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My goals for this week were:
* Break 100,000 words tracked for the year
* Post some fiction

Wordcount as of 4 June 2017 by LilFluff

The thick orange line is my running wordcount, which as can be seen recently crossed 100,000 words. Additionally I just posted, Consequences which is a followup to Just Purrfect.
Goals for this week:
* Post some fic
* Look at more of the amazing stuff all you folks keep posting (I've caught up to February)
* Play with Inkscape some more

Oh! And play some more TIS-100 or Undertale.
I've been pretty silent this April (other than twitter/mastodon/comments on others posts... okay not very silent actually), and that's been due to my participating in Camp Nanowrimo. If you're unfamiliar with it Camp Nanowrimo is a twice yearly event similar to the regular Nanowrimo, only it takes place in April and July. Pick a type of project; pick a wordcount; and go, go, go!

Last night I finally passed 50K (originally I set my goal for 30K, but I was easily keeping pace to hit that so I bumped it up to the traditional Nanowrimo 50K goal), ending at 50,098 words. Which means I got to access the Winner Goodies page.CampNano2017AprilWoohoo by LilFluff
I'm not sure I'll buy a 2017 Winner button, but I'm thrilled to have reached this goal. The story isn't finished and really I probably should consider what I wrote an exploratory pre-first draft. But wow, 50K in a month. Now I've got some new characters, a new setting, and I'm definitely going to do more with it. But after 50K in a month of Leslie McCormack I'm ready to look at other characters for a bit.

My word of advice for any participating in July or November (or simply taking on a project), push and get ahead early on. When I switched goals about ten days in I didn't do that and remained behind right up until the 30th (especially after getting tied up with other activities on the 29th).

CampNano wordcount chart 20170430 by LilFluff
*blows dust off the journal*
*coughs*
Hmm, no posts since January? What happened in... Oh, right, January was when I got ludicrously sick. As in didn't even turn on the computer for days and just curled up under the sheets sick. That was decidedly not fun and lasted annoyingly long. And when I came back I went from being mostly up to date on notifications to, "Oh my, that's a lot of notifications." I'd just clear the notifications but gosh darn it you people are posting stuff I actually want to look at.

So you may have seen favs and the occasional comment the last few weeks. And today I actually posted a Biting Pear picture. I am also doing a Camp Nano project this month (target: 30,000 words by months end, currently at 2300), something I'm mainly writing to amuse myself but might end up eventually revising and posting. The short version of it: protagonist Leslie is scolded the night of his thirtieth birthday for living a boring life and if he won't take steps to get out of his rut the Random Omnipotent Being scolding him will. Whereupon fourteen year old Leslie wakes up to her mother scolding her for sleeping in on the morning of her first day of high school and oh that's strange no one including Leslie seems to be human but rather various types of humanoid canines. At 2300 words in Leslie is still convinced that this is just an odd dream and any minute now it will be interrupted by the buzzing of an alarm clock.

So, I might not post much this month, but I do intend to get back to posting the occasional bit of flash/short-fic and continuing the webcomic reviews.
Today's webcomic is MAiZ, which is also done by someone on deviantArt (despite not actually making that any part of the selection process) David 'CrikeyDave' Smith (SupaCrikeyDave here on dA).

Meet our two main characters (bad fake Latin is mine):
MAIZ Meli Jaz Quartet by LilFluff

Meli, historian/archaeologist/reluctant-adventurer, ran across signs of something ancient and mysterious. While trying to track it down she runs across young Jazzy (who prefers to be called Jaz) who is mysterious but not nearly so ancient. Found as a baby in a world without humans his adoptive mother provided him with the costume seen in the lower left-hand image above to try and help him fit in. The two soon find themselves traveling together trying to survive and figure out the ancient and not so ancient secrets of this world.

Set in what I call a magitech world (as in the blending of technology and magic one sees in such settings as Star Wars or quite a few Saturday Morning Cartoons of the 80s) in which magic is rare and the most common bits of magic we see are rather limited. At almost two hundred and fifty pages in there would appear to be three story lines about to cross. There's an army on the move which has run across a bandit Meli's fighting in the upper left image above. There's Jaz and Meli's investigation of an old mysterious site. And then there's unsolved questions about what happened the last time someone went to investigate said site which I suspect will begin to play a larger role in the story.

What I like about this comic:
  • Interesting characters that haven't become old and stale to me. While Dave makes use of some recurring humor he doesn't beat the reader about the head with it. We also don't get everything about a character dumped on us all at once. Meli, Jaz, the bandit, even the bartender we meet in the opening pages all reveal bits of themselves other the course of the eight chapters so far released.
  • Likewise the world is slowly revealing bits to us. Dave's willing to reveal bits in dialog (said bandit apparently deserted a place known as The Wall. The characters don't go off on an exposition discussion about what the wall is, because why would they? They already know. ("Gee Bob, let's take the 'Elevator' up to the fifteenth floor instead of taking the stairs." "Why you're right Bill, we absolutely should. Isn't it great that Otis solved the problem of safetly lifting elevator cars with cables?" "You're right Bob. Linking breaks to the cable so they'll stop the car if the cable breaks was genius." A conversation utterly unlikely to happen anywhere in our world outside a discussion of poorly done exposition).
  • The slowly changing relationship between Meli and Jaz. Jaz starts off as a mysterious monster to her, not really impressing Jaz's adoptive mother when she tries to save her from him. "Stay back Rosy! It's a weird, fleshy, pink monster!" To reluctantly accepting him as a guide into the nearby mountains. To what I'm expecting will become a sort of older-sister/younger-brother relationship. (Sure she still finds him to be annoying at times, but as a younger brother I can say that's not unrealistic). It's not something that's changing at the turn on a page but instead slowly moving along as they grow to see each other as more than a name and face.
  • Because Dave takes breaks between chapters he can build up his buffer so you can feel comfortable that you'll see a new page on schedule. And at almost two hundred and fifty pages MAiZ can give you a satisfying archive binge. You probably won't read it all in one sitting but it probably won't take you a month or two either (The thought of starting an archive binge now of Girl Genius or Schlock Mercenary can be intimidating).

Ambivalent things:

  • Taking a break between chapters helps keep the pages coming when a chapter starts running, but that wait for the next chapter to start... I've usually ended up missing that a chapter has started until a few pages in (and in one case until almost two chapters more had posted).
  • The scenes with the army have come far enough apart that I actually got a bit lost the last time they showed up. I might have to read through the whole thing to see if that's less of a problem when their pages aren't coming months apart.

MAiZ is currently on hiatus, having finished chapter eight. Chapter nine is due to start later this month or in February. As noted in the image above MAiZ can be found at www.maizcomic.com. MAiZ has found its way to a tab positioned early in my Webcomics browser window.

My no-procrastination goals for this week were:
  • Manage the "under 500 dA notifications" that was missed last time around. Hey, under 900 from almost 3000.
  • Average a post a day for today through Sunday. Any kind of post here or DW/LJ
As for the first goal:
dA message count from 2017-01-08 by LilFluff 267 notifications are fewer than 500. Success!

But the second goal:

That's five posts, which only averages 0.7 per day. (Wait, it's still Sunday so this post counts bringing it up to 0.9 per day). On the other hand I wrote more to a prompt call piece that hadn't seen progress for some time. I also wrote two posts about webcomics which is something I've been thinking about doing without having done until now. Really should have started posting earlier. I think I'll keep this for the next week but bring the goal number down a little.

Continuing with a look at another webcomic which has had less attention is, Champions of the Melting Pot by Alex Oshrin, known on dA as Dapuffster.

Young Xero has a problem, it's finals time and his mother wants to know when he's going to get a job. Okay, Xero has two problems, finals, mom asking about a job, and utter boredom. Right, three problems. Thankfully the plot is prepared to help with two of those...

He told his mom he'd look for jobs to apply for only to give up and play video games. Not good since he tells his mom on the phone the next day that he's got an interview at a fast food place. Luck is with him however when he spots a Now Hiring sign on the front of the IGSF offices. Which look like it might be a hole in the wall fast food place.

CoTMP: Page 8 by Dapuffster CoTMP: Page 9 by Dapuffster

Nope. The IGSF is the InterGalactic Space Fighting organization. And since Xero looks like prime protagonist material they're willing to offer him a contract.
CotMPp11 by LilFluff

Like I said, because he looks like a protagonist.

What I like about Champions of the Multiverse:
  • Very much a humor comic. Champions of the Melting Pot does not take itself overly serious. I would be shocked if Alex is not having fun writing this. From plot to character design there is humor to be found.
  • It makes references, but does not depend on knowing them. On one of the first pages Xero stares out a classroom window wishing something interesting would happen. Like someone dropping a book into the schoolyard that gives fantastic powers to whoever possesses it. Death Note anyone? If you are familiar with the manga/anime then there's a laugh to be had. But Alex also puts a foreground bit of humor to it, having a classmate ask Xero, "Are you waiting for a book or something to fall from the sky?" And when Xero turns to answer we do indeed see a book fall past the classroom window.
  • The characters aren't carbon copies of each other. Both is visual design and attitudes there are differences between the characters. They may be a bit tropish but they are playing to different tropes.
  • Regular updates. Champions of the Melting Pot is scheduled to update on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays and has done a good job updating. You don't have to click onto the page hoping against hope that there will be a new page like with some comics. Also, it's new enough that at 210 pages you can binge read the archive in a reasonable amount of time.
Ambivalent things:
  • Alex hasn't drowned us in exposition, but at 187 pages in it still feels like we're in the opening. That said it looks like we're done with the setup now. And as I said we don't get drowned in exposition. I like the Honor Harrington series, but yeah, does Weber really need to give multi page explanations of the economic/political/whatnot history that's lead up to the event about to happen? That hasn't happened in Alex's comic.
  • The art seems a bit loose. That said it's consistent and I've never found myself having to guess which character I'm seeing (I haven't tested it, but I very much expect the Champions of the Melting Pot cast would pass the silhouette test). It's definitely better than what I can currently do.
  • You have to go off the reading pages to get the link to the about the character pages. A minor detail, but I like having that on the main navigation.
If this has piqued your interest there is a link to the first page of the comic up at the top of this post.
One of the things I'd like to do this year is commission a picture of one of my characters. Probably either Tonya or Nyalla, and while I have text descriptions for both the place I always get stuck is visual references. Anyone have suggestions for more than just plugging keywords into Google Images? Or any magic sauce for doing that better? I'll probably grab pencil and paper try sketching out stuff, I could use the practice anyway, but yeah my skills haven't improved there since the last time I posted a drawing.

Likewise if there are publicly posted character profiles that you think are good models to follow, I'd be interested in those too.
Let me start with the ritual proclamation of I Am Not A Lawyer. While going through a backlog of status updates I have discovered a few months later that a sketch Mabon-Tail did of Bonkers D. Bobcat was taken by a website to use in a quiz (they were also rude enough to crop away her signature).

Really folks? Are we really after two decades of a wide open to the public Internet still having to deal with, "It was on the net, so it's free to use, right?" (And this said by someone who thinks current copyright law is too long & strong) No. Just because it's on the Internet it isn't public domain. And how hard is it to just ask? I see plenty of, What Cartoon Character/Band/Historic Figure/Etc. Are You quizzes which don't merely credit the art but even provide links back to the creator's website.

And the opening up there, "the ritual proclamation of," is for a reason. So many people treat fair use and copyright as magic talismans. Speak the magic spell and do as you wish. How many YouTube videos include, "No copyright intended," in their descriptions or my favorite listing a chapter and verse of US Federal law or court history for fair use. Imagine someone forcing and door open and taking stuff out of a house while saying, "No burglary intended!" Yeah. Right.

Once more, not a lawyer, if you're going to do something and want to be safe then go find a lawyer. Specifically go find a copyright lawyer not your cousin Bob who works for a bankruptcy lawyer. Fair Use: First thing to keep in mind is that fair use is not a right it's a defense. Worse still it's a vaguely defined defense. A lawyer can advise you on whether they think you're okay but in the end you don't know until a rightsholder gets upset and takes you to court. Then you get to pray that you aren't in front of a judge who ignores the vague guidelines and writes off entire categories of use from ever being fair use (in much the way some people state that graffiti can never be art no matter the skill displayed or emotion produced). As far as I can tell courts in the US currently use a four pronged test for fair use:
  • the purpose of your use of a copyrighted work: are you making commentary on it, building on it, or just copying it because you'd love to have a copy of your favorite movie poster on the wall of your business.
  • the nature of the copyrighted work: basically a judging of the amount of creativity and work in the original, is it a bare reciting of facts in an encyclopedia or a sculpture the artist agonized over for a year.
  • the amount and nature of the the work used: Caution If you've ever heard, "You're okay if you use less that 10% of a picture," or "less than five minutes of a movie," or "up to X seconds of a song," these are at best rules of thumb but have no legal force. That said if you use the least necessary for your use you are probably going to make the judge more inclined to rule in your favor. That said there's the nature of the portion used, if you're grabbing and sharing a key part of the work you are probably making it less likely the judge will view your use favorably.
  • the impact of your use on the the potential market for the work: This is the part people usually focus on, "I'm not making money off it, so it's fair use, right?!" Sure, if you're churning out copies of a movie poster and selling them at the local swap meet, well you should prepare to be raked over the coals. But it isn't the only factor. If you show a short clip of a film in a review that reveals that it combines horrible acting with horrible writing and headache inducing camera work that will absolutely have a bad impact on the potential market for the work -- but using clips in a review are a classic form of fair use.

As I've been taking guitar lessons such things have been on my mind since I've been thinking about the possibility of posting myself playing songs. At first blush it should be easier to stay within the law with music because music has compulsory licensing. You want to do a cover of The Proclaimers I'm Gonna Be/500 Miles? His the song been commercially released in the US? Was the release done with the approval of the copyright holder(s)? If the answer to both questions is a yes then you actually have a legal right to do a cover. Simply look up who to make the license payment to and you're good to go. Oh, keep in mind that if this is a live performance the venue needs to make a payment too. Oh, wait, you aren't doing a concert or selling a CD/MP3, you're pointing a video camera at yourself and putting the video up on Youtube. Sorry, these compulsory licenses don't apply to music videos. You want to do a video you'll need to write to the copyright holder hat in hand and hope that they even bother to reply. Oh, and these licenses I'm referring to are for performances in the US of songs published in the US. If your dealing with something international then you'd better call on a lawyer.

But if you are going to put a quiz up on your website and want to put illustrations on it? Send an email. Click on the comment button. In other words, ASK FIRST! Yes, asking means you might be told no. Better to be told no and move on to the next option than get your brand passed around as an art thief (Hi Little Caesars, have you bothered to so much as apologize to Nedroid yet?)

I have a browser winder with a problems. Way, way too many tabs open in it. That would be the Webcomics browser window, and within that browser window I have completed an archive binge: Twin Dragons by TheNekoboi

Twin Dragons is set on an Earth very much like our own, accept about 16 years back about one in a thousand births started resulting in human-animal hybrids. The Twin Dragons in the title are a brother and sister who were born to a couple in a small town that isn't quite sure it approves of this. But dear old dad has some good news for them, he's bought a restaurant and living space in The Big City. That's the first few pages back in November 2015, followed by a new page on Mondays since then. At 72 pages they've just made it to The Big City and started school, where for once they aren't the only hybrids around.

Our main characters: Happy New Year! by TheNekoboi Kai and Kaya enjoying some non-alcoholic bubbly this past New Years.

Kai and Kaya discovering one of their new neighbors is another hybrid Twin Dragons page 31: Greeting the neighbour by TheNekoboi um... Kaya, you should probably work on your greeting technique.

At 72 pages this is a comic you can archive binge in a reasonable amount of time and one update a week won't leave you swamped if you aren't able to read for a while. There's no vast conspiracies, no taking on worldwide threats, just the antics of two teenagers who mean well (or at least don't mean to do more than pull a prank). This can be a refreshing change from many of the other comics I read that do involve vast conspiracies and threats to the world (or worlds, or whole galaxies).
Whoa, three months since I last posted a journal entry here? Let's see...
  • September: Work, work, more work at work.
  • October: Hey, turns out getting in a fender bender sounds a lot like it does on TV. And was as starting as in a recent TV ad. My poor car has been declared kaput by my insurance. The repair bill would have been well above what it cost to buy in the first place. On the other hand it did not sacrifice itself in vain: Despite an idiot flying through a red light in an attempt to dodge a ticket for going through a stop sign I was able to walk away from the incident. And since said idiot continued acting like an idiot I walked away with no troubles from police or insurance.
  • I also got to experience an ambulance ride and ER visit. Which thankfully involved mostly variations on, "Wow, you're in amazing shape for what just happened." If I ever write an ER or ambulance scene I'll now have first hand experience.
  • November: I'm pretty sure November happened. I mean it's now December and I recall October, so November had to occur in-between them, right?
  • December: How is it December already? It feels like only a few weeks ago it was January and the beginning of the year. I've moved offices at work (ooh, hello window I can look out of), bought a couple of games, and recently remembered that I've got both a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino that I should be playing with.

So I have a few writing things sitting in the to-do pile, my first video game purchases in ages waiting to be played (Undertale and TIS-100 for any curious), pondering techie projects, pondering vector art projects, and I'm keeping an eye on the clock halfway expecting it to say it's 2017 before I manage to click on the submit button.
With bonus procrastination on the journal entry! (Apologies to anke for making her wait!)

My goals for this past week were:
  • Post a bit of fiction
  • Show progress in setting up an "Ideal Command Line"
For the first one, I posted a followup segment to the January 2015 Thinbleful Thursday series: Retired in which the actions of the Junior Vice Minister of Security begin being noticed.

For the second... Well, I didn't specify how much progress, did I? Yay vagueness? I have cloned this git repo devbox-ansible which does a lot of what I want. It even installs my favorite IRC client (hey, I might start IRCing again). However I want to graft in the dot-file management, possibly using DFM from dotfiles. (Which either has you saying, whoa dot file management? Or, why not just git clone 'em? Or, what the heck is a dot file?)
My no-procrastination goals for this week were:
  • Keep dA notifications below 50
  • Keep tinkering with the outlining
No-procrastination-2016-03-21 by LilFluff

The outlines aren't complete, but they have me thinking about projects that have been long dormant. Here's hoping they go somewhere (along with more of Unquiet Past which has finally been thinking about moving again).
My no-procrastination goal for March 14th was to, "Take the inspiration from reading Libbie Hawker's outlining book and actually produce an outline. Maybe even more than one." I'd thought about adding, "Keep dA notices below 50," but apparently I hadn't added that.
14 March 2016 Goals by LilFluff
Well, I managed to keep the notification count below 50 anyway. The first file listed is a text file with the sections for the outline method giving in Libbie Hawker's book, "Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing, revised edition". Unquiet Past is my long uncompleted Terinu fanfic. That Darn UFO is what I picked for lack of a better title for the background story for Carter Price, of Home At Last. These are actually fun to do and does result in thinking about the main character(s) and just what should happen (I actually revised who the antagonist was any why they were opposing Carter's goal of getting home).

Definitely going to try doing more of this.
This week's no-procrastination goal was a word count goal. Which I've missed. But, I'm not terribly upset because part of what distracted me was reading up on plotting/outlining and while doing so looked back at a project that's been stuck for a few years. So hopefully it will soon be unstuck. 
So my no-procrastination goal for 22 February 2016 was to get below 50 dA notifications. I even suggested I might aim to have a screen shot of zero notifications for next time...
dA notices on 2016-02-21 22-55-50 by LilFluff
Four notifications. Hey, I wonder if I can get to zero before midnight?
dA notices from 2016-02-21 23-16-18 by LilFluff
Oh. Hey, it looks like I could. :) Now to see how long it lasts.
Oh hey, I ought to make a no-procrastination post. Wait, that's this post!

My goal was:
  • Be below 100 dA notifications
  • Post more Languary
dA Notification Count from 2016-02-15 by LilFluff

Whee, under 100! Most of that in Journal and Reply notifications that I should really sit down and clear away.

Languary Day Ten, one more "day" post, then they'll simply be, "Languary Post number-x" as I slipped from getting something done every day. Next one will also include a side-post from a short obsession with fonts.
My goals for the week ending today?
  • Get and keep dA notices below 200
  • Make at least one more Languary post
dA Notification Count 2016-02-08 00-27-02 by LilFluff
Languary Days Eight & Nine

I got a bit ambitious slaying notifications. :)
Set a more modest goal this time around:
  • Stay under 400 dA notifications
  • Get at least one of the unposted Languary posts posted.
dA Notification count  from 2016-02-01 00-28-13 by LilFluff

As can be seen I smashed through the notifications goal. I did get a single Languary post up. I need to get the remaining ones that are one my hard drive up too.
It turns out this is even mentioned in the site documentation... I got tired of my favorites categories being in the creation order, so I tried simply dragging and dropping the categories thumbnails on the favorites page. Yep, you can drag & drop them into the order you want. Mine are now mostly alphabetical.