Mark and Jenny Running Commentary by Julie Bihn


Written 8/18/02 -


1/18/02 Floral Arrangement strip 4

Panel 1. The GIF compression turned Jenny into a goth again. This happens with alarming regularity to Jenny and her immediate family, and I'm generally too lazy to do anything about it. Stupid cheap shareware graphics program.

Panel 2. Mark's camera looks like my old one which broke (::sigh::). It was actually the exact same model of camera used in the one Kodak commercial for their new Advantex or Advantage or Advan-something cameras. Mine was the old confusing camera, of course. But it worked fine, and I liked it as well as my fancy zoom-lens camera I have now. I should've just got a digital one....

Panel 3. Yet another lame way to escape a storyline that I couldn't make work. How lazy of me...I should be ashamed.

As for the prize thing, I finally gave the winners their prizes. What a punk I was for not doing it sooner. ^^; Well, better late than never, I guess.


1/21/02 Job Trouble strip 1

Panel 1. Jenny's so thrilled to be colored almost the right skin tone, she doesn't notice her lips turned black. ^^; That's supposed to be a remote in her hand, I assume. My remote is gray and vaguely ergonomic. The TV remote, anyway.

Panel 3. There's no way Samuel was making $25,000 a year. What's really horrible is that the poverty line is considerably lower than that for a family of FOUR.

At any rate, Samuel probably makes $23,000 a year tops. I hadn't done so much thinking about money than as I've done since I got a job and all.

The troll thing was inspired by my former roommate's mother who collects good luck trolls. Kinda scary, come to think of it!


1/25/02 Job Trouble strip 2

Panel 3. Isn't corporate America fun?

I think this arc adds a little to Samuel's personality, as in, it helps give him one. What kind of person would quit a job rather than remove a rainbow wig from his scalp?

Well, all right, Samuel hates the idea of being bald. But even so! It takes an interesting person to do such a thing. Couple that with his love of comics which was hinted at earlier and you almost have a real character.

A certain astute reader (ChrisMusecoughcough) asked if this arc had anything to do with my attempts to find a job. Yeah, it kind of did. But putting my characters through things makes me fear them less myself. Unfortunately, since Samuel never really did any temp work, I couldn't use most of my best material for him. ("Working through a temp agency is like having a friend with connections. Of course, that friend's also kind of a jerk.") And of course I don't work retail, so maybe I would've been better off leaving him in an office. Oh well... I think this was more fun anyway, even if it keeps me from fully releasing my pent-up feelings in my characters.



1/28/02 Job Trouble strip 3

Panel 2. That's supposed to be their checkbook.

Panel 3. I hope you've seen the "Coin Star" machines in grocery stores where you can cash in your spare change for real folding money (after paying a small surcharge, of course).

Oddly enough, given the current stock market woes (well, current in August 2002...), Samuel and Jenny's investment strategies seem almost reasonable.

Don't worry about Mark in the stock market; he has an obscene amount of money in Treasury Bills, banks, and other no-risk ventures. That's not to say he wouldn't lose a good deal of money in a market downturn, but the only effect it would have on his lifestyle would be that he might have to scale back Hun's guest house to a mere 15 rooms. If he were building her a guest house, anyway--he's surely that frivolous, but I think he likes to have her nearby. ^_^

Random link. Back at this time I was looking for a job and finding it hard, and also finding myself rather bored. Rather than working on comics or otherwise bettering myself, I played online games. Admittedly, those keep me amused at slow times at work....but I shouldn't be saying that. At least one of my co-workers knows my URL....although I think I've probably showed her my Neopets before, so maybe it's OK. Besides, what are the odds of her reading this particular commentary?


2/18/02 Job Trouble strip 4

Panel 1. I always thought it incredibly cheap in comics when artists would resort to using a silhouette of the characters instead of drawing them all the way, not to mention gaudily colored backgrounds instead of the real things. And here I am doing both (and poorly to boot!). It's so funny how much we change when we grow up.....

Although even when I was young and reading the Rescue Ranger comics (that was about 1990) I still drew a 4-page comic where I think a full page was in the dark, so all you could see were eyes.... I guess I oughtta put it up someday, just to amuse people, though I did some rather better Tiny Toons ones (well, maybe two of them, only one of which was finished....*maybe*...)

Panel 2. Mark uses the word "hogtied," though it's hard to read.

Panel 3. This strip really is incredibly puzzling. Jenny's the one who complained about a kid drinking a beer because it was illegal, but here she is ready to steal (which seems even worse to me). Is it all right to take stuff from bad people, even if it's against the law?

I'm guessing the desperation of potentially losing her home drove her to madness. Too bad, really.


2/22/02 Job Trouble strip 5

Panel 1. I have trouble drawing people, you know, touching. ^^;

Panel 3. Mark's joke was lame, but not lame enough to be funny. Actually, the word 'lame' is probably offensive too. Sorry.

Random link: I am STILL on Neopets even today. I like my pets, though, and I'm getting more Neopoints (virtual money)'s been over a year....


2/25/02 Job Trouble strip 6

Panel 2. Actually, this strip implies there's anthropomorphic animals in the "Mark and Jenny" universe. Which might be true, actually, as Cat and Hun demonstrate human feelings and attributes. But in that case no one there should eat meat. -_-;;; (Actually, people probably shouldn't eat meat either, but I do anyway.)

More importantly, Chuck Jones was my favorite of all the old Warner Brothers directors. I highly recommend his book Chuck Amuck. At least he lived a long and good life.

Random link: I should probably visit that site when I'm bored at work, but it's not even on my list of sites I visit anymore. I'm not sure why (although my interest in Disneyland has waned recently, I visit two other Disney news sites...). But I never visited it much....awww, they have a photo of a Minnie beanbag doll dressed as Jessie the cowgirl...I love Jessie...^_^


3/1/02 Job Trouble strip 7

Panel 1. Actually, the thought of having more than one person to directly work for me just makes my head reel. (Though in all honesty, I could sure go for someone to do all the traditional wifely duties--the cooking and cleaning, I mean ^^;;;;; )

Panel 3. Chris Muse pointed out something along the lines of Jenny equating youth with attractiveness or something else negative--which I guess is true. Then again, one of my former coworkers' wives just loved men with gray hair/older men, which I find bizarre....

As for me, well, we don't need to know what I like, do we? ^_^

My random thought was particularly inane at the time. I wasn't even in any sociology classes (or a university) so I can't blame that...who the heck would want to study how many new sites are visited anyway? Though unless I'm looking for historical information on Google, I sure don't check out new sites....

Hey, except for this one! Check it out! (Well, if you like comics and/or the Rescue Rangers much at all; the art is excellent and the story is engaging (though there's some aspects I took issue with). Neat!


3/4/02 Job Trouble strip 8

Panel 1. There's nothing harder (for me anyway) than assembling references for a job hunt. Most jobs have a policy where you can't even use your former bosses as personal references (at least, mine does)--so how are you supposed to assemble them? It's sooo hard....-_-

Panel 3. I go crazy and get all blood-lusty when I play the fighting game Tekken, so I don't do it anymore. But I can beat most novices with my vicious button-smashing techniques (even my former roommate when she'd spent a week playing with friends--when we went to the arcade I cleaned her clock ^_^).

But Jenny's right; whatever job Carson was going for, it probably didn't matter how good he was at video games.

As for the random thought, that's bizarrely self-referencing, isn't it? You know, making a reference to making a reference to my commentaries, in a commentary? Oh, forget it.


3/8/02 Job Trouble strip 9

This comic isn't funny at all, just plot development. Which doesn't much pan out, of course.

Giving up dreams is a big theme in my work, since that's a big concern in my life--I hope I haven't totally surrendered my dreams, but my life is utterly mundane and doesn't encourage my creativity a bit......and I don't update like I should...(on the other hand, my most active time on my comics web page was when I was bored and lonely in college ^_^;;;)

As for ER, I gave up watching it. The episode I was referring to was the one where they're all waiting for a class to start (yes, a class, that they got thrown into after making some inappropriate comments upon discovering some, er, "grown-up" toys) and they just spend the whole time talking about their pasts. And then the guys start FENCING. In college creative writing classes they encourage you to "write what you know," so having a bunch of young people talking in a classroom seemed the ultimate example of this. And it was AWFUL. I read an article pretty recently about how ER is going to go in that direction now, more people-oriented stories, and they specifically cited that episode. And that is one of the reasons I don't watch!


3/11/02 Job Trouble strip 10

Panel 1. One of the problems of a strip format is the obligation to restate what happened in the last strip, in the new one. Since strips are usually 3 or at most 4 panels long, that doesn't leave much room for story development, or even jokes.

Panel 2. Samuel's using chopsticks. I don't know how to myself. ^^;

Panel 3. I'm pretty sure my online friend Karl mentioned that Spam is actually more expensive than cheap cuts of meat. But Spam is the traditional cheap food, which is why I used it here. Karl's a creative fellow. He wrote probably my favorite piece of poetry (written about me, anyway):

On Picacho Peak
An anime freak
Did place a Pikachu
While it was asleep

The creature awoke
As a new dawn broke
And Julie, a hiker
'near had a stroke

Swept up from the rock
Then crushed to her smock
The Pikachu squeaked
And gave her a shock

This tickled her fancy
And home she went dancing
She painted it pink
And called it a Chancey

As for the random thoughts, I haven't seen the Zeta Project in a while, and I kind of miss it--but I haven't even managed to watch Pokémon lately, let alone anything else on Kids WB. But I don't like most of their new cartoons either. Bleh.


3/15/02 Job Trouble strip 11

Panel 1. I think this is the first time that Samuel (and by extension, Jenny) is given a last name. I always come up with funny-sounding last names when pressed. (Asher is a fine last name, but it just doesn't seem natural. My apologies to any Samuel or Jenny Ashers out there; I'm sure the names fit you fine, unless you have rainbow hair or fight crime, in which case I'm going to cower under my bed now.)

I don't know what the lady's last name is supposed to be--it looks pretty close to 'Pickering' which in theory would've been from the show "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" (my favorite sitcom on TV--when it's on--but it's not been on lately, and its future isn't too good.... ;_; ) But it debuted March 19th (according to this site, anyway)--though I could've been influenced by the incessant commercials for that show that were airing on Fox the week before. ^_^;

Panel 2. Hope the point got across; it's the kind of thing that would be better done in about 3 panels, but it's not that funny. (Though it made me smile.)

Panel 3. "Don't worry, Smithers; if things would've gotten control, I had my mace." Maces are neat because they aren't ubiquitous like swords.

Panel 4. First appearance of Miss Bethany Valor, the vaguely-Gothic blue-haired woman. She talks with a mock-British accent and is supposed to be slightly fuller-figured than the rest of my cast (though it's hard to tell given my, er, style, and her coat). She's also got a darker skin tone than the other characters (a little odd, since stereotypical Goths are paper-white). And she has a ring in her right nostril (though I think it changes sometimes). Just another wacky character added to my menagerie.


3/18/02 Job Trouble strip 12

Panel 1. As I say in the character section, the kinda cute explanatory label for Bethany is inspired by the gay-looking designer in Tang's Weekly Comic. I used to visit his site regularly but more recently the continual links to adult comics were kinda too much for me, so I don't visit often anymore.

Panel 3. That's supposed to be a business card. And a hand holding it. ^^;

I guess I never explained why Bethany is out looking for multiple employees for her store, as I assumed she'd been in business for a while. Upcoming story idea? Nah.

And yeah, in case you haven't read the rest of my commentaries for this year, I still like my Neopets. Lillaray's still my favorite; she's purple now (and I don't use the 'photo' on the petpage anymore, so you can see her paws! Yay!). But now I have another Acara named Nillaray (inspired by Bethany; she likes to talk with a British accent) and a third Acara named Tulty (he's the one who used to be a Shoyru; I used the lab ray on him repeatedly and finally just gave him an Acara morphing potion in the hopes the lab ray would turn him a cool color--and it made him ISLAND the second day! Nillaray wanted to be Island (they have earrings!) but this is good too. (Nillaray's a very striking and vaguely-Gothic black with orange flames. ^_^) Island paintbrushes are expensive! Oh, yeah, and as of this very moment Twovee (named after a character in one of my RPs and stories) is a glowing Wocky, which I rather like--but I can't use the ray on my beloved Acara, so I have to use it on Twovee...::sigh::

The petpages are completely outdated, wiith the possible exception of Lillaray's, thanks to the lab ray.


3/22/02 Job Trouble strip 13

Unfortunately, as of this writing (3/5/03) the job market is still not great. But then, the '90s probably spoiled us, with too many jobs.... Though I do like how Samuel is looking up at Jenny's cartoon bubble as if she's reading her words.

I wish I were better at inking--I know I'm not a great artist by any means, but my inking makes my art that much worse....

Did you know those new Eclipse breath strips are made by Wrigley? And did you know there's a Wrigley Mansion built in Arizona around 1929 or so? I don't know exactly where, but those wealthy Wrigleys used to spend time here. The mansion has an obscene number of bathrooms--almost as many bathrooms as bedrooms, which just puzzled the heck out of me. (Heck, it might've even had more bathrooms; I don't remember.) If I really cared I'd be looking up a page to link to, but as it is, I can't think of any witty commentary, and a commercial for those breath strips just came on TV, and there's been several mentions of the Wrigleys that I've seen in the past week or so (versus the zero I saw the rest of my life (!)), and I have the day off tomorrow, and I'm just sitting here waiting to either go play Dance Dance Revolution or for my mom to bring me ice cream....mmm, ice cream..... have I rambled enough?


3/25/02 Job Trouble strip 14

Panel 1. Yeah, Mark's hair randomly turned red. Shut up.

Panel 2. Jenny's philosophy was probably like my own at this point--who cares what the job is, as long as I get hired? Well, that's not the case, but given that there's no non-self-employed "careers" I've seen in the state of Arizona that I'd be interested in...

Panel 3. Not that I bothered doing any research into what grenade launchers look like, let alone how they work...

At this point, I could go off onto two different tangents--one about how on Rescue Rangers they once found themselves in a truck full of toys and wound up using some of the military toy costumes, which was kinda cute, and one about how much I like the cherry-type syrup grenadine (I'd drink it in shots if I didn't think that would probably be harmful!).

No clue what's up with Fika; hopefully a lack of "Mark and Jenny" related updates didn't cause Chris Muse to spiral into a deep depression. Yeah, that's not too likely. >whew<


3/29/02 Job Trouble strip 15

Panel 1. No clue what I was lettering with there. A responsible commentator would track down the original strips and try to figure it out, but I'm just trying to get this finished. ^^;

Panel 2. I doubt anyone would think those thoughts in those exact words, but it got the point across.

Panel 3. This would've been better if I had showed more about what the store itself was or looked like, but there's only so much you can do in half a strip, especially when you ink with as absurdly big pens as I do. The yellow thing on the door is a bell.

Random link. That's the last update that page I linked to has had for a looong time (at least, according to the main page).......but I don't know........


4/1/02 Job Trouble strip 16

Panel 1. Funny; I hate when things are spelled Centre, but I love Shoppe and especially Ye Olde. At Renaissance Festivals I like to preface any noun with 'Ye Olde' to keep it from being an anachronism. Ye Olde cell phone, Ye Olde paintball (they really did have the latter there when I wen tthis year)...

Panel 2. I guess Bethany's store is a cross between Hot Topic and Super Wal-Mart. But this way I don't have to be as much of a poser as I would be if it was a regular corporate Goth store.

Panel 3. Do NOT pierce your pet; it's a terrible idea! But I thought it was funny too. And the dog is happy.

As for the random thought, it's early March, but nah, I won't do anything freaky for April Fool's this year either. Yay.


4/5/02 Job Trouble strip 17

Panel 1. Poor Samuel apparently has no vocabulary. ^^; Bethany's comment is a takeoff of the line "the customer is always right." Bethany's philosophy probably makes working retail much more fun.

Of course, I had a friend working retail about this, now one of my friends in Tucson works at a dry cleaners...

Panel 2. Twice minimum wage is about what I started out getting. Yay data entry.

Panel 3. That comic cover, of course, is from Fox Tales 14. It looks MUCH better shrunk down to about 50 pixels in height. ^^; But that was back before I knew much about scanning big and coloring and then shrinking a picture to make the edges look better.

Samuel's crying, though it looks like some of Bethany's hair dye landed on his face. But if you remember, Samuel always wanted to work in a comic book store...

Random link. My 24-hour-comic is here. I thought it was pretty good for a 24-hour comic, but some people rather harsly disagreed...not to my face; just on a website devoted to saying how much other websites suck. ^^; If I could just learn to draw arms and hands I'd be in fair shape...or I could make them stumps like the Powerpuff Girls...^_^


4/8/02 Job Trouble strip 18

Panel 1. No idea why the front entryway in a small apartment is entirely unlit, but a side room is.

Panel 2. The joke is that it's supposed to look like Samuel brought home a bottle of wine, but given my drawing skills, a bottle of wine and a bottle of ketchup look exactly the same.....

Panel 3. Actually, the "generic brand" of items sometimes taste better than the name brands. Unfortunately, I can't think of an example right this moment, but it's true, I tell you!

As for the random thought, evidently it's taken me something like a year to finish up with the commentary. Sorry.


4/12/02 Suspicion strip 1

Panel 1. This is what the interior of Mark's car looks like. I think my 1980s Corvette Hot Wheels car is in my briefcase; if not, it's in with my drawing things. Probably. I should give Mark a new car; I thought the reason he kept this one was because it reminded him of high school (!) but then he said a long time ago that he'd just get a new one if his got scratched. So much for sentimental value. I'm sure I said that in the commentary for that page about that...hey, no I didn't.

Anyway, drawing the inside of cars is hard. I guess I should find some pictures where people have already done that and copy them...

Random link. I'm still pretty heavily involved in the RPs at Venura (though it's now at a new location, and offline often). I do them a lot at work, where we're (so far) allowed to do stuff online if there's no other work to do (and since I'm now the boss (!) there's often nothing else to do...).

I assume the word edumacational was used on the Simpsons...


4/15/02 Suspicion strip 2

Panel 1. I hate backgrounds.

Panel 2. And anatomy. Wish I had more to say for this strip--it is a fair setup for the next one...

Random link. Titus really was a funny and occasionally touching show, but unfortunately, it got cancelled. A little too offensive for Fox (!) I guess. So now we get a pitiful season of the Simpsons (2002-03 was just too much; it's nearly gone the way of ER for me) and mostly reality TV shows. Sigh.


4/19/02 Suspicion strip 3

Panel 3. The joke of this strip, of course, is that Jenny and Samuel are living like turn-of-the-century British sweatshop workers. Of course, to the small percentage of our country (or probably large percentage of other countries) where people really do live near toxic smoke--or to the environmentalists who insist we're ruining the environment--that's probably not funny ta all. Sorry.

As for the random thoughts--I'm still in that same job (started out a temp, got hired permanently in September, got made the supervisor in late October, am now, well, pretty bored ^^;;; ). As for keeping on schedule, I now laugh at that idea! But between working 40 hours, commuting an hour and a half a day, a RP, and trying to play Dance Dance Revolution at least 20 minutes a day to get some semblance of exercise (and the fact that I hate strips, and the fact that I'm tired of being insulted online ^^;;;; ). I didn't mean for this commentary to be so depressing!

If you want depressing, the next US Pokémon game is coming out later in March of 2003 and once I buy it I'll probably have even less of a life. ^^; Equally depressing to me is that it doesn't appear you can catch a Chansey, nor can you transfer Pokémon from other games. ::sniff::

Mark would be crushed, but he's still just so darned excited he can play as a female trainer.

No comment on that from me.


4/22/02 Suspicion strip 4

Panel 1. Beth's Costume Shoppe. Not that Bethany likes being called Beth, mind you.

Panel 2. My graphics program likes to do that funny boxy thing like on Bethany's cape when I turn things into GIFs, and usually I'm too lazy to go in by hand and fix every little square, even though I ought to. I think the poster in the background is of my RP character, a fairy named Taradith (whose name I swiped for my Neopets name too). But I'm not sure.

Panel 3. Hey, guess what two of the least-funny comics in the newspaper are in my eyes? ^_^ If I were writing it now I would've probably replaced Nancy (which our paper dropped anyway) with Get Fuzzy (I don't know what's up with that comic; there were a couple weeks' worth which were legitimately funny, but 95% of the time I think they're, well, completely stupid). Although Cathy and Doonesbury have the dubious distinction of being the only comics I never read. My favorite is generally Mutts at this point, only because it's usually the only one I point at and go 'aw!' or 'look, that's Maggie' every time I see it. I'm still a fan of "Rose is Rose" (usually not too funny, but also usually has a high 'aww' factor). Oh, and I consistently like "Zits." Most other comics have good weeks and bad weeks, though I can't quite tell you why I still read "Luann"--it's genuinely creepy to have a comic about a teenage girl written by a grown man, and certain characters strike me as just pandering (let's give a character cancer! how about a sexy guy in a wheelchair?--and my father's in a wheelchair so I feel entitled to complain about that one). Add that to a non-sensical fire that went on for three weeks (okay, the trash can catches on fire and so the guy in the wheelchair and his girlfriend don't notice and get trapped in the room--there's only one exit, a high up window, so the wheelchair guy helps the girlfriend out the window but can't get out himself. Luann's slacker brother comes in to save the day. What creative entrance does he use? Well, the same one that was blocked by the trash can, the one that two people on the same side of the door as the fire couldn't get through, but somehow someone on the other side can, without an ax or anything. How lazy!) Yeah, that comic can inspire as much anger in me as some politicians! On the up side, the drawings are fine. Here I am, I'm sad when people say how much my comics suck, and what do I do? Complain about other comics! But if I was making any money off of my comics, I'd get a thicker skin, I think.

I like the comic "Off the Mark" (where else will you find a comic with a cameo by Nadine, Arthur's little sister DW's imaginary friend? or a joke about kerning (it's a typesetting thing)?) but my stupid newspaper took it out and kept Marmaduke and Dennis the Menace and some new comic I can't even remember the name of. Argh!

As for the random thoughts, you like my continual promises of a new layout? I'm not a liar as much as unmotivated. ^^; Regarding the employment thing, well, I was looking for over 4 months before I found anything (and that was through a temp agency!). I even went to the one temp agency but THEY rejected me. THEY. The TEMP AGENCY, whose job is simply to find you work and then take at least 20% of what you're making--or just leave you in their database for all eternity and not find you anything (that just about happened one summer). Rejected ME. I was bummed for a while, especially since at the time I was super-shy and it took courage to just apply to the agency in the first place... Of course, finding a job right now is very hard, whether you're qualified or not.


4/26/02 Suspicion strip 5

Panel 1. Skintones change color bizarrely when I save things as GIFs. Or JPGs, for that matter...

Panel 3. Ah, yes, Mark and Jenny in Rescue Ranger-like fashion, there's no case too small...

The weird texture on the interior of Mark's car is due to my graphics program's conversion of GIFs. No clue why Mark's phone is blue, but why not? When he gets a Game Boy Advance SP it will probably be blue, unless he bribes Nintendo into giving him a Pikachu yellow one or something...

Random link. I'm still not great at DDR, but I've been talking enough about it in other parts of my commentary. This dates when I got my system nicely, though. ^_^; I still don't have an English Playstation 2, though. ^^;


4/29/02 Suspicion strip 6

Yup; this was a lazy strip. Just one panel. What a punk I am. And no one even gets to see a bit of Jenny's skin (well, OK, she's not wearing gloves), and Mark's costume is neither sparkly nor interesting nor even flamboyant. And I didn't even make a background. But at least it was an update!

As to the DDR thoughts, well, I still stand on my left foot way too much--you can actually clear 6 foot songs doing that, but will have a hard time doing anything harder. It's smarter to learn early on to use both feet but I'm still breaking myself of the standing habit almost a year later...


5/3/02 Suspicion strip 7

Panel 1. No idea why Bethany doesn't have any eyebrows. One of my problems with inking is that it's hard to tell what is dark pencil and what is ink, so sometimes I miss things. Still, I should've caught that in coloring...

Panel 3. Actually, when I was in my freshman year of high school or so, I sent away for a Bonkers (that short-lived Disney Afternoon show--the Miranda episodes were very good, though the Lucky ones, IMO, were awful) fingerprint kit so you really could dust for prints. Didn't work too well, since the powder was just whatever baby powder or talcum powder you had at home (yeah, you had to fill that thing yourself ^^;--though in retrospect, now it would probably be a bad idea to send white powder through the mail, so maybe they knew what they were doing....) and the tape was just a roll of clear Scotch tape, and the narrow kind at that. Oh well; it was kinda cute. I think it even had a book to take people's prints with--and maybe an inkpad that you didn't have to provide your own ink for. ^^;

As a side note, I had it spelled "Mark and Jenny: Vigilatnes" in the main logo quite some time and no one pointed it out to me. It's fixed now. I hope.

The random thought, of course, still refers to Dance Dance Revolution. I thought I was doing well once I finally managed to pass "El Ritmo Tropical" (a two-foot song, but a lot more complex than "Boom Boom Dollar"). Now Paranoia on Basic (6 feet) isn't even a challenge anymore, yet I feel strangely inadequate...


5/6/02 Suspicion strip 8

Panel 1. I'm still not sure if Mark has a lab or not. Well, he probably owns one, technically, or at least has money invested in one, but that's not exactly the same...

Panel 2. I think I forgot to color in the top left corner. And I'm too lazy to change it even now. ^^;

Note my continued abandonment of backgrounds.

Random link. Actually, I still think the Frontier House was a fine piece of not-quite-educational television. Just like the show Arthur! I guess now they're going to do a Colonial House, which seems a little strange to me, but I'll watch it anyway. ^_^; (I also saw the 1940s house--which sounds like it would be a piece of cake, but it was done in Britain, with the air raids and all. Better than a Japanese 1940s house, granted, but not so much fun.)


5/17/02 Suspicion strip 9

This is just another case of how it's very hard to both advance a story and have humor in the same strip. Very few newspaper comics manage to pull it off--Calvin and Hobbes did it once or twice, but the strips that advanced the story were rarely outright funny, and the vast majority of the strips in general were not part of an ongoing story per se. I guess funny comic strips are just stuff that happens.....

As for the random link--out of town? I don't remember being out of town! Wait, I guess I must've gone to Tucson for my friend's graduation. She actually tries to read this comic sometimes, and since I didn't update for several months, she's just about caught up. ^_^;

Working really takes a lot out of you for strip-doing. Actually, if "Mark and Jenny" were my only project, I'd have little difficulty, but I have Courtly Love, I probably ought to update JIXO, not to mention Answered Prayer, plus all sorts of other comics I haven't started--and I have several non-comic-related projects as well.

On an utterly unrelated note, I took my right contact out because it was bugging me--and now my poor eyes are just going nuts because my left eye is weaker but can see better right now, which is just confusing my brain. @_@ I really need to buy a pair of glasses......


5/20/02 Suspicion strip 10

And these are just poorly laid-out and drawn panels. ^^; Of course, it would take fair talent to draw unique angles like panels 2 and 3--or at least photos to copy....but I'm too lazy to look for models or do it myself, and I'm too lazy to keep trying 'til I get something right.... I always have a very hard time drawing a 3/4 back view of Mark's head. Stupid hair.

If Mark's reading this I probably hurt his feelings. I'm sorry, Mark.

Samuel's suit is supposed to be too light, and Jenny's skin is too dark. Of course, Chrissy's skin isn't any darker than Jenny's, really...I don't recall if it was originally supposed to be Carson dressed as Jenny. Since cross-dressing is one of my old standbys, I probably should've done that....oh well.



5/24/02 Suspicion strip 11

Bethany was born in America too.

Yet another pointless strip. I don't know that I've managed to write in small letters, even now--I draw the strips at 3 1/2 inches tall by 11 inches wide, and shrink them. It's hard to make the letters legible when shrunk without making them really really big. In fact, if you scan a regular newspaper comic strip at even the size "Mark and Jenny" is, the letters very well might be hard to read. (Ditto for regular comic books, actually.)

And the idea that Mark would suspect Jenny, or that Jenny would suspect Samuel, is pretty ludicrous. They're all fine upstanding people, and any moron would know right off that this was impossible. Especially Jenny stealing the comics, since she doesn't even like them. But that doesn't stop me....

Can you tell I'm quite dissatisfied with this arc?

As for the random thoughts, I was scheduled 12 hours for Memorial Day, but that's not a big car-buying day, so I wasn't there that whole time anyway.

And as for changing the old strip to add the copyright or shine to Bethany's hair, well, that would be changing history, right? Yeah.



6/3/02 Suspicion strip 12

It's always irritating when it takes characters a million times longer to figure out what's going on than any reasonable person (including the reader) would take. Sorry.

Panel 3. I like how the Soup Kitchen writing in the back turned out--but I think it was just me typing it using some font. Oh well.

Skip and Suzie are wearing hair nets. I put the note as to who they were in the comments below the strip because people tend to forget their names. Me too. ^^;

As for Anime Expo, my favorite parts were actually just hanging out with friends (and dressing like the Dash Card ^_^). I didn't get a table in Artist's Alley, which is just as well, because super-talented artists, even from Japan, were having trouble selling pictures for even a couple dollars, so I'm sure fairly-written comics that have art that is at best cute but unproficient would not sell well at all. But then, my friend Cheryl thinks it would be fun to have a table...


6/7/02 Suspicion strip 13

Like I've hinted at repeatedly, this arc would probably be better if I had done it in anything other than strip form. Script form, novel form, writing it on napkins, whatever. No wonder I didn't have any random thoughts. I still have nothing.

But I ought to have something to say in the commentary, right? Uh, I really ought to start volunteering and being a good person and a Christian or even just a decent human being, I definitely should. My friend Jennifer who let me stay at her house during Anime Expo volunteered at an animal shelter type thing (well, I think it was a Petsmart? but they had animals for adoption). I looooove kitties! I really should volunteer with people, though--but I'm so shy....and selfish. Don't forget selfish.

I don't *think* putting comics online for the amusement of people wealthy enough to have Internet connections qualifies as volunteering. Darn.



6/10/02 Suspicion strip 14

Panel 1. Actually, I like this strip, only because it explains exactly why Skip and Suzie don't hate Jenny (she really is pretty poor, though she won't admit it, and they dedicate their lives to helping the poor).

Panel 3. And I like the idea that soup can fix everything. Even though I'm not really a fan of soup overall, it's a good food when you're sick. I don't mind Top Ramen, and I bought some Red Miso Soup mix--which was okay, but overpriced. I even cubed tofu to put in it once or twice, but it wasn't great.

There is a recipe for Cheese Soup in my favorite cookbook (I think it's just the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook--it's my favorite because it has a good drop sugar cookie recipe, and lots of pictures). You put a can of chicken broth, something like a cup and a half of milk, and carrots and celery (which I leave out because I don't like vegetables ^^; ) on to boil for a bit and then add shredded American cheese--except I hate American cheese, and all we ever have already shredded in the house is generally colby jack. So I use that instead, and it doesn't melt as it should, I don't think. But it comes out OK. Last time I made it it was pretty good because I put in salt and other stuff like garlic powder and oregano. Too much oregano, but what are you going to do?

Today I baked cupcakes.

Oh, right, the comic. I think that's pea soup--hopefully not nuclear waste soup. ^^; The coloring was likely intentional, however.



6/17/02 Suspicion strip 15

This particular strip has some bizarre lettering in the third panel and I think some bizarre grammar in Jenny's speech in the second--though I could be wrong. ^^;

Panel 3. I know that hair is very very thick, but it's also hard to do a hair that's realistically small, yet visible to the viewer, you know.

The costume I was working on that week was my Kenshin costume. The improved one, I mean.


7/12/02 Suspicion strip 16

Panel 1. Of course, Chrissy is acting as though Carson's concern is that it's betraying his principles to wear a suit, while Carson is really worried about the morality of stealing...

Panel 2. Like most of my characters, these two must be one foot away from each other at all times. I just have a hard time drawing people close together--maybe from a deeply-rooted psychological problem, or maybe just because when people hug or kiss then you have to draw faces and arms at funny angles. ^_^;

Panel 3. I think this was a hint towards how earlier it very well might have been Carson dressed as Jenny.

I've already commented repeatedly about how funny (well, not really) it is that I keep promising a new layout in these old strips but never got around to doing it. Right now as I'm writing our country is probably going to war--not sure what I think about that. Yay, what a way to make all my readers angry with me! ^_^


7/15/02 Suspicion strip 17

Panel 1. I rather hope most locksmiths don't cheerfully make keys from traced copies. But I don't know; Chrissy's good at making people do her bidding...

Panel 2. The comic on top is Fox Tales 21. The ones behind are solid colored because it'd be too hard to make them 'real.' ^^;

Panel 3. Of course Carson's saying that he'd be happy to change his name to 'Samuel' and pose as him if that would make Chrissy happy.

What's really terrible is that it took me nearly a minute to put all those names together correctly; I tried several wrong ones. Which is probably a sign that I need to stop writing commentary for the night. ^^; (I'm trying to do two a day; if I do that I'll be done in time for the long as Pokémon Ruby doesn't distract me...)

Here; I'll go draw some more plans for more "Mark and Jenny." Goodness knows that doesn't require thought. ^_-


7/19/02 Suspicion strip 18

Panel 1. I do believe this lettering is with a calligraphy pen.


Panel 4. Actually, I'm a little jealous when a guy takes away one of my friends too. I wouldn't mind so much if some people (male and female) didn't tend to spend time with their significant other to the exclusion of all others and all else, so that they can't spend any time without them, even if they're with you... But I'm just a small, horrible person. ^_^;

As for the random link, it's working as of this writing (3/18/03) but I've copied and pasted the content here too. (Sadly, I don't even know who was bugging me for a trip report anymore. ^^; My apologies to that person...whoever he or she is...)

(posted Monday, July 8, 2002)

Flew back to Phoenix Sunday night but was too tired to do much online 'til now.  Well, I'm still too tired now, but I said I'd be back today so I figured I oughtta get back on.  ^_-

The link Loki gave was accurate; it has a couple pictures of me on Thursday and should have one or two of me on Saturday too (they missed me on Friday, but oh well).  If anyone finds any cosplayed pictures of me they may link them here if they'd like.  ^_^  But I'm too lazy to track them down myself just now (my connection is SOOOO slow...).  Some other sites should have at least my Thursday costume sometime pretty guy took about half a roll of pictures of my costume...

I'll try my best to do a quick trip report.  I got in Wednesday night and my friend picked me up from the airport, only to inform me that both of her costumes were about 30% done...we picked up her other friend from LAX at midnight (!) and then worked on my first friend's costume for about 4 hours that night, then went to bed (my friend went to bed several hours later than us!).  So we didn't get up 'til about 11 AM.  Before we even registered she wanted to go to a cosplay meeting for people from the series she was dressed as ("Fruits Basket") so we did that.  I was standing in the lobby with my Dash card costume on (looks like a rabbit, basically) so I got my picture taken a lot.  (Darned thing was very hot--not bad at all without the gloves (which were a pain to wear and a pain to put on after taking them off!) and the mask--I carried the mask most of the day...)  Then me and the other girl waited for my cosplayed friend to get done taking pictureswith her group.  A few minutes later I noticed that the director of "Revolutionary Girl Utena" was on the couch 10 feet away from me.  It makes me happy to think that he probably has some bizarre memory of a girl in a giant fursuit waiting in the lobby for about 20 minutes...

At any rate, then we registered and went to the dealer's room to buy stuff and I think that's about all we did that day.  Oh, I changed out of the costume so we could go to a Japanese grocery store/food court/bookstore, where I bought more stuff and got some Japanese beef curry, which I'm quite fond of.  Then we went back work on my friend's OTHER costume.  I was only up 'til 1:30 that day because I needed to get sleep.

We got up late on Friday morning but managed to make it (barely) on time to the Nobuhiro Watsuki (creator/manga artist of Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X) panel and watched reverently.  And when someone asked him what he thought of cosplayers, he said he liked to see cosplayers of his characters so much that he would take his picture with anyone dressed like his characters!  I was dressed as Kenshin, my friend was Megumi, and her friend was Misao, so we all got our picture taken with him!  I hope the picture made it through airport security; I think I'll see tomorrow....but the picture should be on 3 cameras, so hopefully one will come out.  (Once I get it back I can't post it, though; they said not to put them on the Internet...)  We got some Italian food at a restaurant a few blocks away and then went to a panel with the director of Escaflowne and a couple producers.  (There was a little girl dressed up like Merle--and acting like her too--and that was cute.)  Then we went to the dealer's room *again* (can you tell my friends like shopping?...well, OK, I do too) and then we waited for the "Anime Singled Out" (pretty much like regular Singled Out, complete with sexual innuendos, but with about two Anime questions dropped in).  I didn't really want to do that anyway and we left pretty soon and went home because my friend had gotten 4 hours of sleep in the last two days and was driving at all.  I played Dance Dance Revolution 4th Mix with my friend's friend (well, she's now my friend too I suppose!), but it was very hard because I'm used to my mat which is taped to carpet and not so abused, so it actually registers what I do--the left panel didn't work much at all, and the up panel was pretty bad too (plus the pads were a different size than mine).  But it was lots of fun to play new songs (I only have the domestic disks).

Saturday I met one of my online friends!  I was the only one cosplayed (as Tomite from Fushigi Yuugi, who almost no one recognized, but there should be a picture on A Fan's View and the few people who DID recognize me were very excited because it's an obscure (but cute) character from an episode and a half of the series...).  We went to the panel with Kunihiko Ikuhara, the aforementioned director of Utena.  He was very funny and at the end he had prizes to give out, and he decided who would win by having a giant Rock Paper Scissors competion (him versus the audience; if you didn't beat what he had, you had to sit down, until they had the right number of winners).  I thought that was the coolest way ever to give out prizes.  Then we went to the dealer's room (noticing a trend?) and then my friend drove us all to a used manga (Japanese comics) store.  They were having a moving sale so the cheapest manga (which was most of them) were $1.00 each, or 20 for $5, or a box full (over 100) for $10.  (Japanese comics are in book form, maybe 200 pages each, though black and white).  So among the four of us we managed to fill up a box, so we each got about 25 manga for $2.50.  Most of them I just picked pretty randomly (ones that looked like they might be good) but they had about 6 volumes of "Twin Signal" which I saw the OVAs for several years ago and liked (plus my former roommate bought a manga or two and they were easy to understand without knowing Japanese and also pretty and cute).  So I thought it was a very good deal.  ^_^  After looking for manga for 2 hours, we ate dinner at IHOP and then found our way (eventually) to a karaoke place so we got a room (like they do in Anime, not a bar where you get up with everyone) and sung.  But no one soloed really so I couldn't tell who was good or bad.  I couldn't hear singing voice is not good but I'm not tone-deaf (I don't think ^^;;;;).  Then we dropped my online friend off at her house (her cat is ADORABLE and soft and tortise-shelled and loves to be petted and everything!) and then went back home and crashed.  Again.

Sunday was pretty mellow; we tried the dealer's room one last time (did I mention every day but Thursday there was a very long line to get into the dealer's room?).  There was a cute Digimon cosplay group though; I took a picture (hopefully it came out).  I saw a Mimi later (1st season even!) but didn't feel like running over to get her picture.  On the down escalator to get into the dealer's room the creator of the Kenshin manga was right behind us (you can't miss him--he really does look just like the cute little pictures he draws of himself on the inside covers of his manga--blue robe-type top, blue bandana, and glasses...).  I think he was uncomfortable that we recognized him, though he was wearing a badge that read "Guest of Honor" with his name on it, so you'd have to be pretty stupid not to have...  I didn't buy anything the last day, but...  Then my friend drove me to the airport and I flew back home, my brother picked me up at the airport, etc., etc. 

And I'm still tired, but managed a long trip report that no one will want to wade through anyway.  But I'm almost caught up with my online communities, and my virtual pets are fine, so I'm doing pretty good.  ^_-


7/22/02 Suspicion strip 19

I think I actually drew this one (well, likely the plan, but maybe the comic itself) at work. That was while I was still a temp. I still think the punchline of this one's pretty funny. Although I'm not so sure that Chrissy's words qualified as hitting below the belt, since she wasn't being cruel on purpose or anything.

I don't have anything else; I don't recall what was going on with me last July or anything. Sorry. Um, the queen of Jordan is going to be on a local morning show tomorrow...of course, it's probably via videophone or satellite, so that's not really so impressive. Heck, it's probably an interview through Fox. But if she was talking to the local anchors, that might be neat... of course, if you would've asked me earlier today if Jordan had a queen, I would've said 'I don't know'....^^;;;;

Actually, once I saw the local anchors of the NBC affiliate in Tucson, in a Pizza Hut there. Not that I particularly liked (or hated) these people, but I recognized them. Thought it was kinda interesting.


7/29/02 Suspicion strip 20

Panel 1. I think that's a lazy rendition of Jenny and Samuel's TV room in the background. I'm lazy! And I totally hate backgrounds. ^^;

I'm not really much of a gossip, but I say a lot more (in real life and online as well) than I should...

Panel 2. Note the implication that Carson used to have a crush on Alanis Morissette. Probably because of her angry songs.

Of course, if I would've really been a good person I would've, you know, looked up how to spell her name before putting it in a comic. If I typed scripts first, I'd spell-check, but I just draw plans and then draw the comics and ink them, so I'm sure I have tons of spelling errors. Spelling and grammar errors used to drive me mad, but I'm pretty used to them now...



8/2/02 Suspicion strip 21

Note how quickly Carson and Chrissy strip down from their costumes. Hey, Carson and Chrissy sound like good names together...does that mean they'll get together? Who knows?

As for the random thought, I don't know which video game I was playing at the time--probably Final Fantasy VII (which seemed as good a place as any to start). That game was OK; my mom's friend's son adores Sephiroth. I think Chrono Cross was quite good, however--but I'm tired of their 'you are the only person who can save the world' plots--they're implausible, and I don't care too much while I'm playing, frankly. I don't really care if the video game world is destroyed (and you know it kind of can't be), but I'm sentimental enough to fall for characters being in danger; I sincerely feel bad if a character I like gets hurt. So, all other things being equal, a game where you have to save the princess (despite how sexist that is) would appeal to me more than a game where you have to save the world...

And that's why most of my stories are pretty much character-driven. And also why they often lack plots. ^^; (Though I blame that on the Creative Writing program at the University of Arizona--the fiction-writing part, anyway.)


8/5/02 Suspicion strip 22

Panel 1. Giving highlights to Carson's hair really helps his appearance...

Panel 4. I hate drawing hands and fingers, especially doing things. Change "fingers" to "arms" and you sum up panel 1 as well...

Panel 5. Anyone ever read the loooong poem (kids, cover your eyes, even though the poem itself isn't dirty at all; your parents may not approve of the title) "The Rape of the Lock"? I didn't think it was very good, but I'm getting that image here...

I actually hadn't intended anything aside from a strange joke when Chrissy said that Carson practiced voodoo back in this strip. But given his hair fetish, that makes sense. My subconscious is much smarter than my conscious mind.

As for my random links, three of those "realms" still have players in them; only the last seems to have died. I was never good at space RP-ing anyway; never watched enough space TV shows. But I still spend a lot of time in all of those places...

On a totally different note, I got the phone call that my Game Boy Advance SP came in today (3/20/03) so I'll go during lunch at work tomorrow and pick it up...that will allow me to play the Pokémon Ruby cartridge I purchased yesterday. Maybe somehow I'll manage to do "Mark and Jenny" despite all of that, though. ^_-;;;


8/12/02 Suspicion strip 23

Panel 3. I have no idea why Chrissy would like someone who's sentimental--unless she thinks sentimental people are easy to abuse. ^^; Of course, I like wimpy guys (in Anime, anyway...).

Panel 4. Carson is referencing this page.

Also note that this is the first time, maybe ever, that I didn't make any comment after the strip...


8/19/02 Suspicion strip 24

Panel 2. I guess it's a little hard to tell those are comics on the couch; I shoulda used brighter colors. But I like using my own comic covers, or in that case, the cover of a comic I at least wrote...

Panel 3. Samuel is inviting Bethany over for tea because it seems the British thing to do. Actually, 'tea' in Britain is apparently what we would call 'supper' here in the States--I always thought it was just a snack or something, that everyone stopped work at 4 PM to have some tea and then got on with their lives...

Samuel's reaction kind of implies he actually knew what was up with the comics, doesn't it? I mean, if you saw them and you weren't guilty, wouldn't you say something like, "What are those doing here?" Oh well; what do I know?

I like how I imagine Bethany sounding when she talks. Probably even cooler than Captain Amelia in "Treasure Planet" (which was a good movie and a great character; I think almost every sentence she said just cracked me up, it was so funny!). Much better than "Atlantis," at any rate. I think the only Academy Award I'm interested in this year is the best animated feature...I saw 4 out of 5 of them (missed "Spirit") and they were all actually good films. If anything but "Ice Age" (which was a very very funny movie, but the story was weak and the animation not very proficient) or "Spirit" (which didn't even look good enough to see, so I shouldn't say ^^;) wins, I'll think a good choice was made. "Lilo and Stitch" was just darling (though I thought it would be horrible), and "Spirited Away" was beautiful and gives the Academy an out to not let a Disney film win, since they hate Disney so much and all. Well, OK, Disney bought the rights, but they sure didn't do the film....


8/26/02 Suspicion strip 25

Panel 1. Again, it's just plain moronic to have two people who have trusted each other for years and years suddenly doubt each others' integrity. But it goes along with the name of the arc, I guess. Actually, I think my younger brother still really hates stories and movies where someone doesn't believe someone who's telling the truth (it used to really really bother him when he was little...). Avoiding those situations in stories is probably a good idea, actually, since they're pretty stupid.

Panel 2. Speaking of hitting below the belt, it's pretty mean of Jenny to suggest Samuel might be an inadequate provider...

Panel 4. Back when I was living with a roommate and had cable (what wonderful days those were!) my roommate liked to watch the British House of Commons, which was always pretty interesting, as they outright insulted each other, and they built the room without enough seats so it would always look like people were standing and excited and stuff. Plus they all talk with British accents, which makes them sound super-classy.

I don't remember who it was that suggested Tony Blair sounds rather like C3-PO, but it's true...


9/3/02 Suspicion strip 26

Panel 1. Yes, Mark's elbows are located six inches away from his wrists. Why do you ask? What?! It's a serious medical condition! Leave him alone!

Panel 3. I do enjoy bizarre titles like "Exposition Man." Exposition, according to my 1925 dictionary, means "an explanation or interprethation; an exhibition." That just about explains it. Emarginate, on the other hand, is an adjective (who knew?) meaning "indented at the edges; having the apex notched."

As for yarning, that's a kind of free-form-type role-playing, often with only two players (each of whom may have dozens of characters), usually done via AOL Instant Messenger. I'm still trying to figure out who the heck I was yarning with in September--probably Shannon. I still miss my first (and still favorite) yarning partner--if she's still out there and wants to say 'hi,' I'm still where I've always been, and I still have my webpage with my e-mail address...

Wow, that makes me feel kind of melancholy.


9/9/02 Suspicion strip 27

Panel 1. Not very well laid-out... Bethany's "Quiet, you" is from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle shorts with Peabody and whats-his-name that traveled through time.

I actually ate 40 tacos at Taco Bell over the span of about 3 months to accumulate enough points to get a Bullwinkle T-shirt. My record was 6 in one day. I was around 12 at the time. ^^; I hate lettuce on hot food (and only tolerate it with lots of dressing in salads) so I can't stand to have lettuce on a taco or hamburger or even a submarine sandwich.

Panel 2. Bethany is blushing faintly, which is actually kind of messed-up, given what Eustace really is. Oh well. She doesn't really like him in that way...

I guess just admitting she has human emotions embarrasses Bethany.

The name "Eustace" is from the Chronicles of Narnia, the name of a boy who is really unsufferable until a trip to Narnia and an encounter with Aslan straightens him out. When I was very young I liked Lucy the best; now I prefer Edmund and Jill, the latter of whom I think is the best female character in all the books.

Panel 3. Actually, if I was actually cool, I'd so date a man who wore Goth make-up... I also would've embraced My Little Pony T-shirts and other childhood-type things. If I had just been born a few years later and/or had cool friends (no offense to the friends I do/did have; I loved them all, but they weren't Goth/cool), I'd probably have some clothes that were, you know, cool...


9/30/02 Suspicion strip 28

Panel 1. That's a strange torch (I assume it was supposed to be actual flame, not plastic or ceramic-looking stuff) in the background. To the left of that is some kind of sculpture (I hope) of a large rat eating some cheese. I think that's all reference to this Rescue Rangers photo adventure I did a while ago...

Panel 2. That kind of peachish glob there is Bethany's hand, holding a black glob that's supposed to be a key, on a ribbon around her neck.

I do think the image of a bird scratching one's eyes out is a nicely depressing and disturbing Gothic image, though.

Panel 3. Pale Samuel blushes madly, thinking dirty thoughts. That's gotta be an anagram or a haiku or something.

First appearance of Eustace, whose name is explained in the commentary above. Note the cute little pink ovals on his cheeks--it's done with cute little animals in Anime a lot, and it really is cute. I think. ^_^

Actually, the more I look, the more the concept of actually updating once a week is starting to intimidate me...but that's the best way to get people to like your stuff.

Well, the best way is probably to have beautifully-drawn and brilliantly-written comics, but that's not too likely. Second best is to just plain update.



10/7/02 Suspicion strip 29

Panel 1. Eustace the bird is grooming under his wing. In the background is a rather stylish violet curtain and an old-timey radio, which may or may not still work.

I like antiques...right now my period of choice is the 1920s; that may or may not change soon...what do I know?

Panel 2. Another slam on people who read comics, coming from someone who occasionally reads and draws them. (Er, me, I mean; Jenny does neither. ^^; ) But I figure it's making fun of me as much as my readers, and thus, is not offensive to say.

Panel 3. Bethany is saying she thinks Eustace is wrong--that he should have pecked Jenny's eyes out, because when she said people who read comics are not well-adjusted, she was lying. The crisp looks more like a cracker than a potato chip. But then again, feeding birds potato chips is probably a bad idea. Again, what do I know? I've never had a bird, nor even liked them as pets, although my one cousin has a bird (cockatiel? I forget) that he lets out of the cage and it just walks around as social as can be. I liked that bird. I probably told that story somewhere else in this commentary--but what do I know?

Besides, maybe you missed it the first time around.

No clue why Bethany hangs clothes on her walls instead of in the closet, unless she's lazy like I am. Or maybe it's kind of like Westerners (and maybe Asians; I don't know) hanging up kimono on their walls as decoration. In the background is a door (I don't think the front door) with a diamond-shaped mirror or window.


10/21/02 Suspicion strip 30

Panel 1. I believe this is Carson's apartment, with an uncomfortable-looking hammock in the background. Monterey Jack on Rescue Rangers slept in a hammock at least in one episode...

Note the squiggle lines around the wig to indicate that it is important to the scene. Yay squiggle lines.

Panel 3. Chrissy is dressed as Misao from Rurouni Kenshin, a series that is playing on Cartoon Network as I type this, so eventually even the uninitiated may know who she is. She's pushy and a lot of fanboys in the real world like her. She has a strong crush on an older, stronger man, and her nickname is 'weasel girl.' Not inappropriate, really.

One of the people I went to Expo with (well, I like her a lot but I don't know if I know her well enough to classify her as 'friend' yet or not--I wish I would've got to know her better; I think we could've been good friends -_- ) dressed as Misao. A pic is lying around here.

As for the random thoughts and whatnot, it was a very stressful time at work because it was about when they were basically getting rid of most of the temps ("letting go," I think they call it) due to a major decrease in application flow (we enter in car loan applications into the computers there) because about half the applications were going directly into the system instead of being typed by us. Even though I had been hired on permanently by then, there were no guarantees that even the permanent employees would be kept around, to say nothing of the letting go of all sorts of people who had worked there (at least one of whom had been there longer than me ^^;). Lucky me, I wasn't the supervisor at the time so I didn't have to actually drop any axes.

Of course, pretty soon thereafter I was made supervisor, for better or for worse...


10/28/02 Suspicion strip 31

Panel 2. Actually, from the angle, I don't think Carson should've felt a sharp tug on his ponytail. Oh well.

Panel 3. I have an affection for pirates, ever since one of my yarn characters dressed as one for Halloween and had a grand old time. I actually bought a pair of pirate-ish boots (too bad they're winter boots and I live in a hot part of Arizona) to wear for Ren Faire. Unfortunately they weren't as comfortable as I'd thought they would be; I was limping a bit by the end.

My NaNoWriMo is here. (The idea is 50,000 words in 30 days, which I did without too much difficulty, aside from it keeping me from "Mark and Jenny" for that time.)

(if you get offended by politics no need to follow the NaNoWriMo link (right this moment anyway) or read the next paragraph.)

The guy behind NaNoWriMo used the space on his site to effectively complain about the US war against Iraq (as of 3/22/03, anyway). My thoughts about the conflict are mixed, but I gotta admit, I was a little angered to see that stance there, though I'm not completely sure why. Maybe because it's not exactly a reasoned argument, and maybe because, deep inside, I really do have less-than-mixed feelings... Or maybe because I read too many letters to the editor today. The whole war actually makes me uncomfortable, but I don't know what the good is in complaining when it's already started (protesting or writing your Congressperson is one thing, but just complaining on a webpage doesn't do much, unless you just need to vent), and, as of this particular moment in time, seems to be accomplishing its goals with little civilian bloodshed. If we had a time machine we could go forward and see if it was necessary to dethrone Sadaam right now or if he wasn't really a threat, but we don't have one. We may be saving lives by our action, or we may be setting up an even bigger conflict later. There's no way to know right now. But at any rate, the fight isn't just to bring democracy to Iraq; it's to back up the threats we've been giving for the last 12 years or so, and also to possibly prevent further attacks. I hope and pray it accomplishes all of its goals without difficulty, though again, we can't know, and may never know, what the true consequences are of our actions now. I think we should support our troops (although protesters, too, think they're supporting the troops by trying to get them out of there). Other than that I just pray for the best.

Oh, darn it; on Neopets now you have to wait every 6 hours to buy a scratchcard (it used to be 2). Argh! Always good to focus on what's important in life, huh? ^^;



12/09/02 Suspicion strip 32

Panel 1. It's more than a little irritating that I missed these last two strips when I was drawing the new pages of "Mark and Jenny" so I had to change the first few panels of the plans (in which it dawned on Bethany that Carson was one of the thieves).

These were colored by Painter Classic--if I had the full version of Painter (layers!) it would be a wonderful program. As it is, it lets you do watercolor-y things, which is something I kind of like to do even off the computer--not with watercolors, but with inks, like that one chapter of Courtly Love. But it takes a LOOOONG time to mix colors. Photoshop-type coloring, however, doesn't really match my style at all. So I still usually use my shareware and now-paid-for program Graphic Converter--simple coloring for simple art. I like watercolors and inks--but they don't really match my style either.

Plus the red in Carson's wig wasn't bright enough--though I think the red and the orange wound up being the same color in the regular strips. Which is fine; that pointed out that Carson was wearing--::gasp::--a counterfeit wig!

Unfortunately, to save this strip so it wasn't all blurry and artifact-y, I'd have had to make the file a lot bigger than I prefer to do... I should still have a full-sized, uncompressed one somewhere on my hard drive, though, so I could fix it if I wanted. But better to just get on with the show, in my opinion!

Oh, yeah, and when I was sick, I actually missed a day and a half of work. The horror! I was that sick--and when I went to the doctor she just told me it wasn't strep so she couldn't do anything. Ugh.


12/30/02 Suspicion strip 33

Darn; I haven't a word to say about this strip. Eustace loves hair because he wants to build a nest to attract a mate. (That trait, by the way, for some reason just makes me think of the female rabbits in Watership Down, building burrows for their children and such. Strange association, that. I would very much like to re-read that book--I owned a copy--but my brother took it and I don't know where it is.

He's losing pretty bad in his picks in March Madness, by the way. Looks like my mom's lost her pool at work...

And the Misao in my party at Anime Expo had trouble with her braid, which is surely where I got the idea.

And my lousy counters on my webpage all died, except for my comics page--I don't know what Host Rocket (my webhost) did, but they couldn't fix it. Hmph.

I've been doing a lot of :( faces lately instead of the Anime -_- . I have no idea why. I think a :( looks much sadder, actually; a -_- can be kind of annoyed or something. How depressing! I need to be more of an optimist; they live longer and are less annoying. I used to be an optimist....

Ugh; it's the end of the commentary! I can't end like this! Noooo! Here; I'll copy and paste something I wrote at this BBS about Pokémon Ruby. And then I can go off and play it and be all happy again. Yay! See you in the next year! (No commentaries for a little while, probably; it's no fun to make a commentary as you're drawing and coloring...or is it...hmm...)

Cheapskate? You'll LOVE Zigzagcoon.

It's a pretty stupid name (looks like a raccoon with a kind of zigzag pattern--not really very cute, even), but it has the ability 'Pickup,' I believe it's called, which just randomly finds things for you pretty often while you're just walking around. I've played for 5 hours and mine has already found me about 8 or 9 things or more, ranging from Potions to Rare Candies. You just check your party and you see that it has a little box next to it because it's carrying something and then you take it from it and it picks up something else! I love that little Pokémon, and I'm not even a cheapskate! My main one has a Bashful nature (I caught another to learn Cut; I think he has a Relaxed nature). I wonder what those traits do (or if it's just a Beauty Contest thing)--but I hate reading walkthroughs; I like to do it myself the first time through. ^_^

Can anyone tell me if the intro screens change based on if you're playing as a boy or a girl? I'm playing as a girl, of course (in Ruby), and it has the girl on her bike chasing a legendary Pokémon, and the girl throwing two Pokéballs at once to battle two other Pokémon...I forgot to watch the intro before I'd saved a game...



And we're out! Click here to go on to next year's commentary (!)--but the best idea of all would probably be to at least go to the next comic page to look at it before you read the commentary. ^_^