Sunday, March 18, 2012

My grown-up friends

Last month sometime I turned 30, which is the impossible age you think you're never going to hit when you're in your teens and early twenties. You *know*, theoretically, that other people in the past *have* turned that age, but by the time you reach it you imagine that by then, some combination of science and/or magic will have evolved to make it so you *personally* will not have to.

Alas, science and wizardry has not progressed to that point for me. I'm dissapointed in you overall, you owners of lab-coats and magic robes, but I'm still holding out for you to come though before I reach my forties! ;)

By now, I was sure I would be much more mature, at least not have trouble waking up, and certainly not be running to catch the trains in the morning. I made a little list of things I would NOT do now that I am a mature and sophisticated thirty-year-old:
*nibbling nails
*doodling in notebook
*putting on makeup on the train (no more!!)
*chewing more than six peices of gum per day (I have an addiction!)
*running to work
... so far they have had varying degrees of success, but I'm slowly but surely making progress. ;)

So while patting myself on the back at my new mature self, I've been poking around the interwebs and finding friends from high school and college, all up to neat things. In fact, far neater things than I've been blogging about! They have, in fact, matured and become very cool people, serious and mature, with blogs that aren't even about fart jokes most of the time!! In awe of these people and their newfound maturity, and as a way of inspiring myself, I thought I'd put them up here.

*Vmaiet (Viet Mai): has a very well articulated sense of theater and cinema, keeping his audience up-to-date with analysis of the most interesting movies of our time and occasionally suggesting worthwhile classics that may have been missed. He wrote a blog with a lot of movie entries before, but abandoned it, causing me to whine at him until he reinstated it, better than ever! Mission accomplished, good job, me!

*Oh No Entropy! : (Theresa Pan) has always had a fantastic sense of style and a knack for design. She's one of those people you always imagine making products for the MoMA store. This is her fabulous design blog.

*Flarkminator : (Mike Birkhead) is a game designer quickly becoming an important person in the video game industry. He gets behind the mechanics of what makes a game great, how to implement it, and writes up the underlying mathematical and economic principles of leveling, item scarcity, and scale. You feel like you're reading the best parts out of your favorite textbook, with humor and snark thrown in to keep it readable.

*PhDoula : (Alexandra Holloway) is a computer engineer major with a love for helping expecting mothers. You would think her two passions wouldn't merge cohesively, but watch her give talks on interdisciplinary support of childbirth and design games on helping with labor. Her doula stories are also on this blog and will have you biting your nails as you follow the close calls and drama of hospital rooms.

*SchneiderLife (Erin Schneider) : also a doula (and Stanford grad), Erin and her husband are working in their respective fields for a three month span Niger, Africa with their adorable and much loved one-year old girl. It is such a different place and beautiful, fascinating, you just want her to tell you more and more.

*SamVsLupus (Jennifer Hyde) : Sam is a genius, multiple graduate graduate-degree holder with a black belt in Tae-kwondo, who has lupus. She describes in a down-to earth, friendly way, the troubles of people with Lupus (and other chronic diseases), how to help without alienating, how to keep people with handicaps included socially without expecting the impossible.

*Laura in CyberLand (Laura Chao) : She is totally a mad scientist herself and was even working at a startup that was researching cold fusion! She is awesome and also just turned 30, and still (much to my approval) is not above the occasional fart joke. Maybe you can say we're still working on the whole maturity thing, just in case her peers the mad scientists reverse time after all....

*FuguTabetai (David Evans) : A fellow Tokyo-ite programmer working for Amazon Japan, who just had a baby. His blogs are always interesting about life in Tokyo, great Sci-fi book recommendations, and travel. Last year when the earthquake happened, Dave got out his camera and documented the chaos and wrote up the whole situation and aftermath in great detail, causing me to lamely refer my relatives to his blog instead of my own. ;)

*Michael Bissell : My uncle in Portland Oregon, genius web guy and humor writer, whose blog emphasises slice-of-life stories and amusing anecdotes. He's been busy on a super-secret projects lately, but there are years of archives to keep you entertained.

...Did I miss anyone? I love blogs, they survive and stay readable long after the interest of a tweet or a facebook post fades. If you've been strutting your stuff and blogging with pride, let me know and I'll edit this entry with a shoutout! :D

Friday, March 09, 2012

Hello dear readers,
Sorry I didn't blog in February. I meant to do a big exlusive blog on what it was like at Comiket, the largest self-publishing comic convention in Japan, and possibly the world... but that sounds like a lot of work, so you'll just have to make do with the mini version.;)

I had the immense good fortune to share a booth with my friend Darold and sell a printed version of Gemini (pages 1 - 55) at the convention! It was crazy and fun, and I had the pleasure of seeing a lot of familiar faces, coming out to support me! Support me and... crossdress, because apparently that is what you *do* when at a comic convention.
All three enormous halls were packed with people selling their comics. What was kind of disappointing to me was just how much of it was soft porn based on main-stream anime. The sheer volume of hand drawn panty-shots! Staggering! .. but not all of it was like that, and the original stuff had *amazing* artwork. Some mainstream artists secretly had booths selling self-published original comics at the convention, because they felt held back by the rigid guidelines of editors and publishing companies. These were the booths that had lines out the doors, down the street, and into the parking lot.
(this photo was from summer) ... Gemini was not like that ... this time. But there is time to create a following, right my friends? ;) To prepare myself for my massive fan base, I went and made a promo page for my comic in Japanese, with my own domain name and everything!
... yeah, it looks a little terrible, I know. I think I'm going to enlist the help of my friend in the design team to help me out. At least some time before next summer.

Getting ready for the convention took a lot of my time last November, I was working with Eikou, a printing company for self-publishers. Their process is great and streamlined, they email you and work with you through any problems with the proofs, even though they're busy working *tens of thousands* of other orders. But ... the only downside is, the page of very technical intructions (with plenty of printing-specific vocabulary!) is all in Japanese.

Luckily for me, some other foreigner has been down this road before me, and Studio Calcium wrote a great, in-depth guide on how to prepare your comics and apply for the convention. Without them both myself and my booth buddy would have had a much harder time of it.

Here's the result for the cover:

I applied for the Summer version of Comiket, and I'm meeting tomorrow with a professional translator to help translate pages 55-110 or so for book 2 of the series! (Last time I strong-armed a coworker into checking my Japanese translation, and apparently it wasn't that great because she rewrote it extensively and nearly keeled over from exhaustion. (Sorry Sakate-san!)
By the way, if there are any comiket lovers out there, let me know if you have a favorite booth I should check out. I found a pretty cool Harry Potter fanfic comic, and it WASN'T EVEN PORN. (wonder upon wonders!!) It's about Snape and Harry's dad when they were younger, and the rise of Voldemort. It looked really fascinating. ;)

I'll let you know how round 2 goes this summer!