Posts Tagged ‘blog: reader participation’.

Happy St. Whinge’s Day!

If you consult your 2012 Wondermark Calendar, you know that today is St. Whinge’s Day! Have you been watching for children with caps in their hands? I spent a good fifteen minutes outside this morning, ranting and raving about the ills of the world and jangling quarters in my pocket, but all I got was a dirty look from an old woman.

Still, I think this is a grand opportunity to whinge, whine and moan about bad luck, the unfairness of the universe, or petty injustices that otherwise would have to go repressed. For the next few hours, this is a safe space to be whiny. Here, I’ll start:

  • I got some strawberries from the farmer’s market just on Sunday and they are already all brown and soft! I suspect that the ones underneath the top layer were going bad before I even bought them. OH ST. WHINGE PRESERVE US!
  • I have been locked in a nonsense nitpicky battle with the IRS for seven months over the fact that our publishing company (Machine of Death) is partly owned by a Canadian! We are trying to run a small business and create jobs but we have been hitting absurd roadblocks every step of the way. OH ST. WHINGE PRESERVE US!
  • I visited an art-supply store and parked in a space with ten minutes left on the meter. I forgot to check the time when I went in, then got engrossed inside the store deciding whether to buy the bigger tube of paint ($8) or the smaller one ($5). I did complicated mental math trying to decide whether I’d really use all of the bigger tube, or whether the smaller, cheaper one would do. In the end my agonizing deliberation about whether I could safely save $3 earned me a $65 parking ticket. OH ST. WHINGE PRESERVE US!

Now you! Leave a comment with your own complaint — and let me be the first to say, “Well, that’s just incredibly bad luck, that is!”

(Next holiday we will observe: January 28: Y’haug’f’than)

New Holidays for 2012

Wow! You suggested a ton of great holidays for 2012, and I suggest that every one of you carefully read the comments on the previous post and observe every one of those delightful feast days, commemorations, and convenient days off work.

Here are the ones that will be included on the 2012 Wondermark Calendar (the cover to which is pictured above). I shifted a few dates around to ensure an even distribution, and added a handful of my own. Please get ready to observe:

January 11: St. Whinge’s Day
This is a day for letting off steam over all your bad luck in the past year, and the unfairness of the universe in general. On this day, children may carry a hat or cap in their hand, and anyone may toss a coin into it. Anyone who does is entitled to tell the child about an instance from the past year where the malevolent forces of the world clearly conspired against any sensible probability. The child is expected to listen attentively and reply with the ritual words: “Well, that’s just incredibly bad luck, that is!” (Submitted by Immanio)

January 28: Y’haug’f’than
A day predicted by the astrologies of long burnt out stars in which Esh’am’borath the Goat Mother of Ten Thousand Young will ascend from the murky, cyclopean gates of the Neverliving and rend the sanity from our still screaming husks. Typically celebrated by the exchange of trite greeting cards, or by that one annoying woman at work that bakes cupcakes at any excuse. (Submitted by Howard P. L.)

January 22: The Black Feast of St. Argyle’s
The day you reschedule your winter holiday to, either because you couldn’t get time off in December to visit your folks or because you were stuck with your in-laws on Christmas. It’s a second chance to get your holidays right. (Submitted by dawnwich)

February 30: Imaginary Day (Also known as Double-Leap-Day)
A day so rare it hasn’t occurred since 1712! Because it requires Good Ol’ Dr. Time to leap twice, and he gets quite tired after the first one, usually. (So tired it takes four years to recover, if not more.) It’s not likely to happen in 2012 either, but it’s included in the hope that it will! We can celebrate its coming in the traditional way, by hopping around like Mexican jumping beans all day! (Submitted by Josh)

March 4th: Verb Day
The only day that is a verb. Celebrate by engaging in active pursuits, such as running, dancing or juggling. Civic festivities often include the ceremonial invention of new verbs, such as “scraddling”, which will be new for 2012. (Submitted by Lee)

March 20: Bloodletting Day
A springtime purification ritual, observed by many religions, in which practitioners celebrate by dotting their bodies with leeches. Followed by:
March 21: Lethargy Day
(Submitted by Beth)

March 31: National Beard Appreciation Day
Celebrated on the last Saturday in March by proudly wearing one’s beard in public spaces. Those without beards are expected to provide food and refreshment to their bearded betters, or may wear false beards (and receive false food in return). Standing ovations for particularly spectacular specimens are considered a polite show of support. Shaving on National Beard Appreciation Day is considered very gauche. (Submitted by Eddie)

April 14: Robots’ Michaelmas
Earmarked since Babbage built the earliest thinking machines, waiting for when the bots gain sentience. It will be the one day of the year when robots may disobey their masters and wreak whatever havoc they please, but only on the understanding that April 15 (Robots’ Sorrow) must be spent putting everything back as it should be. (Submitted by Stewart)

May 9: Non-Denominational Regret Day
A day for thinking back on the things that could have been, or should have been. Celebrants write their regrets down, then fold their papers and spear them on the branches of a tree. Children with few regrets often write down what they hope they will regret in the coming year. Everybody then takes home one other person’s regret, and the tree spontaneously dies. (Submitted by Leif A.)

June 6: The Feast of Arithmetic
Each year, the Feast of Arithmetic takes place on a date in which the month and day add to the common abbreviation of the year, i.e. 6 + 6 = 12 (6/6/12). There are no festivities, and everybody has to work late.

June 23: Library Day
Held on the first Saturday on or after June 20, Library Day is celebrated by parading from house to house at dawn, gathering your friends, dressing in outlandish costumes and waving flags and noisemakers, and marching down the avenue to the local library. Following that, there is folk dancing by the information desk, maypole and morris teams included. Some communities do lion dances, but that custom is not yet universal. At noon, the librarians dish out ice cream, and everyone settles down with their favorite book. (Submitted by The Mock Turtle. Note that I very much want this to happen, as it sounds extraordinarily lovely.)

July 29: National Ice Cream Day
The only holiday on this list to actually be real (after a fashion), National Ice Cream Day was declared a holiday by Ronald Reagan. It’s freaking hot and everyone could use an excuse to skip work and go have some ice cream! (Submitted by Patricia)

July 21: Tomorrow’s Eve
The third Saturday in July. Celebrated before Tomorrow Day (or Today Day, as it is known in Canada), people usually get together and make Tomorrow Day resolutions (go to the grocery store, finally clean the garage) and reminisce about the day past. (Submitted by Gary)

August 12: St. Crepes Day
Generally only observed in pre-war Belgium, St. Crepes Day celebrates the patron saint of waffles, Simon du Crepes, who was killed in the great pancake flood of 1483. Not to be confused with Lumberjack Day (September 26), on which pancakes are eaten, on St. Crepes Day traditionally waffles are eaten for every meal, and nothing but. Garnishing St. Crepes Day waffles with syrup or other additives is generally thought to blunt the penitent and holy nature of the observer’s contemplation. (Submitted by Andy)

August 14: Breakup Day
Personal relationship not working out? Today’s the day to call it quits. By virtue of being antipodean to Valentine’s Day and three months out from the “family holidays” (Thanksgiving and Christmas), Breakup Day is the nadir of emotionality. (Submitted by neoeo)

August 25: Just Make It Day
It’s a hot, lazy day, so head on out to the backyard, bust out the toolbox, and take that Complicated Thing apart, and see if you can put it back together! Or see if you can build a Complicated Thing in the first place! A day to throw away the instructions and pick up a project. (Submitted by SD)

September 2: Picklemas
Celebration of the end of the pickle harvest. Traditional activities include the Pickle Festival, pickle rolling, and the charitable distribution of small jars of gherkins to families too poor to afford pickles of their own. (Submitted by Carl Zetie)

4th week of September to 2nd week of October: Oktoberfesterdämmerung
You start out celebrating Oktoberfest in the afternoon as normal, drinking beer, eating sausage, etc. As afternoon turns to evening, the festivities take on an increasingly melancholy tone, and you are overcome by a vague sense of loss. This becomes tempered with fond memories of youth, and slowly turns into a generalized mourning for a golden age now past. If you do it correctly, you should start to see the stars blink out of the sky by about 9pm or so. (Submitted by Mad Jack McMad)

October 1: Pluto Day
A day set aside to remember, reflect upon, and honor the service of the now retired former 9th planet. Festivities include parades that gradually drift farther and farther away. (Submitted by Aidan)

October 21: The Feast of St. Apostrophe
Named for the patron saint of punctuation. On this holiday, acolytes seek out wayward, lost apostrophes on signs like “Free Book’s” and bring them back into the fold, justifying their existence by adding context, such as “Free Book’s brother Jim from jail.

November 30th: Beardsgiving
Celebrate the true start of the holiday season by surprising your bare-faced family members with new beards as they sleep! Keep it simple with permanent marker, or score bonus points with hobo shavings and super glue. After all, who DOESN’T want a luxurious Santa beard in December?!?
(Submitted by Obidan)

December 1: Thanksmas
On the first Saturday in December, celebrate a mashup of Thanskgiving and Christmas with your friends, because families are terrible and friends are better. (Submitted by Skylar English. Another that I hope actually catches on, not because my family is terrible, but just because this sounds super fun.)

December 2: Freak Out Day
If you’re in school, it’s finals. If you work retail, it’s busy. If you celebrate a gift-giving holiday, it’s time to shop. And if you’re anyone at all, the year is almost over, and how in the world did it get this late, this quickly? Just take a day to freak out. It’s okay; everything will still be here tomorrow. But for one day, it’s okay to freak out.

December 15: Lightningmas
As explained on Tweet Me Harder — Kids can celebrate the myth of lightning by wearing special pajamas and zigzag hats, putting on a pageant, making a large bag, and putting it out on the roof at night. In the morning, the bag will be full of muffins! But that still doesn’t make lightning real.

All of these holidays are collected for your convenience on the 2012 Wondermark Calendar!

Suggest a holiday for my 2012 Calendar

The first fifty or so 2012 Wondermark Calendars have already been spoken for!

I’m finishing up the verses now and hope to start printing the pages next week. It’s gonna be a beauty, I can tell you that right now.

But since the design’s not quite finalized yet, there’s still a chance to make some last-minute additions. So in the comments, suggest a holiday that you’d like to see on the 2012 Calendar. I’ll pick my favorite few from each month, and canonize them so that everyone who picks up one of the calendars will be sure to celebrate it in the coming year.

The calendars already include all the standard U.S. and Canadian calendar holidays, plus Wondermark’s birthday (April 25) and my own (September 21). Your suggested holidays should not:

- be the same date as any existing holiday (there isn’t space to print duplicate text on given days)

- be just your own birthday or anniversary or something

- be longer than a couple words

- be real

It should:

- Be short
- Be funny
- Include a brief explanation that I’ll archive here on the site for people to consult throughout the year.


“January 5, Poop-on-Cats-Day. This is when everybody gets back at their cats by holding them down and pooping on them. Traditionally followed by January 6, Wash-Your-Cats-Day, and January 7, Hospital Day.”

Except not that exactly BECAUSE NOW THAT’S TAKEN. Leave yours in the comments! UPDATE: Okay that’s it for now! I’ll post a roundup of my favorites soon. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

Classy Photo Contest – First entries

Here is the first bunch of photos from the Classy Photo Contest! Thanks to everyone who entered. These in particular are the entries that attempted to reproduce a single comic panel. I’ve juxtaposed each with the panel it is attempting to reproduce.

This first one depicts a panel from my short story “Treachery!” (shown here in minicomic form; reprinted in my hardcover book Beards of our Forefathers). It is certainly the classiest sort of murder around! Gather in the parlor, the butler did it, &c. The description submitted with the photo reads:

So strongly possessed was I by the urge for a friendly round of blind-man’s-buff with my loving wife that I did not trouble myself to change out of my shirtsleeves or even to put down the latest by Mr. Malki !. I knew all that nonsense about someone killing my father was an ephemerality.

This one, of course, is from Comic #378, In which Children suffer. Extremely strong entry; top marks for costume creativity! The description provides a helpful 80s-teen-movie-style epilogue to the comic in question:

The Diver went on to lifeguard at different YMCA. He still hasn’t shut up.

One of the Children became the first zombie president of the United States.

The Bear was acquitted of all charges after jinxing the prosecution… He never did receive his Coke.

This entry from Claire, recreating a panel from #601; The Discovery that Changed the World, has everything I like in it: Cheetos, chopsticks, and attention to typographic detail. Claire writes:

I attempted to grow a beard for more accurate panel recreation but was met with little success and faking a beard isn’t really my style.

I must say I will never eat Cheetos any other way EVER again. I am going to carry around chopsticks expressly for the purpose of Cheeto consumption.

I think I should have gotten a larger bag, but I am just glad I still have a black jacket.

Claire also contributes this entry from #607; The Peaches That Were Left, but admits:

I meant this as a joke originally, because really! the panel is just a hand holding two fruit. Now I encountered a problem since it’s not peach season and where I live there are none available. But I got as close as I could, and close isn’t that close.

Here, from Andrew, is a panel from #387; In which Baggage is emblazoned. This is hopefully the only time that sticker has ever made its way into real life. Andrew writes:

“I’m TIRED of being upstaged by more talented MOD fans. I guess I just have to make my submissions more DISTINCTIVE somehow…”

Andrew, let us know if you ever lose that suitcase. I’d like to know if the sticker actually works.

This one’s super great! It recreates #191; In which a Tiny Dinosaur factors, which has the distinction of being the specific comic incredulously described by Jesse Thorn during my 2008 Sound of Young America interview, during which I had a throat infection and so spoke with a certain gravitas I have never since been able to match. The submitter of this photo writes:

The handsome fellow in the photo is my brother and that is his dinosaur, Diny (pronounced DYE-nee). Fun facts about this photo:

The scowl on my brother’s face was because I told him, “Imagine they’ve found Roderick’s body and it’s all Diny’s fault.” Also, he was incredibly bored.

The ‘sword’ is two-toned because it can retract. This means that you can flick the sword to extend it, which is very fun to do.

Diny has not told anyone to commit a crime (that I know of). In fact, he is a good, law-abiding stegosaurus.

Super fond of troublemaking big siblings dragging little brothers on boring adventures. Top marks.

Vanessa sends in this recreation of #238; In which Education is Vital. I am not sure that this is entirely historically accurate, but I am willing to make some minor exceptions for anyone who can balance on a cardboard unicycle. Vanessa writes:

Fact: our neighbors came out and watched us try to set up our delayed-timer camera on top of an IKEA magazine on top of a rubber tote, on top of a kitchen chair.

+5 bonus points for weirding out the neighbors. That was the point of this entire contest.

Also from Vanessa, recreating the most popular Wondermark comic of all time, #657; The Negotiator. “He who is without sin among you,” she writes, “let him be the first to throw rock-paper-scissors.” Vanessa, I say to you: DONE.

This is a very strong entry, recreating #507; In which Leopold is located. The word balloons are a nice bonus touch, and also note the attention to detail on the footwear. The cat in particular is striking an extremely accurate pose. By way of explanation, the submitter writes “In the live action version, Leopold was played by a much smaller man.”

Another quite strong entry (even the pots look basically correct) from the same submitter, recreating #372; In which Events end Poorly. Captioned, of course, “YOU FAILED THE TEST JUDGE JOHN HODGMAN JR”

Judge John Hodgman, Jr. is the name of the cat. And why not. I myself have a cat named Mall of America, after John Hodgman’s life-changing article in The Areas of My Expertise. Still: um, run?

Now then! I have my favorites, and of course we will show some of the other category of Classy Merchandise Photos later. But first: let’s have a vote! (If you’re reading this on a feed and the voting box doesn’t appear, click through to the post.) Here are the contenders:

If only Judge John Hodgman, Jr could have kept himself from jumping on that chair before the photo was taken he’d be a lock

Announcing the Wondermark Classy Photo Contest!

Marksman Evan W. with an early entry – featuring the Steam Powered shirt. (Click photo for bigger)

Break out your cameras! I’m pleased to announce the first-ever Wondermark Classy Photo Contest!

The rules are simple:

1. Take a classy photo featuring yourself (or other humans or animals) along with any item from the Wondermark Goodsery: a book, T-shirt, poster, etc. Multiple items in the same photo are OK. Be creative! Pretend you’re doing a catalog shoot for the item. You can define “classy” however you want — it doesn’t necessarily have to mean “wearing a top hat” although that is probably fine.

2. Upload your picture! Join the new Wondermark Flickr Group, upload your entry, and tag it “wondermarkclass”.

3. Write something in the description — about you, about the photo, how you thought of the idea, where you took it, etc. I want this set to be fun for folks to browse and read!


Photos will be JUDGED and PRIZES AWARDED. Scoring will be based on:

20% Classiness
30% Quality of photography
50% Creativity
+10% Extra credit for description

I will award at least one BEST IN SHOW award of $100 cash, and (depending on number of entries) I also expect to award other prizes as well, including a Best-in-Category Prize for the best photo of each particular Wondermark item. So your odds will be better if you choose one of the less common items!

If you do not have any Wondermark items to take pictures of, I will also accept entries that recreate, in a photograph, any single panel in Wondermark history. Your choice! (In the description on Flickr, please cite the comic you’re recreating.) There will be a special prize category for these entries.

If you don’t have a Flickr account, you can still enter the contest by emailing me your entry; I’ll upload it for you. Send it to dave at wondermark dot com, with the subject line “Classy Photo: [Some brief description].”

Put in an actual description, not the actual words “Some brief description”, even though it would be a hilarious joke.

More Rules

1. You may enter as many times as you like. Collaborative entries are OK too.

2. Remember that part of the judging will be on photo quality, so webcam and cellphone shots will likely suffer on that score. Take as nice a picture as you can!

3. There must be someone in the picture — I can take my own pictures of my stuff sitting there alone. Animals are OK; people are better.

4. The use of photomanipulation is OK, so long as the subject of the picture is clear. I may award both a “best manipulated” and a “best naturalistic” award, depending on the number of entries.

5. You agree that by submitting a photo, I’m allowed to repost it here on Wondermark, or on TopatoCo. (You of course retain the copyright to it, unless you choose otherwise.)

6. The deadline to submit or upload photos will be the end of the day (midnight Pacific time) on Monday, November 7th. So you’ve got three weeks!


We are also holding a nearly identical photo contest over at Machine of Death! You can also enter that one if you want to win another $100 cash prize.

The rules are all the same, except instead of a classy Wondermark photo, you must submit a Machine of Death Evidence Photo. This should be a single photo that tells the story of a Machine of Death prediction — most likely come true in an ironic fashion. (More info on what that means.)

Our favorite MOD photos will win prizes as well, and will be shown at the upcoming Super-Stupendous Machine of Death Magic & Variety Show! Oh did I mention that I am putting on a magic and variety show? I am. It’ll be in Hollywood, CA on November 17th. Details here, with more to come!

Upload your MOD photos (tagged “modevidence”) to the just-as-new MOD Flickr Group, or email them to submit at machineofdeath dot net, subject “Evidence Photo: [Some description].”

The deadline and other guidelines are the same! This is what we call SYNERGY. Any questions? Leave a comment. Can’t wait to see your photos!