September 21, 2011
Due to a profound lack of webcomic review suggestions (more on that later), today’s blog post will be about hobbies, especially pertaining to webcomics.
In recent time, I’ve acquired quite a few hobbies. Generally-speaking I’ve always had at least one or two hobbies going (Things Beyond the Keyboard details a few of the more recent ones), be it Dungeons & Dragons or playing one card game or another, but lately I’ve been somewhat bogged down with them.
The first and most prominent of course is Remember itself, which has I suppose transcended the position of hobby, or at least become “making money doing what you love”, recently by way of actually turning me a profit. I started it for fun, as I do with most hobbies, and it’s steadily grown into this gigantic part of my life. When you’re making a comic for fun the workload doesn’t really matter nearly so much as how much time it actually takes up, because you don’t mind how frustrating a given part of it is if you actually enjoy doing it or finishing it, but scores of authors have had to regrettably close down production of their comics because of employment issues or such. I think if more people could legitimately make salaries from comics the industry as a whole would be far better off, but of course I’ve ranted and raved about such problems quite a bit in the archives here.
Beyond that, there is also the numerous redstone systems I continually churn out in Minecraft, most recent being a reliable lava-based clock and a work-in-progress messaging system, as well as the adventure map I’m working on infrequently and the various megastructures I build, like the Arcology. I’ve been releasing a few videos from Minecraft on my youtube channel recently, since I bought the bullet as it were and purchased Fraps since I got tired of taking screenshots and adding tons of explanation to them.
Then there’s also Magic: The Gathering, which usually sees me spending days if not weeks designing a deck to near-perfection before buying all the cards I need for it. A lot of people prefer to buy booster packs of cards, but it’s cheaper overall than buying packs and hoping, and with a wider selection of cards to choose from. I tend towards blue/black decks, though my current roster is a blue/red Myr deck and a blue/black Ninja deck, and I’ve recently been working on the design of a black/green Gorgon deck. In all, my deck designs tend to be fairly competitive, though because I build commonly around thematics (Myr, ninjas, Gorgons) they also tend to have crucial weaknesses that I can’t quite overcome. I recently played against a Standard-legal (my decks are always Vintage) poison deck that massacred by Ninjas, which are designed for a more protracted battle than my Myr (who can create a game-ending loop by turn four).
Previously in the realm of card games I’ve floundered miserably at Yu-Gi-Oh, and faired quite a lot more successfully at Duel Masters. There was a time in secondary school where I could recite every statistic of every card then-released for Duel Masters, but thankfully that database has greatly decayed from my memory to make room for other more useful information elements.
The most recent of course is hobby electronics, though I’ve been interested in programming for a long time, likely since I first started coding Expression 2 chips in Garry’s Mod.
In Garry’s Mod I almost constantly wrote codes, especially for autonomous systems like drones, the one that got a lot of attention was Cronus, the “ultimate drone”. He was designed to detect objects and use them to build his body, as well as for ammunition by hurling them at players, whom he hunted down relentlessly, rebuilding himself as he went. He’s still a work in progress because a lot of my work in Garry’s Mod ground to a halt once university started and my main laptop Bio had to be reset to factory specifications. I’ll grant my forays into dating didn’t help matters much, but I intend to return to Garry’s Mod and finish everything, especially since my new university course is very much focused on programming.
The actual physical electronics is the most recent development but very much a natural one, as it relies on a lot of the same building blocks of programming, namely breaking down a target goal into component elements to work out what actually needs to be done and how.
Perhaps the more obvious is Dungeons & Dragons, in which I was the Dungeon Master of a fairly regular weekly group for about ten years before we all went our separate ways in education and work etc. My campaigns were all full of wide-ranging conspiracies, plots, and epic threats to the world, as one might expect since it’s greatly influenced my writing.
Less obvious is my DVD collection, which at 243 titles is now actually exceeding my storage space for it, with most titles being science fiction but also with a healthy mix of anime and zombies, and the odd comedy or romantic movie. I know I can watch tons of movies online or outright torrent them etc. but I prefer to buy the actual DVDs because it supports the industry (in however small a way that may be) that I get a lot of entertainment and enjoyment from. I’ve actually been looking for years to find a movie that actually scares me, since the last time I remember experiencing true fear from a movie was when I saw one of the Star Wars films as a very young child (back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, yes) and froze whenever Darth Vader came on to screen. These days Vader sollicits a more “oh yeah, him” response than fear of any kind.
Speaking of anime, I’m currently in a sort of bucket list scenario, watching a bunch of series that I’ve been telling myself for years to watch at some point. I’ve finished Freedom (an excellent short series revolving around the relationship between humans on Earth and the Moon following a catastrophe that leaves Earth almost in the stone age, recommended), Planetes (similarly, though it’s a full-length anime with some very contemplative ideas on humans in space), Zipang (modern-day Japanese warship gets stranded in 1942, time-travel personal conflicts ensue, though the series really drags at points), and now my most recent foray: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, which at 63 episodes followed by movies and specials should keep me busy for a great deal of time over the upcoming university term. So far I’ve determined that Edward Elric is about the only anime character I could actually cosplay with any reasonable decency, being a short blonde-haired dude with a ponytail. Anime needs more short blonde-haired dudes with ponytails, srsly.
As it lies I’m fairly knowledgeable about anime in general, similarly with the zombie genre, especially as applied to legend George Romero, but its another one of those subjects that stays deep in the recesses of my memory until spontaneously called upon, so I can’t really pull it out at a whim. Suffice it to say that I really hate the recent spate of American Anime series, which is simply bizarre since anime itself is based on post-War American cartoons and has since developed in a vacuum, so its sort of some strange kind of artistic incest and really has yet to pull out anything nearly as impressive as some of anime’s bigger hits. One of the things I really want to do at some stage is learn to speak Japanese, it’s a language I really enjoy but despite watching so much subbed anime I can speak almost none of it.
To address the opening of this post however, I had hoped Appealing to the Vox Populi would get the point home but sadly it seems I need to reiterate the statement once again:
I have a Twitter account situated here.
In that Twitter account I, on a weekly basis, put out a call almost up to a day before this weekly “webcomic feature” segment hits asking for suggestions on which of the mass selection of webcomics I should take a look at to review and give some air time here on Remember.
If you follow my Twitter account, potentially by clicking the Follow button under my name here, you will see that call every week, as well as my many musings on many things, including a lot of things relating directly to Remember, such as a recent declaration of Roman’s exclamation in the previous page being one of my favourite phrases yet.
If you do not, you will not see that call, and most likely will not make suggestions, and if suggestions are not made I’m pretty much up the creek trying desparately to paddle my canoe away from the oncoming waterfall with nothing but an inebriated and thoroughly confused beaver. Having the responses on Twitter is also a good motivation boost for me, so you also contribute to keeping Remember going in lieu of donating (though please, by all means, donate where possible).
It’s very well to think that someone else will if you don’t, but if everyone thinks that, as perhaps seems to be the case, no suggestions are ever made. In my opinion at least it is always best to choose pro-activity over inaction due to the implication of others, at least if something is overdone it is actually done at all.
That minor rant aside, what hobbies do you all have, Forgetfuls? I am indeed intrigued to hear. Post in the comments below.