Posts Tagged ‘blog: musings’.

Internet Archive Releases Millions of Public Domain Images; I Personally Benefit

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Thanks to the many people who’ve sent this bit of info my way! In a move that mirrors the British Library’s similar endeavor from a few months ago, the Internet Archive has placed images from 500 years’ worth of public domain books on Flickr, millions and millions of pictures and emblems and logos and marginalia from digitized books.

Here’s Flickr’s official statement.

And, in a move unlike the British Library’s, in this case they’re attempting to use contextual clues from the OCR’d text preceding and following the image to determine ways to thematically tag the images. It’s not…perfect? (The image at the top of this post is tagged “Historical buildings”.) But it’s a pretty cool effort nonetheless!

You can also browse by year, decade, or century, which is super cool if you want to narrow down the type of art style you’re looking for (as I tend to want to do).

I browsed a few dozen pages of the Flickr set and found some cool images that I used in today’s comic! Here are some of my sources:

The men in the foreground
The browsing man in Panel 1
Some of the vases on the tables
An object on a table in the far background

The other elements in the strip today came from my existing collection.

I love things like this, obviously! Hooray for culture! Hooray for old stuff, it’s a souvenir of the world we weren’t around for, and a reminder of where we have been as humans before.

Fascinating Artifacts From My Mom’s House

My parents moved into this house in 1972! My siblings and I grew up here, perched on a hillside backed up against the National Forest. I lived here my whole life, until I moved out to go to college.

devore-house

But now my mom is moving, and it’s time to clean everything out from a million dusty corners and cabinets and stacks of old boxes! You don’t live someplace for 42 years without odd items sticking around. As you either know or can readily assume, I’m super into weird old stuff, so I thought I’d share some of the unearthed artifacts that I found interesting — including some very surprising correspondence between my mom and ISAAC ASIMOV:

ANCIENT 7UP BOTTLE

DRINK IT

(Click any image for bigger)

CONVENIENTLY CHARRED MATCHBOOK

STRIKE IT

T-SHIRT MADE AT MALL KIOSK IN 1987 — this picture is of me, and it must have been made as a gift for my brother, so that he would be the one wearing the picture of his brother and asserting that he loved me. A FOOLPROOF PLAN

WEAR IT

LEBANESE BAKERY TIN

CONTAIN IT

SPICES LEFT OVER FROM MY GRANDMOTHER’S MOONSHINE — my Lebanese grandmother apparently liked to make arak, an anise-flavored fermented spirit.

We also found her still and a jar of arak that was probably 30+ years old. I wanted to try some, but I also wanted to stay alive, and the latter impulse won out.

SPICE IT

MY ATTEMPT AT MAKING MYSELF AN AIR FORCE UNIFORM AT A VERY YOUNG AGE

SALUTE IT

AMAZING FLYER FOR AN EVENT I WANT TO GO TO

PIIISMOOOOOO

THE AIRPLANE I BUILT TO KILL TIME ON MY COUSIN’S CONSTRUCTION SITE that I later attempted to sell to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, via letter extolling its virtues as an “authentic replica of a C-7 Caribou”, and demanding the highest amount of money I could think of, which was $70. I believe I was in the third grade.

The Smithsonian wrote back with a very kind letter explaining that their collections were built by donations only. No way was I going to donate my masterpiece, so I held onto it! Until yesterday, when I chucked it into a dumpster.

FLY IT

GRADE-SCHOOL-ERA HAND-DRAWN LETTERHEAD FEATURING A BADASS ATTACK HELICOPTER

WRITE IT

PENCIL BOX IN MY MOM’S DESK, STILL BEARING A PRICE TAG FROM HAVING BEEN PURCHASED BY HER IN COLLEGE (1958-1962)

PENCIL IT IN

POSSIBLY MY FIRST PUBLISHED WORK (sadly unfinished). ‘Malown Bros’ referred to me & my elementary school best friend, Aaron Brown.

The whiteout implies that perhaps it did not begin as a collaboration. Note as well the series number in the upper corner — who knows what hijinks Timmy the dog might have gotten up to, had I not abandoned the entire enterprise after a page and a half??

BOOK IT

KEEP BOOKING

BOOK FURTHER

My mom was (and remains) a prolific correspondent: she writes letters to authors, columnists, lawmakers, public figures, and the like. Before email, of course, that was all done on paper (with a brief dalliance into the heady world of the fax), in a way that can leave traces decades later.

I found the occasional response letter she received, implying various inquiries on her part, but imagine my surprise when I found this, tucked quietly in a file folder:

READ IT

A TYPED CARD FROM ISAAC ASIMOV

(The fact that he wrote ‘Mallei’ instead of ‘Malki’ implies that her original was handwritten.)

And as if ONE wasn’t enough to be amazing — the following day my sister discovered ANOTHER!!

CHERISH IT

MORAL OF THE STORY: Write letters, I guess?? And save everything that your kids might remotely find interesting decades later.

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ALSO: Since you are a savvy and informed bunch, I thought I would ask your advice. I have been charged with dispensing of two interesting items: a TRS-80 computer (complete with external floppy drive and a few manuals and pieces of software), and a mid-50′s vintage Zenith TV/phonograph cabinet:

ZENITH IT

Neither are in mint condition and both are rather heavy and tricky to move. (Currently they are in Southern California.) I don’t know if they have any collectible value, or if the labor of maximizing said value would be worth it in the end.

If you have any clever suggestions as to what to do with these things (besides simply discard them, unless that’s the best option), please leave a comment on this post. I appreciate any assistance!

2013 Errata

Although we employ a rigorous team of fact-checkers at all times, who — in violation of most worldwide labor laws — don’t even get a break to go to the restroom, we have been informed by various busybodies that a few factual mistakes have crept into the occasional comic strip we published in 2013. Please find our corrections below.

#911; What Happens Alone, Part 2
There are, in fact, geese on Gax, but they devour any creature whose gaze brushes against their silky feathers, so it makes sense that Gax would not know about them.

#938; In which a Dog’s got a Mouth
The dog did not really think it was THAT bad of an idea; he just felt pressured into having a contrary opinion.

#967; In which a Star comes Home, Part 2
Technically, Jenny Simmons did not die when her train went off a cliff; she died when the train car she was sitting in hit the jagged rocks at the bottom of the cliff.

#975; In which Quality is assured
‘Lots’ of people is somewhat overstating the success of the East Valley junior high car wash.

#946; Talking, In a Manner of Speaking
The communication method speech is not the difficulty level that hard.

2012 Errata
Somebody forgot to do a 2012 errata.

Wondermark regrets the errors.

Previously: 2011 Errata / 2009 Errata / 2008 Errata

Holiday Comics from Years Past

Happy holidays! Whether you observe Christmas, Epiphany, the Reaving, the Festival of Mist, Sunreturn, the Great Earthburst, the Terror of King Absolution, Darknight Fortnight, or even something fake, I hope you spend the season happy, warm, and in the company of those you love.

Here are some of my favorite Wondermark holiday comics from years past:

#779; The Breakthrough
#897; In which it’s Too Late
#474; In which you better Watch Out
#582; In which George gets a Lute
#683; In which a Line of Questioning is halted
#476; In which Suffering was a Waste
#686; The Taylors leave a Shadow
#466; In which Everyone loves the Freak
#687; In which Santa appears at last
#363; In which Joy is mandated
#093; In which a Fortress is breached
#357; In which Mall Parking sucks
#141; In which the Son of God stands in queue
#081; In which a Confrontation occurs
#260; In which a Plan ends poorly
#069; In which the Canucks get a Pretty Good Idea
#475; In which Trouble is both avoided, and provoked

Celebrating Oktoberfesterdämmerung

I hope your Oktoberfesterdämmerung is going — ah, not well, exactly, because that would be beside the point, but tolerably.

Oktoberfesterdämmerung is, of course, on our list of new holidays for 2012. It’s a multi-week-long — well, not celebration exactly, more like acknowledgement that life has its gray moments, that beer and sausages are nice during the day, but that the night has its place as well.

Oktoberfesterdämmerung began in 1811, when Reinhold Cornhold, a minor duke of the Lesser Prussian Lowlands, drank a beer and ate a sausage and just sat on his minor estate watching the sun go down behind a forested mountain. “Huh,” he thought, in Lesser Prussian. “One hundred years from now, nobody will remember the cow I punched this morning for not yielding milk, nor how profusely I apologized to it. Two hundred years from now, this building where I am sitting might be a quarry, or a battlefield, or a space station, or a peanut factory. Three hundred years from now, my name will have faded from the lips of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Unless I do something now.”

Thus started the Prussian tradition of punching cows and apologizing to them, and then drinking some milk, and then later that day drinking beer and eating a sausage in the dark, citing Reinhold Cornhold’s name as the reason for it all. At first only Reinhold’s household observed the tradition — at his fierce insistence — but later, as the minor duke divorced* and married and divorced and married more and more equally-minor duchesses from the surrounding clandoms, the custom spread.

Unsurprisingly, cows eventually learned to avoid the Lesser Prussian Lowlands, and the territory was conquered by the French in 1848 thanks to the brittle bones of the undercalciumed Prussian army. Later, Reinhold Cornhold’s estate was bulldozed to build an Aldi supermarket.

*Can’t imagine why anyone would divorce such a charming fellow.

So, this Oktoberfesterdämmerung, have a beer, a sausage, a hearty nighttime-think, and a cow-punch (with apology) on me! And when you do, think of Reinhold Cornhold. He may have been fictional, but he gave us something all too real: RC Cola, which bears his initials to this day.


Obligatory reminder: Sunday, September 30 will be the last day to order Artist Editions of my new book!

Also, TopatoCo has just placed tons of older shirt designs on clearance, including a couple of mine! UPDATE: and this one too!