Not an update today, but I do have small updates. One of the things brought up was a thread asking the question, "do you use your blog, and if so, how?". I decided in that thread that--eventually--I wanted to use the blog simply to talk, because talking can be quite therapeutic, both for me and (with luck) readers. For the time being, it'll still be used to make announcements, and probably will continue to do so forever, but I want to eventually shift the focus of blogs to this type of thing, because I feel it is more in-line with what a blog should be.
So along that train of thought, here's my ramble for the day.
I did some thinking about something people (myself included) often say, of me being a masochist. Typically, I say it as a joke. But when I think about it...I realize that I actually am one. Perhaps not in the traditional sense, but I can explain. The definition is "someone who obtains pleasure from punishment", or more generally, "enjoyment of what appears painful".
Now don't get me wrong. I hate pain. Not so much physical. Physical pain is a minor inconvenience to me, but it doesn't bother me, and I generally listen to it since physical pain is a sign something's generally wrong. (That's the reason we feel it, after all. :P) So because pain doesn't really bother me, I feel nothing good about it, either.
...But mental pain, I truly despise. I don't like experiencing it, but I experience it for more things than typical. And many of them are self-inflicted, another quality typically associated with masochism. So if I hate it, how could I enjoy it?
Like I said, it's not in the traditional sense. I feel the pain, and I hate it, because pain of that kind is very bad. It can cause stress, and stress can cause it, as an ever-feeding loop. It's not fun in any way, and there's nothing good in torturing myself.
...Yet despite that, I have that silly little belief in the dual nature of all things. That everything has good and bad in it, so to speak. And despite how much negative there is in the pain...there's an upside within it as well. Being, basically, that it builds character. I know, sounds silly and clichéd, but it's true. Feeling mental pain helps make us human. It is what allows us to be empathetic (and often sympathetic as a result of the empathy) to others' pain. In other words, sharing our bad experiences with one another can help form a bond between each other.
Beyond that, mental pain also serves a further function, more directly tied to my belief in the dual nature of all things--without sadness, there cannot be happiness. Without fatigue, there cannot be relief. And so on.
It may not make that much sense, but think of it more in terms of complimentary colors--if they're separate, they make each other pop out, augmenting each other and increasing the value of each. The dual nature is basically this belief at its maximum. The value of good comes from there being bad. (Also applies to things such as life/death. The classic Who Wants To Live Forever quote of "Life cannot have meaning without Death", and all that. The value of life comes from the value of death, and vice-versa.) When the colors are mixed and combined, their value begins to dull, slowly fading into a gray. The value of each decreases.
It might not make that much sense to you, but to me, this is why pain is so important to feel. Yes, it sucks. Yes, I hate it. But I also relish it. If given the choice between experiencing it all again or rewriting history to avoid feeling it...I'd choose to feel it all again, because having felt it, I earned a new respect for its opposites. Going through the lows in life is what helped me appreciate the highs, what allowed me to cherish so much in my life I otherwise would have taken for granted.
Simply put, pain helps define who we are. Our life experiences are shaped by all the things we've done, both good AND bad. Which brings me back to the social aspect of interacting with others, because connecting with another's feelings, knowing what they have experienced and being able to truly understand it is one of the main things which makes us human.
Is it possible that we could do that without pain? I suppose, but I imagine it'd be quite difficult. This doesn't mean you should actively seek pain, as people typically think when they think masochist. You might experience a lot of pain and have it be self-inflicted, yet it shouldn't be self-inflicted for the sake of feeling the pain. Rather, as I do, it merely means that when the pain comes, you should do your best to cherish it, despite how bad it is, no matter how often it comes up. For without the bad, there wouldn't be a good.
I know, silly idealistic belief, but it IS what drives me.
...Oh, and speaking of me being a masochist, let's talk a little bit about my day. :P I've been juggling something like ten things I'm supposed to be doing, on ComicFury alone! It's quite a load of work, and I owe a lot of debts to people. I'm supposed to look at Google Analytics (something I never did since I installed it, so I don't remember my account or password), I'm supposed to link to more comics in the link exchange thread, I feel as if I owe Centcomm a lot more (Centcomm put a link to my comic before I even asked, has given me some helpful PMs--speaking of which, replying to the second one and seeing what help I can get from it is another thing on the to-do list :P--, and has not one but two awesome comics, one of which I read start-to-latest-update and should have more than just a footnote describing it. Among others), I haven't checked today for comic updates, I promised Biophysicist I'd update the TVTropes page for his comic, Unichat (which I need to put in the links section), I need to finish what I started on TOGM plus start-then-finish AT LEAST a few pieces of fanart for Magravan, and this is just what I can think of off the top of my head. :P
Yeah. Thinking I might not update this week, either, since I'm still juggling in addition to my CF responsibilities my real-life obligations which I couldn't finish over the weekend because the Marathon Square Dance I went to (12 hours of dancing, 7 PM to 7 AM) Saturday drained everything out of me. I'm feeling surprisingly calm despite the fact that I've got a ton to do. Conservatively between real life and online life, I've got 12 things I want to get done. My comic makes 13. :P It'll all be worth it, though. The real-life stuff I'm doing is quite important, and I enjoy doing it, albeit not as much as online stuff. And I feel as if CF is a second family to me, so as such, I feel an obligation to help others out in any way I can as well, hence one of the reasons the link exchange is something I always wanted to do.
It's fully possible (and in fact, probable) that I won't get everything done, but I'll get as much done as I can, and continue to get as much done as I can. Right now, my life is incredibly busy, and that's obviously quite stressful...yet at the same time, I feel that if I can stick things through and finish everything I've started, that my life will be much better after this. Despite the pressure and negativity I'm experiencing, I just feel as if right now, my life (in spite of being active) is good, and that it'll only get better. For as long as I can, I'll hold onto that thought. Wish me luck, on all my endeavors! (...I'll need it. :P)
I've been having...a bad week when it comes to fulfilling promises. Needless to say, my grand plan for TOGM hasn't worked out very well at all. I've pretty much failed at doing everything I set out to do, and I'm ashamed of myself, but some good has come of it. I've already gotten many links to explore, and will probably be doing many more archive binges thanks to TOGM in the near-future.
Speaking of which, mushroomisland made an Exchange Link thread. Most of the comics there were comics I was planning to read/subscribe to/link to eventually and helped me find another which I would otherwise likely not have seen. As such, it helped inspire me to work on expanding my Links Page a lot. It's not even close to finished, because each time I add a link, I like to give it a personalized touch. A semi-critique if you will, to give a semi-subjective, semi-objective review and why I recommend reading it. Which requires me to have actually read it. :P As such, it requires a lot of time to do, and is the reason things which I REALLY want to put up there (GSICD and Mitadake Saga, among others) haven't gone there. They're both some of the first comics I started reading (up there with Wake the Sleepers and TOGM in importance), but unlike TOGM and WtS, I've not put aside the time to archive binge and catch up. :/
Those are just some of the examples, but of course, there are many more comics I want to add yet haven't gotten around to. Ah, well. My site's a work in progress. I should be happy I've gotten as much done as I have. Such as a new banner I'm quite fond of. (A variant on it might make its way into my site layout, even.)
Not perfect, but still looks good, no? Invokes imagery which I feel perfectly reflects the comic.
Alright, so there won't be any update to the comic this week. It's entirely my fault. Was working on the site for the first few days, and then after that when I realized I should be working on my comic, I got a bad case of artists' block. I finally finished the script, and it looked like I'd get going, but I got addicted to the webcomic Emergency Exit, and I wanted to try and help flesh out the (shockingly short, considering the length of the comic) TVTropes page of it. Yes, I'm fully aware it's not the best reason, but I thought it to be worth my attention, because EE has to be one of the best webcomics I've ever read. The humor (even post-became-darker) was spot-on and made me laugh harder than I have for months. Add in the constantly-evolving art (and, wow! It's incredible, when you get far enough!), the spot-on pacing, the excellently detailed setting with a rich backstory and plot, featuring likeable characters and incredibly heartwarming/awesome moments throughout the comic.
That aside, though, I won't have an update next week either. Why? For an even more noble cause. It might not sound that way to you, and I realize this will further delay the release of The Descended, and I realize I JUST came back from hiatus so going on another one sucks, yet...I have a good reason, and if you've been on ComicFury these last three years, chances are you'd agree with me as to why it is every bit as important as I say it is.
Magravan just informed me today that--come Monday, which is tomorrow--The Other Grey Meat will have its last comic. I've known for a while that it was coming to an end, yet I've been waiting ever since I heard the bad news to embark on this quest, so I hope you'll be patient with me and bear along for my good cause.
Why is it important? Well, let me fill you in if you're somehow unaware of TOGM but somehow aware of me. :P To put it simply, TOGM is THE ComicFury webcomic. It's not just any ol' webcomic on ComicFury. It's not just one of the most popular CF comics of all time. It's. THE. CF. Comic. And it pretty much has always had this status since it started. I'm not exaggerating. To say that TOGM is legendary would be a massive understatement--to give just one instance of why, whenever Magravan links to another comic in TOGM, said webcomic's views double. That's just the tip of the iceberg on how much influence he and Skrael hold thanks to their comic.
More people have come to CF because of TOGM than pretty much any other comic. Beyond that, TOGM has attracted most of ComicFury's users. Magravan and Skrael are inspiration to us all. He didn't know it until I told him recently, but he helped me get my comic up and going by the simple act of me having been one of his fans and a large follower--I never woulda set an update time and date if it weren't for TOGM's strict schedule inspiring me. (I fail miserably, but hey, it's the thought which counts. :P)
Simply put, by seeing what Magravan had done, what he had accomplished, I (and likely hundreds or even thousands of others) was inspired. I said to myself that "THIS is what I should strive for", when thinking of The Other Grey Meat. And it still holds true. It's a beacon of the community in almost every single way possible. The comic's awesome, and the people making it are even more awesome, and we're all really sad that it's ending, even if it's been a few good years. Everyone looks up to them, Magravan, Skrael, and their comic. If you ask anyone who's read their comic, they'll say as much, that TOGM and its creators are inspirational. Though I'm just one guy, I imagine my experience is likely FAR from unique and that others have taken things from their shining example, learned from it, be awe-struck of it, and ultimately wish to have as much as a tenth of the skill that the duo Mag and Skrael possess. It means that much to people, and it means that and so much more to me.
TOGM was one of the first ComicFury comics that I ever read. Out of all of them, it was the one I least expected to end within my time here, and so I was caught quite off-guard by the initial announcement. It felt too short, like there should be more, but I understand Magravan's decision and respect it, so all I have left to do is to pay my respects in a way fitting to me.
Starting tomorrow, I'm going to have a "TOGMarathon Week". I'll be devoting all of my time in the remaining week, as my final tribute to him, to say how much of a fan I have been. I may not have been there from the beginning, but I was fairly close. I watched it grow, watched it evolve, so I owe it at least this much. The first day (Monday, September 24th) will consist of me reading The Other Grey Meat all the way through, from beginning up to the almost-end (two updates away), commenting along the way. (Which necessitates reading all the comments as well.) If I have the time, I'd then also look at everything TOGM's ever linked to, and do my best to support everything TOGM has ever supported. And more stuff like that.
Then, on the remaining six days, I'd spend all my time drawing the characters, likely in their chronological order of appearance, in the style of my comic, The Descended. (You know, what you're reading right now? :P) Magravan asked for people to give fanart in a thread, yet I felt that a single piece of art just wouldn't do him justice, hence why I came up with the idea of doing them all...and then some. (For instance, potentially drawing some Ones.)
All leading up to my grand finale to be done on the last day he updates as a last-day-going-away-present, where I'll give him a last piece of art which features ALL the characters (major and minor). That's just for the start; I have many other things planned in said finale, which will hopefully live up to the awesomeness the comic has. That kind of gift is incredibly ambitious, and I'm praying (legitimately praying!) that I can do everything I'm saying I will do, because this final present to Magravan, Skrael, and the comic TOGM will represent everything they've ever done for me, whether they knew they'd done it or not.
So that's why I'm skipping next week. Out of respect, honor, duty, and out-right obligation to pay my dues to the greatest of all. If you're reading this within time, I'd highly recommend you join me on my noble crusade. And if you're reading this after TOGM has ended, don't worry. I'd still say to visit it and read it and all that, because it's such a good comic that it deserves all that attention. You'll agree once you have seen it.
...Into the fuuuutuuure...... :P
Anyway, I'm a bit late this week, but I've got an update, the long-awaited comic five! It's without a doubt the best work I've ever done. (As sad as that statement may be. :P) The reason I'm late is because I slightly underestimated the amount of time it'd take to do the remaining work. (If it weren't for the demons, I woulda finished on time.) Overconfident in my abilities, I spent a couple hours yesterday revising the site a little, editing the extra pages and such. It's a lot cleaner, now, and I like what I'm doing, though those extra two hours then woulda put this release well within time. :P
Oh, well. I'm only 45 minutes late; it could be a lot worse, and given how much better my site's beginning to look, and given the quality of the comic I just produced, I think it's alright to have been a little bit late. (Besides...aren't those update codes more of a...guideline...than actual rule? :P)
Yeah, no update this week, either. Hopefully, I won't miss next week's update, but I've got no guarantees. My dog's mostly better, you'll be glad to know. He was having some vomiting issues, but after a minor change in dietary habits, I think he's getting better. Anyway, I have been distracted by several side-projects, but whenever I've been remembering and have not been distracted, I've done the work on my comic. Since it's already been delayed by two weeks, I'm going to try and not miss a third. (My original schedule was to have new material ready by November. At the rate I'm going, I'd be lucky to make Christmas. :P)
We'll have to see how well that goes. I've been feeling awfully tired as of late for some reason, and drowsiness does not mix well with comic'ing. Still, though,I'll be working as fast as I can.
Side-note, one of the things which I've been thinking about is that pretty much all successful webcomics have uneven panels. All of my comics are planned with even panels, even though in the original script, they had differences. (Horizontally, at least.) It's something I'll be thinking about if I encounter pacing issues. I still have a lot to learn, after all. But hey, that's why people make webcomics: to learn. :D