And lo, it was written, that their most precious parts would become tough as leather, so the teeth of the eels should find no purchase; and thus made unpunishable, the vile ones laughed, and cavorted, and made merry, and committed many crimes against nature, and against eels, and their eyes turned from the barrel, and knew not its depths any longer.
#869; Doin’ Time in the Barrel of Shame




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Updates from Wondermark HQ!

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Here’s a little update on things I’m working on presently!

Above and below are the boxes for the three Wondermark jigsaw puzzles that we funded on Kickstarter last fall.

Based on some of my favorite Wondermark posters, the puzzles are on the press now. I’ve reviewed proofs and gotten advance samples and everything looks really good!

I’m excited for the puzzles to become available for backers and the general public later this spring. I estimated that they’d start shipping to backers in March. I do admit to a little trepidation: labor disputes have been causing drastic slowdowns at the Los Angeles seaport, at the precise spot where the puzzles are due to enter the States… But there’s nothing I can do to control or affect that particular matter. I asked the freight forwarder if they could shunt our shipment to a different port, and that option doesn’t look promising. So, we’ll just cross our fingers!

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I’ve also been doing a lot of setup work for projects that will see fruition later in the year:

We’re working on some videos for the Machine of Death card game (the game, of course, is available now!). I’m doing some design work for Zach Weinersmith on a really neat product he’ll be launching this spring, and I’m also in talks with a new T-shirt company that has a… pretty unique and strange perspective on what being a T-shirt company means. I don’t think I’m allowed to say much else about that just yet.

I’ll be attending the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle at the end of March as is my wont, and I’ll be hosting two fun game show-style panels there! I also still perform on stage with my improv comedy team on first and third Mondays in Santa Monica — those shows are always free so it’s easy to get your money’s worth.

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Oh and I set up a Patreon! Right now I have done exactly zero things with it. I wanted to get at least the puzzles out the door before I started up something new.

But, some very nice people have asked me if there’s a way they can support the things I make, and I know not everyone needs or wants merchandise or physical objects cluttering up their life.

So, if you’re so inclined, you can toss in a buck or two a month, and be a supporting member of Wondermark and the stuff we do here. Rewards for patrons will be forthcoming!

On Tumblr recently, I’ve:

- Helped someone out with marketing their dog biscotti
- Found an old letter I wrote to Brad Bird
- Mastered the art of burger negotiation
- Examined the postal employee weight requirement
- Tried to Google each of the individual fifty shades of grey

It’s usually pretty easy to fill the days, around here.



Interview at The Setup: The Stuff I Use

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I was interviewed by the site The Setup! It was pretty fun. The premise of the site is asking people “what do you use?” Hardware, software, processes, etc.

I’ll also list mental processes under “software”. All the apps and tricks in the world are just cargo cult trappings if you can’t control the way you think. This is really hard for me! And it’s an ongoing learning process as I struggle to navigate the canyons that streams of habit have carved into the workings of my mind. But the few things I’ve found that work really well (when I can stick to them) are…

Read the whole interview at The Setup!



Check out: ‘Bored and Brilliant’ – The Case for Boredom

illustration credit: John Hersey

I’ve recently started listening to the WNYC public radio show New Tech City. It’s an interesting and well-done show! (The episodes are also not that long, so it’s a quick listen.)

Recently they’ve been doing a series called ‘Bored and Brilliant’. From the episode called ‘The Case for Boredom’:

Paying attention to our smartphones through so many of our waking moments means our minds don’t spend as much time idling. [...]

Mann’s research finds that idle minds lead to reflective, often creative thoughts (we discuss her projects in depth in this week’s show). Minds need to wander to reach their full potential.

During bouts of boredom our brains can’t help but jump around in time, analyzing and re-analyzing the pieces of our lives, says Jonny Smallwood, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of York in the UK. He says inspiration strikes in the shower because it’s a moment when we’re not really looking at or focusing on anything else. [...]

“That’s where daydreaming and boredom intersect,” Smallwood says. “What smartphones allow us to do is get rid of boredom in a very direct way because we can play games, phone people, we can check the Internet. It takes away the boredom, but it also denies us the chance to see and learn about where we truly are in terms of our goals.”

In addition to being some good, interesting radio to listen to, the Bored and Brilliant series is also presenting a challenge. They’re asking people to sign up for an experiment in which they make certain experimental changes to the way they relate to their phones.

To start with, they’re asking for people to record baseline behavior…And then, starting in February, they’ll actually start giving daily instructions to experiment participants.

I’m down for it — I’m fascinated by what we can learn about ourselves, what kinds of unconscious things come out, when we pay close attention to our habits, and try to examine or tinker with them.

Whether you want to sign up for the experiment, or just want to check out the show, visit Bored and Brilliant at New Tech City!