Hooray For Everything

The Warren Ellis Forum is dead. Long Live The New Flesh. After four years, Warren decided to call it a day and get back to writing, rather than spending sixteen hours out of twenty-four flirting with his many female fans. The WEF comprised a total of 25,000 members during its lifetime (incidentally that's more people than who bought Transmetropolitan last month), and it provided a home for lively discussion about comic theory, comic titles, current news, films, music, and Giant Death Robots. It created movements, memes, various satellite groups (such as The V Forum and Grammarporn), and, hell, it almost single-handedly saved Top Shelf Comics from bankruptcy when their distributor filed for Chapter 11 protection. Over $20,000 of comics were purchased. In one afternoon. Companies such as Cyberosia, Oni, and AiT/PlanetLar used the forum to promote their works, advertising to a more diverse audience than would be normally found on a comics website, and reaped the benefits. We were mighty. We were Making Comics Better.

Sadly, there was a flipside to all this. The WEF at times resembled little more than a personality cult centred on Warren's rather Spider Jerusalem-like online persona. Sycophancy ran high, with many posters regurgitating Warren's screeds about superhero comics and work-for-hire contracts. The forum was regarded by most other Internet comics communities as being too elitist for its own good. After Warren's blistering 'This Is What You Want' discussion, where he highlighted that many people on the Forum were talking up a storm, but continued to buy the same superhero comics every week, there was a definite decline in the atmosphere. The WEF had a strict moderation policy to prevent flame wars in the USENET style, but the satellite fora were not so controlled. Instead of preventing the bickering, all the 'Stalinist' moderation did was move it to the satellites. In someways, this was even worse than the USENET system, as it just built resentment rather than dealing with things out in the open; people explored various forums such as Memecenter to find that they were being mocked mercilessly. The 'old-guard' WEF posters drifted away from the forum, many saying that the sycophancy of the newer crowd, plus less interesting threads to participate in, meant that they were less interested in the forum now, Ellis attempted to cut back on the extraneous threads, especially the news threads that sprialed out of control whenever somebody brought up Israel. But it didn't seem to help much. I imagine that eventually, it just got boring to Warren. People kept on asking the same questions, month after month, and Delphi's removal of the search facility for guest users made things worse. The ending of Transmetropolitan gave Ellis an escape hatch, which he used with glee.

Having said all that, I'm glad that the WEF existed. Without it, I wouldn't have discovered the work of people such as Matt Wagner, Jason Lutes, Carla Speed McNeil, Wong Kar-Wai, and Takashi Miike. I wouldn't have started up this site, I wouldn't have got back into writing comics again, and I probably wouldn't be sitting here in America writing this (I had several discussions with a CS grad student on the forum, which convinced me to apply). It was the best arena for comics discussion anywhere on the planet, and I'm going to miss it a lot.

We were the WEF. We were Mighty. Now it's time to go outside. It's a wonderful world; let's go exploring...

Now, that's just not fair

I managed to get through all the marking...only to discover that there's about ten students whose work I forgot to print out on Thursday. Again, I don't have the energy to write anything today. You might get something tomorrow (possibly about the WEF closing). I know you're quivering with anticipation, but I'm sure you can hold out.

Marking makes the world go round

Or drags it to a screaming halt.

Um, nothing much to say. Actually, that's not really true, but it's almost midnight, and I've spent the last ten hours working, so I'm not entirely thinking straight at the moment. So maybe you'll get more tomorrow....

Miracles and Marvels

Looks like Todd McFarlane is going to be slightly poorer after all the details are hashed out. I wonder if we'll be seeing that Spider-Man/Spawn series next year after all, depending on the amount of money Gaiman asks for tomorrow. One less obstacle to the reprinting of Marvelman, only 1,873 to go (we should start having bets as to whether Zenith or Marvelman will make it out of the gate first at this rate).

Tropical Storm Kyle. Heading this way. The temperatures are still crazy here - it was 32?C today. But this is most unusual for this time of year, so don't send death threats just yet....


Yay, I finally found the link to this place. Hopefully this should work. I'm going to try something else that probably won't work but who cares? lance


On Monday, I decided that I wasn't going to install RedHat 8.0 until a few weeks after its release, having just attempted an unsuccessful CPU upgrade. So why am I sititng in front of my computer trying to regain control of my system after installing 8.0? I have just over an hour before The West Wing starts. I've only managed to do two hours of work today, not counting lectures. There are times where I'm simply stupid.

Now that's a nasty transition...

Having a summer break inbetween episode 1 and episode 2 of the second season? That's classy.

Chuck Palahniuk doesn't look like the type of person who would write Fight Club. He's older than you think, as well. The Q&A session was quite enjoyable, with lots of useful information being given and funny stories being told. Of course, I managed to forget my camera, so I didn't get any pictures.

Something Big is happening in Buffy. I've get a few theories, but I'll stay quiet for the moment. Especially since most of you won't be able to see it until January...

Bonnie - you will cry when you see this Smallville episode. And there's still half of it left to go. I'm sensing that we might even get some kryptonite before the final credits roll. It's that good.

currently playing: Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Under Your Spell

The Arrival of the Shiny...

It's probably a bit of a disappointment after buying the iBook on Thursday, but this what I ordered last weekend:

The Cybershot U10

It doesn't look like the Sipix Blink camera I got a few months ago will ever be supported under Linux. As it doesn't work with MacOS either, it's just a paperweight at the moment, and I want to be able to send everybody lots of amateurish pictures of Chapel Hill. The new camera works with both Linux and MacOS, so expect lots of pictures in the near future. I'll probably be putting them up on my Linux box; at the moment there's two test pictures for you to view (I'm still playing with all the features, so forgive me if they look less than wonderful). It's also 5cm x 2cm x 1cm, so it's not much bigger than the Blink, and it has a 1.3 Megapixel CCD, so the pictures should be quite reasonable.

I should have kept quiet yesterday; once again I have a huge workload, And the marking...the horror, the horror...

The fates twist again: one of my midterm exam dates is October 23rd. I'm going to the Sleater-Kinney concert the night before. Normally, this is where I would consider not attending the concert in order to revise. That Is Not Going To Happen. I've been looking forward to this for three years, and a poxy exam isn't enough to prevent me from being there. Incidentally, this may the greatest weblog post in history. Han and Charlie make a great stalker double act.

currently playing: Low - Point Of Disgust

Almost forgot!

The UPS website says that the shiny should be here tomorrow....
currently playing: The Strokes - Last Nite

Another day, another fire alarm.

Bonus points for setting the alarm off in daylight hours. However, actually causing a real fire is looked upon as cheating by the Gentlemen of the Fire Alarm Sport Commitee. The Committee also resents having to spend two hours wandering around Chapel Hill, not being able to do anything because their wallets are still in the building. Bad form.

This weekend hasn't been as hectic as most weeks, but I imagine that it's just an aberration. I have some more marking to do tomorrow, for a start. The mid-term exams are not far off as well, which is fairly scary.

Where am I at this moment? For a partial answer to this question, point a vCalendar-compatible application at my first iCal calendar, At the moment, it only shows when I have lectures or TA office hours, but it'll grow as I get busier.

Finally managed to catch up on some of the outstanding DVDs I have to watch last night. I started with Double Indemnity, which was a rather depressing affair, but a well-made film nonetheless. After that, I decided I wanted something a little more upbeat, so I unwrapped my just-arrived copy of Singin' In The Rain. They did a fantastic job on the restoration - it looks like it was made yesterday. Technicolor Goodness. I still have His Friday, The Apartment, and the new special edition of Pulp Fiction to watch, plus I will have two new Netflix films heading my way tomorrow - oh, and I taped Wait Until Dark during the Audrey Hepburn special on AMC last week, so there's that as well. It's a good thing that the current cinema releases are fairly uninspiring at the moment (The Truth About Charlie has been pushed back again, this time to October, so I can't even go and watch that for train wreck amusement), otherwise I'd be even further behind.

I can't believe that the bank charged me $2 for a statement. Am I supposed to just know the contents of my bank account? Okay, I should really sign up for the Internet banking system that they have, but I still don't have my Social Security Number, so I'm not allowed to yet. Strangely, I seem to have much more money in my account than I think is correct, so I might have been paid this month after all...

currently playing: Echobelly - The World Is Flat