Monday, November 28, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 48.

Click Here.

Looks like only a few weeks left. Going end officially middle of December. I do have plans to fill out the last two weeks. Be picking up again in January.

By the way, Any Video Converter is mostly excellent addition to your video editing portfolio. It can convert just about anything to the most common formats. I have some Real Media formatted videos, and the codec packs for Windows wouldn't play them in Windows Media Player. The converter I was using before did a really crappy job on Real Media formatted files. I did a Google search and found Any Video Converter.  Tried it out and it worked fine. The free version will do what you need it to do. Even with GVI.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Addendum to Ya See It, Save It.

I had originally meant to tell this story a while ago but forgot. I could always go back into the article and add to it, but hey, I can probably stretch it out to a multi-paragraph, rambling, rabbit trailing off into unrelated nothingness of a multi-paragraph, rambling, rabbit trailing off into unrelated nothingness.

Around November of 2003, me and a bunch of guys were granted passes to go to Kuwait for about a few days of R&R. Not everybody could take leave during our little vacation in Iraq. So a drawing was held. People wrote their names on a piece of paper and put it in the platoon sergeant's hat. I didn't put my name in because I thought that the married soldiers should get the opportunity to go home. I was used to such long deployments. A few years earlier I had spent a couple of years in Korea and never took leave. Of course Korea and Iraq have a few differences, mostly in the amount of drinky-girls available to give you a lap dance.

So the drawing is held, and by total coincidence, happenstance, by shear luck itself, divine providence from God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Belldandy, the first name drawn was the platoon sergeant's, by the platoon sergeant. Wow, didn't see that coming.

So I get to go to the port-a-potty capitol of Operation Iraqi Liberation.

It was really nice. No weapon, got to leave that back with HQ. I had the SAW. Nice not to worry about that for a few days. A well stocked PX. Restocked on babywipes. I was down to those wet naps from the MREs. Trust me, babywipes are your friend. A real shower from a real shower. Hot water, with privacy. No PT. Sleep in, go to bed late as you want. On a real bed.

An internet cafe in which you can hook up your own laptop. Important note because remember at this time thumb drives had yet to become really available. All I had on me was a broken zip drive and my laptop. I paid my fee, plugged in and went to everybody's favorite place: Bob and George.

I had saved and read, re-read, read again, and read some more all of our favorites. It was time to update. Taco, Umiliphus, Oddball, Jailhouse Blues, and Warped Reality to name a few.

HOLD IT! Something is not right, here. Where's Warped Reality? It's not there at all? What happened? I want to know if all the other evil scientists ever managed to catch Dr. Evil.

My first instinct was to do an internet search. (I won't say a Google search because I quite frankly can't remember if I was using Google at this time.) I searched for Warped Reality and found a site called (don't bother it doesn't exist anymore.) Apparently Deccus decided to strike out on his own. I guess so he could do what he wanted to do without having to follow the rules set out by someone else.

That's one of the sad stories of cartooning. If you have someone else publish your work, you have a dozen other people telling you what to do. And sometimes making changes without any say so on your part.

Months and months later I'm home and go and try to find this site. All I find is a banner saying “Under Construction.” Once a month, once every two months, six, and so forth I check in until I get that “Server not found” messages. Another great web cartoonist captured by reality.

Fortunately I was smart. And saved all those new comics Deccus did. Oh, I forgot to mention in addition to Warped Reality there was another comic that Deccus had started. Ironically named “Those Beyond Time.” All about the Wily-bots adventures in time travel to put things wrong that once went right. I saved about seven of them.

That's what taught me the lesson to always save what you see. You never know if a comic, news article, Youtube video, or blog gets scrubbed out of existence.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 47.


The last couple of weeks of comics were really fun to do. Working with the kids was a blast. Next year they really take over for awhile. Writing for them wasn't all that hard, I just had to keep my sense of humor in check. I'm dealing with characters that are between the ages of 4 and 14. Just because my parents let me read Hustler Humor at that age...

I poke fun of that. The kids sneaking into my room, finding all those black and white comic books, and getting a box of crayons to improve them. However, unlike Becky I don't go full Konata when buying manga so those are my only copies of Haruhi Suzumiya being colored in.

The next run of comics were more difficult logistically speaking. Taking dozens of pictures of that car, cutting it out, screen shots of Google Street View and getting that camera turned perfect and giving up when it won't. Forgetting what percentage of fading was used for the characters behind the glass.

That last paragraph in conjunction with this week's comics is a hint of things to come. But not next year, I still have yet to explain why Nancy needed all those rubber balls.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 46.

Click Here.

It's been a couple of weeks on the new schedule. It's been trying. To getting the blog updated at the right time to getting the page uploaded so the link up there works. Then there's the fact I've forgotten a few times to even update the site. I try my best because I'm annoyed by those that don't.

Bloom County has been annoying me. It's not Berkely Breathed's fault what so ever. I got over being annoyed by him 20 years ago. It's the syndicator really. I have a paid subscription that delivers to my inbox a slew of selected comics. The one that I save is Bloom County. What annoys me is the filename. They put today's date on the comic. It gets worse because you can go to the web site that Bloom County is posted on and the filename is a long string of garbage. For about a week last month the ones I got in the mail did not have today's date. They had a generic filename. It was the same one everyday. So I had to redo the name myself.

It did get fixed.

Now the version of Bloom County over at the Seattle Times had the original date on it. I like that because I could look up that date in history and get reminded of what was going on in the world at the time. Which was influencing the comic then.


That run has come to an end. At the time I write this, that page seems locked on the final comic. May be they can go to Outland, or better yet start at the beginning. Time will tell.

I gets worse. I have all the original books. I even have several copies of the album, still in the books. I have even been buying the Bloom County Anthology series. The best part of that, there are comics that were published way back when, but have been lost, protoform versions, and the occasional commentary.

I'm sure Mr. Breathed appreciates all the money that I, and originally my mom through my dad's credit card have given him.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Advice for Future Veterans.

Over the years I have had the rather dubious honor of dolling out advice to those that are considering joining the military. First of all I warn them that I am going to be brutally honest in what I tell them. I also warn them that it has been a number of years since I went through Basic and AIT.

I'm sure most of us have seen Full Metal Jacket. That was accurate back in the 60's and 70's. If want something that is more real, at least for the 90's, get Pauley Shore's In the Army Now. Yes, I do recommend it for accuracy in the Basic Training and AIT sequences. It's toned down, but it is generally spot on.

I don't talk much about Basic, what I say is that it isn't all that hard. Hell, I made it through. They really don't try and kick anybody out. The drill sergeants do everything they can to keep people in. I think even adding a push up or two when counting the PT test. I imagine it looks bad on an NCOER if they wash out too many students. I went through a class of about two hundred people. Of that about ten did not graduate with us. Most because of injuries and family emergencies. As I recall only two quit. No one was washed out.

There was this one girl from New York. She had a real thick stereotypical “New Yak” accent. She got held back because of an injury. I saw her right before I graduated AIT. I was surprised to still see her there, even more surprised to her new southern accent.

I talk at length with those wanting to join what to expect from Basic and AIT and tell them lots of stories. For this article I'll skip all that and finally get to what a new private at their new unit should do:

Start working on your promotion to sergeant first class, first sergeant, sergeant major, lieutenant, warrant officer, or what ever immediately. Pester to death your squad leader for all the Army classes you can get. Combat Life Saver, Air Assault, Airborne, Path Finder, Arms Room, Commo. Get as many correspondence courses done as possible. This stuff impresses the guys at the Pentagon when looking at promotion packets.

The immediate effect is on getting promoted to E-5 and E-6. While these are currently automatic promotions, you can get there quicker by going to promotion boards. While you're working towards that promotion board, practice on the Soldier of the Month boards. All you need to do is win one. You may even get a certificate signed by the Colonel. That makes it worth about 5 points. All that stuff I talked about before, all worth points. Badges and classes. 

Yes, you need the stinking badges.

What is also worth promotion points? College. Every semester hour is worth some points. I'm afraid I don't remember and have no real desire to fact-check it. However in my conversations, especially with my friends' kids, I really double, triple, and quadruple down on the college portion. The easiest way to get credit hours is with CLEP testing. What that is is simply the final exam. Instead of spending two or three months in a class room, you spend an hour or so. And get the credits. I CLEPed U.S. and World history. As I recall these were worth about 3 hours apiece. That was the CLEP recommendation. Go find a college that will give you more. One only gave about two, another gave about 3.5 or even 4. That's very important because remember what I said at the beginning of this paragraph?

Let's not forget all those military classes and correspondence courses. They can be translated into college hours. Even Basic and AIT.

Unfortunately there are some classes you will have to sit in. This is the time to do it. All colleges have required classes, don't wait to use your GI Bill. Let the Army by way of the Tax Payer take care of that. Get all the basic stuff out of the way first. Save your GI Bill for the more advanced and much more expensive degrees down the road.

Even if you decide that you don't want to be an SFC, or even a sergeant. You get out after four years active. At maybe the ripe old age of 22. So why even bother trying to get promoted to 1SG? Because it sets you up to be light years beyond everybody else at your school of choice. You can graduate years earlier and join the work force with a better paying job which means you will be paying more in taxes which in will turn help pay for the education opportunities of that 17 year old future veteran in the recruiter’s office right now.

Military vs. Civilian Friends:

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Tell you not to do something stupid when drunk.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will post 360 security so you don’t get caught.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Call your parents mom and dad.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Hope the night out drinking goes smoothly, and hope that no one is late for the ride home.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Know some wild stuff will happen, and set up rally points and a SERE route.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Bail you out of jail and tell you what you did was wrong.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will be sitting in jail next to you saying, “Damn...we f**ked up...but hey, that was fun!"

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Steal each other's stuff so often nobody remembers who bought it in the first place.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will listen to your relationship problems and hope it works out for you. MILITARY FRIENDS: Will listen to you over a long hard road march, and will help you straighten it out better than Dr. Phil what's his name.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Might try to hit on your girl behind your back.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will try and hit on your girl right in front of you and have spooned with you in the field more than your girl has; and would never even think twice about it.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Would knock on your door.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, "I'm home!"

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will wish you had enough money to go out that night, and are sorry you couldn't come.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will share their last dollar with you, drag you along, and try to work free drinks all night.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Want the money they loaned you back next week.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Can't begin to remember who owes who money after taking care of each other for so long.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will tell you "They'd take a bullet for you."
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will actually take a bullet for you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will ignore this.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will post this.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ravy 2011 Pg. 45.

Click Here.

That's not a new character standing there. She's was in the comic a long time ago. Bringing her back and in that form was a bolt from the blog that inspired me. She doesn't play much of a role this year, but next... let's not get ahead.

Lucked out and found volume one of the Royal Rumble Anthology, used. Gone through the first two disks and have noticed a few things. The song used for Ricky Steamboat's entrance was changed. I remember it being The Allen Parsons Project. I can't remember if he was using it at that particular time, but the song used now was put in only recently. I understand because the rights for WWE to use it probably expired. What I don't understand is why it's done to other wrestlers that had songs owned by WWE. On the Bobby Heenan set during the Gimmick Battle Royal, Hillbilly Jim's song was changed.

On the second disk of the Royal Rumble had a match I had only seen once before: Harley Race VS. King Haku. That's odd because I have an official VHS tape of the second Rumble and that match is not on it.

Poor Bret Hart and Ted Dibiase, both kept getting nailed with that 1 and 2 position. Who did they keep pissing off? Warlord, 29 and 30? Didn't really work out all that well.

What the WWE should do is go back to showing the wrestlers drawing the numbers. Of course all those slips are blank and the entrance is scripted. At least it looks somewhat authentic.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If Ya See It, Save It.

As it is told, once it is on the net, it's there for life. Not so. Many a time has been I go looking for something and I can't find it no more. I quickly learned to immediately bookmark it, or better yet in this day and age of large ass hard drives and infinite online storage I now download everything I want to save.

Remember when there use to be all these sprite sites, some with rather large public domain sections? I grabbed up a few. One day that Wily sprite made be Deccus showed up. I snagged it just in time. Next day it was gone. Along with a bunch of others I wish I had saved.

Jib Jab used to make all their videos in flash, now they all have been converted to YouTube. I have the original interactive versions. Bunches of the original Foamy the Squirrel, Joesph Blanchett, Joanime, Andrew Dickman. All the really cool kids have moved to YouTube. That's where the action is at, and mostly because bunches of other people had used hand held cameras to re-record the original flash video and post it to YouTube. I miss regular ol' SWF. Often you can watch them at full screen, and then shrink the video itself back to its original size and see all kinds of extras. Like sprite sheets, limbs, objects before they come on screen, and after they leave. I've learned a lot by doing that.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Perusing Jib Jab's site I noted many video's not there. Bill Clinton cooking brownies, Hillary running for Senate, Rapping Cowboy, Adam and Eve, Farting Waffles, and many many more. Glad I saved them. Except the waffles. Didn't like that one.

I remember a time before YouTube when AMVs were traded on CD by friends. I have a Dragon Ball video set to It's My Life. In the early days people would make whole sites dedicated to their works of love and allowed you to download them, ten PM to three AM. When the transfer rates were cheapest. I spent days downloading Sailor Moon on Jerry Springer, Sailor Mercury in I'm Blue, Jinnai in the Bugrom. At the time I had DAILUP! I got pretty pissed when I downloaded one that sucked.

That site has long since disappeared, but the owner has since redid these gems in much higher quality on YouTube.

Whole sites disappear. One that I have always regretted not saving was Shadey Theatre. That was the first web comic I read. What got me hooked and inspired me to do my comic. However I never saved any of the comics. Pretty much it was 8-Bit Theater using sprites from Final Fantasy 4, 5, 6, repainted Megaman to look like FF7, and some plot elements form Warped Reality. I think. Jeeze, I last saw it in 2003. I only really can remember a vague outline and some characterizations.

You know, once in while, perusing the archives, I'll find the odd protoform essay, spelling error, graphical mistake that was probably meant to be but I forgot why, or even whole comics that need to be made gone. Like a couple that were posted in June of 2004 that had certain well known and respected “Authors” that I felt really guilty about using.