Sometimes, you just gotta suck it up and say… nothing. Forever.
Sometimes, you just gotta suck it up and say… nothing. Forever.
Maybe I should learn to skateboard someday. I feel like I think about skateboarding more frequently than most.
I’m back from ConBravo and it was great! Met some fans, made some new fans and had some great chats. I even did a Webcomics panel with some other great webcomic artists! Great times!
I’ll see you next year, ConBravo!
This was basically our D&D group.
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July 24th, 2015: My book To Be or Not To Be (choose-your-own-path Hamlet!) is in the new Humble eBooks Bundle! Up to TWENTY-ONE books now at a pay-what-you-want price, plus you support charity (and artists)! THIS IS CRAZY, YOU SHOULD GET THIS.
Finally, did you see my NINE shirt designs available for FOUR DAYS only? HOPEFULLY YOU DID??
This concludes the "things I've made that you should probably buy" update.
This photo of Earth was taken by NASA on July 6th 2015 at a distance of one million miles away from Earth. All the images were captured by the camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite, a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope.
The photo was generated by combining three different images to create a photographic-quality result with a great level of detail. This is the first photo of Earth completely illuminated by the Sun in 43 years. The original was taken by American astronauts in 1972, during the latest Apollo (17) mission. In this amazing image, we can see the North and Central parts of the American continent and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean islands.
Be sure to follow NASA Goddard on Flickr for more photos and future images of our earthly home.
*Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera
Video game art can be tough but it can easily look just tacky. I think my Bastion/Transistor and Zac Gorman Wind Waker art splits the uprights though.
Also my giant canvas print of the Great A'tuin is still wonderful and perfect.
Being a pseudo-adult is the best. I hope to keep it up forever.
All of the art on the walls of his apartment is from Katie Clark! I bought two of her arts two years ago at Emerald City Comic Con and I’m a big fan.
Here’s a better pic of one of the prints I bought (and one of the prints in that guy’s apartment):
So if you like that kind of stuff, please check out the stuff she has on her site!
Patissez, a small bakery in Canberra, has created a monster. They’ve created and sell “Freakshows,” gigantic milkshakes topped with baked goods and spilling over with decadent ingredients like salted caramel, fudge, vanilla cream, and Nutella. The pictures have been everywhere the last few days, and when I first saw them, I stopped dead in my tracks. The milkshake was so ridiculous and messy and amazing and I had to have it. Unfortunately, plane tickets to Canberra are a bit out of my price range for a milkshake. So what’s a girl to do? MAKE HER OWN.
Three of their milkshakes incorporate baked goods made in house, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to compete with that. But one of them, the Nutella and Salted Pretzel shake, uses ingredients any of us can find at our local grocery store. Plus, who wouldn’t be up to the challenge of using half of a container of Nutella for one milkshake?
The tricks to this shake is to go big, get messy, and make as much as you can from scratch. Making homemade vanilla whipped cream gave it a nicer color, flavor, and texture than using the pre-made bright white stuff from a can. When it all came together, I stood back in awe. I felt a bit like Dr. Frankenstein: giddy at my monstrous creation, and thrilled that I had done it. But after consuming just a fifth of it? I had wondered what I had brought into the world. This shake is rich, huge, disgustingly delicious, and it should not be for one mere mortal. Please, drink responsibly and share this with your entire family.
Ok, enough disclaimers. Let’s get to the recipe.
Nutella and Salted Pretzel Freakshow Shake
Vanilla Whipped Cream
The beauty of a milkshake is that it’s easy to experiment and fix your mistakes. Want it thicker? Add more ice cream? Want it thinner? Add more milk. Need more Nutella? Add more Nutella. (Or just lick the edge of the jar, for goodness sake. There’s SO MUCH Nutella everywhere.) I made all of the shake’s ingredients in denominations of 3s so you can easily increase or decrease the size.
If you could make your own flavor of freakshow shake, what would you include? I think mine would be a banana cookies and cream shake with chocolate whipped cream, multiple oreos, and an entire banana. Cause why not?
True comic. The computer was failing to get an IP address from the network several times a day for no apparent reason. My parent’s computer had The Real Problems™
I’m gonna be in Hamilton, Ontario in like a week for Con Bravo! Whoa! Are YOU gonna be there? Because I will be!
I’ll be doing a webcomic panel with I AM ARG (who is also a server pal/real pal) along with some other webcomic folks!
There are problems in this comic. Comparing Greece vs US debts is like comparing someone working minimum wage ($15k/yr) to someone making a million dollars a year (that is the relative ratio of our GDPs, US is 70x Greece's)
uh, excuse me but what about ronins?
This went around twitter and tumblr but still worth sharing
Whoa we need this. At least I need this. I'm awful at ending conversations.
Sudden-water-when-expecting-a-sweet-thing is incredibly jarring. Especially for some people!
Will I ever be 100% not awkward?
According to a report from BBC News the Pope ‘plans to chew coca leaves’ during his visit to Bolivia. Although portrayed as a radical encounter, this is really a return to cocaine use after a long period of abstinence in the papal office.
Although the leaves are a traditional, mild stimulant that have been used for thousands of years, they are controversial as they’re the raw material for synthesising powder cocaine.
The leaves themselves actually contain cocaine in its final form but only produce a mild stimulant effect because they have a low dose that is released relatively gently when chewed.
The lab process to produce the powder is largely concerned with concentrating and refining it which means it can be taken in a way to give the cocaine high.
The Pope is likely to be wanting to chew coca leaves to show support for the traditional uses of the plant, which, among other things, are used to help with altitude sickness but have become politicised due to the ‘war on drugs’.
Because of this, recent decades have seen pressure to outlaw or destroy coca plants, despite them being little more problematic than coffee when used in traditional ways, and consequently, a push back campaign from Latin Americans has been increasingly influential.
However, two previous Popes have been cocaine users. Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius X were drinkers of Vin Mariani, which was essentially cocaine dissolved in alcohol for its, er, tonic effect.
Pope Leo XIII even went as far as appearing in an advert for Vin Mariani, which you can see in the image above.
The advert says that “His Holiness THE POPE writes that he has fully appreciated the beneficient effects of this Tonic Wine and has forwarded to Mr. Mariani as a token of his gratitude a gold medal bearing his august effigy.”
But being a Latin American, the new Pope seems to have a much more sensible view of the drug and values it in its traditional form, and so probably won’t be giving away some of the papal gold after having a blast on the liquid snow.
The fluidity of barbecue
Where I’m from, folks like to argue about what defines barbecue. Opinions abound, but I would argue the answer is in the word itself, which can mean a device, a food style, a method of cooking or a social event.
Historians and etymologists and culinary anthropologists and the like generally hold that “barbecue” evolved from barbacoa, which roughly translated from several old Caribbean dialects means “a rack made of sticks,” which could be used for a wide array of purposes including cooking. Now if one is going to cook on sticks, which are composed of a flammable material (wood) one would want to keep one’s barbacoa well away from the fire doing the cooking. This means that the food would cook slowly and there would probably be a fair amount of exposure to smoke. Whether or not the pirates and privateers that roamed the Caribbean randomly capturing and cooking wild pigs became known as “buccaneers” due to their savvy with barbacoas, I refuse to speculate, but I totally buy that slow cooking over a smoldering fire pretty much defines the “barbecue” process whether sticks are used or not.
If we accept the above proposition then we must also accept that any food prepared via smoldering fire may be referred to as “barbecued” and yes I do mean any food be it animal, fruit or vegetable. If you serve me something called “barbecue” (notice the absence of the “d”), however, then you’d better be handing over a hunk of critter that has been slow cooked until tender and smokey. Please note that if the fire in question is hot, then the food in question is “grilled” not “barbecued.” Do you hear me California? Well do ya?
As far as I’m concerned the most important connotation of “barbecue” is a social event where the food “barbecue” is prepared. In his personal journal George Washington made a record of attending a “barbecue” in Alexandria, Va., in May of 1769. He notes that he “stayed all night” and that tells us that the tradition of standing around in the outdoors for hours on end, drinking and watching a pig (or a steer in Texas … or a sheep in certain parts of Kentucky) slowly cook, has been with us a while. This caveman ritual is primal stuff, which should be respected and repeated a heck of a lot more often than it is.
So build yourself a barbecue and throw a barbecue where you barbecue some barbecue. Just know that as far as I’m concerned there is one thing the word “barbecue” never refers to …
… a sauce.
Okay St. Louis, come and get me.
Men just want sex more than women. I’m sure you’ve heard that one. Stephen Fry even went as far as suggesting in 2010 that straight women only went to bed with men because sex was “the price they are willing to pay for a relationship”.
Or perhaps you’ve even heard some of the evidence. In 1978 two psychologists, Russell Clark and Elaine Hatfield, did what became a famous experiment on the topic – not least because it demonstrated how much fun you can have as a social psychologist. Using volunteers, Clark and Hatfield had students at Florida State University approach people on campus and deliver a pick-up line.
The volunteers always began the same “I’ve noticed you around campus. I find you to be very attractive”, they said. They varied what they said next according to one of three randomly chosen options. Either “would you go out tonight?”, or “will you come over to my apartment?”, or “would you go to bed with me?” (if these phrases sound familiar, it may be because they form the chorus of Touch and Go’s 1990s Jazz-pop hit “Would You Go To Bed With Me” – probably the only pop song whose lyrics are lifted entirely from the methods section of a research paper).
In Clark and Hatfield’s research, both men and women were approached (always by volunteers of the opposite sex). The crucial measure was whether they said yes or no. And you can probably guess the results: although men and women were equally likely to accept the offer of a date (about half said yes and half said no), the two sexes differed dramatically in how they responded to the offer of casual sex. None of the women approached took up the offer of sex with a complete stranger. Three-quarters of the men did (yes, more than were willing to just go on a date with a complete stranger).
A matter of interpretation
But since this experiment, controversy has raged about how it should be interpreted. One school of thought is that men and women make different choices because of different sex drives, sex drives which are different for deeply seated biological reasons to do with the logic of evolution. Because, this logic goes, there is a hard limit on how many children a women can have she should be focused on quality in her sexual partners – she wants them to invest in parenting, or at the very least make a high-grade genetic contribution. If she has a child with the wrong partner, she uses up one of a very limited number of opportunities to reproduce. So she should be choosy.
A man on the other hand, shouldn’t be so concerned about quality. There’s no real limit on the number of children he can have, if he has them with different women, so he should grab every sexual opportunity he can, regardless of the partner. The costs are low, there are only benefits.
This evolutionary logic, relentlessly focused as it is on reproduction and survival, does provide a consistent explanation for the differences Clark and Hatfield observed, but it isn’t the only explanation.
The problem is that the participants in this experiment aren’t abstract representatives of all human men and women. They are particular men and women from a particular place and time, who exist in a particular social context – university students in American society at the end of the 20th century. And our society treats men and women very differently. So how about this alternate take: maybe men and women’s sex drives are pretty similar, but the experiment just measures behaviour which is as shaped by society as much as biology.
Taking out the social factor
This month, new research published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, gives a vital handle on the question of whether women really don’t want sex as much as men do.
Two German researchers, Andreas Baranowski and Heiko Hecht, replicated the original Clark and Hatfield study, but with some vital changes. First they showed that the original result still held, even among German university students in the 21st century – and they showed that it still held if you asked people in a nightclub rather than on campus. But the pair reasoned that one factor in how women respond to invitations to sex may be fear – fear of reputational damage in a culture which judges women’s sexual activity differently from men’s, and fear of physical harm from an encounter with a male stranger. They cite one study which found that 45% of US women have experienced sexual violence of some kind.
So, in order to find out if women in these experiments were held back by fear, they designed an elaborate cover scenario designed to make the participants believe they could accept offers of sex without fear of anyone finding out, or of physical danger. Participants were invited into a lab under the ruse that they would be helping a dating company evaluate their compatibility rating algorithm. They were presented with ten pictures of members of the opposite sex and led to believe that all ten had already agreed to meet up with them (either for a date, or for sex). With these, and a few other convincing details, the experimenters hoped that participants would reveal their true attitudes to dating, or hooking up for sex with, total strangers, unimpeded by fear of what might happen to them if they said yes.
The results were dramatic. Now there was no difference between the dating and the casual sex scenarios, large proportions of both men and women leap at the chance to meet up with a stranger with the potential for sex – 100% of the men and 97% of the women in the study chose to meet up for a date or sex with at least one partner. The women who thought they had the chance to meet up with men for sex, chose an average of slightly less than three men who they would like to have an encounter with. The men chose an average of slightly more than three women who they would like to have an encounter with.
Men are from Earth – and so are women
The study strongly suggests that the image of women as sexually choosy and conservative needs some dramatic qualification. In the right experimental circumstances, women’s drive for casual sex looks similar to men’s. Previous experiments had leapt to a conclusion about biology, when they’d actually done experiments on behaviour which is part-determined by society. It’s an important general lesson for anyone who wants to draw conclusions about gender differences, in whatever area of behaviour.
There was still a gender difference in this new experiment – men chose more partners out of ten to meet up with, but still we can’t say that the effect of our culture was washed out. All the people in the experiment were brought up to expect different attitudes to their sexual behaviour based on their gender and to expect different risks of saying yes to sexual encounters (or of saying yes and then changing their minds).
Even with something as biological as sex, when studying human nature it isn’t easy to separate out the effect of society on how we think, feel and act. This new study gives an important update to an old research story which too many have interpreted as saying something about unalterable differences between men and women. The real moral may be about the importance of completely alterable differences in the way society treats men and women.
Sharing for the fun fact at the top
Avocados are and always have been my favorite fruit. And while I could eat guacamole forever, my favorite application is actually avocado butter. It’s a compound butter that makes a fabulous finish for grilled meats, fish and especially corn on the cob. So why not up the flavor and nutrition ante by subbing out some of that cow stuff with avocado?
Choosing avocados: Avocados should be heavy in size, and relatively blemish-free. The level of maturity you seek depends on when you plan to consume them. If you need to keep them for two to three days, buy them as firm as you can. I prefer this scenario because hard fruits are less likely to have suffered bruising.
Fun fact: Avocado comes from the Aztec word ahuacatl meaning … “testicle.”