Irregular Webcomic! #1768 Rerun

Comic #1768

A flawless plan in all respects.

2018-07-16 Rerun commentary: In an odd coincidence the 2018 FIFA World Cup final is scheduled for the same day as this rerun strip! At least in my time zone. The final begins at 01:00 on Monday where I live, and this rerun will appear at 20:11 the same day. I'd watch it if it was in a sensible time zone, but I'm not staying up that late for it.[1] [1] Whether I'm referring to the World Cup Final or this rerun, I leave as an exercise for the reader.

Irregular Webcomic! #1767 Rerun

Comic #1767

Like all good supporting character antagonists, the natives are obliging enough to wait while the main characters have an extended conversation in front of them.

And for a good discussion, you could do worse than the topic of biscuits. "Biscuit" is a word well known to those who have experience with the vagaries of British and American English usage, being one of the most notorious causes of misunderstanding between members of those cultures. I won't go into the details here - read the Wikipedia article for the full lowdown if you're not already aware of it.

The other interesting thing about "biscuit" is the etymology, from the Latin, and meaning "twice baked". Most biscuits (of either cultural variation) are not twice baked these days, but the meaning lingers in the traditional Italian biscotti (an even more direct descendant of the Latin term). Biscotti are indeed baked twice in order to achieve their distinctive traditional texture and crispness. (For those interested in this sort of thing, the "bis" part means "twice", being from the same root as words such as "bicycle" and "bifocals", while the "cotti" part (or "cotta" in the non-plural form) is the bit that means baked, and can also be found in words such as "pannacotta" (baked cream) and "terracotta" (baked earth). Languages really are cool when you discover these sorts of connections between them.)

And that's not all. German has zwieback, another variation on the theme, whose derivation is from the German "zweimal gebackenes" - meaning, wait for it: "twice baked".

2018-07-15 Rerun commentary: Another interesting difference between British and American English involving food, of which I was completely unaware until about three weeks ago, is the meaning of soup. I was browsing one of my favourite book shops and one of the new releases was a thick paperback on the differences between British and American English (I forget the title). Being interested in this topic, I picked it up and flipped through the pages, opening it randomly on a page which happened to be about soup. To boil it down[1], essentially:
  • In British English, soup is a liquid.
  • In American English, soup is a liquid, likely with solid chunks in it.
As with any of these things, there is some regional variation, and there's always someone who'll say "I'm British and my soup has chunks in it!" but in general there is this noticeable difference. When the British make a soup, they boil up some stuff, and then if it isn't all liquified already, they puree it, to make it so. When Americans make a soup, they boil up some stuff, and often leave chunks of vegetables and/or meat and/or other stuff in it. In America, a stock with chunks in it is much more likely to be called a soup, whereas in Britain the exact same thing is much more likely to be called a stew. For more on this specific topic, read the Separated by a Common Language blog. And from the Australian perspective, I must say that on this one we tend to side with the Americans. [1] Yes.

Irregular Webcomic! #1766 Rerun

Comic #1766

If you're squeamish about medical procedures, you probably don't want to read this.

2018-07-14 Rerun commentary: Panel 2: This is the difference between needing a cleric and needing a necromancer. (Still one of my favourite jokes.) It's a shame they have neither in this adventuring party. Now that I think about it, I can't remember why it is that they don't have a healer. The Fantasy characters are, as I've said many times, based on an actual roleplaying group that I ran many years ago. It's so long ago now that I can't recall what they did for healing. I certainly don't remember them having a specific healer type character. It was using GURPS, so there was no cleric class. Maybe the real Kyros had a few healing spells. I should see if I can dig out the old character sheets to see.

Irregular Webcomic! #1764 Rerun

Comic #1764

Now it all makes sense!

I get an unusual amount of pleasure in wrapping a piece of string around Lego characters to make it look like they're tied up with rope. There's actually quite an art to it.

2018-07-12 Rerun commentary: The first time around, several people didn't get the joke in this strip. The idea is that the rake wasn't intended to be one of Leonardo's traps. After all, who would use a rake as a deliberate trap? It's only a minor gardening implement, after all. But a lawnmower is a much more serious piece of gardening equipment, so one that you could indeed set up as a deliberate trap. And the implication is that they indeed ran across a lawnmower at some point, which we just didn't get to see, and that they were mystified by it at the time.

Irregular Webcomic! #1763 Rerun

Comic #1763

Also known as a beat panel, indicating a silent beat in the flow of a comic.

The reason a lot of comics use it is because it is effective at providing the comedic timing pause before the delivery of a punchline. Which unfortunately has made it a bit of a cliché.

I'm going to be a bit more careful about this in the future, but sometimes you just gotta use it.

2018-07-11 Rerun commentary: It's appropriate that I'm wearing the Calvin & Hobbes T-shirt in this strip, as the face I'm pulling in the last panel was inspired by some of the faces Calvin pulls. Now I'm wondering if I did that deliberately or not. Either option is possible.

Irregular Webcomic! #3883

Comic #3883

Meet Scully, my new poodle puppy. I know you were expecting a comic, but I have some important news, and the easiest way to make sure people see it is to insert it as a regular new "comic". I've decided to put new Irregular Webcomic! strips on hiatus for the remainder of 2018. My wife and I recently got this toy poodle puppy, and neither of us had the experience nor were prepared for how much work it is to raise a puppy into a well-balanced and behaved dog. The first two nights we had Scully I had zero hours of sleep, and since then I've been operating on maybe four hours a night every night. I am constantly tired, and during the day it's almost impossible to concentrate on anything other than looking after Scully and trying to catch her before she toilets inside the house. It's simply not possible for me to make new IWC comics until we get her fully house trained - which I understand may take a couple of months or more. And I expect it will take a while after that to get back into some sort of productive routine and rebuild my comic buffer. I expect this will also affect the recently announced change to the update schedule of Eavesdropper as well, and I will probably put that on hiatus too. For the moment, I am going to try to keep up production of Darths & Droids without interruption. It's my most popular work by far, and it's the least production intensive while I am at home, as most of the work gets done in the lunch room at work. I'll also continue to accept and publish comics for Lightning Made of Owls (and check out the comic submission contest!), The Dinosaur Whiteboard, and iToons. Square Root of Minus Garfield will also continue uninterrupted under the administration of Manyhills. My IWC buffer is now zero, with #3882 the last one I made. So that will be the last new comic for 2018. At the moment, I plan to restart new comics from 1 January 2019 - though it's possible that plan may change. In the meantime, I'll increase the rerun schedule to every day. Sorry to have to do this, but I need to in order to cope with my current situation. Apart from raising a puppy and the resulting lack of free time, things are fine in my life, and there's nothing to worry about. Oh, and yes, we don't just have Scully. We also adopted a kitten, which we named Mulder. They get into some arguments, but at other times they get along nicely. Scully and Mulder

Irregular Webcomic! #1762 Rerun

Comic #1762

Baboon, baboon, baboon.

What a cool sounding word.

2018-07-10 Rerun commentary: "Baboon, baboon, baboon" is, as it happens, part of the lyrics of a wonderful song by The Duckworth Lewis Method, a band who have released a couple of concept albums all about cricket. The song is called "Jiggery Pokery", and is all about the Ball of the Century, a single delivery bowled by Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne to English batsman Mike Gatting on day two of the first Test of the 1993 Ashes series at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester, on 4 June 1993. I remember that ball very well. If you like cricket (heck, even if you don't), I highly recommend The Duckworth Lewis Method's original 2009 eponymous concept album, as well as their 2013 follow up, titled Sticky Wickets. Both are available on iTunes. Oddly enough, by a bizarre coincidence, it turns out that I wrote some of the lyrics of one of the songs on Sticky Wickets, in the track titled "Line and Length". They took some of the lyrics of that song from Wikipedia's page defining the cricket terms line and length. The lyrics in question are:
The line of a delivery is the direction of its trajectory measured in the horizontal axis.
The length of a delivery is how far down the pitch towards the batsman the ball bounces.
As can be seen by the Wikipedia edit history, I indeed wrote those lines. Anyway, back to baboons. To hear the immortal lyrics "Baboon, baboon, baboon", check out this fan video of the song "Jiggery Pokery". Given that the song and album were released in 2009, two years after this comic, you could argue that I wrote some lyrics of two of The Duckworth Lewis Method's songs.