Irregular Webcomic! #3892

Comic #3892

My original script didn't have Dwalin's final line. I added it at the last minute when assembling the strip, since he was right there in the photo and the retort entered my head spontaneously. Oh, and I've improved my cloud macro. The clouds in the sky should hopefully look a bit more realistic now. I added some steps to stretch them out horizontally, which took a bit of reconfiguring layers and stuff in the Photoshop macro, but I managed to get it to work. Compare to the previous strip.

Irregular Webcomic! #1913 Rerun

Comic #1913

The panoramic opening shot is by Mehmet Y. S., from Wikimedia Commons. That image is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0; therefore, this modified comic image including that work is also licensed under the same conditions.

The building in panel 4 is the Ortakoy Mosque, photo by noutsias from MorgueFile.

The backgrounds in panels 2, 3, and 5 are my own photos, and actually shot in Germany, not Turkey.

2018-12-16 Rerun commentary: I'd love to visit Istanbul one day. It's long been on my desired list of destinations, but I've never managed to get there yet. I suspect it's been on my list specifically because of the movie From Russia With Love actually. If there's one thing James Bond movies know how to do, it's show off exotic locations. The background photo in panels 2 and 3 is from Berlin I believe, and the one in panel 5 is a shot of the Fürstenzug wall in Dresden. This isn't the exact photo I used for the background, but one I shot just a minute or two apart from it: Fürstenzug

Irregular Webcomic! #1912 Rerun

Comic #1912

Wow, that happened a long time ago. A really long time ago.

Over two years ago.

Obligatory time-wasting link to TV Tropes.

2018-12-15 Rerun commentary: 100 silver coins sounds like a lot for a rural farmer in your typical pseudo-medieval fantasy setting. There's a weird sort of disconnect in many old school game settings between the amounts of coin a peasant might see (a scant few coppers) and the typical amounts that adventurers fling around (thousands of gold coins). It's really kind of a frontier gold rush economy.

Irregular Webcomic! #3891

Comic #3891

Being fiction, this is one of those bars where people order drinks, take one sip, and then run off to do something else. Yeah, have you ever noticed how in movies and TV, nobody ever finishes a drink? Unless they slam it down in one gulp and immediately order another one, that is. I tried to find a TV Trope for this, but couldn't... Ah, here it is, supplied by a reader: They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich. Sometimes it's really hard to find the correct trope if you don't already know the title for it.

Irregular Webcomic! #3890

Comic #3890

Human always seems to be the baseline character type in roleplaying games. Other playable races/species get adjustments - they're either stronger/weaker, smarter/stupider, more or less dextrous, etc, than humans. Humans by contrast always seem bog-standard and boringly middle of the road, with no adjustments either way.[1] It makes sense, because we are all familiar with what being a human is like, and we have a good understanding of a human's capabilities and limitations. Projecting those on to a fictional character is easy, or at least easier than projecting capabilities outside the human norm on to a fictional character. In fact, projecting human capabilities on to fictional characters is so much easier than anything else that often we make the mistake of assuming non-human creatures are more human-like than they really are. So this is why when originally choosing LEGO figures to represent the cyberspace avatars of the Space crew, I chose human figures despite the fact that three of them are aliens.[2] [1] Unless you're playing Bunnies & Burrows, in which everyone is a rabbit. [2] Or I just didn't have any alien LEGO figures to use...

Irregular Webcomic! #1911 Rerun

Comic #1911

I don't think they had fancy electronic alarm systems in the 1930s. At least I hope not.

2018-12-12 Rerun commentary: Well, I did some research. The electromagnetically triggered alarm system was patented by one Reverend Augustus Pope of Boston, Massachusetts, in 1853, for which he was awarded US Patent number 9802 (PDF scan, or badly mangled OCR at Google Patents). The Reverend Pope did not commercialise his invention, but sold the patent rights to Edwin Holmes in 1857 for US$150. Edwin Holmes did commercialise the invention, setting up a business in Boston making and selling electric burglar alarm systems. There was initial resistance[1] to the idea of using this newfangled electricity for burglar alarms, and his business floundered until he moved it to New York City in 1859, the biggest hive of scum and villainy in the United States. There he found success, selling his alarm system to rich clients who wanted to keep the riff-raff from looting their houses. By 1866, Holmes had installed over 1200 electric alarm systems, and started selling them to businesses such as jewellers and banks as well. Holmes then had another great idea. He could add value to his business - and collect more profits - by setting up a central monitoring station, where someone would sit watching gauges connected to all of the alarms. When an alarm went off, the monitor would dispatch a security guard to the property to check out what was happening, and chase off or perhaps catch the burglar red-handed. To enable this system, the alarms needed to be connected to the station by wires. So Holmes had workers lay wires across New York City, connecting houses and businesses to his central station. At this time there was no regulation of such things, and the workers simply ran the wires across rooftops, or strung up over window frames and whatever else was available, without bothering to ask permission from the intermediate building owners. This business became so successful, that Holmes wanted to set up a similar system back in his home town of Boston. He sent his son, Edwin Thomas Holmes, to go check out the local market. Edwin Thomas Holmes set up a business meeting with one Thomas Watson, an engineer working for one Alexander Graham Bell. Yes, that Bell and that Watson. They'd been setting up a fledgling telephone business in Boston. And coincidentally, they had been stringing up wires across buildings all over Boston to support it. Holmes and Watson[2] had a scathingly brilliant idea... They could use Bell and Watson's telephone wires to set up a monitored alarm system in Boston. And they could use Thomas Holmes's wires to set up a telephone system in New York City. Reusing the same wires, so avoiding the expense of having to lay new ones! Holmes and Watson joined forces, founding the Bell Telephone Company, of which Thomas Holmes became the first president. And the rest, one may say, is history. The Smithsonian has a short (4 minute) but fascinating video documentary about all of this, which I recommend. So, yes, they definitely had electrical alarms systems by the 1930s, if not "fancy electronic" ones. I guess The Louvre was too cheap to install any by this time, at least for individual display cases. [1] Quiz: Intentional or not? You tell me. [2] Yes, I know. Cool, right?

Irregular Webcomic! #3889

Comic #3889

Devonshire tea (as it's known in Australia, and thus my own usage) or cream tea as it's more commonly known in England, is the source of one of the major controversies of the modern age. Namely: whether to put the jam and cream on the scones in that order, or the reverse order. As with all traditions, the way you do it yourself is unassailably correct, and anyone who does it differently is clearly wrong. Personally, I put the jam on first and then dollop the cream on top, as I find spreading jam on top of the cream to be more difficult than spreading it directly onto the scone. I suppose you could dollop the jam on top of the cream rather than spreading it, but I like only a relatively small amount of jam and dolloping a small amount is difficult, and also - obviously and more importantly - that would clearly be wrong.

The real Dr Simon Beard, of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge, writes: In the UK, the tradition is that the distinction between cream first and jam first scone construction is fundamentally geographical. First jam and then cream is the 'Cornish' method, whilst first cream and then jam is the 'Devon' method. This is useful as it handily subsumes this thorny issue into a long-running and intractable war - rather as if saying 'the data is' or 'the data are' could simply be subsumed into whether one was PC or Mac. Personally I do not appear to be descended from anyone in either county. However, I have friends who live in Cornwall, so I am fanatically Jam first like you. My own pet theory, however, has long been that this disagreement should be closely correlated with all the other major tea time sources of potential nuclear war:
  • whether one pronounces 'scone' with a long or a short 'o' sound,
  • whether one puts the milk in before or after the tea, and
  • whether Jaffa cakes are a cake or a biscuit.
I have long felt that these tensions could be more easily mitigated if the world could simply resolve itself into the [jam first, long o, milk second, cake] faction and the [cream first, short o, milk first, biscuit] faction and we could simply agree never to talk to one another ever again. By my calculations, this would reduce the annual probability of human extinction by as much as 0.00005.

Irregular Webcomic! #1910 Rerun

Comic #1910

And you thought things were tricky when I was compositing separate images to get two copies of Iki Piki and Serron into the same frame. Now I have a solid copy and a ghost copy of Paris to deal with as well.

2018-12-09 Rerun commentary: The pale greenish reflection in the windows visible in panels 2 and 4 is probably a reflection of something in the room where I took the photos. I need to be careful with reflective surfaces like the bay windows, lest they reflect stuff that is recognisable. So sometimes when setting up shots like this I need to rotate the set or the camera angle to avoid such reflections. If the reflection is indistinct enough, I can leave it in the shot though. Given the angle, I'm guessing this is a reflection of the window that is across the room behind me, over my right shoulder, as I sit at my desk. Looking at it from here, I can see basically just a bunch of trees, so the green colour certainly is plausible.

Irregular Webcomic! #1909 Rerun

Comic #1909

I gotta say, the method I use now to produce the background for these Charon strips is a lot easier than the method I originally used, which involved pasting in some actual rock walls I'd photographed.

2018-12-08 Rerun commentary: That method being using the "Clouds" renderer in Photoshop, with black and dark grey as the selected colours (as opposed to light blue and white, which makes a cloudy sky). The blue towel to represent water is a pretty good effect though, that I would use again.