go live at their actual release time. There will also be a RSS feed that will alert those who utilize RSS feeds that the comic has been updated. The system will also put another level of pressure on me - I'll have to enter the finished script into the database as I post (so the search function can work properly). This means I really can't be doing comics last minute like I tend to do. So I hope the new habit sticks.
Oh, and i want to give props to Larry Ullman from DMC Insights. Larry is currently embroiled in building the new backend for the Megatokyo website. I actually worked with Larry years ago when looking to do a website for the architecture firm i was working for. Larry has also authored a few books on PHP, one of which i had and didn't realize it was by him ^^;; We are currently a little behind schedule, but that is 100% my fault because i didn't anticipate the learning curve for getting up to speed with XHTML and CSS and i was late finishing the templates.
When I was working on today's strip, one of the things that worried me the most was trying to show Erika smile and still have her looking like Erika. I've had people email me in the past and ask my why the girls I draw always look so sad. I've had people ask that and then go on to ask if I am unhappy or sad too (sound familiar? :P) So how do you make a sad girl smile?
In one of the many Kanon inspired comics that I have, in particular, in the "Kagikko" Kanon & Air tribute comics by Twin Hear Comics there is a comic where Sayuri and Yuuichi are trying to get Mai to smile. Probably the most amusing part of it is where Mai looks in the mirror in the bathroom and tries to force herself to smile. For most of us, how we feel inside is reflected on our faces or in our eyes, and you can't truly hide it. I wanted to convey that Erika can give a eyes open smile that would come off as extremely creepy - and it would only be so because we know what she is really feeling inside.
I've been picking up a lot more stuff lately. I've been digging thru my backlog of manga, digging into magazines and routing thru more websites than usual. I've been feeling more inspired lately, I guess. For instance, Full Metal Panic itself was ok, I enjoyed watching it, but theres really something about Full Metal Panic Fumoffu that *really* appeals to me. That's the nice thing about the huge variety of things that are out there. You can be selective.
I've been playing around with Clannad a bit, but I'll go into that in my next rant. I feel that the world really is ok, because Quarter Iceshop now has a clannad inspired comic called MINACLA (it's on the front page, easy to find). :) I also bought the first Marvel comic I have bought in... in... like, EVER? Something about this particular one grabbed my interest, so I snagged it. I'll let you know what I think when I read it. Also, Seraphim and I got a really nice stack of stuff from Antarctic Press that we are still going thru, and there's some nice stuff in there too.
But I'll save that for monday :)
Oh, and wonder of wonders, there's an update over on fredart. If you liked today's comic, you might want to step over and see one of the erika drawings that i had done a few weeks ago, while thinking about all of this. :)
oh, one other thing, i almost forgot ^^;; Last week marks one full year that my sister Jen has been working on her website, Swenyar's Find. Congrats Jen, and good luck on another year :)
And I also put up a RSS feed today. It's manually maintainted for now, but we'll see how well it works. :)