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Date:2016-10-05 15:11
Subject:Never mind the mess...
Security:Public

You've reached the LiveJournal of Rowan Lipkovits, renaissance man of letters about town. I don't maintain A Homepage (typically in its place leaving a link to a Google search of my unique name combination) (to say nothing of its frequent misspelled permutation), but this LJ most likely is the closest I get.

Someone asked me recently in the Fall of 2006) "what I do" (with that weighty implied subtext for a living), and I had to take a few moments to ponder my various cultural (mis-)adventures, literary and musical, through inception, promotion, production, and performance. Finally, I remarked that while I do a number of things, their sum never seemed to quite pay the rent1. "Ah, then you must be an artist." I don't know about that, but I'm certainly no businessman.

First and foremost these days, consider me a musician. It's been a long and winding road that's delivered me back here (video games -> ANSI art on BBSes -> poetry slams -> event production -> Britney Spears on the accordion) but if you see me about town, there's a good chance I'm heading to a rehearsal or gig of a) the Joey Only Outlaw Band or b) Trev's "Good Rockin' Tonite" for the '80s at 8 the Creaking Planks, the jug band of the damned. (Truth be known, the majority of my performances are solo guerrilla mindbombs on the accordion, but how tacky does it look to be hyping yourself on your journal? Hey guys, you've gotta come visit my website! It's ... uh, oh, you're already at it. Never mind, then.) My performance adventures have taken me to hundreds of stages across three countries, six provinces, one territory, two states and the District of Columbia, and I've also recorded and performed in a backup capacity with Sight Unseen, the Devils With Blue Dresses On, Leah Abramson, Shane Koyczan's Dangling Participle (with Jaron Freeman-Fox and Jess Hill -- what a dream team!), That's My Brain... And You're Killing It!, da Bjorkman, Monsterdinosaur, Adriane Lake, David Roy Parsons, Bobby Richards, Peppersprey, Gunshae (... and informally with dozens more.) One of my medium-term goals (of admittedly mixed value) is to become personally synonymous with accordion use in Vancouver -- a stiff row to hoe in the home turf of Geoff Berner! (First step accomplished: now one half of the proud team behind the weekly Accordion Noir radio show, 2-3 am 9:30-10:30 pm Fridays NOW 10-11 pm Wednesday nights! on CO-OP 102.7 fm (or at your leisure via podcast!) Update! Now also the host of the Main Squeeze monthly accordion circle 2nd Tuesdays 1st Thursdays at the Little Mountain Studios the Salt Spring Coffee Co. at Main + 27th also Spartacus Books!!) Please note, as of Jan 2011, I am now taking students to follow in my idiosyncratic accordion footsteps, about which more can be learned at the no-surprises url http://accordionteacher.blogspot.com (and see also the music portfolio at eastvanaccordion.blogspot.com)

On the third Friday now Tuesday of every month I host(ed) the long-running unplugged "57 Varieties" open stage / variety show, 8-10 pm at Spartacus Books After a 5-year run, 57 Varieties is on hiatus. (In addition to my various roles at the Butchershop (I like the title "mascot"), I also enjoyed a long stint as performer coordinator for the Living Closet. I spent a spell helping to run the Vancouver Song Slam at Cafe Deux Soleils with Trevor Spilchen, was the Vancouver agent for the Perpetual Motion Roadshow, and also helped to produce Jeff Younger's Alternative Worlds series of improvised music. I had hopes to get together some like-minded people and do more, more, much more in 2007. But 2008 may just have to do.) ('09? Okay, '10 for sure!) [har har]
I write, have written and will write, for among other places the Capilano Courier, Terminal City, Momentum Magazine, the Columbia Journal, everything2, MobyGames, and BeyondRobson. It started with poems but thank goodness seems to have settled into the self-indulgent (vestiges of the poetry background) essay style known as "creative non-fiction." (Most recently up 06-02-12: dig my cover story on the B:C:Clettes in the Dec/Jan issue of Momentum 07-01: review of Reading the Riot Act in the Columbia Journal!) 07-04-12: a survey of homelessness as played in videogames up at the Cultural Gutter!) 07-05-31: a history of speedrunning, also at the Gutter! (more to come from there) (edit: -- or not!) 07-06: Piece on UNARC's Tipping Point potlucks in the Tooth and Dagger to complement my T.Paul obit the previous issue! Not quite at my goal of a published piece per month, but I have a good chunk of the year to try to even out that disparity. Two more pieces just sitting in the queue! (And, it seems, stubbornly stuck in that hopper. So much for that resolution!) Somehow clattering back into motion I snuck in the end of 2008 with a profile on Trike in the Dec edition of BC Musician magazine and you can find my memories on Rusl + Jane's bike wedding in the January 2009 edition of Momentum! And now in Jul/Aug 2010, you can find me penning a review of Joanna Chapman-Smith's "latest" album again in BC Musician, and then another review of Scotty Dunbar's double album in the Sept/Oct issue.

2012: Well, my print publishing career withered on the vine (writing: more fun than pitching to editors is), but presently I have two blogging projects elsewhere (you may have noticed things are a little sparse here these days): analysis of video games scanned from old comic books at videogamecomicads.blogspot.com and wholesale choose-your-own-adventure HTML conversion at turntopage4.blogspot.com! One more trip around the publication gauntlet once again, January 2nd 2013 interviewing Jim Munroe for the Society for the Promotion of Adventure Games, AND, IMPROBABLY, ANOTHER providing the cover story for the Sept, 2014 labour-themed issue of Memory Insufficient with an article about the 1980 BASIC program

I rid(e) my bike most everywhere I can (2007-2008: that's a big fat lie), and in the interest of being reachable by anyone who might want to find me (why hide from opportunity?), have similarly (all right, not so similarly) strewn the internet with half-completed profiles and half-baked presences on as many sites as I can -- Wikipedia, FaceBook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, MySpace, Last.fm, Tribe.net, Orkut, Nexopia, Tagged, Buzznet, hi5, Hyves, Bebo, Plaxo, FotoLog, OKCupid, 43things, Deviantart, SITO ... etc. Mashable seems to do a half-decent job of consolidating those furtive scatterings, if you're a lumper and not a splitter, or the distressingly-titled Profilactic if you prefer.

... and so, if you would like to, uh, connect to me in some fashion... please feel free to. (Stalkers... start your engines!) Historical nicknames include Cthulu, Pseudo_Intellectual, UnwashedMass, Rasputin and, well, a plethora of others. I was one of three charter members of the Work Less Party, and sit on the board (albeit nominally) of the Vancouver Poetry House! (mascot, again.)

(anything you need to know about this journal? the short answer is: heck no! It's all available to the public (this is what I mean by "extimacy") and you certainly don't need to justify your existence or qualify your appearance to me. You want to read what I have to say? Great: I want to talk to interested people.) (Doesn't hurt when they're interesting, too, but don't let your doubts hold you back -- I can judge that for myself well enough 8)

That'll have to do for now! (oh, "that's all")

(follow-up: the livejournal name and quote; then the potted bio explication.)

Would you believe he's using footnotes now?Collapse )

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Date:2014-11-02 12:43
Subject:The return of Mistigris
Security:Public

I've hit up nearly everywhere else about this development, which I was probably foreshadowing here first, but it's fitting that I do bring the announcement here (chee, a word I'm typing all the time, which always gets misspelled (and just did here) due to keyboard conflicts -- I hit the "oun" in a cascade with fingers 4, 3 and 2, then "ce" with fingers 2 and 3 on the other hand, but it overloads at "ou", drops the "n", beeps instead, then keeps accepting the rest of the letters. I am a man who makes many annoucements. OK, my digression is total now.) as historical and oldschool news belongs on a primarily historical and quite oldschool forum!

I had many nostalgic aspirations regarding bringing my adolescent BBS computer art creative milieu back to life, if only for a couple of weeks, and there were a few different ways I had considered going about doing it. First and foremost for a decade (for reals) I've been scheming mounting an old artscene computer art retrospective gallery exhibition in an actual art gallery on period hardware basically reconstructing the scene of the crimes -- '90s basement computer rooms. This is, hm, a big feat requiring much movement and organizing of things in the physical space of the real world, where the tendency of inertia is to remain at rest. Despite generating some interest in this from my old peers a few years back, there has been markedly little advance in this aspiration.

As a sideshow for it, however, I thought it might be nice to round up the old crew and release a new computer artpack for old time's sake. In fact, it turned out that I was sitting on a mountain of unreleased computer art I had intended to release circa 1998 but which had gotten caught up in the technological regime change and overall complicated times in the life of a young man. I thought I would release the old art, spiked with a bit of new art, and clear my slate. (Some people might argue that projects left unfinished after a decade are best left unfinished, but apparently not this guy.) To my surprise, we seem to have reached Peak Nostalgia, and many of my comrades from back in the day were displaying considerable interest in participating -- and we ended up getting a lot more new art than I expected. To avoid muddling things by abolishing 15 years of context, I decided to air the new art separately from the old stuff, and under a tight deadline: as our first Mistigris artpack release had been in October of 1994, we would hit a cosmically resonant 20th anniversary if I was able to make the pack happen by the end of October of 2014. Because Many Things Have Changed since 1998, I hit a few speed bumps assembling the artpack (oh, in retrospect it makes sense that three different standards of metadata might not all agree to cooperate and play together), but nonetheless we were able to get the artpack out and online in time to use this suitably Hallowe'eny promotional copy:

My computer art group of the '90s, Mistigris, closed up shop after a final release in 1998. Now, after lying dormant for 16 years, we have just released a new collection of computer artwork in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of our first release back in October of '94.
...
It is said that a poltergeist marks a charged physical site where some tremendous psychic activity once occurred, echoing through time with physical disturbances.
A revenant is an apparition informed by those who loved too much or dared too deep before they departed, bound to return without their flesh to attend to the unfinished business they couldn't let go of and leave behind.
Just in time for Hallowe'en, a writhing cadaver that's been in the ground for over 15 years improbably creeps back to the overworld to once again make its mark in the land of the living.
Ladies and gentlemen, avert your eyes, for I present to you a bold affront against the very Gods, the revival that nobody expected, least of all us: the first new MISTIGRIS artpack release since June of 1998.
MISTIGRIS: THE MODERN PROMETHEUS, featuring 27 new works ripped from the very souls of 19 classic artists in both traditional and contemporary computer art mediums, genres and styles.
Returning from limbo to mark the 20TH ANNIVERSARY, to the month, of its first artpack release.
bit.ly/mist1014
mistfunk.tumblr.com

Because even most of its onetime adherents no longer maintain the period environments needed to enjoy the vintage forms of computer art, it has been added to the 16colours.net site so you can enjoy an art gallery of the pack's visual contents through your web browser. Do note, however, that the majority of the pack's nearly 80 meg filesize is digital music, to enjoy which you will simply have to download it and load it up in your favorite music player.

Because it is not available in plaintext anywhere else, for Google-ability I thought I might like to also include the full text of the artpack's infofile:

Well, as it turns out, 1998 didn't work out quite that neatly, and we never
quite made it to four years.  But let's skip back to February of that fateful
year of 1994...

      Cthulu: "You're such a liar!  NO WAY did you log on to Digital Holocaust.
                                           The phone number isn't even public!"

Creideiki: "Not public to lamers, at least!
When I get home today I'll see if my new user application has been approved."

                                     Phalse: "But where did you get the digits?
                              Private boards are only for couriers and elites!"

Creideiki: "Easy, I told the SysOp that I was a computer artist."

                     Zamfir Worshipper: "How do you think he's going to respond
                                            when he finds out that you're not?"

Creideiki: "How hard can it be?"

And so he, then I, joined NWA, which turned into iMPERiAL, which promptly
collapsed in grand fashion.  And then... Following what appeared to be, in the
microcosm of the BBS-based computer art community, an eventful summer whose
political twists and turns (NATiON!  TRiBE!) would no doubt go down in the
history books, the first Mistigris artpack, MIST1094.ZIP, was released in
October of 1994, coordinated by me, a callow youth of some fifteen and a half
years.  (Yo Cthu, can we get a few more commas in here?)

                  (Well, let, me, see, what, I, can, do,,,,,,,,,)

              (skipping lightly ahead past all the good stuff...)

The final Mistigris release, M-9806.ZIP, was released four months shy of four
years later, at which time the technological landscape looked considerably
different from how the terrain would have been surveyed back in '94.  Big fish
brands in a small pond such as FidoNet, TradeWars, DesqView, Blue Wave and US
Robotics would all be relegated to the status of historical footnotes in a
matter of months; flourishing digital creative environments such as the Amiga
had been diminished to boutique specialist niches and in the wake of Windows
'95 and now Windows '98 (oh, and let us not forget OS/2, which was running our
local train system up until a few months ago), MS-DOS was on its way there as
well.  Heck, ACiD even stopped releasing ANSI and iCE became best-known for
its hirez exquisite corpses!  Cats and dogs, living together...

I interrupt this apocalyptic nostalgia for a moment of perspective: as of
today, it's been 16 and one quarter years since the last (well, "most recent")
Mistigris artpack release.  Otherwise put, a child born on the day our final
pack dropped would now be older than I was when we started operations.  (And
I've been missing the sweet spot my 35 artpack releases with Mist entailed for
half of my life now!)

M-9806.ZIP was an unassuming release, not apparently intended as the group's
final swan song pack; a successor was ready to roll with a hopper full of
computer art (a bit light on the textmode side, admittedly), and there was no
clear indication that the wild ride had come to an end, that we would be
delaying for not just one month, but for... huh, two hundred of them!

So... It's been a while.  Bear with me please as I exercise some deeply
atrophied muscles.

There were some Mist releases you may not have noticed or been aware of, as I
did my part to maintain the viability of the Mistigris "brand" -- scouting for
talent, making inquiries, logging consular appearances at demoparties -- for a
couple of years following what had not yet been acknowledged by me to be its
final conventional artpack release... at least, up until now.  (Admittedly
things have been pretty quiet on the Mist front since 2000 or so, making it
understandable if you'd thought we'd gone down for the last time.  You can't
keep a good man down... nor us, it seems.)

            * artdisk-.zip - Mistigris "Best-of" anthology distributed on
            floppy diskette at a Living Closet event at the Church of
            Pointless Hysteria, July 23rd, 1999.  There were a few problems
            with this well-intentioned attempt to marry a declining computer
            art community with a burgeoning live performance one: first, an
            attempt to survey highlights of nearly four years of releases
            (including exclusive "last chance for me to release these!"
            inclusion of several virtuous works I'd been sitting on for a
            rainy day) on a single floppy diskette biased curation toward the
            compact and minimalist; second, even the people who still had
            working floppy drives in that bold post-iMac world were
            disinclined to pop random disks found at parties into their
            machines, indicating that clearly I was attending the wrong kinds
            of parties.  The original run was in an edition of some 15 or so
            disks, and I think maybe 3 of them were taken.  For a time the
            anthology lived on in webpage form, then faded into cosmic
            background radiation when that free hosting dried up.  The next
            few months will see a reissue of this highlights reel under its
            original filename (see above), for those interested in getting a
            refresher crash course in just why this retrograde dead end is so
            worth celebrating again.

            * prjct006.zip - "Mistigris World Tour" April Fool's release, The
            Project, August 1999.  Humour has pervaded the artscene (perhaps
            inevitable while so insistent on reproducing Rob Liefeld's
            impossible anatomical mistakes) while its participants have
            simultaneously approached its intangible affairs with serious
            rigor, but rarely did we encounter an endeavour with a puckish
            sense of humour so ingrained into its DNA as the conceptual art
            series "The Project" by madASScow.  (I know, with a name like that
            you'd expect a solemn kind of focus, but no.)  When they announced
            a textmode special I found an opportunity to put to use a
            selection of fundamentally unusable naive ANSI art I'd perversely
            squirreled away for another April Fool's Mist pack that would
            never come to pass (or would it?), including the only material
            we'd ever released from one of the greatest polymaths who ever
            sojourned under our affiliation, Talonswift -- and the eminently
            cringeworthy early attempts at ANSI art created by your humble
            author before concluding that his poetry pointed to a more
            promising future.  Speaking of which...

            * getready.zip - "Get Ready To Read", Cthulu's collected
            illustrated lits, January 2000.  Following Israfel's fall from
            grace when ACiD merged with GOTHiC in April '94, there was no
            place for creative writing and poetry in the membership of the
            artscene's top-echelon ensembles.  Because we could never do
            things the easy way, Mistigris found itself a refuge of sorts for
            the endangered form of creative expression (and critically, was
            led by a proponent of the form, who would be impossible for
            another group to poach), boldly forging onward in championing a
            possible future computer art scene where poems didn't have to end
            with a BBS' ridiculous name (or ANSIs be capped with a logo for a
            BBS' ridiculous name, for that matter) in order to be released in
            an artpack.  This approach gave Mist packs a radically different
            texture from those of other groups, who remained largely unswayed
            by our vanguard example.  For whatever reason, my rhymes and
            metres were tolerated and even requested (when backsliding to the
            simpering BBS-advertising mode), granting me the ability to
            appear, in illustrated collaborations, in releases of groups who
            would never allow me to join.  There were a lot of these
            collaborations, commissioned with many highly-skilled visual
            artists, and of course I had the chance to work with more than a
            few Mistigris illustrators, being the ones I had closest at hand.
            By achieving the wider release and more prestigious placement, I
            hoped that the demonstration of the great work we were up to would
            stimulate greater interest in lit generally and Mistigris
            specifically, as its single densest quality hub, but it turns out
            that things didn't end up panning out that way.  (Anyhow, this
            archive was the #1 download from Acheron in the month of its
            release!  A big splash or a rapidly shrinking scene?  You be the
            judge!)

So, here we are.  With the year 2000 out of the way, that just about brings us
up to the present.  I privately noted our 10-year anniversary to myself in
2004, but I didn't expect anyone else who had so enthusiastically bailed out
on that world so relatively recently to have any tenderness for it yet; Mist
had at that point only been put to bed for as long as it had been active --
the corpse hadn't yet rotted enough for flowers to grow over the grave.  I
began actively planning an artscene retrospective gallery exhibition this
year, but though others have successfully pulled off the feat before and
since, and though I was actively helping to run an art gallery in the interim,
a decade has not been enough time for me to bring the dream to fruition.

The 10-year anniversary of our final release, in 2008, was still too soon for
people to look back with a tender glimmer of nostalgia, though perhaps with
increasing age we've become more cognizant of what we've lost and left behind.
I noted (and quite frankly I'm very confident that I was the only one who did)
on my long-term radar in the spring of 2014 that this would, in an alternate
timeline, have been year 20 on Mistigris' schedule for world domination, and
decided to make some easy-pitch inquiries to onetime members with a six-month
lead time.  To my astounded delight, it's been just long enough such that
people replied with fondness and interest.  (Also with much incredulity that
it would be possible, even were it desirable, for them to pick up the tools
they had set aside 16 years prior, and with skepticism that the zenith of
their youthful art had ever been anything worth sharing, creating or
celebrating.)

This well and truly ends with us fully up to speed: making and sharing
computer art reminds me of joys from a previous life, but of course the
greatest thrill has been reconnecting with these old comrades, most of whom
have been off the radar for the better part of two decades and some of whose
real names were never known in the first place!  (which, to be sure, made
looking them up on Facebook quite problematic.)  Not all of the fifty-odd (and
some downright strange) veterans of the '90s computer art trenches I'd rounded
up were in a position to contribute to this artpack, but being back in contact
with them at least opens the door.  I only regret missing out on reconnecting
with those I was unable to locate.  (Lady Blue!  Corinthian!  Grinch!
Skrubly!  Are you out there?)
                                      ...

The thing that prompted the creation and release of the artpack which you are
currently enjoying was my ageing stockpile of computer art which had been
curated, submitted, gathered and stored with the intention of being released
someday in an artpack, mostly dating to the period 1998-2000.  You may note
that this archive here, the one that you are currently viewing, primarily
consists of quite recent work, strangely enough.  I wanted to release a Mist
pack for the occasion and figured that I would finally discharge the pile-up
of history on my hard drive (or as I like to put it, declare a general amnesty
on all imprisoned works of art) -- basically I lined up my old cronies in
hopes of finding an audience for the bygone and forgotten works among their
onetime creators.  But to my surprise and delight, many of them felt
passionately about providing a demonstration of how hot their stuff is today.
That makes for this awesome artpack you are currently enjoying, a respectable
showing in this positively Blocktronic era.  But I'm still sitting on the
backlog.  We considered lumping it all together, but opted against due to the
risk of embarrassing confusion between My Art, 1998 and My Art, 2014.  (One can
really appreciate the depth of tone and maturity of theme in the newer work now
that we see them side by side and can appreciate the wealth of life experience
that has enriched the perspective of their creator.  What do you mean, that's
the older piece?)

So do please keep your eyes open: in the very near future (not just "near" in
the context of 16-year delays) I'll be releasing at long last M-9808.ZIP, the
complete pack we never shared, then another -- containing at least a hundred
pieces of never-before-viewed-by-the-artscene computer artwork.  And then, who
knows!  There are archives and music disks like The Bells Of Yule (hm...
sounds... December-ish) unobtainable today needing to be reissued (I'm sorry,
but: it's necessary), plus I'm sitting on two complete uncoded e-mags and ten
or so competitions worth of unreleased Blenders... and, who knows, having been
reintroduced to the idea of working together, members of the Mistigris crew
may take pleasure in resuming doing so.  I'm going to optimistically propose
another Mistigris artpack release of new work in one year's time, for October
2015.

Do please look for M-9808.ZIP and everything that follows wherever artpacks
are to be found.  Uh... where exactly are artpacks to be found these days?
On IRC?  Did we reconcile with the administrators of the Hornet FTP site?
I'll have to check up on Superunknown and Acheron.

Just kidding!  Of course, you're presumably checking this artpack out on
sixteencolors.net or artpacks.org (you'll have to download the whole pack to
enjoy the music, though!), and we're on Facebook, and many thanks to our
fellow traveller mattmatthew for getting us set up with mistfunk.tumblr.com,
where we can showcase Mistigrisian (OK, contest time: we need a better
adjectival form... Mistigrudlian?) creations both old and new.  (In fact, my
main contribution to this anniversarial release will be going up live there,
exclusively, shortly, because even if throwing mp3s in an artpack is no longer
a big deal, I don't know if we're ready for digital video yet.)

Lost but not forgotten,
cthulu c/o tabnet.ca

Turns out after all this time, I can safely report that I have no trouble
returning to writing infofiles.  (My problem is, predictably enough, stopping
writing them.)
And, of course, the memberlist:
                   . mistigris memberlist october 2014 .

        The following individuals have contributed to this collection:

Bah, Kasha! looked back at her historical contributions to Mistigris artpacks
and wrote a response to them.  Her identity has been feebly obfuscated to
protect the innocent.
                                      ...

Bryan (aka haquisaq) somehow made it through the last 20 years alive.  His more
recent creative efforts include composing hardware-oriented chip music under
the still equally stupid moniker "bryface".  Notably, he has had the rare
privilege of performing his music at chip music festivals around the world -
including places like Japan, Europe, and Australia - alongside many of the
global chip scene's foremost musicians.

He also ekes out his days as a web developer for a creative agency, bikes and
plays volleyball in his spare time, and eats three meals a day, sometimes four.

         bryface.bandcamp.com  / soundcloud.com/bryface / @bryfacetron

                                      ...

Cthulu warns: Don't get me started!  After the computer artscene wound down, I
took up performance poetry with the early poetry slam scene.  My poetic "voice"
was one of discontent and the persona was not healthy to maintain on a long-
term basis, so I switched streams back to music and will have been fronting
"the jug band of the damned" on an unruly accordion for 10 years come January.

  reluctance.livejournal.com / videogamecomicads.blogspot.com / @unwashedmass

                                      ...

The very month Hallucigenia wrapped, Etana launched Keyframe Online, a
a tremendous animation resource.   "Red Haired Girl" is part of her 100 Faces
portrait painting challenge at her homepage at tiltedwindmills.com

                                      ...

Fille of Galza has been in the Mistigris sphere since the summer of 1999 --
that is, too late to ever share creative work with us, until now.  Cthulu made
a guest visit to the 22nd Galza artpack earlier this year and now Fille gets
a chance to return the favour.  Find him on Twitter as @filipdehaes

                                      ...

Kevin Bryce wasn't "there" then, but he is here now.  Hear more at
soundcloud/kevtrax
                                      ...

Livewire hasn't written a babble story like this one since Al's House of Meats
closed up shop, but he's still got that wacky knack.

                                      ...

We're thrilled to have successfully tracked down our elusive Australian member
Maeve Wolf, a versatile visual artist with a portfolio at dashsharon.tumblr.com

                                      ...

Nearly a Mist member back in the day, we were fellow travellers with
Mattmatthew in TeklordZ.  His guest art has represented Mistigris for years on
Wikipedia, and we are pleased to share his unfortunate piece with Blocktronics.

                                      ...

Melodia of Digitallusions was a sole proprietor music manufactory concern.  In
this release we are pleased to present lit from her for the first time in
addition to two songs -- and keep your ears open for much more!

                          soundcloud.com/empressplay

                                      ...

Logoist extraordinaire, Platinum fought the gods of computer security to set us
up a telnet BBS to act as a WHQ.  House odds are typically on the gods.

                                      ...

Better known in a Mist context working in a different medium under different
handles, Psidream now releases drum 'n bass under the Nightfall imprint.

                                      ...

Publius Emeritus II is a onetime Mist member who isn't hiding that effectively.

                                      ...

Founder of EuphoniX, Sentience has given the music a rest and is resuming his
explorations into every other creative medium.

                                      ...

Formerly known as Silver Angel, Tillie continues to live and write in the 604
area.  She's been published in Salacious Magazine, and will be featured in the
upcoming Dirty Queer Anthology. Balancing being a queer, polyamourous feral
leatherwoman and handling donations at a church/homeless shelter, Tillie can be
found at @echnoidsymmetry on Twitter and on the book of face.

[Ed's note: Tillie is currently crowdfunding to be trained as a doula.  I just
wanted to mention it because it very likely is something that has never been
said in an artpack before.  If you wanted to support the campaign, that would
be cool also.]
                                      ...

Tarot violated Finnish law in order to present us his submission, a remix of an
ANSI from 1997, replacing F3 blocks with hot, burning fire combusting through
a ceramic matrix.  (That's what we like to refer to as extreme textmode art.)
He can be found at facebook.com/joakimraaka

                                      ...

Another music machine, Theodoric got a little confused when the scene shifted
(rocking the Amiga, his scene got rocked a little earlier than the PC kids'),
but shaking his head he picked himself back up and has kept on keeping on.
Find more of his compositions at soundcloud.com/theorica


                                      ...

A former Mist member in disguise, Whazzit graces us with an ANSI-illustated
story... and a "Gus".  (No, "Gus" is not the mascot of the Gravis Ultrasound.)

                                      ...

Another former Mistigris member from the very beginning, WI has been jazzed to
discover that we didn't all go away forever.  (As are we, one supposes!)

                                      ...

Zinc, aka J-Ray, has been active in many different art forms since his Kosmic /
Impulse Tracker days.  After experimenting with rock and folk music, he formed
a three-piece live electronic band called Catscam, and continued making music
using live instruments.  He pursued a career in Graphic Design, and dabbles in
visual art, slam poetry, calligraphy, and even dance.  J-Ray is now a
competitive dodgeball player, part of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival
executive, studying Korean, and obsessing over ampersands.

   www.j-ray.com / soundcloud.com/catastrophic-error / Instagram @DesignInVan

                                      ...

Thanks to our guests for the use of the fabulous Mist logos they made for us
before the full scope of our torpor was widely understood: header by Grymmjack
of Polyester, footer by rz and tr, and the fabulous salvaged FILE_ID.DIZ by
mega!

Thanks also to the following folks for emerging from retirement to join us,
if not in submitting artwork to this release, at least to act as moral support.
Here's hoping we get a chance to thrust more of their work to prominence again
sometime soon!

Adri, Ay Lektriq, Coyote, Crowkeeper, Da Vinci, Eoanya, Eto, The Extremist,
Flyingfish, Foolish Bird, The 4th Disciple, Freaq, Genocide Kitten,
God Among Lice, Hacker Joe, Halaster, Happyfish, Ice Cream Emperor,
The Itchy Swordsman, Jake Blues, Konami, Kyo, Mavrik, Melkor, Mr. Flibbles,
Mr. Wrong, Nitnatsnoc, Otnoo Ishphoo, Ozero, Pannekoekologist, The Pope,
Sephiroth, Soul Blazer, Talonswift, Tincat, Tzeentch and Weird...

... And everyone else we couldn't reach or mobilize in time!  Hopefully we can
find a way to work together again someday!  If you were part of Mist in the
past (or wished you had been!) please don't hesitate to look us up!

OK, what else do we include in these things?

                      . mistigris distribution sites .
                          (you're kidding, right?)

                     The Screaming Tomato . (ITS) DOW-NNOW
                        The Jade Monkey . (RIP) BBS-SING
              Dreams of Dark, Enchanted Lizards . (WON) TAW-AKEN
                         Canopic Jars . (NEV) ERL-IVED

Greets to Blocktronics, Galza, and ... OK, I'll bite -- who else is releasing
artpacks in the new millennium?  Hats off to TABNet on their 21st: almost dead,
but impossible to kill!

Cheers to all -- anyone who sees this has got to be all right by us, you
weirdos!
I have further plans to somewhat diminish the splash we've just made of the reception of our unexpected and frankly unprecedented reunion pack by releasing the old and unreleased (and re-releasing the "lost") computer art from back in the day, for the sake of posterity, and then who knows -- with more likeminded people from the past on my side, perhaps my other aspirations for the gallery exhibition will be more possible. And maybe, just maybe, some of us may continue to make art together.

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Date:2014-08-13 17:49
Subject:The Pen Comic, table of contents
Security:Public

Now that it's all up and posted here, I've been going back and adding navigational links to ease & facilitate reading, enjoyment, and contemplation of contributing to this incomplete masterwork. Furthering such user-friendliness, here's a guide to all of the pages, in sequence, all in one place!

Page 1, wherein a simple question is asked
Page 2: "Blast this god-forsaken pen!!!!"
Page 3: "WHACK! said Mr. Blackjack"
Page 4, wherein the Dread Cap'n Wood makes good his plot
Page 5: "BZAARP!"
Page 6, wherein helpful arrows sequence plot
Page 7, wherein our squire suffers from hallucinations
Page 8: "The hallucinations became religious revelations"
Page 9, wherein a highly accurate map is plotted
Page 10: "So Paris was bombed..."
Page 11: "Thank you for using Super-Loo 2000!"
Page 12: "Better take a look"
Page 13, wherein Soapfrog is found at the scene of the crime
Page 14, wherein Soapfrog and Dr. Ha talk a lot
Page 15, wherein Soapfrog is hated
Page 16, wherein Shakespeare reveals an uncomfortable preoccupation
Page 17, wherein Shakespeare and Soapfrog are made the well-dressed prisoners of Princess Insipid
Page 18: "How possible can it be?"
Page 19, wherein the Segue Piggy announces his later appearance
Page 20: and now a brief interlude for our *newest* hero!
Page 21, wherein the Segue Piggy makes things clear as mud
Page 22, wherein Mac is introduced
Page 23, wherein a window is described in Japanese
Page 24: Once there was a girl who didn't like to get her shoulder sneezed on...
Page 25, wherein Soapfrog and Shakespeare experience relationship friction
Page 26, wherein Clipboard Girl springs Mac from Mc$cum
Page 27: HOW MUCH LONGER CAN MAC LAST?
Page 28, wherein Sheepfrog is birthed
Page 29, wherein Shakespeare and Soapfrog and Sheepfrog meet Syccy and Mac and Clipboard Girl
Page 30, wherein the Segue Piggy falls off the Blue wagon
Page 31: the Development of SheepFrog
Page 32, wherein a whole class stab someone with their pens
Fragment 1 , depicting a simple clown nose
Fragment(s) 2, 5 of them: Clipboard Girl, psychedelic underwater starship montage, two flying sheep, Frogs Had Their History, and a character giving new meaning to the phrase "super-deformed"
Fragment 3 , wherein the Dread Cap'n Wood reads Wittgenstein
Fragment 4: Meanwhile, in Paris...
Fragment 5: Commander Pencil was once a public official
Fragment 6, wherein Soapfrog reveals the land of Pens-ance
Notes and questions

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Date:2014-08-12 18:57
Subject:The Pen Comic, extras 7
Security:Public

We close this series with further notes hidden in the back pages of the binder. First, the brainstorming that yielded the Segue Piggy's tremendous knitting of Mac and Clipboard Girl: revealed, the notion that with sufficient thought, really their partnership was an historical inevitability.



Mac -> Needs mags from Paris, so must eat lettuce from Hamburgers -> CAN'T PRODUCE STARSHIPS.

Wants to light the fireplace on starship <- Clipboard girl

|
|
v
REBUILD PARIS

Soap Frog Glows


And finally, my own master list of open questions -- which predates the final few pages by quite a bit. Here the onion structure of the plot is revealed, with every layer of unanswered question revealing a new layer of also-unanswered question.



Questions in comic + plot problems that need to be answered:

I. Where do pens go when they're used up? - pen heaven, neverending writing, waterfalls of ink, quills returned to birds

    II. Squire needs to get Uni-balle back to London. - More Osysseus-like travels. - Dread Pirate Wood waiting to stop 'im.
    Shakespeare also. - Soapfrog-land above Peninsula of bad gas. Close to London.

      III. Who killed Looo? w/ pen, has black arm -> "follow me". they don't follow.
      |-> soapfrog origin myth: Larf + SF share brain, Dr. Ha loves SF, SF was once frog.

      "flipper flipper flap flap" = I don't know. Why do they take it?
      Spell of amnesia. "Thinking of Maude..."

        IV. When will Shakespeare get his "enima"? -> travel to future alternate dimension
        - Well-timed sidetrack -
          IVa) What did Soapfrog do wrong? to make Sh. forget about en., meant to show.

            V. Where does Darth Vader come back in? -> Starship! -> will save Paris?
            IS THE ADULT Frogsheep
            role pen plays in birth
            - disturbance of Mr. Blackjack throws off SF's calculation, gets SF impregnated (new problems)

            spies? err?

              VI. What are Larf + Dr. Ha building? - ray gun of some sort

                VII. Domestic discord between SF + Sh.

                  VIII. How much longer Mac lasts -> CG's tattoos

                    IX. Pen in eye stuff? -> connection to III?

                    Darth Froggie time problems.
                    + Is the squire the killer?


Sadly, I failed to elaborate on the inherent problems resulting from Sheepfrog growing up into the Darth Vader-esque character -- likely some species of time-loop causality; disturbance in the force caused by Paris' destruction throws Soapfrog's calculations off, diverts them to Princess Insipid, where SF is impregnated and gives birth to Sheepfrog, who matures, flies the starship back in time, and prevents Mr. Blackjack from destroying Paris... thereby preventing the circumstances that bring the Sheepfrog's very conception into being. Thereby not yielding any savior of Paris, thereby causing Soapfrog to be diverted to Princess Insipid, thereby... well, you get the idea. I'm sure it could be got around with 5 minutes of thinking, but loops are fun so why would we want to? Maybe we could end up with an Age of Apocalypse-style alternate timeline. I suppose that depends on the hypothetical future contributors.

← previous page | ? ? ? next page ? ? ?

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Date:2014-08-12 17:59
Subject:The Pen Comic, extras 6
Security:Public

After some shrewd negotiations with a friend who wanted to contribute to the collaborative comic but couldn't figure out a way to make sense of the knot it had wound itself into, we settled on a very satisfying compromise: just draw the end, and subsequent contributors would just have to figure out how to get from point X to point Y. (No doubt via an entirely new alphabet in between. Greek letters, perhaps?)



Soap Frog: Behold! the utopia ~ PENS-ance!

And so, the child of the prophecy's impossible vision manifests in the future revealed by soap frog as the grandiose penultimate utopia -- so if this is the penultimate narrative, whence the ultimate?

It manages to both answer the question posed in the comic's very first sentence and include Soapfrog, which means it closes the book on 95% of the business contained in the colossal sodden work. Still, worryingly, it can't help but end on a question ... but that's a whole 'nother comic!

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Date:2014-08-11 17:00
Subject:The Pen Comic, extras 5
Security:Public

We've got some stationary elements, but is it enough?



ONCE I WAS A PUBLIC OFFICIAL...

Inka: "YOU ARE NOT WORTH THE GRAPHITE WHICH IS YOUR LIFEBLOOD COMMANDER PENCIL! YOU... HAVE... FAILED... ME

Nurse: "I'm AFRAID your father's DEAD!"

Pencil: "Nooooo! Inka! What have you done?!"


Relatedness isn't a matter of black and white: you can be more related and less related. This is pretty related for an unrelated contribution, but it would be pretty unrelated for a related one.

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Date:2014-08-11 05:27
Subject:The Pen comic, extras 4
Security:Public

Another floating page from the artist of the previous extra -- conversely, this one has a very straightforward and obvious home in the extant comic, but putting it there will simply be a matter of pacing.

Last page's mystery artist chimes in with another alternate look at situations we've already witnessed and moved on from. Wow: Paris was bombed and that was devastating. Also: what about that squire and his quest to return the manure-filled Uni-balle to Jolly Olde Englandde? I hate to distract from the amazing sideshow, but, uh, the main plot is calling and it wants a slice of its comic back.


Meanwhile...

Parisian: "Merde."

With the blackeſt of ſtuffs the pen now iſ packed
To England's fair ſhores we muſt now fly
Let uſ depart this blaſted land, pen in hand.

Little does the squire realise that Shakespeare is no longer on Stratford-on-Avon, but situated somewhere in the domain of Princess Insipid. Of course, who knows how long it will take him to get back there anyhow. I suspect the route back may well be less direct than his trip there.

I also found a first draft of the loose blank verse:

Nice copping of a Shakespearian lingo, down to the notorious "long s".

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Date:2014-08-10 22:48
Subject:The Pen Comic, extras 3
Security:Public

At some point I found myself at an impasse, the climax-upon-climax making adding a new, relevant, page overly intimidating for new artists, but outright unrelated submissions officially forbidden. So I suggested that suggestions didn't necessarily have to happen chronologically -- new pages could be inserted between ones already written, to expand the roles of minor characters whose ships had sailed and flesh them out with side-stories. This is obviously one, though where it is going remains unclear.


Cabin Boy: "Dread Cap'n Wood! The keel haulin' be ready for your inspection sir! Arr!"
Dread Cap'n Wood: . o (Says you, squire.)
(Wittgenstein)
Hook hand, check. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, check. The only question is, what has to happen to the plot to put the squire and the Dread Captain Wood on the same vessel? Is this a glimpse into the return voyage, pitting enemies together for tension-fraught mutual aid? What could compel Cap'n Wood to work with the very squire whose quest he previously found to be worthy of ship-smashing?

It's a mystery. Like the episodes in Pulp Fiction, it clearly takes place at some point in the chronology, but the piece of paper itself was found in the back of the binder. Maybe the squire and the DCW have a history predating his employment by Shakespeare? Does the DCW perhaps have a squire of his own? Or is he speaking to someone else, but revealing his preoccupation with the dark work of the squire? I hope someone can get to the bottom of this pressing matter.

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Date:2014-08-10 12:31
Subject:The Pen Comic, extras 2
Security:Public

Because making a whole post for ever fragmentary piece of marginalia might not be totally worthwhile, I've taken the unprecedented liberty (because, let's be frank, LiveJournal needs all the posts it can get) of bundling together a few wordless pieces of errata for this individual post, discarded sketches or semi-semi-relevant scraps I'd hoped could be harnessed if needed. First up, some fetching sketches of Clipboard Girl:



I, er, can't speak with authority to precisely what is shown in this collection of sketches, but it's prime stuff: ripe, fecund, heady with creativity. And I'll be damned if that isn't Mac's starhip, ready for liftoff. Er, from an underwater hangar. (Maybe this journey has an Atlantean component?)



Next up, two alternate takes on Sycophant the Flying Sheep, prior to the version actually portrayed on page 29. It's true that I can't envision a great application for two Syccies emerging from the clouds, but who knows: perhaps he's part of a flock.



"FROGS HAD THEIR HISTORY" is what I got when I took the comic book binder to one of the Butchershop's "Do_ink" comic jams back when I was helping to run the space from, what 2003-2006? It's lovely, but where does it fit? Perhaps the comic takes a detour to explain Soap Frog vis a vis his whole amphibious line.



This character probably dates to the same event. Mysterious, disconnected... perhaps this represents the sensation of travelling through time in Soapfrog's soap dish, being impregnated by lightning bolts, or recovering from a session with Mr. Blackjack.



Maybe they can be used and worked in, maybe not! Fear not, there are four more pages to go, plus the notes.

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Date:2014-08-09 21:25
Subject:The Pen Comic, extras 1
Security:Public

Flipping through the worryingly large quantity of blank pages in the back of the collaborative comics binder, I came across the following illustration someone had made, perhaps burying a rejected first draft or homesteading by laying claim to a page in the comic's future and ensuring that someone, once they got to page 50 or 60, would be confronted with needing to work a clown nose (Shakespeare's, presumably) into the plot.



Extreme close-up! Probably it pre-dates my divesting the Bard of his rubber schnozz (not a deliberate move on my part, I was merely reflecting the reality of the lower illustration of his unadorned visage.) Now this could be a complete panel on its own, or it could be part of a greater picture. I think it would be a great cut from a panel of eg. a planet, starship / Darth Vader context, then returning the reader to action planetside with another round object thematically echoing it. That's what we'd do if this was a film storyboard. (It doesn't have to be a planet; it could be a marble, a navel or a nipple.)

There are more of these, most more substantial than this.

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Date:2014-08-09 06:14
Subject:The Pen Comic, page 32
Security:Public

This contribution is frustrating, as it obviously shares an important theme -- the mighty pen, and all that follows from its power -- with the story's central narrative, but at the same time, only contains thematic rather than narrative echoes: it's about the same thing, but it isn't the same thing.

But it could be worked in. Unlike some new material we've seen ultimately incorporated into the comic, it's merely largely unrelated rather than entirely unrelated. As long as there's a single strand of spiderweb connecting them, they can be reeled in and bound together.

AT SCHOOL, EVER JUST WANT TO JAM YUR PEN INTO YOUR TEMPLE?
- SCRATCH - SCRATCH - SCRITCH - SCRITCH-SCRATCH -SCRITCH -SCRATCH -SCRITCH -SCRATCH -SCRITCH - POKE - SCRATCH

OR MAYBE YUR EYE SOCKET?!

... BUT YA DON'T, CAUSE YA KNOW YA'D REGRET IT?

"OH! MY EYE! WHY AM I SO DUMB?"

SO DON'T YA THINK IT'D BE BETTER IF YUR WHOLE CLASS SUDDENLY STOPPED TAKING NOTES, AND YUR PROFESSOR SHOUTED 'NOW!" IN A LITTLE GREEDY SHRIEKING VOICE, AND THE OTHER STUDENTS ALL STUCK THEIR PENS INTO YA AND RAN AWAY?!!!

"HA HA!"

"OH. DAMN THEM!"

YUR WISH'D BE FULFILLED, AND YOU COULD DIE BITTERLY EMPASSIONED WITH ANGER! HOORAY!
Also: gross! But -- good use of highlighter for colourful contrast, something hitherto unknown over this comic's 30-odd pages.

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Date:2014-08-08 21:43
Subject:The Pen Comic, page 31
Security:Public

Here terminates our narrative to date. Back on-track, but only one panel into the page before petering out...


The Development of SheepFrog

dy = ∫xdx


There is more, of course, but if you treat what we have hitherto seen as a continuous narrative (not that it is), none of the remaining fragments have clear and obvious hooks where they join up with what has thus far transpired. Some parts, as you shall see, clearly belong to the story's final act; others are b-sides and out-takes, practice sketches rejected for different approaches. Being basically unable to draw, I retained them as I found them, secure in the notion that if I couldn't produce the drawings needed to finish the comic, I could at least write an ending around the existing art fragments. Well, that didn't happen, but perhaps you can incorporate them into your upcoming contributions? The process begins here on this page, and specifically on the remaining untapped 75% of it.

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Date:2014-08-08 17:07
Subject:The Pen Comic, page 30
Security:Public

ONE panel after explicitly stating how the Segue Piggy would usefully fill people in with the plot, the following artist opts to hamstring that option and destabilize one of the few factors in this thing stabilizing the chaotic plot. Well, that's what I get for associating with contrarians!


Segue Piggy: hello.
do you remember me?
People often ask me why I am only a head...
it is a mystery to me...
I think I shall go MAD
aah ahha ha ha vomit modern Art

I CAN SEE!
AND HEAR!
AND I SMeLL
BLOO

Dearest mother,
It has been a year since
I last wrote to you.
I have fallen so far
I have a Blue habit
I cannot stop
please send ingredients
- Segue Pig.

Mommy Pig: Only one being can help save my poor, addicted, decapitated son - I'll attract his attention using the renowned DR. HA-SIGNAL!

AND THUS, failing piggy plot advancement...
Rowan once more attempts to lure subsequent contributors into picking up the long-dormant Dr. Ha-and-Larf thread, potential sources of exposition to replace the now out-of-commission Segue Piggy, but thus far, to no avail.

I apologise for the array of realistic porcine mammaries. Another regret: succumbing to the easy western influence of superhero comics. There's no good reason Dr. Ha should have a Bat-signal.

But to combat regrets with affirmations: I dig the drop of snot hanging from the pig's snout in the mystery panel, and the vomiting modern art works pretty well. And the way the "o"s in "BLOO" are pig snouts? Inspired.

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Date:2014-08-07 23:32
Subject:And now, for a change of pace:
Security:Public

This exchange cracked Jen up. I gather that it's basically Essence of Rowan, distilled and bottled: part of its ineffable me-ness is my simply being in the situation in the first place. I have to say that the choice of growan as my e-mail prefix has proven to be a major tactical misstep, and led to more misdirected mail than I ever could have imagined: legal documents, medical records, invoices, and the ongoing saga of Greg Rowan's overdue library books in Australia's Gold Coast (he likes to take out Led Zeppelin fake books and then keep them out a little bit too long.)

Lynn Johns <john*****@aol.com>
8:19 PM (3 hours ago)

to hstickney5, rjsmith, jaylabarre, m_bassingthwai., bassingthwaite., goergehoffman65, mshmoo, idahomorris, me, lisafeb4, whitepearl11771, sippond, rrr, jenniferlawton., hgoodell, rphippard, russell0130, kschnyer, kelliestevens26, cutts_66, melissacashman, cashman6, stormracing13, dclout603, ablair

Good Evening Football Parents!

Can you believe our first scrimmage is in 2 weeks??!! Crazy right??!!

We are looking for more parent volunteers to help with double session food sign ups, as well as set up for the food during the double session days. If you purchase anything for the players, you can save your receipts and get reimbursed by turning them into Coach Avery. Double sessions are 8/13-8/26. Please see link below for sign ups. Every little bit helps!!

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c044daaab23a0f49-huskies

Also, during our home games, we will need volunteers to help with chains and 50/50 raffles. No experience necessary!! Home games are scheduled for 9/5, 9/26, 10/11, 10/17. We also have scrimmages 8/22 and 8/29 that may require volunteers. Please contact Bob Smith if your are interested in sighing up for these duties 209-5867.

Don't forget to check out monadnockfootball.com and Monadnock Football Boosters facebook page!

Go Huskies!!!

Fondly,
Lynn Johns (parent volunteer and HUGE Husky fan)

P.S. Stay tuned for more info about team dinners and away game food needs!

Rowan Lipkovits <growan@*****.com>
8:59 PM (2 hours ago)

Hello, excited football parents. I am sorry to intrude on your conversation with unrelated concerns, but I have been left with few alternatives.

I am not one of you; I do not have a child in Monadnock high school. I don't live in New Hampshire. I have never watched a full football game.

Why, you may ask, am I on your e-mail list then? I find myself wondering much the same question. My best guess is that due to a slip of the finger, one of your cohort accidentally submitted my e-mail address to your list when they intended to submit their own. This means two things: one, that person wanted to receive your updates and is not receiving them; and two, this person (that is, me) who lives in another country is receiving them accidentally. As did all of you, I received several of them today alone, and am somewhat concerned that things will really ramp up as football season progresses. I put up with it in silence last year, but here is my chance to nip the problem in the bud.

If I could unsubscribe from this list, I would, but I can't: you all have to agree to stop sending me e-mail. That's not just a matter of removing me from your address book: purging me from the ad hoc list means that you absolutely cannot simply "Reply to all" from earlier postings or you will all continue haunting my inbox until the end of football season, and I will be a very sad man.

Thank you in advance for your consideration, and good luck to your Huskies.


I'm not filled with hope: many of the e-mail addresses are @aol.com, and immediately after firing off my message I was notified that at least six of them are invalid right off the bat. If they can't be bothered to remove six error-bouncing addresses from their list, what hope do I have?

I only hope I'm not driven to escalate my campaign of list-removal with disruptive tactics. Would that I could just tell my e-mail provider "send all messages containing the word 'football' into the trash immediately", I wouldn't require the cooperation of these well-intentioned AOL users.

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Date:2014-08-07 23:22
Subject:The Pen Comic, page 29
Security:Public

Genius is fleeting, and then it's left to the schlubs to pick up the pieces. To wit, our superstar artist took off here 75% of the way through another page of sheer brilliance, and the task fell to me to finish it off. I did what I could, but the best I could do was kind of like gliding an engine-stalled airplane into a controlled crash landing.


Soapfrog: "THaT IS A bURDeN TO BE RELieVEd of, FOR SURe. DO YOU tHInK THAT WE STILL HaVe tO WEAr-"
William Shakespeare: "This accursed nose of a fool? Nay, says I - even now hath I divested the proboscis from mine stately features. Hark --
Mac: "WA."
Syccy: "I ha-aave come to give ma-ahy chaald his she-eep na-ame. But wha-at are the-ese new people doing here?"
Baby: "MOTHER. FATHER. THE UNSEEN PORCINE GUIDE AND THE OMNISCIENT NOTEPAD SHALL RENDER YOU SATISFACTORILY INFORMED. FOR NOW, LOVE ME. MY WOOLY ESSENCE DEMANDS MAMMALIAN NURTURING THROUGH LACTATION."

The smudging of the soft graphite is criminal; this should be one of the best pages in the comic, not an angry cloud. I dig the classic Shakespeare portrait and the size mismatch between him and the frog; the sheep's emergence from the clouds is also inspired, as is Soapfrog's lettering. As for the rest, I just tried to follow the bold lead and draw which characters as I was capable of drawing (Clipboard Girl is right out! She does not suffer from any old war wounds), letting their personalities guide the way. I'm still quite pleased with my Shakespeare and Soap-Sheep lines, and the little accent I threw in to the baby's pupil. As for the sheep portrait, I'm sorry. Maybe I should have done two panels of Mac.

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Date:2014-08-07 17:00
Subject:The Pen Comic, page 28
Security:Public

The story has delivered two dynamic pairs both experiencing what could be described as "rising action" simultaneously. This is a technique TV programs and movies like to use, of giving you a bit of what Team A is up to, then delaying your gratification by swapping on over to Team B. It's true that for most of this comic we've been fecklessly swapping between teams W, X and Y without every revisiting them (or, admittedly, much of interest happening to most of them). But now things have really come to a head...



MEANWHILE...

SOAP FROG WRITHES IN THE DEEPEST PITS OF PAIN

William Shakespeare: "IT'S ALRIGHT DARLING, WILLY IS HERE FOR YOU... LET NOT TO THE MARRIAGE OF..."

THE CHILD OF PROPHECY!
{SPLOORCH!}
Baby: "NYAAH-HRK" {POP!}

AND THE ELECTRIC SHEEP SOARS TO MEET ITS OFFSPRING...
Syccy: "Mmmy Bay-be EET COME*" (*SHEEP ACCENT)
... AS CLIPBOARD GIRL AND MAC CLOSE IN ON THE CHAOTIC SCENE
SOAPFROG: "FWEW!" *
B: "NYAH-POP! E=MC2"


Soap Frog's pain-writhing throat is brilliantly rendered, and zir androgynous jewelery is amazing. Shakespeare's look is classic, plus through scanner magic I can get a glimpse of an earlier, more cartoony version of Shakespeare. And look, a return of that classic "SPLOORTCH" sound effect, last observed at the Isle of Great Sex. (Is this denoting the birth orgasm?)

And wouldn't you know it, here comes Team B, joining Team A, for what will assuredly be a grand culmination of some sort...

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Date:2014-08-07 05:41
Subject:The Pen Comic, page 27
Security:Public

And now the masterful plotter shares a page with the supreme illustrator, yielding a sublimely absurd and narratively climactic gestalt.



Mac: WA.

MAC DOES NOT FEEL WELL, AS CLIPBORAD GIRL SUPPORTS THEM BOTH ON THE FINAL LEG OF THE TREACHEROUS JOURNEY TO THE LAND OF PRINCESS INSIPID. MAC NEEDS MAGAIZINES TO LIIIVE

-> THE TREACHEROUS JOURNEY...

GIANT ANGRY RABID BANSTERS...
DEPRESSION OVER THE PLOT HOLES OF THEIR UNIVERSE
M: HOW WILL IT ALL *
CB: IT CAN'T
A TORRENTIAL AFFAIR
M: WA WA WA WA
CG: SLURP SMACK OOH MAC!
AND WORST OF ALL, MAC EAT NOTHING BUT DRIED LETTUCE -> DRY LETTUCE IS GROSS*

Clipboard Girl: COME ON - URGH! - NOT MUCH FURTHER - ARG...

MAC LIKE HI-LACED BOOTS!
<- (ICY MOUNTAINS) & CLIPBOARD GIRL WEARS BIRKENSTOCKS!

HOW MUCH LONGER CAN MAC LAST?

ANAS


What artist A did with the characters, artist B did with the little visual accents -- drawing on the grinning sun and religiously revelatory Beck from long-forgotten establishing pages for little background nods. Both artists stick Mac's arms on backwards on the front, as is traditional, but only the second makes it look normal. Also, it's handy to sidestep the "how" of Mac's starship creation: here you go, it's Mac, creating a starship. Since you were wondering. (And note how the space

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agency has reorganized its acronym somewhat.)

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Date:2014-08-06 23:08
Subject:The Pen Comic, page 26
Security:Public

It takes something of a genius to pick up a half-dozen loose threads and weave them into a natty tapestry, but that's what this contributor does -- adding nothing, only expanding on material of various usefulness introduced by previous contributors, fleshing them out in a personal and stylish way until they become interesting enough to all be useful. It's like the old "how do we get there from here?" hipbone games, some people can just perceive potential connections where there really are none, and free-associate themselves toward a more narratively satisfying future.


MEANWHILE, CLIPBOARD GIRL... IS SAD.
(IN THE CLIPBOARD CAVE)
*UHHH... MUST... LIGHT... FIREPLACE! CLIPBOARD... POWERS FAILING! *GASP, CHOKE*

SHE STRUGGLES OUT OF HER SECRET HEROINE CAVE TO FIND NOURISHMENT...
Clipboard Girl: UHHH - SAVOURY BURGER LETTUCE
Mc$SCUM - UNI-BALL PENS, MCINTESTINES (NEW, *)
Mac: MRARGHSL
SOMETHING IS FAMILIAR ABOUT THE WAITER...
CG: HMM
CG: MAC! WHAT HAVE THOSE ASSHOLES DONE TO YOU! I NEED YOU TO MAKE A SPACESHIP SO THAT WE CAN SAVE PARIS* - THE LAND WHERE PEOPLE LIVE IN BLISSFUL ANARCHY - AFTER OVERTHROWING BARBARELLA'S FASCIST CORPORATE GOVERNMENT. YOU MUST HELP ME!
Segue Piggy: * NB - MAC NEEDS TO EAT MAGAZINES FROM PARIS TO BUILD THE SHIP TO SAVE PARIS SO THAT HE HAS MAGAZINES TO EAT... uh oh!
Mac: Lettuce not Paris

BUT THE CLIPBOARD HOLDS THE ANSWERS
Clipboard: Prophecies: one of utter complexity will be born of an electric beast and ...*
S*:=3AS:=
E2 = m2c4+p
Amor vincite
psst: Read the Prophecy, dumbass! Soap Frog's lovechild will save the world

THEY RUSH TO FIND THE FORETOLD ONE ***
It's just beautiful, like watching a pile of bones rise up from the ground to form a skeleton, which then performs a merry jig for your amusement. Any reasonable person would have just seen the bones as inert and defunct, but the one way to make them dance was hypothesized and executed superbly.

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Date:2014-08-06 17:18
Subject:The Pen Comic, page 25
Security:Public

Making for the exception that proves the rule, a new contributor to the comic actually picks up on a lingering plot thread instead of just throwing in whatever two cents they were able to scrape together!

Soapfrog: "Will, you never pay any attention to me anymore."
William Shakespeare: "I'm bizy darlin'." . o (plate of frog legz ->)
ahh... sweet
Will, while chained to hiz desk was hevink one of the most productiv periods of his hole life.
- no whoring and a pregnant frawg to take kare of had given him plenty of time to work
but this idyllik state couldnt last 2 long

{knock}

{knock knock}

{knock knock knock}

SF: ? (poink)

Syccy: (say that in a sheep accent) I sense my baybee will bee heer sewn. baa.
Baybee: soon

WS: ? (poink)

Will this be the end of the cozy, domestic relationship between soapfrog and his poetic brother/sister in chains?
I dig the Herriman-ish comix diction, though admittedly it does go a bit far. I am, basically, ecstatic that the central narrative (well, the first fork at least) has emerged again, like a drowning swimmer coming up for the fourth time... it allows me to overlook the dysfunctional stereotypes of hormonal pregnant people in loveless relationships, haw haw. (Of course, Syccy is the baby-daddy, not Shakespeare.)

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Date:2014-08-05 22:35
Subject:The Pen Comic, page 24
Security:Public

Sometimes you just have to grab the submissions by the horns and wrestle them back into line.



In English, for those of us who don't speak Jay: "The girl by the window."
Rowan approves.

Once, there was a girl who didn't like to get her shoulder sneezed on.
But her boyfriend... sneezed anyway.

Chris: "AAH... AAAH..."
(doesn't look like chris? Blame the old war wound)

One day, she inadvertently discovered that the (strange synergy) timely application of a clown nose at the last minute could effectively (and with entertaining results) subdue the sneeze completely.

C: "HONK HONK HONK" <- stubby tongue

Dr. Ha: "larf did you hear something?"

Larf: "did I?"
The disagreement over the translation was already covered in the last post: is it a girl or a demon, Japanese? Less ambiguity here would be appreciated. I added the window behind the girl here (the girl with whom I started the comic initially!) to tie it in to the previous page, then added the clown nose for further thematic ties, ultimately going whole hog and adding in Dr. Ha and Larf, two potentially rich avenues of plot furtherance I felt had been unusefully left behind. But the thread resolutely refused to be picked up.

"The old war wound" is a reference to some old Monty Python sketch, used by me before (in the b0nkmeet ANSI review, notably) to explain why a drawing purporting to be of someone looks nothing like them.

Dr. Ha and Larf are crawling all over whatever it was they planned to build on the site where they are first encountered. From the looks of things, it's some sort of cosmic listening device.

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