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Strip 805, Volume 5, Page 61


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< Piro >

"comiket dreamin'"

Monday - January 2, 2006

[Piro] - 16:19:05 - [link here]

For the past ten years or so -- almost back to when I randomly typed 'fredart' into corelDRAW when creating a dumb logo for my first art webpage -- i've wanted to go to Comiket. Every year i entertained the wistful thought that maybe that would be the year i finally managed to go.

It would be the year that I somehow managed to justify the expense of going, to arrange flights, hotels, the blackmailing of friends in japan into helping me secure a table for my 'circle'. It would be the year that somehow i managed to pull together a really good doujinshi, got it printed and offered it to the swirling otaku masses from my little table. It wouldn't matter if i didn't sell a single book, or that no one even looked at my stuff... all that would matter is that i could finally say that I had done Comiket.

What is Comiket? Comiket is a mecca of sorts for mangaka wannabees like myself. You can find a very decent description of what Comike is over on Wikipedia. (Though i think you will find that this just gives you a much... deeper appreciation of it. Yes, i worry about Seraphim with a nailbat. I do.)

Now, believe it or not, i have actually produced work for comiket. For Comiket 59 In 1999 i did the cover and some inside artwork for the T.A.R. (Translated Anime Ring) circle that Tsubasa and I were a part of (warning: scan of this very very horrifyingly bad cover artwork (tara-chan) can be viewed here.) They had also translated a Saint Tail fanfic that i wrote (yes, fanfiction. i've been there :P) into Japanese. Not quite the full blown 30 page doujinshi i always wanted to do, but i felt honored that the T.A.R. guys let me do the art for their book.

The following year for Comiket 61 in 2000, i was able to pull together a far more cohesive project. I had become a fan of True Love Story 2 game and with Tsubasa's help, wrote a little short story and did some artwork to accompany it. The TLS circle that tsubasa was part of was called MJ-12, and my little project called Envelope was included on their TLS fandisk CDrom. It was actually quite well received by other fans of the series. They said i managed to catch the feel of the game quite well, and i was proud of that. After finishing Envelope, i started working on Megatokyo.

Now, there was another little side project that i won't mention again until it's actually in production was that i had already started working on before envelope, and that was going to be my first real work, my first doujinshi project that i would proudly take to my first Comiket... at some point. I did Envelope and then started working on Megatokyo to get some practice so that the little side project wouldn't be quite so embarrassing. For reasons i still can't fathom, Megatokyo somehow became, like, popular and stuff, and had lots of people reading it online... then there came books -- whole books, not just a little 30 page doujinshi, but three big fat whole books. I've done over 800 comics, have lots of wonderful faithful readers around the world, my work is translated into a dozen different languages by a bunch of crazy people in europe (:P) Hell, there are even publishers in other countries printing translated versions of my books (German, French, Polish, Italian.)

Yet... i still wanna go to comiket. I want to do my little nameless 30 page doujinshi and sit there and hope that just a few people will look at it and find it worth buying just on it's own merits. I just want to do comike for the sake of doing it - no Megatokyo stuff, no "i've got books published in the states and around the world aren't i great" stuff, just me and my work, hanging out in the crazyness with some of my friends, dealing first hand with the otaku insanity that is Comiket. Maybe even see if Akamatsu Ken or Yoshitoshi Abe remember me....

(sigh) oh well, One of these days. Till then i can vicariously attend like everyone else by reading reports by some of the people who do go and share the experience with us. Shingo over at Heisei Democracy has some very thorough reports in progress about C69 (the one that happened last week), as well as some very informative guides about what to do if you ever plan to go to Comiket and want to do it right.

-- --

In other small bits of news, there were some things i dropped at the end of last year and almost dropped. Believe it or not, i finally managed to pump out a lame little foreword for Little Gamer's new book. Go to Little Gamers. Order their new book. If you don't, they'll make fun of Piro and Largo in their comic again, and no one wants that. :P

We all hate it when our favorite program gets canceled before it has completed it's run. Fans of The Big O know that feeling, and are working hard to try to bring the series back to TV. Save Big O had a december promotion that they wanted me to advertise for them and i totally was not able to get their banners up before Christmas. There is little i can do to fix that, of course, but i would still like to encourage you, if you liked the show at all, to visit the Save Big O website and do what you can to help.

< Dom >

Trojan maaan!  Hoo-ah!

"Trojan maaaaan!"

Friday - January 6, 2006

[Dom] - 00:37:00 - [link here]

Three days ago, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Windows MetaFile and Windows Media File, but today, I’m pretty sure that I could happily go the rest of my life without seeing the letters W, M and F in sequence again. As a note, if you're on Windows, RUN WINDOWS UPDATE NOW. I cannot stress how important this is. The security patch is absolutely essential to safe browsing. If this patch had been released earlier, I might have been saved. Don't let this happen to you!

But let's not get ahead of myself. This, like many horror stories, starts on Monday.

On Monday, I got a quick little message from Cortana linking me to a random patch thing, with no other information attached to it. So, figuring it was a link to random 4chan porn or something (which 99.9999% of the links he gives me are, really), I ignored it and continued poking around World of Warcraft, which my family got me for my birthday but I hadn't tried until I was sure I'd pretty much gotten all I could out of City of Villains (I haven't, by the way, just that I made a promise to them that I'd play it).

But then, I heard that distinct, annoying "click" that Internet Explorer makes when it feels like it has accomplished something important, which can range from "I need your confirmation to go any further!" to "I made a mess on your couch!" What was odd about it was that I only run Firefox on my machine. After poking around my windows, I saw a popunder with the cheery message that a toolbar had been installed on my computer. This, much like when I cook for myself, set off all sorts of alarms in my head that I was in terrible danger. So I ran Spybot, and Spybot declared to me that I had a whopping 215 trojans that hadn't been there before. 215. I mean, the last time that many trojans were in the same place at the same time, Greeks were pouring out of a pinata and stabbing the lot of them.

Okay, okay, so I'm trying a little too hard to be funny here. But really, what else can you do? It's a pretty bleak story, but a special gift of mine is being to step away from almost anything and find the humor in it. It's what keeps me from going insane.

Anyway, after running Spybot and Hijackthis, I ran a few cleaner programs, turned off the computer, and went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I started fighting the malware invasion, dredging up every scrap of knowledge from the brief period I was a computer scientist in college.

Which, of course, means that I sent IMs to friends of mine from college who have gone on to be software engineers. Many thanks to Cryptomancer, Sogarth and Hodge-podge for all their help, by the way, in case I forget to thank them later.

Under their remote supervision, I started systematically clearing out miscellaneous pieces of spyware and trojan horses, running countless spyware elimination programs and interpreting diagnostics. This also involved research, a lot of tinkering with my task manager, and various tricks to force my system to shut down tasks, unregister .dll files and delete pesky files. After about five hours or so of bashing my head against the invaders on my computer, I was about ready to strangle someone, but I keot plugging away, since the options were either cleanup or "give up, revive the desktop, and wipe the laptop so I can start from scratch".

Eventually, I was forced to delve into the bowels of my laptop and diddle with the registry--which, let me tell you, isn't very fun at all. It was like performing open heart surgery with a chainsaw and the Jaws of Life, and after the 7th hour of hunting down and purging malware from my computer, I started getting loopy. I started talking like Governor Ahnold and telling each individual piece of horrifically persistent malware "Sahf Side Kick 3... you hoff bean tahmeenated!"

At around hour 10, I managed to convince Hodge-Podge and Sogarth to come and work their tricksy hobbit magics on my poor Alienware, and as we all gathered around my laptop, I could swear that I heard the opening strains of Also Sprach Zarathustra coming from somewhere.

Then someone hit me upside the head and told me to quit singing, and I realized it was me. But the comparison had been made, and we all picked up our bones and started bashing them against the computerized monolith.

Three hours later, we'd managed to get my box in workable condition again--though it's still waiting for Hodge-Podge to come by with his USB CD drive so we can wipe it clean and reinstall windows. But hey, until I back up my files and raze it all, it's usable and isn't endangering me, which is all I can ask for.

The moral of this story is: Dom isn't very good at this whole "computer maintenance" thing.

Well, the lesson is also "patch your computer, and if a patch doesn't officially exist yet, FIND IT". But that isn't nearly self-mocking enough. So I'll stick with my original lesson.


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