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Hello! I’ve decided to try to promote this blog a bit. I’d really like to build a true community here, and then find a way to monetize that community. So I thought it would be a good step to ask (beg, implore, convince, stop just short of manipulating) you to help with that. Or at least to clarify that I definitely don’t mind if you spread the word, give positive feedback and/or tell me what kind of stuff you’d like to see more of.

So, you know, tell your friends (that might be interested). Tell your relatives. Tell your acquaintances. Tell your teachers/students/fellow students. Tell your enemies. Tell your frenemies. I’m not asking you to tell random strangers since that might get a bit too awkward, but in the end all of this is up to your own judgement.

Take care,


Faceless Bureaucrats: Bob

Bob Bossman (Branch Manager)

In order to keep to the faster schedule, but also keep myself some much-needed breathing room I’ll be drawing on (heh) older stuff for a bit. Those who know my old blog (Sinister Key) might recognize some of it. I don’t think there ever was much overlap in audience though. Anyhow, there’ll also be stuff nobody’s seen before and genuninely new things sooner rather than later, I promise. I’ll also try to add a little bit of new content whenever I can.

Tying the topic of bureacracy to Chine or to the history of writing systems would be fairly easy, but still kind of contrived, and I’ve been meaning to expand this blog’s scope anyhow. My personal relationship with bureaucracy and bureaucrats is best summarized as “it’s complicated”. So instead I’ll just give you some quotes.

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” — C. Northcote Parkinson

“The fact is that the number of the officials and the quantity of the work are not related to each other at all. The rise in the total of those employed is governed by Parkinson’s Law and would be much the same whether the volume of the work were to increase, diminish, or even disappear. The importance of Parkinson’s Law lies in the fact that it is a law of growth based upon an analysis of the factors by which that growth is controlled.” — C. Northcote Parkinson

Cyril Northcote Parkinson (en.wikipedia)
Parkinson’s Law (en.wikipedia)

So that’s the post for the 26th scheduled (posted when you read this, presumably). I’ll try to build a decent-sized buffer as soon as possible, but I’ll be fairly busy (with paperwork) in the next week probably, conceivably even the week after that. It’s possible some posts’ll be late or even missing on some days until I find my rhythm. If so, I apologize in advance. As I mentioned I’m moving this blog up in my personal priorities, and I’m serious about that, but there’ll be something of a transition period, and it’s not going to end up at the very top of that list anyhow. That’d be a bit crazy and too much of a strain on my psychological well-being. For which, incidentally, this blog has been extremely helpful overall, but nevertheless…gotta catch up with the admin or that’s gonna do more harm than the blog does good…

Anyhow. I swear to whatever gods may be that there will not be a hiatus longer than two weeks without me at least posting a quick update on how things stand. And with some  luck, taking a bit of the pressure away from me will actually result in a higher likelihood of me keeping to the schedule anyhow. So don’t stop checking in on every even day! (Maybe on odd days too, just in case?)

Take care of yourselves, and see you in the funny pages,


Anthony Burgess’s lost dictionary of slang

Accidental(ly) on purpose – Deliberately, but with the appearance of accident: ‘So I put me hand on her knee, see, sort of accidental on purpose.’ (Literary locus classicus: Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine, 1923.)

–from Anthony Burgess’s lost dictionary of slang discovered The Guardian article by Dalya Alberge


Compare and Contrast — Eight Out of Ten Cats Does Countdown Does The Phantom Tollbooth

Pattern Recognition or Pareidolia–What’s the difference? Difficult to tell. Instead of theorizing, I’ll just try recognizing. Let’s have a fun little exercise, boys and girls and otherwise! Spin the wheel… cast a spell… correspond and comprehend… contrast and compare…

Eight of Ten Cats Does Countdown vs. The Phantom Tollbooth

Milo – Sean Lock
The Humbug – Jimmy Carr
King Azaz – David Mitchell
The Mathemagician – Jon Richardson
Princess Rhyme – Susie Dent
Princess Reason – Rachel Riley
Faintly Macabre – Carol Vorderman

(Not bad. I wonder if this would work as a regular feature. Bit in-jokey. Still I might give it another try. How about The Last Leg vs. Treasure Island? Maybe not. Time will tell. We shall see what we shall see. But why not?)

Anyhow, these are some decent matchups, I think. Obviously it doesn’t cover everyone on either side, but that would be impossible. Could be interesting to try anyhow though, if you’ve got some time to spare.

For a bonus point: Can you think of anything important I’ve missed?

Start the clock…

Secret Origins: Skedio / The Choir

I’ve decided to make a couple of posts about how this blog got started, and various milestones and memorable moments. This time I want to talk about Skedio, which had a fairly significant role with regard to my interest in digital art. What is Skedio? Well, this description from their page is fairly accurate, I think:

Skedio bridges the gap between classic sketching applications with limited editing tools and complex design software that targets computer graphics professionals.”

Details are fairly easy to find out for anyone who cares, so I’ll just mention what was important to me. It’s fun, pleasant to use and pretty intuitive. It has enough features so it doesn’t feel like your’re just basically drawing stuff as usual, except with more strain on the eyes, but not so many that it feels like work getting to know them. (Also, fonts are limited, but it does Chinese characters, which turned out to be relevant)

For sketching and line drawings I think it might be pretty useful even beyond a semi-professional level, though that’s a bit of a guess. Otherwise, you’ll probably run up against the limitations at some point, even as a hobbyist. That’s how it went for me at least. But it was really, really great for getting started at the very least, and I seriously consider getting back to it and just accept the limits or add gradients and whatnot via something else just because it’s fun to use.

I think the very first thing I drew with it might have been the rain character picture. I’m not quite sure. But the goofy (yet charming) choir above was… perhaps not literally the last, but the one where I concluded I’d have to try something else with more options. Please note with the appropriate amount of awe* that I drew this entirely without using layers (Now available with Skedio by paying a bit extra, but that wasn’t the case then) and it was pretty darn fiddly!

There’s a bit to of a story to the picture, mainly that it’s for an as-yet unrealized project, but I’m not going into that now. I just want to say that I really like how this one turned out. Bit of a candid quality to it, I think.

*I’m thinking something in the area of slightly raised eyebrows and a somewhat more than polite appreciative nod or two, but use our own judgement. I’m not saying no to a full-on Not Bad.