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I have finally enabled prints of my DeviantArt works, after some complaints from my local friends convinced me to try it. I've never sold prints before, I don't think I have enough attention to sell any in the first place, and I'm not 100% sold on this DeviantArt print service, but then again, I've no experience with it at all, and as my friend said, what do I have to lose?

So this is a bit of an experiment for me.

Right now, I have prints available for "Link" www.deviantart.com/print/16651…? and "Snow Cranes" www.deviantart.com/print/16541…? .

I could enable prints for any of my other works, no problem. I have high-res versions of all of them. The question is: what other works should I enable prints for?

Or should I just not bother with the whole thing?
I am, briefly, taking commissions for original digital artwork, up until December 26th, or until I get 3 interested parties. Prices are very negotiable, but I usually charge between $20 - $100 depending on the work desired.

All proceeds will be donated to the L5R Topaz Championship Food Drive.

So feel free to spread the word around! If you know someone who wants original cartoony artwork of their L5R character or something else, tell them to contact me at this address: redenton@radford.edu

Examples of (cartoony) work:  
[Doji Rinji (L5R)] sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/…
[7 Scions Wallpaper (L5R)] sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/…
[Suzume Hejiko's "New Look"] sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/…
[L5R Deathmatch (theme deck commission)] sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/…
[Seven Crane Samurai (theme deck commission)] sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/…
[Link (Sci-Fi)] sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/…

Thanks!

-Spooky
This Tuesday, the FCC is finally voting on Net Neutrality policies.

I've been a long-time supporter of Net Neutrality, and I've done my fair share of soapbox-standing, so I won't repeat the very many reasons why we all should be in support of Net Neutrality and pushing for The Federal Communications Commission to stop companies like Comcast and AT&T from blocking where their users can and can't go on the Internet without paying a premium.

I'm also not going to generate a fountain of dread by pointing out that most of the politicians participating in the vote do not understand the technology and have made it a point not to even attempt to understand it, possibly because they are SO OLD, and simply rely upon lobbyists to tell them what the right decision is instead of actually researching the issue at hand (the Governor of my state publicly stated, during the election, that he didn't know what Net Neutrality was).

Instead, I'm going to verbally hope that the FCC does the right thing.

For once.

-Spooky
I am 27 today.

I find that fact terribly depressing. When I was a child, I was so certain I'd be somebody by now.

Fuck you, Apathy!

-Spooky
Today is 10/10/10; Burma is supposedly having it's first free elections today. The Government of Burma chose this date because it's supposed to be lucky... it's so assured that they are going to lose, they are relying upon folk superstition.

We want this government to lose. We want Burma to have free elections and Democracy. They want it. They've wanted it since the end of World War 2. They deserve it! But the last time there was a "free election" in Burma, the government in power didn't recognize the results and kidnapped the winner, placing her under house arrest, where she remains to this day, and any public mention of the illegal status of the current government results in brutal retaliation.

I'm not going to give a history lesson, or explain why it is very important for us to consider Burma's problems alongside more "American" interests... all I ask is, if you are so inclined, please say a prayer for the people of Burma, on this day. They've suffered so very much without the world taking too much notice as of late. Today, if only for a moment, whisper a prayer for them, that maybe things will someday get better.

-Spooky
That totally awesome song you thought was so cool growing up will one day be used in a watered-down version for television commercials.

That, or a Kidz Bop album.

It is inevitable. Make your peace now.

-Spooky
So who else is sick of all this ludicrous PR-control surrounding the Gulf spill?

  Today one of my clerks told me that BP was exposed on MSNBC as refusing to give out respirators to workers doing the oil clean-up. Apparently, there are dozens of workers that are already in the hospital from the lung damage from inhaling the toxic fumes of the oil spill. For a lot of them, they are injures that are impossible to recover from; they'll have trouble breathing normally for the rest of their lives.

I was shocked since it was the first I'd heard of it, but I wanted to be sure it was true. So I checked multiple news sources... and apparently, this is not new news. I've been out of the loop on this one; there are articles dating back to LATE MAY mentioning how BP is not required by law to hand out respirators, and how they are not choosing to do so. There's been television coverage too, albeit minor in comparison to other stories. Apparently, BP doesn't want any photo opportunities to depict the spill as an ecological disaster or overly dangerous.

In fact, media is being blocked from coming onto the site. Only hand-selected reporters and media outlets are being allowed on the scene; others are being denied entry. Those that are allowed on-site are being followed and told what they can and cannot film or photograph.

Even more shocking, OSHA is allowing BP to do the cleanup without respirators or protective gear. Whaaaaaat? Really? These workers are essentially inhaling gas fumes all day long in the heat of the daytime sun. Who seriously thinks that's safe to do?

Apparently, the private contractor hired by BP to monitor their own cleanup efforts thinks it's just fine. The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH) is the company that BP hired to monitor the chemical levels and advise the clean-up process. While the CTEH is on BP's payroll, they're saying everything is just fine, while numerous other sources are saying no, they are not fine.

I've personally just about had it with all of this garbage. Why is BP allowed to hire their own whistle-blowers? Why are they allowed to keep media away from the spill zone? Why is OSHA allowing them to deny workers proper protection? And when is a big media player finally going to call out BP on all of this bullshit?

Those workers need to be protected from the toxic environment while they're doing the clean up. Even if it's not "required" and OSHA is giving BP a free-pass to do whatever, they should actively WANT to protect their own workers. I don't care if it will give BP negative PR to have their workers photographed in protective gear, it's even worse for them to allow their workers to get sick off their mess!


Anyway, here are some sources if you want to read/see them:

www.asq.org/qualitynews/qnt/ex…

fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010…

www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/06/09…

rawstory.com/rs/2010/0611/rfk-…

blogs.alternet.org/grantlawren…

seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/…

www.propublica.org/blog/item/f…


I also wanted to give a primarily conservative news source on the subject, but for some reason, I couldn't find one...

-Spooky
Aw man, this is the absolute sweetest art tutorial I've ever read: www.itchstudios.com/psg/art_tu…

I'm relearning the basics. Most of the stuff on that tutorial was covered in my art classes in college, but something about the relaxed and casual tone, and the direct applications to digital art (something my classes didn't really talk too much about) makes this both accessible and exciting. I can't wait to start practicing the basics all over again!

Thanks Arne Niklas Jansson!


-Spooky
Well, it seems today many western people are celebrating the birthday of the prophet Mohammed by drawing his likeness (har har). As much as I agree with the absurdity of banning his depictions, and as much as I detest those who use a peaceful religion as a means to violent and terrorist ends, I don't think I'll be participating in this one, as I don't think disrespecting an entire religion is a good or efficient way to "get back" at a minority of extremists.

But that's not really what I want to write about today...

Since we're all depicting religious/philosophical founders on the days of their births, I thought I'd mention my intention to draw the Buddha on his birthday, which is coming up on May 27th! Vesak, the celebration of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death, comes on the first full moon of May each year. As such, I'll be celebrating by drawing the Buddha, in addition to the "normal" festivities of being charitable, wearing white, and chanting the mantras.

I'm not what you'd call a very devout Buddhist, and this is the first time since I converted that I'm celebrating a Buddhist holiday, but I can already say, I far prefer the downtoned nature of these celebrations in comparison to the commercial clusterfuck that is Christmas in the US.

So I guess expect a Buddha portrait in the near future! Not the same meaning as drawing Mohammed, but then, it's also not the same intention.

Toodles!

-Spooky
I never thought it'd get to that number!

And it only took me 3 years! =)

I guess I should probably draw something to commemorate, right?
Yesterday, I was talking philosophy with a few of my co-workers, and one of them outright asked me if I was a Transhumanist.

I must admit, I found the question a little amusing. In my mind, there are two kinds of Transhumanists: there are those who believe the advancement of human technology is inseparably entwined with the development and progress of humanity, and then there are those who want to live in "Blade Runner."

I suppose I am a Transhumanist in that I believe human progress is bound with technological advancement and distribution. I believe as access to technology increases, human suffering decreases, and that moral application of science can be used to further us as a people to the benefit of everyone. I trust the survival instinct; "I sing the body electric."

However, I am NOT a Transhumanist in that I do not glorify our science, or attach to it any spiritual meaning. Science is merely a unit of measurement; it is not faultless, and the rampant application of technology WITHOUT PHILOSOPHY is a dangerous thing. One tempers progress with humility.

I suppose that's the biggest beef I have with very religious people confronted with scientific advancement, which is the same beef I have with supposed "Posthumanists" looking to impose scientific progress. Science is NOT a moral code of ethics. It doesn't concern itself with social or philosophical issues (in fact, it shouldn't). Science is a system of understanding the physical world and measuring physical laws.

Medical science, for instance, can tell you the physical and psychological effects of having an abortion, and it can tell you about the process, but it cannot tell you if having one is right or wrong. That's an issue for religion, philosophy, ethics, and ultimately, the individual. A person who faults science for challenging a moral code should perhaps be upset with the actual people who are issuing the challenge...

And one could, at this point, remark that perhaps they feel uncomfortable with that challenge because, deep down, they know their moral code is flawed. A strong ethical system welcomes open discourse and challenge, because that's how you prove to others that your system is the best.

In any case, I know it's a thin line to walk. I'm typically in favor of human progress, but not without the balance of philosophy to temper it. I usually regard comments from people who are humanizing science as less reliable; you can't reliably attach an agenda to something with no mind.

Dunno if that makes me a Transhumanist. I guess I wouldn't be against robot parts. Just let me hold off until the biological ones are worn-out before I decide for sure.


-Spooky
DeviantArt's probably undergoing some maintenance today. Uploading a few deviation, I'm finding that uploads are incomplete, previews aren't working right, or they take extremely long to finish. I think everything is working now, but if something seems broken or whatnot, let me know. Hitting refresh on the browser might help.

Besides uploading a new theme deck art that I did for a friend, I also uploaded a rough panel for Volsung in my scraps: sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/…

If you haven't checked out Volsung yet, make sure you do!

www.volsunguniverse.com

-Spooky
Hey, I got a Llama Badge today! Only, I don't know what that is.

Oh, there it is, on the corner of my frontpage.

...I didn't know you could get badges! How do you get badges? What do badges do?

Can you make badges? How do you give badges?

I'm so out of the loop.
The website is up, the first comic is up, and everything is a-go!

I celebrated by uploading two prototype comics, which are, of course, terrible:
sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/…
sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/…

I also spoke with Macbeth2001 in Crane chat today, and he was talking about wanting to see some Makubesu and Rinji webcomics. It's got me thinking, that's for sure... maybe expect to see some collaboration in the near future.

This weekend I'm heading to Kotei, and I'm bringing a theme deck with me. If I can get my original artwork done in time (a big if), I'll post that when I come back. Then it's back to work on an L5R theme deck work-in-progress. At some point, I'll have to retake my gallery from the fandom of L5R... but that day isn't today.

-Spooky
Well this has been an artsy week so far...

I've finally uploaded a slew of the pics I've been meaning to. Some of them are even Winter Court related! I still have promises to keep, though...  Doji Rinji and Miya Anzai have portraits up and linked, here sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/… and here sp00kyelectric.deviantart.com/… .

Also, the title of the journal... the Volsung webcomic is launching on Monday with the first comic. I've got the buffer in place, and now it's time to sink or swim. Let's see if I can keep up with Don!

If you like space westerns, you should check it out! www.volsunguniverse.com

Lastly, I'm going to try and stay consistent about journal updates from now on. Maybe nobody reads them, maybe people do... but it'll be a good practice for me to write SOMETHING, if only to update or rant once in a while.

-Spooky
I saw that the Healthcare reform bill got passed! And I was like, "YAY!"

Then I saw it was the version without the public option. And I was like, "aw."

Oh well. It's a start. Baby steps.
You should keep an eye on this site: www.volsunguniverse.com

I've teamed up with :iconmechaookami: to make a sci-fi webcomic called "Volsung." It's sort of a Space-Western meets Cyberpunk kinda setting, with some Norse Mythology peppered in here and there. If that sounds a little weird to you, take comfort in the knowledge that it gets MUCH weirder.

This is both an exciting and nervous project for me. I'm used to working on deadlines, both self-imposed and inflicted, but I've never done anything quite as disciplined as maintaining a comic buffer. The goal is to have a new comic ready every other day, which is a very lofty goal considering my current work process. I'm aiming high on this one.

All things considered, this is sort of an experiment for me. My hope is that my meager skills can improve over time, and producing a new comic every other day is going to force me to draw more than I currently have, and (hopefully), it'll force me to work on my perspective and layout, both being things I desperately need practice on. I'm also hoping that I can speed up my work process without sacrificing too much quality. Being able to stand back from a work and say "okay, that's good enough" is something I'm not very good at, and I'm looking to find a balance between that and recognizing when something needs more work.

So the main reason I'm in this is to improve my work. The second would be to have fun! The third, I guess, is to have something to point to as a personal accomplishment... anyone whose done any work for comics will understand just how difficult it is to produce finished comics on a daily or bi-daily basis. Fourth would be to track my progress.

And hey, if I put up some artwork that's embarrassingly bad, that should be adequate motivation to get better, right?

I'd talk a little more about the actual comic itself, but I'd kind of like you guys to find out for yourselves. Bookmark "volsunguniverse.com" and start checking it as April approaches. If everything launches on-time, there should be some comics up by then!

-Spooky
Look. Guys, I know. I know I know I know. The dragon menace, I agree, it's not great. I even know a few people who were killed by dragons. But what do you want us to do?

If we allow the government to take care of these dragons for us, then what? We want them to start feeding us? Tying our shoes in the morning? Telling us when to wake up? I mean, really?

Plus, I don't believe that the government CAN take care of these dragons. I mean, sure, every other developed nation in the world has a government that figured out how to take care of the dragon problem--for cheaper than what we pay for private dragon coverage, even--but I just don't think it can work HERE. The US government can't really do anything right, I think I'd rather trust a private dragon insurance company with my dragon protection.

Okay, yeah, so the government already HAS a dragon insurance plan with 3% overhead, as compared to the 20-30% overhead for private companies, but I just don't trust the government to do the right thing. I mean, they already run our roads, and regulate this very internet, and keep me safe, and make sure my food isn't poison, and keep airplanes from crashing onto my head at night, and pass silly laws that make sure you can't make a kid sew handbags for 25 cents an hour, fifteen hours a day, and yeah, everyone eligible for the government dragoncare program is happy with it, but man, my gut is telling me that this could be a bad thing.

I'm sorry, I just can't get on board.
Does anyone here remember what Glenn Beck said to US Congressman Keith Ellison? You know, our only Muslim representative?

"Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies. And I know you're not, I'm not accusing you of being an enemy, but that's the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way."  -Glenn Beck, not directly accusing a congressman of being a terrorist.

Glenn Beck has also said that Barak Obama should prove (again) that he's actually a naturally born U.S. Citizen. "The question is out there, I'm just saying, why doesn't he address it?"

This is the same man who called our President a racist without any evidence or sources to cite, and then, 65 seconds later, denied that he'd ever said it.

Anyone can see what is going on here... trying to get opponents to prove a negative, implying truth to baseless accusations just because "the question is being asked," it's a pretty irresponsible way to present media. In fact, Beck has admitted on The View that he doesn't even research his claims! "I'm a presenter," he said, "I just give out the information."

If you ask me, it's time someone gave Mr. Glenn Beck a taste of his own medicine.

For instance, did you know that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990?

You can read all about it at www.glennbeckrapedandmurdereda…


Fact: There were young girls in 1990
Fact: Glenn Beck was alive in 1990
Fact: Glenn Beck cannot disprove that he may have raped and killed a young girl in 1990.

I mean, people are asking the question, it's out there, so why doesn't he address these allegations?

Why doesn't Glenn Beck present accurate legal records that proves he didn't rape and kill a young girl in 1990?

Now, I'm not saying he raped and killed a young girl in 1990, but it IS interesting that he hasn't disproved it, isn't it?


-Spooky
I just discovered today that Tom Ridge wrote an autobiographical book about his time as a secretary of Homeland Security under the Bush Administration, called "The Test of Our Times". Needless to say, I was intrigued enough to look into it. I did a little bit of research into it and discovered something a little... surprising.

If you don't remember him, he was the guy that, among other things, was in charge of changing the U.S. alert level. He's also the guy who was supposed to be in charge of the efforts to keep the U.S. safe from external and internal threats.

In his book, he makes a shocking confession. Well, shocking if you didn't see this coming...

Apparently, Tom Ridge almost resigned from his position during the 2004 election, because he was under pressure from the President and his cabnet to artificially increase the alert level so that the nation would be fearful of another terrorist attack during the election.

If you don't recall, Tom Ridge didn't resign. In fact, the terror level did go up right at the start of the election. Howard Dean (before he went nuts on T.V., maybe this is what drove him to do it...) claimed that the Bush Administration was raising the terror alert level only to get more votes. The media backlash was swift and harsh, and it killed any chance he had in the oncoming elections. People were outraged that he would even suggest such a thing.

Well guess what? Looks like he was right. By Tom Ridge's own admittance.

Among other things he confesses in the book: Bush never invited him to a national security council meeting. Huh? What? He's the secretary of homeland security, and they never allowed him to attend a national security meeting? What exactly is he supposed to do? Change the colors when Bush said to?

So answer me this: why is it that when someone calls out a Republican President for doing something stupid or unethical using only calm logic, they get hammered by the media and labeled as unpatriotic, but when a group of complete morons blatantly makes up some bullshit about Obama death panels and then calls him a racist with nothing logical to back it up, the media leaves them alone while the majority of the country loses their goddamned minds?

Sorry for the rant but I really had to get that off my chest.

-Spooky


EDIT: Looks like Bryan Lambert pointed this out on his blog over a week ago. He makes the point oh-so-more eloquently than I could.