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Old News Archives:
(If you'd like to read about my travels in Japan, China, or another location, check out the Travelogues page.)
(If you'd like to read more about Ink, check out the Ink section.)

Year 1: 8/11/2003 - 8/9/2004
Year 2: 8/11/2004 - 8/10/2005
Year 3: 8/11/2005 - 8/9/2006
Year 4: 8/11/2006 - 8/10/2007
Year 5: 8/13/2007 - 8/8/2008
Year 6: 8/11/2008 - 8/10/2009
Year 7: 8/12/2009 - 8/9/2010
Year 8: 8/11/2010 - 8/10/2011
Year 9: 8/12/2011 - 8/10/2012
Year 10: 8/13/2012 - 8/9/2013
Year 11: 8/12/2013 - 8/8/2014
Year 12: 8/11/2014 - 8/10/2015
Year 13: 8/12/2015 - 8/10/2016
Year 14: 8/12/2016 - 8/9/2017

4/25/2018 Wrap up

Today's strip marks the end of this little Detective Torchic mini-series. And...that's really all I have to say today. I've had some...well, not late nights so much as early mornings lately and I'm a bit worn out.

Later!

Josiah

4/23/2018 So fast...

This semester has really flown. There's a little less than a month left of work, then onto summer break. Which should be a somewhat busy but fun one with an international trip, some events and sightseeing, a bit of work, and probably a move. Leaves me wondering where the time has gone. Though, I suppose this is hardly the first semester that's left me with this feeling. Well, I suppose there's nothing to do except make the best use of the time as I can.

Later!

Josiah

4/20/2018 Planning for a move

Top Web Comics is having that problem again where I can't upload Blooper Reel comics, so here's this week's instead. Regular strips will resume Monday...unless I decide to do another Detective Torchic, since I have ideas for a couple more.

Anyway, things have been kind of busy lately. The reason? Well, I didn't want to talk about it until everything was pretty certain, but it's probably 95% now so why not? I think I've mentioned before that Connie and I have been looking at houses for a while now (since last fall). While this is the nicest apartment I've ever had, it's a little small, especially with an active toddler who likes to get into everything, and a few steps down from my house in Hawaii. Not to mention that rent in this area is ridiculously high so it makes more sense to be paying off a mortgage. Anyway, real estate here is expensive as well (about the same as Hawaii, surprisingly enough) and finding a place that hit all our criteria and was within our price range wasn't easy. We actually did make offers on two different places in the past and almost a third (someone made a much better offer right before us) but got beaten out. Well, we made an offer on another place a couple of weeks back and had it accepted. There's been some back and forth, but we're at the point were it's mostly locked down. It doesn't really top the list of places we've seen in any single category, but it's pretty good all around and should work out well, at least for a while. Anyway, we won't be moving in until July, so I don't think I'll say much more until then. But that's one of the things I've been busy with lately and now that it's mostly taken care of, I should have some extra time free, which will be really welcome.

Later!

Josiah

4/18/2018 Cirque

I've got one more travelogue entry, so let's get to it.

April 15th (Sunday): Cirque du Soleil's LUZIA
I got on Cirque du Soleil's mailing list ages ago, so I always hear if any of their traveling shows are going to be stopping nearby. Seems like northern Virginia is a pretty good location in that regard. Connie and I already got to see Kurios and Ovo in the year and a half or so since we moved here and on Sunday we went to see the Mexico inspired Luzia. That said, like all Cirque shows, it's extremely abstract and dreamlike. There were a couple elements that were very clearly Mexican, but I probably wouldn't have pegged the show as a whole as such if the ads didn't say so.
Anyway, the story, such as it is, involves a tourist who goes to Mexico, finds a giant wind-up key, and lots of crazy stuff happens after he turns it. Like I said, very abstract and dreamlike. As expected from Cirque du Soliel, the music, costumes, and over all atmosphere were extremely well done and the acrobatics were amazing. While I enjoyed Ovo (the last Cirque show I saw), it didn't really have any types of acts that I hadn't seen before. Luzia didn't have that problem. There were a number of unique performances and many of the ones that started out kind of familiar ended up having interesting twists of their own. The use of water, for example, was completely unexpected but really cool.
Connie says Luzia is her favorite of all the Cirque shows she's seen. I wouldn't go quite that far, but I'd probably put it in my top three. Probably. It's kind of a hard choice. Regardless, Luzia is an excellent show, even by Cirque standards, and I highly recommend seeing it if you get the chance.

Later!

Josiah

4/16/2018 Another trip to DC

Let's get right into another travelogue entry.

April 8th (Sunday): Museums and Blossoms
Awhile back, we made plans to visit DC on the 8th to see the cherry blossoms with some friends. Unfortunately, things didn't work out as well as we hoped. The weather took a serious down turn over the weekend. No rain or anything, but it was a rather cold day. Plus, it turned out there was a marathon in the morning, which resulted in a lot of road closures, so we had to change some plans around. In the end, we decided to start out at a museum and walk over to the blossoms afterwards once the race was over and the weather was a bit warmer.
Connie had been wanting to see The Museum of the American Indian, so we met up there. From a design standpoint, it looks like one of the newer Smithsonian museums, so it's very modern and well designed, with a good mix of information and artifacts. We started out in an interesting exhibit on treaties before walking through one on the native peoples of Central America (the museum isn't just about "American Indians").
We hadn't gotten the earliest start, so it was getting close to lunch time. Now, most of the Smithsonian museums have restaurants, but a lot of them aren't anything special. This one though focuses on early American food so there were lots of dishes incorporating things like bison, turkey, and traditional American vegetables. The menu is pretty interesting and I really liked the food. Honestly, I might go to the museum just for the restaurant if I was already in the area.
After eating, we headed to the third floor and spent a while going through the surprisingly large kids' section. While our friends' son was a bit too young to do much, Zack had fun and I'm sure older kids would get quite a lot out of it. In the end, we probably saw about a third of the museum before we decided to go see the blossoms. While it was never high on my list of DC museums to visit, I actually found it pretty interesting, so I'll be sure to go back and see the rest some time.
On the way to the Tidal Basin, I spotted something interesting in the center of the National Mall. It was the fifteen millionth Ford Model T, which was also the last one of the iconic cars created before they shut down the assembly line. Anyway, we eventually made it to the basin. It was pretty but, as previously mentioned, it was cold and, being the weekend right after peak bloom, the crowds were pretty crazy (maybe it really isn't that different from Japan), so we didn't stay for too long.
In the end, it was a fun day, despite a few issues. We'll have to plan a better cherry blossom viewing day next year.

That'll do it for today, though I have one more travelogue entry for later in the week. See you Wednesday!

Josiah

4/13/2018 Cherry blossoms

Top Web Comics is working ok, but I'm running behind, again. Sigh... It seems like I never have as much time as I think I will. There's always something coming up. Anyway, I can at least do a travelogue entry.

April 6th (Friday): DC Cherry Blossoms
While it's Japan that's known for sakura or cherry blossom trees, there are other places you can go to see them, even in the US. And one of those places is Washington DC. The mayor of Tokyo gave the city of DC a large number of trees as a gift back in 1912. They were planted all around the Tidal Basin area and have since spread to other parts of the city and the general area. It's not the same as seeing the blossoms in Japan, but probably the closest you can get without traveling to Asia.
Last year, the weather really hurt the blossoms and prevented us from getting a good look. This yeah, however, we got a couple nice days just as they were hitting their peak, so Connie, Zack, and I headed in for an afternoon.
I was hoping that, since it was a weekday, we'd be able to snag one of the free parking spots near the basin. Unfortunately, despite it being a weekday, there were a ton of other people going in to see the blossoms so we were way too late for the free spots and had to fight our way through heavy traffic to get to any parking at all. But we eventually made it to the basin...and into a different kind of traffic. The blossoms were beautiful, though it seems like the majority of the Tidal Basin trees are the white variety, as opposed to the more well known pink (though there are plenty of those too). The path around the Basin was packed, but there were some parks along the way where we were able to get out of the crowds and enjoy the blossoms in a more open area. Zack certainly had a lot of fun, though he cared more about playing with sticks than anything else.
In the end, we actually didn't walk that far along the basin. It would have been fun to go all the way around, but we had to be back home before it got too late and, while the temperature wasn't bad, it extremely windy by the water. And other places, for that matter. It seems that the area around the Washington Monument is a very popular kit flying spot on windy days. Though not everyone knows how to keep their kite in the air. I saw at least a few that had gotten caught in trees or on power lines and abandoned.
While the wind was annoying, it was a pleasant couple of hours and, while it certainly wasn't the same as being in Japan during the sakura season, it did bring back some memories.

And there's all for now. I've got another travelogue entry planned, but it can wait until next week.

Later!

Josiah

4/11/2018 Solving the case

Sorry to interrupt the main story line, but I've been playing Detective Pikachu lately and couldn't resist. I might make this a little mini series, or this might be the only one. I haven't decided yet. But there might be a few more of these, either back to back, or just dropped in occasionally like today's.

Speaking of Detective Pikachu, it's surprisingly good. When I first heard about it back before release, I was tempted to write it off as some corny kiddy spin-off title. So I skipped the pre-orders and waited for the reviews. And, surprisingly enough, the reviews were really positive so I decided to give it a try myself. While the mysteries and puzzles are on the easy side compared to something like Ace Attorney, the story and characters are surprisingly engaging and it's kind of fun to explore the pokémon world as someone who doesn't catch, train, or battle pokémon. And hey, a gruff coffee chugging pikachu is pretty amusing. I'd recommend it to any Pokémon fan, or even non-fans who like mystery games.

Later!

Josiah

4/9/2018 Tax time

There was no comic on Friday due to it being the last day of Passover. I thought I announced that back on Wednesday, but it looks like, with the cold and everything, and I forgot. Sorry about that. Anyway, updates will be continuing normally and I'll have a couple travelogue entries coming up as well (just need to sort the photos). So what are my plans for this week? Well, it actually could be kind of relaxing after everything that's been going on. Except for Tuesday. Tuesday I have to file my taxes. I normally like getting it done a lot earlier in the year, but I was waiting on a rather important document that I only just got. So yeah, that's going to be "fun".

Later!

Josiah

4/4/2018 Not again...

Zack had a runny nose for a couple of days, though he otherwise seemed ok. And, whatever he had, I think he passed it on to me. It's a relatively mild cold, but still a cold. Sigh... I'm usually really resistant to things (and hey, it's not that bad of a cold), but I guess this semester has taken its toll a bit. Despite having a much better class load than back in the fall, I've got other things going on at work that take a good amount of time. Then when you add in Zack, errands and household stuff, and house hunting, among other things, I suppose I have had more stress and late nights than I really should have.

And, on that note, I'm going to go to bed a bit early. Hopefully I'll be feeling better in the morning.

Josiah

4/2/2018 Taking in the art

Another week, another to-do list. Though, as much as I have planned for this week, I think it'll be a bit less busy than the last couple and next week is looking pretty good. Anyway, let's get that travelogue entry out of the way.

March 27th (Tuesday): The National Gallery of Art
Connie had to stop at an embassy in DC to apply for a visa for our summer trip (more on that in the future), and we haven't really had the chance to do any sightseeing since we returned from Hawaii, so I wanted to take advantage of the day to do something in DC. We finished at the embassy fairly quickly. Connie wanted to get an early lunch, and she'd had her mind on a Chinese place she'd read about called Dumplings and Beyond over near the Chinese embassy. Unfortunately, we had to drive there (not all the embassies are in the same part of the city), but fortunately we were able to find free parking and the restaurant was pretty good (we got dumplings, of course).
After that, it was finally time to do some sightseeing, so we drove over to the National Mall (unfortunately, parking around there isn't free (or cheap)). Anyway, we ended up parked pretty close to the National Gallery of Art, and that's one of the Smithsonian museums we hadn't seen yet, so we headed inside. The gallery is a pretty impressive building spread over two floors. The first floor was an odd mix of exhibits including early American furniture, carvings and sculpture, and some paintings (though I didn't quite figure out the theme for those). Most of the paintings, however, were on the second floor. My favorite part was the impressionist gallery, which had a number of works by Money, Van Gogh, Renior, among others. There was also a very impressive collection of landscapes and the like, and Renaissance art. I wasn't quite as interested in the portraits, the Gothic art (I like Gothic architecture, not painting), or the current special exhibit, but all of them had large and well organized collections as well
Taking it all into account, the National Gallery is one of the largest art museums I've visited and I really appreciated the complete and total lack of modern art. Honestly, if you look at great artwork of the past (Renaissance, Impressionist, even Gothic, and the like) and then look at modern "art", you have to wonder what the heck went wrong over the past 50 years or so... That aside, it's very much worth a visit if you're in the area. Strolling through the entirety of the gallery, more or less, will take at least two hours, but an art lover could easily spend a day or more there.
By the time we finished, Zack had woken up from his nap and we were in danger of getting caught in the start of rush hour if we stayed any longer, so we called it quits a little early and headed home. Not a really full day, but pleasant and it's nice to finally be doing some sightseeing again.

See you Wednesday!

Josiah

3/30/2018 Passover

Top Web Comics...is actually working just fine this week so you can vote and see the bonus comic if you want. Or you can just look on this page. This week ended up being even busier than I expected. I'm keeping up with everything, but I've been working constantly for the past couple of days so I don't have a comic ready.

Passover is starting tonight. It's always one of my favorite holidays, so I'm looking forward to it. Though, at the same time, Connie and I are keeping our plans simple this year since we've got a very active one year old with a limited attention span. Should still be fun though.

Hopefully next week will be a bit calmer. And hopefully I can finally take some time over the weekend to sort all the photos that have been piling up on my camera. I've got a travelogue entry ready once I do.

Later!

Josiah

3/28/2018 Half way through

The week is progressing and I'm steadily making progress on all the stuff I need to get done. Not always as quickly as I'd like, but that's the way things go. Connie and I did get to have some fun in DC yesterday, which was a nice break from everything. I'll have a travelogue update at some point, though I'm not sure if I'll have time to get my photos sorted for Friday's update or not.

Anyway, I've got to get back to it.

Later!

Josiah

3/26/2018 Another week

Well, here goes another week. I'm actually running slightly behind on my grading, but it shouldn't take long to get caught up. Other than that, Connie and I will be in DC on Tuesday for an errand, but we're hoping to do some sightseeing afterwards, so there might be a travelogue post later on. And then Passover is starting on Friday night, which is fun, though required a decent amount of prep work. And that's what's going on this week.

See you Wednesday!

Josiah

3/23/2018 Snow day

TWC is still having problems, so here's this week's bonus comic.

Well, I still think that they probably didn't need to shut the university down on Wednesday, but we actually did end up getting at least several inches of snow, which was pretty surprising. It was the biggest snow I've seen since I lived in Colorado. But by mid-morning on Thursday most of it was already gone. Kind of winter's last stand I guess. At least I hope so. It was kind of fun having all the snow, but Zack is too little to really enjoy it (though I did take him out) and I'm ready for some warmer days.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

3/21/2018 Cool down

Ok. Hopefully there won't be more missed updates any time soon.

Weather here has actually been kinda cool for a while, but it rained all day yesterday (with a bit of snow and slush mixed in) and it's supposed to snow all day today to. To the point where they actually shut down the university. I think they're probably being overly cautious there, but we'll see what happens. Anyway, it's not like I really get a break anyway. I may not have to go in and teach, but that just means I can spend more time grading, since I've got a huge stack (well, not literally since they're digital) of mid-term projects to work through.

Later!

Josiah

3/19/2018 The second half

You can learn more about Aurora's Nightmare (the visual novel I'm writing and developing) at its official dev blog.

So why no PV strip today? Well, for one thing, I did want to tease Aurora's Nightmare a bit, since I've been working on it a lot lately and will hopefully be ready to launch a demo in the not too distant future. But also, while I'm feeling a lot better than I was on Friday, I took things easy over the weekend to help me recover, but didn't really get a chance to work on PV much as a result, so I'm still running behind on strips. And since I'm getting over a cold or something (even a mild one) and have a big day of work ahead, I didn't want to push things and stay up late last night to finish the strip. Really sorry for all the disruptions lately. I know it's not at all normal, and hopefully this type of thing won't happen again. If nothing else happens, PV should return on Wednesday.

Later!

Josiah

3/16/2018 Not my week

A bonus comic? Yep. Top Web Comics is having issues so I'm posting this week's bonus comic here instead. Honestly, that actually worked out in my favor. I spent a lot of the last couple of days working on the demo for Aurora's Nightmare (the visual novel I'm developing) and, between that and all the other stuff this week, I didn't have a comic ready in advance. I was planning to make one last night...but I think I might be coming down with something. Yeah... This spring break has not really been going all that great. And it's back to work on Monday with a whole lot of mid-term projects to grade. Yay...

Well, have a good weekend and here's hoping I feel better by the end of it.

Josiah

3/14/2018 Back and burning

Maybe I should say burning out, since that's how I'm really right now. Spring break isn't really the relaxing break I was hoping for, at least not so far. On the bright side, I've gotten a lot done, so that's something. Looking like I might not get to do any sightseeing this week. I could, but the weather isn't great and, the way I'm feeling right now, I'd rather take it easy. The cherry blossoms are coming soon though, so I'll be sure to make it into DC before too long. For now though, not much to talk about.

See you Friday!

Josiah

3/9/2018 Always something UPDATE

UPDATE: I really hate to do this, especially after running a bonus comic on the main page, but I'm going to have to skip Monday's update. I had a bunch of things I needed to get done before spring break started and didn't have any time to get a comic done in advance. In that situation, normally I'd just make one Sunday night before updating, but I've been out for most of the day and running on too little sleep (Zack kept me up really late the night before) so I don't have the time and am too tired to stay up late to work on it. Sorry. Regular updates should resume on Wednesday.

Well, I may be done with classes for a little while, but I don't really feel like I'm on break yet (and, technically, I'm not). Between work related stuff, errands, and other assorted tasks, I'm keeping pretty busy at the moment and, while I do plan to take some time off and do some fun stuff this coming week, I think there's still going to be quite a lot of things I'll need to work through. Sigh... I kind of miss the times when I could just spend a solid day or two ploughing through my to-do list to free up the rest of my schedule but, with a very active one year old to take care of, that just doesn't seem to be an option right now.

Anyway, see you Monday!

Josiah

3/7/2018 Wednesday?

Yep, it's Wednesday. And, actually, this my last day of teaching before spring break! That said, I'm not really off of work until next week, so I still have things I need to do for the next few days. And, um, yeah... I really can't think of anything to say.

Later!

Josiah

3/5/2018 Marching on

Ok, that was a bad pun... Seems there was a really big wind storm on Friday, though Connie and I didn't really notice much. Parts of some nearby towns did lose power though, so I suppose we were lucky. Didn't seem that bad to me though. Then again, I was inside working most of the day. Well, maybe something good will come of it and the government and/or ultility companies around here will decide to bury some of the power lines. Probably not, but you never know.

Later!

Josiah

3/2/2018 March is here

Remember to use the TWC button to vote and see the new bonus comic.

It's March and that means... Well, not a whole lot. But spring break isn't too far off, and the cherry blossoms in DC will be blooming a bit later in the month as well. Hopefully we'll have a day with nice weather when we can go over there this year. There's also some cool movies coming out, but Connie and I don't get to the theater too much these days, so we may just wait for the blu-rays. We'll be doing some fun stuff this month anyway. For now though, I should get going.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

2/28/2018 Racing...

Over the past week or so, I watched The Ridonculous Race on Netflix. If you haven't heard of it, it's an animated parody of The Amazing Race and a spin-off of Survivor parody Total Drama Island. I wouldn't say it's quite as good as Total Drama but, while I never got into Survivor, I do watch The Amazing Race every season. Actually, I just watched the finale of the latest season yesterday. I've always thought it would be a lot of fun to compete on The Amazing Race and watching all that stuff makes me want to apply. Will I? Not sure. I mean, I've got a one year old kid, so that complicates things. And, if I did apply, who would I team up with? Connie would be fun, and her Chinese skills could potentially be a big advantage, but until Zack is a lot older I don't think both of us could go anywhere without him. My brother would probably be a solid choice (and the most physically fit of my options), though he's got a baby now too and a job I'm not sure he can step away from for a couple of weeks. Then there's my mom. Honestly, in a situation like that, I get the feeling we'd fight a lot. Which would be bad for making it through the race, but might actually boost our chances of getting selected since producers love drama. Anyway, I suppose it's probably just idle thought right now. But hey, maybe in a few years...

Later!

Josiah

2/26/2018 So...

Once again, I can't really think of much to talk about. I had a pleasant weekend, but nothing too exciting. Just visiting with some friends and playing with Zack. Speaking of which, he's starting to walk. Though, at this point, he can't go too far without falling down. He is getting really good with a walker though. A couple weeks back, I was going through my photos of him from the past year. While Connie and I don't notice it as much day to day, the photos show just how much he's grown and it's pretty amazing. And he's only fourteen months old now, by the end of this year he'll have changed even more.

Anyway, I should get ready for work so I'll see you later.

Josiah

2/23/2018 Time flies

Nearing the end of February already? Where has the time gone? Anyway, seems like even on what should be my less busy weeks, I still find way too much to occupy my time. But that's just how it goes these days.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

2/21/2018 Spring is coming

It might be February but spring is here...at least for yesterday and today. Then it cools down a bit. Not much else to talk about today since I need to get some rest before classes but things are going pretty good this week and that's that.

Later!

Josiah

2/19/2018 Another new year

Now that I think about it, I really do have a lot of new year's ever year. There's regular new year's, which is also my birthday, Jewish new year (actually, Judaism has several news years, sort of), and now (thanks to Connie) Chinese new year. Thought about going to see the Chinese New Year's stuff in DC, but ended up just going to the one at the local mall instead. Not especially exciting, but easy. And things have been busy lately.

Anyway, happy new year...again.

Later!

Josiah

2/16/2018 A crazy ending

As always, vote with the TWC button to see the new bonus comic for this week.

Well, I finished Danganronpa V3. The main story anyway. The post game stuff will probably keep me busy for another week or two. As I mentioned before, while it lagged a bit in the middle, it really picked up in Chapter 5 and then Chapter 6... Wow... The ending was really unexpected. Seems like it's pretty controversial with some of the fanbase, but I really liked it. It's not what I was expecting, or even what I necessarily wanted, but it's very clever and, as much as the Danganronpa 3 anime wrapped up the Hope's Peak story arc that had run through the original batch of games, V3 (despite not being a direct sequel) feels like a very fitting way to finish the entire series. Not to say it's definitely the last one, but it would be a great place to end things and, honestly, I'd feel a little conflicted about another sequel at this point. Anyway, I really can't say anything more without spoilers but, if you've been following the series, V3 is very much worth your time. Maybe the way it ends isn't for everyone, but it certainly makes you think.

Later!

Josiah

2/14/2018 Grading

I'm currently grading the first set of assignments from this semester's classes. It's always an interesting time since it gives me an idea of what I can expect from my current batch of students. Which are hard workers? Which are particularly skilled? And which are too lazy and/or disorganized to get things done?

Unfortunately, I'm not quite as far along in that process as I'd like. I had to run some errands and run into a ton of bad luck which caused them to take much longer than expected, really eating into my grading time. First off, I tried to use an ATM to deposit a check. Now I normally just deposit checks with my phone, but the app couldn't seem to read this particular check. Neither could the ATM, which then preceded to jam and eat the check instead of returning it. Ironically enough, the problem check was from that same bank. Nice to know their own system can't read their checks... And my errands didn't really get any better after that (though, fortunately, they didn't get any worse either).

Anyway, I'll get it done soon enough. And then on to a bit of summer travel planning and some serious work on the Aurora's Nightmare demo.

Later!

Josiah

2/12/2018 Shocking

Played a bit of Danganronpa 3 over the weekend. Seems like I had switched back to Mario Odyssey right before a massive plot twist. I'm glad to see the story ramping up as it nears the final act. As much as I've been enjoying it, it seemed to lack a bit of the impact of the first two games. Now though, it's really looking up.

But, that's enough games for now. Back to work.

Josiah

2/9/2018 Moving on

It's Friday so use the TWC button to vote and see the new bonus comic!

Well, I made it through my gauntlet of meetings. Unfortunately, my to-do list just got a few new items, which will likely keep me busy at least through the middle of next week. Sigh... Ah well, just a few more days, a week at most, and things should calm down.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

2/7/2018 The meetings continue

Not much to say here. I've got a couple more days of meetings to get through in addition to my regular work, and a last item or two on my to-do list. But that should all be done by the end of the week...just in time for the first batch of assignments to grade for my classes. But hey, I won't have nearly as much to grade as last semester (where I could have 100 - 200 papers to get through some weeks). I'm also down the last area in Mario Odyssey. While I am looking forward to finishing it up and moving onto some other games I've been wanting to play, it's been a blast to play all the way through and I'll be a little sad to see it end.

Well, back to work.

Josiah

2/5/2018 Just another week

I finally got my PowerPoints finished, along with a lot of the other stuff on my to-do list. But I have a lot of meetings I need to get through this week before things totally settle down. And...that's about it really. Nothing too interesting or exciting going on right now. I'm sure something more exciting will come up sooner or later but, for now, it's just normal everyday stuff. But hey, nothing wrong with that sometimes.

Later!

Josiah

2/2/2018 Time flies

TWC is working again, so you can vote with the button on the left to see the new bonus comic!

This week has really flown by between my classes, meetings, errands, and the like. I should have my last PowerPoint finished a bit later today though, which will be good. Next week I've got another bunch of meetings to "look forward to" but after that things should fully settle down.

Anyway, have a good weekend!

Josiah

1/31/2018 Gaming

While my free time has been rather limited since getting back from Hawaii, it's been nice to have access to my consoles again. While I did manage to beat Mario Odyssey shortly before I left, I've still got a ton of post-game content to work through, which has been a lot of fun so far. Then there's Danganronpa 3, which I started during the break, but haven't finished yet. What comes after both of those? Probably that last DLC episode for Final Fantasy XV, though that should only take a few hours. And then? I'm not sure. I've certainly got a lot of options, between recent releases and titles that have been sitting in my backlog for awhile. I don't think there are any bad choices there, though I certainly wish I had the time to actually start catching up on all of them. Oh well, that's just the way things are.

See you Friday!

Josiah

1/29/2018 Week 2

Spring semester continues! I have a bunch of meetings this week and next week for various things going on at work, which will keep me a bit busier than usual this early in the semester, especially since I've still got a couple of PowerPoints I need to finish. Shouldn't be too bad though, and I'm looking forward to wrapping up the PPs so I can focus on some other projects (like Aurora's Nightmare). I also have a bit of planning I need to do for summer. On that note, we do have a summer trip planned. Not as long or elaborate as last year's, but still pretty cool. We'll be spending most of the summer here in Virginia though, which should also be fun. Anyway, summer is quite a ways away, so I'll talk more about that closer to the time.

For now, I should probably head off. Zack still isn't sleeping perfectly and I've got a long day ahead at work.

Later!

Josiah

1/26/2018 Wrapping up

I'm still having trouble with TWC, so here's this week's bonus comic.

Zack is starting to sleep better, which is good, but I finally caught that same stomach bug he and Connie had a few days back, which, combined with the lack of sleep, knocked me out of commission for half a day. As a result, I didn't quite make it through my to-do list for the week. Anyway, let's wrap up that travelogue.

January 16th: Heading Home
Our time in Hawaii came to an end sooner than I would have liked. Time really flew. But it was a great trip and I got to do all the stuff I most wanted to do. Our flights back got rescheduled a few times, but in the end the we got a relatively ok set. There really isn't too much to talk about when it comes to the trip back itself.
So how was it being back in Hawaii? Well, the trip gave me a taste of what it would have been like if we had never left. And yeah, I still really love it there. The climate, the culture, the beaches, mountains, all the special events, the food... And, most of all, having my family around. Of course, this trip also reminded me of some of the things I didn't like about living in Hawaii, like the state government and the serious homeless problem. Still, the end of this trip hit me a little hard. Both for myself and for Zack, who really enjoyed both the beach and spending time with his grandparents. I'm not sure if I'll ever live in Hawaii again. Even if I have the opportunity, I can't say for sure if I'd take it. But I am really glad that, so long as my parents' have their place here, I'll have plenty of opportunities to return.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

1/24/2018 Getting there

Zack and Connie seem to fully recovered, though getting Zack's sleep schedule back to normal will likely take a bit longer. Still, things are starting to calm down. If I can just get a good night's sleep for a change, and get a few more start of semester tasks done this week, that should do it.

For today though, I'm going to keep it short and try and save my last Hawaii post for Friday.

Later!

Josiah

1/22/2018 Ugh...

Classes start back up today and I'm...sorta ready. I got all my most important prep work done, but still have a couple things left on my to-do list. Plus, I'm a bit sleep deprived. Zack caught a stomach bug or something not long after we got back from Hawaii and Connie got it shortly after. I've managed to avoid it (so far, at least), but Zack's sleep schedule had already gotten messed up in Hawaii and with the time zone change and the stomach bug on top of that, it's totally shot now. So now I have to sleep train him again, which is a lot harder now that he's older and stronger. I haven't gotten a full night's sleep in days...

Anyway, I've got a long day ahead and need to get however much sleep I can before my first class starts, so I'll try and finish the Hawaii travelogue later in the week.

Josiah

1/19/2017 Whales

For the first time in quite a while, Top Web Comics was having issues so I did what I usually do in those situations and posted today's bonus comic here. There will be a regular strip on Monday.

In other news, I'm back in Virginia. My current focus is catching up on the usual post-trip things and preparing my spring classes (which start on Monday). Got a travelogue entry or two left though. Here's one for today and I'll try and finish it up on Monday.

January 14th (Sunday): Whale Watching
We had talked about going on a whale watching boat a few weeks ago but nothing ever came of it. But then my mom heard from some people who had gone and seen a lot of whales and decided we should give it a try. There's a lot of whale watching boats around, but we ended up going on The Star of Honolulu, which has been around for ages and also does dinner cruises. As a side note, whales only hang out in Hawaii for several months, coming down to get away from the cold winters up north. So if you want to see them, you have to time your visit
The weather was great. We set off and soon were treated to some great views of the coast. We actually ran into our first whale pretty quickly, and saw a steady stream of them from then on. The boat did a good job of following the whales around and the crew chimed in with some occasional whale and Hawaii facts. And, when there were breaks in the whales, I could always watch the parasailers. The boat also had a buffet (though we ate before we went), a few little Hawaiian culture activities, and was pretty kid friendly. That said, after getting Zack to sleep (which took a little doing), I spent pretty much the entire time up on the top deck looking for whales and enjoying the view. At two and a half hours, it was a fairly long trip, but didn't quite feel "too long" either.
While going on a larger boat is a bit more laid back than a small cruiser, it is more comfortable and allows for more amenities. If you want a relaxing whale watching trip, I'd say that The Star of Honolulu is a pretty good choice. They even give you a free return ticket if you don't see any whales. Connie, my mom, and I all enjoyed it and it was a nice way to spend one of our final days in Hawaii.

Later!

Josiah

1/12/2018 Zipping around

It's a Friday, so you can use the TWC button to vote and see the new bonus comic.

Time has really flown lately. Hard to believe my month in Hawaii is almost over. While it'll be nice to get home in some ways, I can't really say that I'm especially looking forward to the winter weather, or getting back to work. Anyway, for now it's back to the travelogue.

January 4th (Thursday): Climbworks Zipline Tour
I started doing high ropes and ziplines as a kid back in Colorado, but one thing that has changed since those days is the introduction of the zipline tour. Basically, instead of just doing one zipline, a zipline tour involves spending two or three hours doing a series of ziplines, usually with some other activities inbetween. The last time I did one was actually in Hawaii as well, but many years ago on a different island (Kauai). Zipline tours only came to Oahu few years ago but now there's two or three of them. That aside, my mom thought it would be fun for Connie and I, so she got us tickets as a birthday present of sorts.
Climbworks is on a farm on the north side of the island. My mom took Zack off to play, and Connie and I joined another couple and a Japanese family and set off for the ziplines. The first was a sort of intro line right by the entrance. Probably to make sure no one freaks out before starting the tour proper. After that, we hopped on an ATV and headed to the top of a nearby hill. From that point on, it was ziplines and walkways all the way down. Inbetween, there were a few talks about the farm (they grow bananas, tomatoes, and Vietnamese curry leaf) and the north shore in general, along with some obstacles (drops, climbs, and swaying rope bridges). I'm pretty used to these things, but this was only Connie's second time on a zipline. Fortunately, she did fine and we both had a lot of fun. The ziplines passed over forests, valleys, and the farm itself. One even went through a short canyon (though it's kind of hard to tell from the photo), which was really cool. I don't think this one was quite as good as the zipline tour I took back on Kauai, but that's a different island and the Climbworks tour is a lot of fun. If you don't mind heights, and are looking for something fun to do on the north shore, give it a try.
We finished up the day at the Kailua farmer's market, which is more or less on par with the Blaisdell one in regards to food selection. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area Thursday evenings.

Later!

Josiah

1/10/2018 More fun on Oahu

I've still got several travelogue entries that need writing, so let's get to it.

January 1st (Monday): The Polynesian Cultural Center
I've already been to the Polynesian Cultural Center several times, and written about it two or three times as well, so I'm not going to go into too much detail here. But anyway... A lot of stuff closes on New Year's Day and my mom wanted to work in a last trip to the cultural center before her membership ran out, so she, Connie, Zack, and I headed down there for the day.
The center hadn't really changed much since the last time I was there, and I'd already seen all the main shows, but I did get to look inside some buildings that I hadn't before and check out a couple of the smaller presentations. One, for example, was on how to make coconut oil. It's actually just a couple of extra steps added to the process of making coconut milk. What surprised me was that you only get a table spoon or so of oil per coconut. I can't imagine how many it takes to make the big containers of the stuff that I buy at Costco...
One thing about the PCC that does seem to get a bit better every time I visit is the food and drink options. We actually thought about staying after the main park closed for the luau (which I haven't done) but, unfortunately, they were booked solid due to the holiday. Still, it was a moderately fun day, despite the familiarity.

January 3rd (Wednesday): Breakout Waikiki
Back when I was living in Hawaii, I actually toyed with the idea of setting up an escape room, either as a commercial project or a sort of fun university activity for my game design students. Well, due to everything that happened, I was never able to do that, but some people clearly had similar ideas and there are now several escape room places around the island.
If you're not familiar with escape rooms, the basic idea is that a group of people (usually around 6 - 8) is locked in a themed room and have to solve a bunch of puzzles in order to unlock the door before the time limit (generally 1 hour). I love escape rooms and mentioned the possibility of going to one here a while back. In the end, Connie and I, my parents, some friends of theirs, and Zack teamed up and reserved a room for ourselves. Not that Zack helped, but he was able to ride along in his carrier without a problem.
We went to Breakout Waikiki, which is in King's Village by Waikiki Beach. Why that one? Partly due to the convenient location, and partly because it has the biggest selection of rooms. We chose one called The Hatch, which was loosely based off of Lost. Without spoiling anything, I think it's the best real world escape room I've done so far. It had a good variety of puzzles, none of which were especially failure prone, and don't come across as too gimmicky either.
So how'd we do? Since my game design knowledge and my escape room experience (real and digital) gives me a leg up on these type of things, I spent a lot of time running from puzzle to puzzle getting the others started and helping them out when they were stuck. And, of course, solving a few myself. Though everyone contributed strongly at various points, so it was hardly a one man show. That said, with so many things going on, I didn't feel like I couldn't always go as fast as I needed to given the time limit, which might have bottlenecked things a bit here and there. In the end, we didn't quite finish the room, though were came close. We were on the final puzzle when the time ran out. I do have to say that it was two or three difficulty levels above everything else in the room (posing a bit of a balancing issue), but I think that we probably would have solved it given another 5 - 10 minutes. Over all, I was pretty happy with our performance (minus a couple of dumb mistakes), and had a lot of fun. I really should try and do some more of the escape rooms in Virginia some time and I'd still like to try my hand at designing one..

Well, I've still got one entry to go, but it can wait until Friday.

Later!

Josiah

1/8/2018 A little more time

Time has really be flying on this trip. Just a little over a week left to go. Sigh... I do miss living here. Virginia has its good points too, but Hawaii is special... Anyway, here's a bit more of the travelogue.

December 31st (Sunday): Ko'olina and Kapolei
We didn't have anything in particular to do on the 31st, so my mom suggested going to to Ko'olina to spend some time at the lagoons. It made for a pleasant morning, and Zack had a lot of fun on the beach. I got to do a little snorkeling as well. Admittedly, I was never that impressed with the Ko'olina lagoons as a snorkeling spot. It doesn't really compare to Oahu's top snorkeling areas such as Electric Beach and Shark's Cove. That said, it was a bit better than I remembered. I saw a decent variety of fish, and it's a really easy place to snorkel, so that's a plus.
Later in the day, we stopped by Kapolei's new mall, which I'd be wanting to see. It's an outdoor mall situated near the UHWO campus and the end of the rail line (whenever that actually gets done), though said line weirdly ends around half a mile away from the mall itself. I'm not sure what the logic is there... Anyway, it's a fairly nice mall, with movie theater, a decent restaurant selection, and plenty of stores (though mostly not the type I shop at). I wouldn't say it's worth driving out there from Honolulu just to visit the mall, but it's certainly great for people who live or are staying on that side of the island (Ko'olina, Kapolei, Ewa Beach, etc.). The main reason I wanted to visit is because I'd been rather eagerly awaiting its opening back when I lived here, since it would have only been a 5 - 10 minute drive from my house. And it certainly would been convenient to have around. Sigh...
Anyway, we eventually made it back to Honolulu and spent the rest of the day hanging out. Though I eventually headed down to the beach to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks show on Waikiki Beach. It was a good show, though it didn't really feature anything I hadn't seen before. One cool thing though, which I didn't really notice in past years, was that I could looks down the coast and see lots of other fireworks shows taking place in the distance. They were fairly far off, but it still made for a neat effect. And with that, 2017 was brought to a close.

Well, I'm off for now. I should have another entry or two ready for Wednesday so I'll see you then!

Josiah

1/5/2018 Resting up

Vote with the TWC button on the left to see the new bonus comic!

We crammed a number of activities into this week. It was fun, but also a bit tiring and I'm still sorting through the photos so I'm going to keep it short today and try and get a travelogue entry or two ready for Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Josiah

1/3/2018 Hiking in Hawaii

Let's make a bit more travelogue progress.

December 24th (Sunday): The Aiea Loop Trail
This trail was on my to-do list for quite a while when I was living in Hawaii, though I never got around to it. But, when looking for a hike to do with the whole family, it seemed like a good fit being moderate length but not especially difficult (nothing tricky or especially steep). Especially since Connie and I aren't at our best right now in terms of physical fitness (taking care of a baby has left a lot less time for proper exercise).
We started at the upper part of the loop and set off through the trees. For the most part, it was a pretty flat hike, except for one decent followed by a not overly steep or long climb towards the end. While not one of the most scenic Oahu hikes I've been on, you go through a surprising variety of vegetation along the way. White trees, pine forest, bamboo, shady tunnels, and more. We also got a good view of the H3 highway. Over all, it was a pleasant hike and neither Connie nor I had any real trouble with it. That was encouraging, but we both still really need to get back in shape before our big summer trip...
After we finished the loop, we got a somewhat late lunch over at Little Sheep (Chinese hot pot) before walking around the Ward Center a bit. On the down side, they're demolishing a large chunk of it (which I rather liked) to build more condos. On the plus side, they did add a kind of neat new area in the back.
We took it easy after that, though I did slip out at night to check out the Christmas Eve festivities near Waikiki, making for a pleasant end to the day.

Later!

Josiah

1/1/2018 Happy new year!

Another year... 2017 was fairly hectic. Partly because of work and travel, but mostly because of raising a baby. Still, it was a pretty great year over all and a lot better than 2016, which was a rather lousy year with a few highlights thrown in. Here's hoping that 2018 continues the positive trend. And now, for a travelogue entry.

Random Hawaii Comment: Returning to Hawaii
It's a little odd coming back to Hawaii this time. I mean, I lived here until a year and a half ago and, while I've been pretty happy with things in Virginia, I'm still rather sore (to put it mildly) about the circumstances that caused me to leave Hawaii in the first place. And I have to admit, I've spent a little time thinking of exactly what I'd say if I happen to run into a certain person...
That said, returning to a familiar area is always kind of fun. Especially an area that I really like. I enjoy visiting different places I used to frequent and seeing what's changed and what's stayed the same. In terms of shops and restaurants, I'm pretty happy with the changes, though a few places I really liked have disappeared. Over all though, I think the new stuff outweighs the losses. Outside of that, however, things have mostly stayed the same. While that's good when it applies to things like the weather, general culture, and the like, it also means that none of the island's major problems have really been addressed. The light rail (though a good idea) is still an over budget, mismanaged mess that's ridiculously behind schedule. The homeless issue hasn't really improved in the least (if anything, it might be slightly worse than when I left). And the government still can't even get potholes filled in a reasonable amount of time. There's also a certain amount of melancholy when visiting the beach, a favorite restaurant, or the like that I really miss having regular access to. Or when I see something new and think about how great it would have been to have around when I actually lived here...
I still really like Oahu, and I love spending time here. So, at least as long as my parents have this condo, I think I'll be coming back fairly regularly. Would I live here again? That's a bit tougher. Maybe, though it's such a complicated and expensive move that I'd have to be extremely certain about the job. Once burned, twice shy, and all that. And I'm not sure much of anything could give me any sort of trust in, or positivity about, the university system or the state government in general. But, on a vacation like this, as long as my family and I are enjoying ourselves, that's all that matters.

Happy new year!

Josiah

12/29/2017 Hawaii

You can vote with the TWC button to see the new bonus comic.

While I probably won't be writing a ton of travelogue entries on this trip, I will be doing a few, starting today.

December 14th (Thursday): Traveling to Hawaii
Connie and I were always planning to go back to Hawaii for winter vacation. I even had a bunch of frequent flier miles I could cash in for tickets. Unfortunately, that made it a bit more complicated than it needed to be, especially considering how expensive flights can be during winter break. In the end, Connie and Zack actually left a week earlier than me (it was a cheaper ticket plus they didn't have to hang around to give final exams) and I headed off a few days earlier than I probably should have to avoid a huge ticket price spike. But all the tests and presentations were done, and I can grade things from anywhere with a good internet connect.
Anyway, thanks to using those miles, I didn't get the greatest flights. The timing wasn't bad, but I had to change planes twice (three flights total) and one connection was extremely tight. Fortunately, there were enough other people trying to make that connection that they actually delayed the fight 10 or 15 minutes, giving us enough time to make a mad dash through the airport to the gate. It was a bit crazy but, in the end, I successfully made my connects, and left the mainland behind. After that it was just clouds and ocean until I landed on Oahu. Surprisingly, my luggage made all the connections as well so I rejoined my family, ready to begin my vacation.

December 15th - 23rd (Friday - Saturday): Hanging Out in Honolulu
This vacation is more about relaxing than sightseeing so I'm not going to be writing as much as on some trips. And I had to spend half of my first week grading final projects anyway. That said, it's still been pleasant so far.
For starters, my parents moved into a new, larger condo across the street from their old one (so there's room if my and my brother's family visit at the same time). While I liked their old condo a lot, the new one is even better and has an awesome view.
Zack seems to enjoy the beach, both the water and the sand. My mom even has him taking a baby swimming class.
While I haven't had time to fully explore yet, it's interesting walking around Honolulu after being away for a year and a half and seeing what has and hasn't changed. A lot of my favorite shops and restaurants are still around, though some have sadly disappeared. On the bright side, there's some great new places like Nojo, which has excellent chicken hot pots and ramen, along with awesome shave ice (it ranks up there with Island Vintage as the best shave ice I've ever had).
Some new shopping areas that were still under construction when I left have been finished as well. The new International Marketplace lacks the old, kinda kitchy charm of the original, but it's really nicely designed and has some good restaurants. I may write about it in more detail in the future. There's also Yokocho, the new Japanese food court in the basement of one of the shopping buildings on Waikiki. I've only had time for a quick look so far, but it seems to have some cool stuff.
So that's been my time in Honolulu so far, a lot of work (which is now pretty much done), spending time with my family (especially Zack), and doing a bit of exploring nearby. But we'll be doing some more interesting activities later on and I'll have some write ups for them and possible some other things, along with my thoughts on being back in Hawaii.

There's more, but that should do it for now. See you in 2018!

Josiah

12/27/2017 Seriously?

So, I actually made a special Christmas strip, for the second time ever, and it didn't upload right. The news post updated, and even the strip title updated, but the strip that was displayed was still the regular one from last Friday. Sigh... So, here's the Christmas strip...two days late. Naturally, this strip is not cannon. The actual battle will resume on Friday.

Later!

Josiah

12/25/2017 Christmas and (not in) Washington

Merry Christmas!

Now, back to work on those long delayed travelogue entries from my Thanksgiving trip to Washington state.

November 23 (Thursday): Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving was, of course, the main reason for our trip. In addition to myself, Connie, and Zack, my brother's family, and my cousin, my aunt and uncle (the parents of said cousin) came as well, along with a couple of my brother's friends. So we had a fairly big group. It was a fun day. I cooked, we played some Catan, had a great meal, and so on. Not a whole lot to say, but it was a good Thanksgiving.

November 24 (Friday): Tacoma
My aunt, uncle, and cousin left, leaving just myself, Connie, my brother and his wife, and the babies. In the end, we didn't really want to go into downtown Seattle, or do any Black Friday shopping, but we didn't really want to just sit around all day either. So we ended up going to Tacoma, which is the nearest small city / large town to where my brother lives. After lunch at a nice Asian fusion place, we headed to the Museum of Glass. It features a gallery with works by Chihuly and several other glass artists. The gallery isn't huge, but it had some interesting pieces. There was also the glass bridge outside. Unfortunately, the bridge itself is not made of glass, but it does have more glass on display along the sides and a Chihuly designed ceiling. Back inside the museum, the biggest draw is the glass workshop, which features multiple glass artisans working on a variety of projects for most of the day. When we were there, they were making a solid glass guitar. It was interesting to watch the process, though we didn't stay to see the entire thing (that would have taken hours).
I wouldn't really say that the glass museum is worth a detour from Seattle (especially considering that there's an entire Chihuly museum near the Space Needle) but, if you want to watch the show, it's not a bad place to visit if you happen to be in the Tacoma area.

November 25 (Saturday): Seattle Parks
The synagogue we went to was either in or near Seattle (though not the downtown area) so we decided to do a bit more sightseeing afterwards. I'll note that we had to drive to these places, as they weren't really within walking distance of downtown, or each other, for that matter.
Out first stop was Gas Works Park. If you couldn't guess from the name, it's an abandoned gas works that was changed into a public park. While the rusty tanks and equipment were fenced off, they were rather cool to see and gave the place a neat vibe (sort of the whole green post-apocalypse thing). The park also features great views of the bay (or is it a sound or something?) with downtown Seattle in the background. It was a cold day, so we didn't stay too long, but Gas Works park is a neat place to walk around and take some pictures.
Getting back in the car, we drove over the the locks. Locks, in this case, refer to the locks used in canals and rivers to raise and lower boats so they can move between uneven parts of the water way. Kind of interesting, and you can watch the locks work when a boat comes along, but I'm not sure they really should qualify as a tourist attraction.
And that was it for the day. We headed home the following evening (after a fairly lazy day) so I could get back in time for Monday's classes.
While I still haven't spent all that much time in Washington State, there's certainly a lot of fun things to see and do there. Though I'd really recommend trying to time any trips to the Seattle area during the 3 months or so of good weather that they get in the summer.

Ok! Now, with that out of the way, I can switch focus to Hawaii in future posts.

Later!

Josiah

12/22/2017 Seattle

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Well, the grading is finally finished and I'm fully on vacation. I'll still be working on my own projects, but that's on my own schedule. So, it's finally time to start on that Seattle travelogue. Why not a Hawaii travelogue? Well, there will probably be some of that sooner or later (though this is more of a relaxing trip than a sightseeing one), but for now I want to get that long overdue Seattle one out of the way.

November 22 (Wednesday): The Seattle Underground
Since my brother and his wife came to visit Connie and I last Thanksgiving, we decided to visit them this year. It was also our chance to meet our new nephew (and Zack's cousin). One of my cousins came as well. Since we arrived on Tuesday night, we decided to spend Wednesday doing some sightseeing in Seattle. Noah recommended an underground tour (there's several), so that's where we all headed after taking the ferry into the city.
What's the Seattle underground? Well, it turns out that the city of Seattle was originally built in a rather lousy location. There were reasons, but it ended up flooding frequently. The fact that they went with quick and shoddy construction for the roads and such didn't really help matters. Fortunately, the city burned down. Yes, I said fortunately, as it gave the city planners the chance to start over and do things right. That involved not only sturdier, less flammable construction, but also transporting massive amounts of dirt from the city's hills (drastically lowering their height) to raise the elevation of the lower areas. Thing is, the shop keepers didn't really want to wait years for that whole project to finish before rebuilding. So they rebuilt at lower levels and, over time, as the roads were raised, what used to be the sidewalks and first floors of the buildings became underground walkways and basements instead.  For a while, it was used as a sort of underground shopping mall, lit by skylights built into the sidewalks above. However, it was eventually condemned and sealed off as part of a very aggressive (and affective) effort to prevent an outbreak of plague. But that didn't stop the underground from being used illegally over the years for shady business ventures, trash disposal, and homeless encampments. Now, it's no longer condemned. A lot of it is run down and sealed off, but some sections are open and used for tours, storage, clubs, and the like. The tour we took featured a few spots in the underground, though we had to go above ground to travel between them. The guide was really good, and gave both a history of Seattle and a lot of trivia, both on the underground and the city itself. This totem pole, for instance, was actually stolen by some city officials who happened across an empty Indian village on their way back from a trip to Alaska and were looking for a souvenir. They got in trouble, but bribed the US marshal and got off with a slap on the wrist. Then the pole burned down years later so the officials actually hired the Indians they stolen the original one from to make them a copy. Talk about a crazy story... Anyway, it was an interesting tour and something I'd recommend if you go to Seattle.
After the tour, we grabbed a quick (and late) lunch and walked around the city a bit. Stops included this little hidden waterfall park (that we learned about on the tour), which was built by UPS (they got their start in Seattle), the city's oldest glass studio, a cool toy store, and Pike's Place Market. After watching the sunset (which happens pretty early during Washington winters), we made our way to a Moroccan restaurant. Now, I love Moroccan food but Moroccan restaurants aren't too common in the US (at least not anywhere I've ever lived) so I normally have to cook it myself. Being able to go to a real restaurant for a change was nice and it was a great meal to wrap up a fun day.

Well, I've got a few more days to write about on that Washington trip, but I'll stop here for normal and hopefully continue on Monday.

Later!

Josiah

12/20/2017 Last day

I've spent most of the past couple of days grading final projects. I've made good progress, but still have a large chunk that I need to get done today so no time for travelogue entries. After that though, I'm good for the rest of the vacation.

Back to it!

Josiah

12/18/2017 Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I successfully made it to Hawaii! However, I didn't get much sleep the night before the flight, which came on top of a lot of late nights. Zack was rather fussy my first night here as well, which also didn't meant much sleep. As a result, for the last few days, I've been finding myself getting deathly tired long before bed time. So working on PV has been a struggle to get things done before I get too tired to work. The end result? I managed to get this comic done but "still" haven't been able to do those Washingon travelogues. Pretty sure I'll have them up later this week though.

Right now, I need more sleep...

Josiah

12/11/2017 A few more days...

Well, it's nice to have a few days to myself, but I've been pretty busy. Work, errands, cleaning, getting things ready for winter break, and so on and so forth. So it hasn't really been especially relaxing, or left me with as much free time as I thought. On that note, while I did manage to get a PV strip done for today, I haven't had a chance to build any kind of buffer so, by the time I got it done, it was too late for those travelogue entries. Sigh... I really wanted those done a week or two ago... Well, soon anyway. With vacation coming up, I can't stay busy for too much longer.

Later!

Josiah

12/8/2017 So close...

You can vote to see the new Blooper Reel comic...or just look right here on the main page. Sigh... I've been working through my to-do list, and I even got the photos for my Seattle travelogue entries ready. What I didn't manage to get done was a regular Pebble Version strip, or the actual travelogue write-up. I thought I'd be able to, but a couple extra things came up and, on top of that, I got all of 3 1/2 hours of sleep last night since I had to get up very early to take Connie and Zack to the airport (they're leaving on winter vacation a bit earlier than me since it was cheaper that way and they don't have to hang around for final exams like I do). I wasn't going to get a lot of sleep to begin with, but then Zack decided to wake up even earlier and wouldn't calm down. That doesn't happen very much, but it's certainly annoying when it does, and meant me waking up a lot earlier than planned. Anyway, even if I wanted to stay up a bit longer and get today's strip done, I'm just too tired.

Regular updates really should resume on Monday.

Later!

Josiah

12/4/2017 Crunching UPDATE

UPDATE: I really hate to do it, but I'm skipping Wednesday's update. I'm very nearly caught up with everything (grading is done, just working on some misc stuff), but I haven't had any time to work on PV and I can't afford a really late night to get the comic done with my schedule for the next couple of days. Updates will resume on Friday.

Sigh... Well, it's Monday and I'm still grading papers. On the plus side, I did get the biggest most complex assignments finished. But I still have 40 - 50 papers left to grade, which takes a while even if they're the shorter and simpler ones. Hopefully I'll get them out of the way soon so I can finally get some other things (like those travelogue entries) done.

Later!

Josiah

12/1/2017 Hello December

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Seems like there's been lots to catch up on since Thanksgiving, and I still have more to go. On that note, I don't have time for those travelogue entries today, as much as I wanted to get them done. I'll aim for Monday, though they may slip into Wednesday depending on how long it takes me to finish grading the latest batch of student projects. I will be so glad when this semester is over...

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

11/29/2017 Back home

Well, I'm back from Thanksgiving, but only for a few weeks before heading off to Hawaii for winter break. Anyway, I have a couple travelogue entries coming up from my time in Washington, but not today (I'm still working on my photos). Now that I'm back home, it's back to work as well.

Later!

Josiah

11/24/2017 Holiday break

Sorry about posting a Blooper Reel today instead of a regular strip. I just haven't had much time to work on the comic the last few days. I hope all my US readers had a good Thanksgiving. Connie and I are having a nice time in Washington (state, not DC). We spent Wednesday doing some stuff in Seattle, so expect a travelogue entry sometime next week. Other than that, remember that there will be no update on Monday due to the timing of our return flight. Regular updates will resume on Wednesday.

Later!

Josiah

11/20/2017 Dropped shows

First off, a couple of announcements. Connie, Zack, and I are going to be visiting my brother for Thanksgiving. Due to our travel schedule, there will be no PV update on Wednesday or Monday. I will try to squeeze one in on Friday though.

Continuing with the TV theme... Here's some quick notes on the shows I watched last season but decided not to continue with this time around. Note that I'm only listing shows I deliberately stopped watching, not ones that were canceled.

Shows I'm Not Watching This Season:

Super Girl
Outside of the whole "girl power" thing, I thought the first season was rather mediocre and I only continued on to season 2 because I was hoping that, when it moved to CW, it would take some lessons from Flash and Arrow and improve. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. If anything, it got a bit worse by trying to be overly "progressive" whether or not it made any sense for the plot. I dropped it part way through the last season and have completely ignored this one. I'll probably watch one episode due to the whole Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, Super Girl cross over that's coming up, but that's it.

Quantico
I really liked season 1 but the plot of season 2 was a bit of a mess and it got even worse towards the end when they decided to focus on political grandstanding instead of actually advancing the story. I finished the season, but have no interest in returning for the next one.

Hmm... I think that's it. Ok then. Have a great Thanksgiving (if you're in the US, anyway), and I'll hopefully see you Friday.

Josiah

11/17/2017 Continuing with the TV

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Let's talk about some shows I'm planning to watch, but the new season hasn't started yet.

Upcoming Shows:

My Little Pony
Actually, the latest last season just ended a month or so ago. While I still enjoy the show for the most part, I think the last couple of seasons haven't been as good as the earlier ones.

Agents of Shield
Last season was a bit of a mixed bag. The Ghostrider story arc in the first half was just ok, though the Agents of Hydra arc in the second half was really good. This season was delayed so they could run Inhumans first, but will be starting in a couple weeks. And, for some reason, they're in space. Curious to see what the deal is with that.

Doctor Who
I felt that the last season was just ok. Capaldi was never my favorite Doctor and I wasn't a big fan of last season's new companion either. But next season will have a new Doctor and a new companion. And the Doctor is going to be a woman. To be honest, I saw this coming. They've been teasing the possibility for ages. That said, it's still a bit of a weird move. The question is how they're going to handle it. With some smart writing it could be a fun change of pace. But considering how a lot of episodes have been going lately, I suspect it'll be more like, "The Doctor is a woman! Look how progressive we are! Did we mention she's a woman? We'll be reminding you about it every five minutes just so you don't forgot how awesomely progressive we are." So yeah, I'm apprehensive.

Whose line is it anyway?
This is another one where the season actually just ended a little while ago. It was still hilarious and they added back a few more of the old skits, which was nice since if there's any issues with the newest incarnation it's that it tends to over use a few particular skits.

Elementary
I still haven't gotten overly invested in the characters, but the mysteries themselves are still fairly interesting. For reason, the new season isn't starting until January.

Milo Murphy's Law
Another one where the season actually ended a month or so back. Milo Murphy was created by the guys behind Phineas and Ferb and the title character, who is a walking magnet for Murphy's Law, is voiced by Weird Al. While I don't think it's on the same level as Phineas and Ferb (which is one of the best modern US kids cartoons I've seen), it got off to a good start and I enjoyed the first season quite a bit.

Ok, I think that's everything. I'll probably do another post or two to cover anime and shows I've dropped.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

11/15/2017 Work, work, work...

Well, to be fair, this week isn't overly crazy but I do have multiple meetings and a bunch of stuff to grade so it's busy enough. And today, I'm running late so I need to cut this short.

Later!

Josiah

11/13/2017 Off on an Odyssey

I finished Gravity Rush 2 and moved onto Super Mario Odyssey. Nice to be using my Switch for a change. Not that there aren't lots of games I want to play on the Switch, I just haven't had the chance to get to them yet. I played through Shovel Knight after launch, and that was about it, mainly thanks to how long FFXV and Persona 5 were. But I'm certainly looking forward to spending some time with Zelda Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, and Mario & Rabbids, among others. But first, Odyssey. I'm not too far into it yet, but I'm really enjoying it. As much as I love games with deep storylines and complex systems, Mario games are just pure fun. And, speaking as a designer, the main series titles tend to be about as close to perfectly as possible. I really have to give credit to Miyamoto and the rest of the team at Nintendo. They are, without question, some of the best in the industry.

Anyway, I'll probably write more about Odyssey when I've gotten a bit further. For now, I'm off.

Later!

Josiah

11/10/2017 More TV

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Last time, I talked about the returning TV shows I've been watching this season. Well, what about the new ones?

New Shows:

Young Sheldon
This one is a Big Bang Theory spin-off focusing on Sheldon's family when he was a kid. I think they're trying to channel shows like Malcom in the Middle, though so far I wouldn't say that Young Sheldon is especially funny. Mildly amusing at best. Unless it picks up soon, I can't see myself watching more than another episode or two.

Duck Tales
We didn't actually get the Disney Channel when I was a kid so I didn't grow up watching the original Duck Tales like a lot of people my age. Though I did see the movie once or twice. Anyway, I decided to check out the new version on a whim, since I saw so many posts on social media about it. And it's actually pretty good. I can't compare it to the original, but it's entertaining and some of the episodes are actually quite clever in ways that are designed to appeal to an older audience. Check out the episode where two of the nephews intern at a tech company to get an idea of what I mean. So yeah, I like it even without the nostalgia factor.

Marvel's Inhumans
Inhumans is part of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and they've been delaying the new season of Agents of Shield to run it. Honestly, I'd rather be watching Shield. Inhumans is about a hidden colony of Inhumans (people with super powers due to alien DNA) on the moon. But said colony soon falls into civil war when the king's younger brother stages a coup, which results in the king and his allies fleeing to Oahu. So, it sounds promising on paper. Thing is, the story revolves around a civil war and I don't really like either faction. The royal family is selfish and propping up a regime that supports slavery and other unsavory aspects. On the flip side, the king's usurper of a brother talks about seeking the good of the people but is really a tyrant looking to improve his own situation. Sure there's a bit of character development going on, but even now, as the short season is nearing its end, I don't really care much for either side. As such, I'm mostly watching for the Hawaiian scenery and the fact that I'm a fan of the MCU in general.

The Gifted
Sometimes I do start to think that I'm getting overloaded on super hero shows... Anyway, this one is set in the X-Men universe, though in a version where the X-Men mysteriously disappeared and mutants began to be locked up by a shady government organization. A seemingly ordinary family finds their lives turned upside down when their two teenage children develop mutant powers and the entire family is forced to go on the run, teaming up with a resistance network dedicated to helping protect mutants and guide them to freedom. It reminds me a little bit of Heroes (though without the big convoluted plot), and has a different feel than the other super hero shows currently running. I wouldn't say it's amazing, but I'm enjoying it enough to keep watching.

Well, I think that will do it for now, but I've got another post or two left in this TV show set so I'll see you next week.

Josiah

11/8/2017 Restless night

Zack was having a tough time sleeping which meant a late night for me so I'm just going to end this here.

Later!

Josiah

11/6/2017 Fall 2017 TV season

The fall TV season is well under way (though I'm still waiting for a couple of shows to start) so this seems like a decent time to write a bit about what I'm watching. For now, I'm just going to focus on shows currently running on TV, not stuff I'm watching on Netflix or DVD (I might write about those in a future post). So, in no particular order...

Returning Shows:

Designated Survivor
While it's a little weird to see Kiefer Sutherland not shooting anyone after all those seasons of 24, Connie and I got pretty hooked on Designated Survivor and its mix of mystery and political drama back in season 1. This time around, the politics seem to be taking priority over the larger mysteries, which is a little disappointing, but it's still interesting and fairly intense. And I really appreciate it that, so far, it's actually managed to avoid coming across as overly preachy or partisan, despite touching on some real world issues, which often happens with politically related shows.

Bizarre Foods
Technically it's Bizarre Foods Delicious Destinations now. It's still a fun show if you're into food and/or travel, but I do miss the old hour long format that focused on a whole country rather than a single city.

The Flash
This show is still a lot of fun and one of Connie and my favorites. Definitely the best super hero show on TV (at least as far as live action ones go, I'm not watching the animated ones so I can't compare). To some extent, it's going back to the status quo after the supposed departures of some of the major characters at the end of the previous season but it's nice that they're mixing things up this time with a non-speedster as the main villain and some rather unique meta-humans as well.

Arrow
Last season was a bit below par, but they're certainly changing things around this time with some different dynamics in both the team and the characters' personal lives. And, for the first time, no more flashbacks to five years ago. So far, it's too early to say whether or not this will be one of the better seasons, they haven't even introduced the main villain yet (or not obviously at least). I'm still enjoying it so far, though Connie decided to take a break for a few episodes.

Big Bang Theory
Even after so long, I still find it to be pretty funny. I can't say that they're doing anything too new or different this season, but they don't really need to. If you don't care for Big Bang, there's nothing to change your mind, but if you like it, it's still a pretty hilarious show.

Star Wars Rebels
Rebels is still better than Clone Wars and a fun side story to the Star Wars universe, though certainly not on the level of the movies. My only real complaint is that it introduces some plot holes to the story of the original trilogy. Mainly in regards to why all these characters, especially some (good and bad) who are very powerful weren't involved with the events of the films.

The Simpsons
It's been going on forever and The Simpsons is still The Simpsons. Need I say more? While I wouldn't say that the current season is on track to live up to the series's best, I still enjoy it.

Gotham
Does anyone ever actually die in Gotham? It's seems there's always an excuse to bring dead characters bad to life. Of course, I do understand the reason, and there are a few characters I'm sure are permanently dead. Anyway, Gotham is still dark, tense, and entertaining. Especially now that, after several seasons, it's actually getting relatively close to turning into a full on Batman show.

Hawaii 5-0
There were some casting shake-ups this season, with a couple of the regulars leaving and at least one new character being brought in to replace them. But really, I haven't watched this show for the plot, or even the individual cases, for ages. The writing has never really risen above "ok", aside from some of the banter between the characters. But Connie and I watch it mostly for the setting, especially since we used to live there.

Once Upon a Time
The new season acts as a soft reboot of sorts, jumping something like 15 - 20 years into the future and moving to a new setting with only a handful of the old cast retuning (the rest are presumably busy living out their "happily ever after"). Considering that I felt like the old storyline got stretched out several seasons longer than it should have, this is a good thing. Though I'm not entirely sure yet if I'm sold on the reboot or if they should have just ended the series. At very least, I'm annoyed that the now adult Henry's relationship with his girlfriend from the previous seasons seems to have been completely forgotten, without even a hand wave, in the name of setting him up with someone else for the new narrative.

Well, I think that's all the returning shows, at least the ones that are currently airing. I'll write about the new shows I'm watching another day.

Later!

Josiah

11/3/2017 Meh

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I'm feeling a lot less burned out than a couple days ago, which is good. On the down side, I had to get a wisdom tooth pulled (it went really smoothly, but still not a fun experience), I haven't even gotten half way through my grading, and I'm running really late right now. So yeah, I really should get going. Hopefully by Monday I'll be healed up and caught up.

Later!

Josiah

11/1/2017 Burnout

The title for this post isn't referring to the game series, but how I feel today. I don't feel like going into details, and it's not like it's really serious or anything. But yeah, not really in the mood to write much of anything. Hopefully I'll be feeling better come Friday. Though I've got a dentist appointment later today, so that's not necessarily hopeful...

Josiah

10/30/2017 Another week

So what's going on this week? Pretty normal stuff at work along with some grading (though not on the level of mid-terms) and no sightseeing plans or anything. Actually Connie and I were thinking about going to Shenandoah National Park yesterday but the weather wasn't very good so we didn't. But I've got a car appointment and a dentist appointment to "look forward" to. No Halloween plans either. Not that I normally have any though.

Other than that, just keeping busy with Zack, trying to finish Gravity Rush 2, keep up with all my usual stuff, and the like. Hmm... I haven't written about the new TV season yet. Maybe I'll do that later this week.

Anyway, enjoy Halloween (if you celebrate it), and I'll see you Wednesday.

Josiah

10/27/2017 Art and Asia

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For what was supposed to be a sort of relaxing week, it really hasn't been. I mean, it's been better than grading mid-terms. But between catching up on other things, internet issues, a really bad toothache, and a few other things, it's been moderately busy as a bit stressful as well. Anyway, time to finally get to that travelogue entry.

October 15th (Sunday): The Freer Gallery and Illuminasia Festival
Connie heard about a an Asian festival in DC so we decided to check it out. It turns out, it was being held to coincide with the re-opening of the Freer Art Gallery which is part of the Smithsonian just off the National Mall. The Illuminasia Festival was held outside of and around the gallery. The most popular area was the market street which had a small but diverse selection of food stalls. It wasn't your typical quick Chinese/Japanese/Thai food you usually see at this things. Instead, the focus more more on southern and west Asian countries and it was fun to try new things, even if the lines were a bit on the long side. There were also cooking demos, some music and other performances, and some talks on Asian art and related subjects. After eating and walking around for a bit we decided to check out the gallery itself. The Freer Gallery is the Smithsonian's Asian art museum. It's often combined with the nearby Sackler Gallery, which I previously visited. While the Sackler is more southern Asian and Middle Eastern art, Freer focuses more on works from East Asian countries like China and Japan. The collections aren't overly large, but they do have some nice pieces. That said, thanks to my travels, I've seen tons of Japanese and Chinese art before so I actually found the Arabic section more interesting. The original Peacock Room was also there, which was pretty cool. Add in a nice little courtyard (which was hosting a tea tasting for the festival), and it's a pleasant gallery to browse for an hour or two.
We had a nice half day or so between the festival and the gallery and it reminded me just how many parts of the Smithsonian we have yet to visit. There's plenty of keep us busy in the future.

Josiah

10/25/2017 The internet is down

Well, not quite down, but a couple hours ago my internet speed suddenly dropped to a virtually unusable level. Naturally, I tried all the usual fixes, but nothing worked so I think I'm just going to have to wait a while and hope it fixes itself. And, if not, give my ISP a call. I had that travelogue post ready to go, but there's no way I can get the photos uploaded with my net connection like this. For that matter, I'm not entirely sure if just this basic update will upload.

Well, here goes nothing...

Josiah

10/23/2017 Whew...

Well, the past week was a whole lot more hectic than I expected but I finally finished grading mid-terms and I've got a bit of a breather now. Which, among many other things, means I can sort through my photos from a week ago and then do that travelogue entry I've been wanting to write. For now though, I just finished the grading and catching up on a few other things so I'm going to head off.

See you Wednesday!

Josiah

10/18/2017 Mid-terms UPDATE

Sorry for the missed update. I'm in a bit of time crunch grading mid-terms and then Zack was having a lot of trouble sleeping last night and, as a result, I completely forgot about the comic. Updates will resume on Monday.

Well, it may be a "normal" week but I do have a bit more grading to take care of than I first realized. Mid-terms were due over the weekend and the university requires that mid-term grades be submitted for all students, at least for 100 and 200 level classes. So that gives me a bit of a deadline to deal with (though I normally try to grade everything pretty quickly anyway).

Well, back to it.

Josiah

10/16/2017 A normal week

For a nice change of pace, there really isn't anything special going on this week. Though I do have a decent amount of grading to get done since mid-terms just came due. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy holidays and stuff, but sometimes it's nice to just have time to focus on normal stuff. Especially when I've got a lot of things to grade. Connie and I did go into DC yesterday though, so expect a travelogue entry later in the week.

See you Wednesday!

Josiah

10/13/2017 A full week

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The past few days, I've constantly found myself wondering where the time went. I've had a list of things I've wanted to do, but it seems like I never have time to finish it all. Getting close to catching up though. And, without any more holidays coming up for a while, I think I'll be able to get back on track this coming week. Anyway, let's try and get that travelogue entry finished...

October 9th (Monday): DC With Friends
My friends Silver and Colly, from the forums, were passing through DC. We hung out a little Sunday night and, since it happened to be Columbus Day, I had the day off so I was able to join them for some sightseeing in DC. Zack had been kind of fussy for the last couple of days, so Connie decided to play it safe and stay home with him instead of joining us.
Since Silver and Colly were visiting, I let them choose the day's itinerary. Fortunately, despite it being a holiday, pretty much all the notable DC attractions were open. We started out at the Air and Space Museum. I got to go through a couple of exhibits I'd missed last time, including an interesting but oddly out of place one featuring art, photos, and memorabilia related to WWI. We even spotted the Enterprise. At this point, I'd say I've probably seen around 75% of the museum, give or take.
We didn't want to spend all day in one place so, after a while, we walked over to the United States Botanic Garden. While the main garden is indoors, there's an outdoor garden next to it which we walked through first. While October probably isn't the best time of year for it, there were still some flowers and other interesting plants around. That said, I've been a lot of gardens over the years and, while this one was fairly nice, there wasn't anything really special about it. The indoor portion of the garden was more interesting. It's divided into half a dozen or so zones themed around different climates and plant types. I wouldn't say that there was anything truly spectacular, but the garden does offer a very wide variety of plants that you can see all year round and it takes less than an hour to walk through so it's worth a visit if you're in the area.
At this point, we didn't have a ton of time left, but we were still able to swing by the Museum of Natural History. There, we took a quick walk through the animal bones to see the dinosaurs. As a note, it seems that there's currently a bigger and fancier dinosaur section under construction, though what they have now isn't bad. After that we made our way through the bug exhibit and spent a few minutes in the undersea section before the museum closed. I'd say I've probably seen 40% or so of the Natural History Museum now, though I just skimmed a couple of the exhibits and would like to take a closer look. I definitely need to make it back there sometime soon and go through the rest.
After that, we headed back to Fairfax and picked up Zack and Connie for dinner before going our separate ways. It was a fun day, especially since I hadn't had a chance to explore DC in a while, much less hang out with friends.

Ok, I've got another busy day coming up so I'm off. Have a good weekend!

Josiah

10/11/2017 Fun with friends

I got to hang out with Silver and Colly (from the PV Forums) Sunday night and Monday, which was a lot of fun. Saw some new stuff in DC as well. It was a fun holiday weekend but then back to work yesterday, albeit with longer hours than usual. Between that, some errands, and playing with Zack, I wasn't able to get much else done. I should have the travelogue entry ready for Friday, though I've got some more errands and work related stuff to take care of today, so we'll see.

I should probably get back to it so I'll see you later.

Josiah

10/9/2017 Holiday weekend

Happy Columbus Day to my US readers. I get the day off (though I have to work extra tomorrow), and I'm planning to spend it in DC with some friends who are visiting for the day. Expect a travelogue entry later in the week. For now, I'm off!

See you Wednesday!

Josiah

10/6/2017 Living the MMO

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Over the last couple of years, I've been reading a lot of Japanese light novels. "Light novel" is a Japanese term used to refer to short to mid length novels (usually in the 200 - 300 page range). They also tend to be aimed at the teens and 20's market and quite a lot of popular anime and manga are actually adaptations of light novel series. Unfortunately, I can't read them in Japanese (I don't know enough kanji) but, over the past few years, a couple of publishers have begun translating a number of the more popular series into English.
I've been meaning to write about some of the series I've tried. Well, there's too many to cover in one go, so I figured I'd start it off by focusing on a few series based around a particular theme. Specifically, the "trapped in a MMO" style story popularized by Sword Art Online. If you're not familiar with it, the basic setup involves one or more regular humans who find themselves physically pulled into the world of their favorite MMORPG and trapped there, taking on the role of their avatar in order to survive and find a way out. It's becoming increasingly popular, with quite a lot of different series, all offering a slightly different take on the setup. So here are the trapped in a MMO series I've tried.

Sword Art Online
Most people probably know SAO from the popular anime, but it all began with the light novels. Anyway, SAO begins with the launch of the first fully VR MMO, using an advanced type of VR that allows for full immersion of all five senses (unlike current real world headsets). However, the creator of the game traps the players inside, preventing them from logging out. Their only chance of escape is to progress through all 100 levels of Aincrad (a massive world like tower) and clear the game. But it's not that simple. Death in the game means death in the real world as well. The first novel focuses on the attempts of Kirito (one of the top players) and his friends to survive and clear SAO. And it deserves its popularity. It's tense, engaging, and provides an interesting look into minds of the players trapped in such a dangerous situation. After that, however, the series moves away from SAO itself as the characters go on to face different challenges in other games and in real life. Those later story arcs range from pretty good (Phantom Bullet, Alicization) to mediocre (Fairy Dance), but the stakes and, as a result, the tension, never reach the same heights as the first book. That said, it's a fun and interesting series. The first book is definitely worth a read and I'd recommend sticking with the series after that as well.
As a side note, there's also a SAO spin-off series titled SAO Progressive, which goes into detail about Kirito and the others early adventures in SAO, most of which were skipped over in the main series. If you liked the first SAO book, it's worth a look.

Log Horizon
All over the world, players are logging in to a popular MMO (regular, not VR), eager to try out the new expansion only to find themselves pulled into the game world. Unlike SAO, the characters are all long time players, so they start the game with high levels and powerful equipment. There's also no risk of death, as dead players respawn just like in the normal game. When the series starts, there's no indication as to how or why the characters ended up in the game world or what they need to do to leave. As a result, the stakes are low and the series provides a more relaxed look at what life would be like inside a MMO world. It's a slow paced story, which isn't helped by the fact that the author loves to take time out to explain every single game system and mechanic in great detail. Honestly, I've only read one volume so far. It wasn't bad, but it didn't do anything to hook me either. There was no main plot and the characters, while fine, weren't engaging enough to keep me reading just for their sake. I suppose I wouldn't mind reading the second book sometime, but it's pretty low on my list.

Overlord
Overlord is a bit different. It opens with a very somber mood as Momonga sits alone in the empty hall of his once great guild, reminiscing about friends who have long since left the game behind and counting the minutes until the game's servers shut down for good. However, when the shut down is supposed to occur, he instead finds himself transported into the world of the game...or is it? While Momonga's guild hall (more of a dungeon, really) is there, complete with a quirky cast of newly sentient NPC servants, it's apparently been transported to a completely different world. Deciding to accept the situation, Momonga sets out to lead his guild of undead and monsters to greatness while searching for any other players who may have come to this new world. Overlord has a very different feel to it from other trapped in a MMO series. The tone is more serious and a bit dark, especially considering that Momonga is a fairly neutral character, neither hero nor villain, and it manages to stay engaging despite how extremely powerful he is. So far, only a few volumes have been released in the US but I've been really enjoying it. I recommend giving it a try, even if (or especially if), you're feeling a bit burned out on trapped in MMO stories.

Well, that's all for now. Have a good weekend!

Josiah

10/4/2017 Happy sukkot!

Sukkot starts tonight. Unfortunately, being in an apartment, that means I can't actually build or sleep in a sukkah, which takes some of the fun out of it. Well, hopefully next year...

Not much going on the last few days. Had some problems with the Aurora's Nightmare dev blog over the weekend, so I had to spend some time fixing that. And Zack didn't sleep very well Monday night, which meant Connie and I didn't sleep very well either. Add in some grading, some errands and the like, and that's been my week so far. But there's a sukkot celebration tonight, and I'll be meeting up with some friends over the upcoming long weekend, so things should get a lot more fun.

Anyway, I've got a few things I've been meaning to write about, so I'll aim to do one of them on Friday when I'm a bit better rested.

Later!

Josiah

10/2/2017 Welcome to October

This fall seems to be moving really quickly. So what's coming up in October? Well, sukkot starts this week. Beyond that... Not much, though there might be the occasional travelogue entries. Most likely DC stuff and/or Shannandoah National Park. Also, lots of cooking with apples, seeing as we've barely scratched the surface of the four bags we picked a couple of weeks ago.

For now though, I'm off. Later!

Josiah

9/29/2017 Cool down

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Well, this has been a busy week (coming right after another busy week), but it's starting to calm down...I guess? I mean, the grading is done (until Monday, when I'll have another, albeit smaller, batch), my paperwork is done, as is a bunch of other assorted stuff. At this point, there's only one thing on my to-do list for the week that I haven't gotten to yet and I'm hoping to take care of it today. Actually, I kind of have to today or it'll be too late. Fortunately, it's optional so missing it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. That said, I'm pretty sure I can squeeze it in before Yom Kippur starts tonight. And yeah, Yom Kippur this weekend. Not exactly a relaxing holiday. Oh, and I can't forget to pick up my SNES Classic today either. Don't think I'll have time to play with it, but I do need to get it from the store.

Anyway, I hope you guys have a good weekend and I'm looking forward to things probably calming down in few days.

Josiah

9/27/2017 Done

Well, the grading is finally finished...until next week when I'll have a new (but thankfully much smaller) stack of assignments to deal with. But for now I'm free...to move on to that paperwork I mentioned. Like I said, it's an exciting week.

My brother was recently able to get a really good deal on Kindle Fires. Now, I never really had much interest in ebook readers. I prefer paper books for a number of reasons. That said, I do occasionally read ebooks on my computer or phone. Usually if it's something I really want to read that isn't available in print, or if I want to kill time with my phone without draining the battery too much. But anyway, it was such a good deal that I figured I'd have him get me a Fire to play around with. If you're not familiar with Amazon's different ebook readers, the Fire is essentially a highly customized Android tablet, rather than a pure ebook reader. As such, it has a color screen and can run all sorts of apps, play music and movies, and the like (though you're locked into the Amazon app store). Anyway, I've been playing around with it a bit. Gotta say, it does have a very nice screen though it's still a screen, so it's not as easy on the eyes as paper. But both regular books and manga do look great on it. If you've got both a Kindle of some kind and Prime, you also get access to a decent amount of free books (some classics, some popular stuff (generally first volumes meant to get you interested in a series), and some self published stuff of hit or miss quality. And, if you're willing to pay an extra $10 a month, you can get a whole lot more free books. Actually, the Fire does like to throw lots of ads at you. Want to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited? How about Audible? Do you need some Amazon app coins? There's a sale on a book you might like... It's not horribly invasive (they're mostly on the lock screen), but a bit annoying.
Right now, I really can't see myself using the Fire all that much at home unless I really want/need to read a book I can't get a physical copy of. But I can see it being rather nice to take on trips so I don't have to lug one or more big novels around. What I really wish is that books would start taking a page from the film industry and giving you a code for a digital copy when you buy the physical one. If anything would get me to read more ebooks, that would be it.

See you Friday!

Josiah

9/25/2017 The grading continues

Well, I'm still grading. Honestly, this is pretty ridiculous considering it's not even mid-terms or finals. Basically, it was an unfortunate combination of classes and enrollment that led to this. Most of the semester shouldn't be nearly so bad though. Last week just happened to be a time when way too many assignments came due at once. Anyway, I've got somewhere around 50 to go and will probably finish later today or tomorrow. And after that...I can get started on some paperwork. Yay... This is not shaping up to be a very exciting week. Though hey, the SNES Classic comes out on Friday and my copy of Danganronpa V3 is in the mail, so there's that.

Anyway, back to work. Again...

Josiah

9/22/2017 Still grading

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Well, despite taking a day off for Rosh Hashanah, I've managed to grade somewhere around 60 papers so far. But, by rough estimate, that still 100+ to go so yeah, this could be a busy weekend.

Later!

Josiah

9/20/2017 Busy week

It's a fairly busy week for me. Quite a lot of that comes down to the fact that I've got over a hundred papers to grade, but there's also some errands, some around the house (er, apartment) type of stuff, and Rosh Hashanah coming up tomorrow. Fortunately, it's not an especially stressful week, but there's still a lot that I need to get done. So yeah, back to it.

See you Friday!

Josiah

9/18/2017 All the food

Here's a quick travelogue entry.

September 15th (Friday): The Natural Products Expo East
Earlier in the year, my parents and brother spent a day at a natural products expo in California. They enjoyed it and came back with a ridiculous amount of product samples. They also learned that there's an east coast version in Baltimore in September. It's not open to the general public, but my brother was able to get Connie and I tickets (yay for family connections). There's a lot of parts to the expo as a whole (talks, presentations, etc.) but we only had tickets for the expo floor. But that's fine since it's all we were really interested in anyway.
Backstory aside, while the expo lasted for several days, we only had time to go on Friday. But I'd say one day is good for seeing the expo floor. I've been to various expos before, but this is the first natural products one. The first (very large) half of the show floor was devoted to food. A lot of the major brands you'll see in a health food store had booths, along with a lot I'd never heard of before. Of course, they all had the usual expo stuff. Product fliers, pens, clips, and other branded junk (well, mostly junk; I did pick up a nice mug, several good canvas bags, and a fidget spinner). But they also had lots and lots of samples. Chocolate, coffee, and tea seemed to be the most common, but that was only the beginning. Dried fruit, energy bars, candy, milk, cheese, sodas, juice, crackers, popcorn, jerky, ice cream, etc., etc., etc. Most of it was meant to eat there, and Connie and I had a lot of fun wandering around and snacking on whatever looked interesting. But we also filled a fairly large bag each with samples to take home.
The second half of the show floor was devoted to health and beauty products. Not nearly as much fun as the food (at least for me), but I didn't have much time to look around that part either since we were planning to meet my cousin (well, second cousin) for dinner. While we did have to occasionally stop to take care of Zack (though carrying him around also got us a bunch of free baby food and wipes), and I had take a few breaks to deal with some important phone calls and e-mails, it was a fun day (if a bit more hectic than it needed to be).
While not everyone can go to the Natural Products Expo, I'd recommend checking it out if you get the chance. Apparently the California one is a lot bigger, but I'd say you can still spend a day exploring the expo floor in Baltimore. Just make sure to skip lunch, you'll want to leave room for all the sampling.

Later!

Josiah

9/15/2017 Off for the day

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It seems like there's always lots of things to do and consider these days in relation to work, my own projects, and life stuff. I'm pretty happy with things over all (though I always wish I had more time to devote to this or that), but I do kind of miss when life was simpler. Anyway, Connie and I have what should be a rather interesting day trip planned. I'll write about it next week. For now, I should get going.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

9/13/2017 Drowning in despair

I've been a fan of the Danganronpa series since the first game was released in the US. If you're not familiar with it, Danganronpa is a murder mystery game, a bit like the Ace Attorney series, though a lot darker. In a nut shell, a group of high schoolers, each with a special talent, are trapped together and the only way to escape is to kill another student and successful avoid being fingered as the murderer in the following trial. If the murder is identified, they face deadly consequences. If they successfully pin the blame on someone else, they walk free and everyone else dies. Your goal is to find a way to stop the game while solving any murders that take place along the way. Despite the often outlandish characters, the series provides a very interesting dive into the human psyche. What would drive someone to commit murder? The killing game itself usually isn't enough since there's always the option of everyone living together peacefully (if imprisoned). But as things progress more incentives are added. Would you kill someone for money? To protect you greatest secret? To save a loved one? Like I said before, it can get really dark but, throughout the games, there's also the underlying theme of how hope can shine and triumph against even the greatest despair. While Danganronpa 1 and 2 focus primarily on the killing games, there's a larger narrative built around the creator of said games and their efforts to plunge the entire world into despair. It was interesting, but many of the details were vague, leading to a lot of situations where you just had to accept that the villain had somehow accomplished various seemingly impossible objectives in the past to bring things to this point. Some of those details were finally explained in the spin-off game, Ultra Despair Girls, though it still left a lot of unanswered questions and also failed to offer a final conclusion to the story. Then it was announced that the next game, Danganronpa V3, would be separate, taking place in a new future setting (though whether it's a completely different world or the far future of the current world I'm not sure) and the current storyline would instead be concluded in an anime (Danganronpa 3).

Anyway, with V3 (the new game) coming out soon, I decided it was about time I watched the anime (3 without the V) to draw a curtain on the Hope's Peak story. And wow... In an unusual move, it's divided into two separate story arcs. Future takes places shortly after Danganronpa 2 and follows the surviving main characters along with some new ones. Meanwhile, Despair acts as a prequel, finally explaining most of the unanswered questions that have haunted the series. Interestingly enough, it's structured so that you're supposed to jump back and forth between the two, watching one episode of Future, then one of Despair, then back to Future, and so on, with one final concluding episode called the Hope arc. It's an odd setup, but it works and the anime is spectacular. It's intense, does an excellent job of both continuing the story and filling in the gaps, and makes the narrative as a whole seem a lot more plausible than it used to. But it's just as dark the games ever were, maybe even more so. I found some parts, especially the last few episodes of Despair, really depressing and hard to watch but there's still that underlying ray of hope... So yeah, Danganronpa 3 is crazy, dark, intense, and really hard to stop watching. All that said, I really can't recommend it unless you've already played Danganronpa 1, 2, and Ultra Despair Girls. If you haven't, there's a whole lot of the story that simply isn't going to make any sense. Not to mention that it would spoil a significant portion of said games. And really, playing the games is your only option. The first Danganronpa did get an anime adaptation (which I've heard very mixed things about), but the other games didn't. Fortunately, they're now available on Vita, PS4, and Steam, so they're not too hard to pick up. As for me, I'm looking forward to finishing the anime and seeing how it all ends and then, with V3, what comes next.

Later!

Josiah

9/11/2017 A moment of silence

Given the date, rather than write about something frivolous, I'd like you to take a moment of time to remember what happened 16 years ago. Those who don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Never forget.

Josiah

9/8/2017 Another weekend

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Well, I really can't think of much to say right now. Holiday aside, it's been a fairly normal week, and we didn't do anything special on Labor Day anyway. I've been a bit tired all week, though I'm not really sure why. Maybe I just need more sleep. So, on that note...

Have a good weekend and I'll see you Monday!

Josiah

9/6/2017 What's next?

I certainly have a lot less time to play video games than I used to but I still try to play as much as I can. For fun, of course, but also because, as a game designer and writer, I need to keep up on things. So, now that I'm finally finished with Persona 5, what's next? I've got a couple of short things (some demos, in-game special events, etc.) that will take two or three days but after that? Well, I really should get to Zelda Breath of the Wild soon but after Final Fantasy XV and Persona 5 occupying so much of my game time this year, I don't really want to jump into another super long game right away. Right now I'm thinking that I'll probably play Gravity Rush 2 next, since I loved the original so much. And by the time I'm done with it Danganronpa V3 should be out. After that? Zelda maybe. Though, then again, I've got Splatoon 2 and Sonic Generations waiting for me (among others) and Super Mario Odyssey coming up... Well, we'll see. Can't put Zelda off for too long though...

Later!

Josiah

9/4/2017 A long game

Well, I finally finished my second playthrough of Persona 5. Even on New Game+ and using the fast forward option at almost every opportunity, it still took me 60 hours to get through (a little less than half what my initial playthrough took). That is one long game. Especially considering that it's not open world, or full of optional post game stuff or the like to pad the play time. It's an extremely awesome game though. I get the Platinum trophy and thoroughly enjoyed all the time I spent with it.

In other Playstation news, apparently the PSN now has its own share of those "hey want to chat?" spammers like I used to encounter all the time on e-mail and AIM. Sheesh, I get enough spam on my computer and phone. Do I really need to get more on my game consoles as well? I kind of miss it when consoles didn't have hard drives or internet access...

See you Wednesday!

Josiah

9/1/2017 One week down...

TWC is working, so use the button on the left to vote and see the new bonus comic! In other comic news, it appears that Wednesday's strip didn't upload properly so I'm posting it again today so everyone can actually see it.

Well, the first week of school is done. Seems to be off to a fairly good start so far. Though, like I said before, I like to withhold judgement until I see how my students do on their first assignment. But at least I don't have any particular causes for concern so far.

And now for the holiday weekend! Yep, feels way too soon to say that...

Later!

Josiah

8/30/2017 Classes are go!

I hope some of you actually got that reference and didn't just assume it was a typo or something...

Anyway, classes are off to a good start...I guess? Honestly, while things are going fine so far, it's always a little hard to judge what a class is going to be like until a few weeks and one or two assignments in. So we'll see. For now though, it's going ok and I've even got a holiday to look forward to this Monday. Yep, the first holiday is one week into the semester. Personally, I always feel it's a little awkward when that happens. It just seems too early. Well, whatever. For now, I need to get back to work.

Later!

Josiah

8/28/2017 It begins

And by it, I mean fall semester. I've got a fairly full day today so I'm off. Here's hoping everything gets off to a good start.

See you Wednesday!

Josiah

8/25/2017 A little off

Seems this week just couldn't keep going entirely smoothly. Wednesday was fun (see travelogue below), but I had a sore throat the entire day. Not a serious one, but annoying. Come Thursday, I knew I had a cold. Fortunately, it's been a pretty mild one so far, but it's still a pain, especially since I had to spend almost the entire day on the computer (three classes finished, one to go). Then, Top Web Comics wasn't letting me upload the new Blooper Reel, so here it is instead. Actually, I guess that's a bit good and bad since I haven't gotten my comic buffer rebuilt yet and it saved me the work of creating a new strip for today. Anyway... Hopefully I'll be mostly over this in the morning and ready to power through that last class. Who knows, maybe I'll even be able to get my comic buffer done over the weekend. But for now, travelogue.

August 23rd (Wednesday): Mazes and Mishkan
In addition to Otakon, one thing I really have to do every year while I'm living in this area is go the Amazing Maize Maze at Cherry Crest Farm. And with a moderately busy class schedule coming up, and the operating hours getting restricted starting in September, this seemed like the best time to go.
This year, the theme was Charlotte's Web. Since we came a bit earlier than last year, the corn was still nice and green and, as always, lots of fun to walk through. This was one of my slower maze completion times, but pushing Zack's stroller along the paths, while not especially difficult, did reduce our pace a bit. We also got turned around once after stopping for a while to feed him, which led to us accidentally backtracking into a section of the maze we'd already explored pretty thoroughly, completely missing the turn we needed to enter the final stretch. But it was fun and Zack did pretty well. I'm looking forward to taking him when he's a bit older and can appreciate both the maze and all the other games and activities they have set up around the farm.
While we didn't get as early a start as we could have, the maze didn't take all day, leaving us with time for a bit more sightseeing before dinner. This time, we ended up at the Mennonite Information Center. Not to learn about the Mennonites (we got a bit of a crash course on them last year at the Amish farm), but to visit their recreation of the Biblical tabernacle (or mishkan in Hebrew, hence the title of this post). They had both the outer courtyard and the inner chambers done up in a fairly faithful fashion and a nice tour guide spent 30 - 40 minutes going over the details of what the tabernacle was, how it was made, and how it was used. I already knew pretty much everything, but it was still an enjoyable and educational tour and I would recommend it to anyone in the area with a strong interest in the Bible.
Finally, it was off to dinner. Connie and I had really enjoyed the buffet at Hershey Farm last year, so we went again. While certainly not the healthiest choice, it's a fun way to sample lots of New England, and especially Pennsylvania Dutch, comfort foods.
It was a fun day and, when planning it out, I was reminded just how many interesting things there are to see and do in the Lancaster area, especially when Zack gets a bit older. Not sure if we'll manage to get out there more than once or twice a year, but I think I'll always be looking forward to it.

Josiah

8/23/2017 Got it!

This week is going pretty well. I've got two of my four classes ready to go and I managed to get a SNES Classic pre-ordered. That was mostly luck and good timing. I had signed up to get an e-mail alert for when pre-orders started on Best Buy, Target, and Amazon...and none of them bothered to actually send out those alerts. So, by the time I knew, they had all sold out. Not sure getting an alert would have helped, considering how fast they disapeared. Still, that bugs me. Fortunately, Gamestop did sent me a text message, though the link they included didn't actually let you make pre-orders. After a bit of confusion, I figured that, if they weren't doing it on their web site, maybe they meant they were taking pre-orders in store. And I was just about to go do some errands anyway, so I went to the nearest Gamestop. I ended up fourth or fifth in line and got a pre-order. Good thing I arrived when I did though. There were at least ten people behind me when I left and I don't think the store had that many available.

Anyway, things have been going pretty good and Connie and I are going to have some fun today before I get back to class prep so I'll see you later.

Josiah

8/21/2017 The last week

It's the last week of summer break. While Connie and I may do something fun this week, I need to spend most of my time prepping my classes. This time around, it's mostly updating some material and setting up the online portals, though I do have some things I'll need to create from scratch as well.

Other than that, not too much is going on right now. I'm just trying to get some various things done while taking care of Zack and the like. Speaking of which, he's starting to crawl now, which makes the big playpen I set up for him a while back very useful. Though we're really running out of space in this apartment. As much as it's a nice complex and location, between the size and the high rent, Connie and I are thinking that we'll probably need to buy a place sometime in the not too distant future if we're going to stay in this area (and, for now at least, we don't have any plans to leave). So that's something else for the to-do list...

Later!

Josiah

8/18/2017 Ovo

No problems with Top Web Comics this week, but I don't have today's strip done and I'm running pretty late after a week with a lot of late nights so I'd rather not pull another. Sigh... I really need to get my comic buffer rebuilt. Here's a quick travelogue entry though.

August 17th (Thursday): Cirque du Soliel's Ovo
Connie and I haven't really been going to movies or shows or anything lately since we can't take Zack with us. But we couldn't really resist Cirque du Soliel, especially when it was at the arena at my campus, just a few minutes away. This show was Ovo, which is my sixth Cirque show. So what's it's about? Bugs and an egg. Though, as usual, the story is rather dreamlike and more of a loose excuse to tie together the various acrobatic acts. Speaking of the acts, there was a good variety. Nothing I'd consider truly unique to this particular show, but all extremely well done, of course. I was especially impressed with the slack rope and trampoline acts. Though the contortionist was extremely skilled as well, and then there were the diabolos, and the trapeze, just to name a few more. And, of course, you can't have a Cirque show without elaborate costumes (all insect themed) and great live music. Combine them all together and, as I've come to expect from Cirque du Soliel, you spend much of the show feeling like you're in some fantastic dream.
All in all, Ovo is an awesome show. I'd probably rank it a little bit below the other Cirque shows I've seen, but the bar is so high to begin with that you shouldn't consider that much of a negative. As always, I highly recommend seeing Ovo (or any of the main Cirque shows) if you get the chance. It's fantastic and very much worth it.

Josiah

8/16/2017 Otakon in DC

Let's get right to the travelogue.

August 11th - 13th (Friday - Saturday): Otakon 2017
Otakon this year was a bit different for a few reasons. First off, Connie and Zack went with me. Connie, because she enjoys cons too. Zack, because we couldn't really leave him with a sitter the whole time or anything. Turned out, we weren't the only ones at Otakon with a baby, and it actually went fairly smoothly. Didn't get to do any late nights, and we had to make sure to keep him happy and take breaks to feed him, but we were still able to enjoy the con.
The other big change is that this year marked Otakon's move from it's long time home in Baltimore to Washington DC. From what I heard, it may or may not be a permanent thing, but it will be in DC for at least a few years. Anyway, the convention center is a little bit north of China Town. As far as locations go, it's a nice enough area. There isn't a good outdoor hangout area right outside (like Inner Harbor in Baltimore), but you do have a much better restaurant selection. And hey, if you want a longer walk you can get to the National Mall and all the big DC attractions. Though I will note that I've found driving and parking in DC to be huge pain (much more than Baltimore). This time around, I tried booking parking in advance online, which helped a lot.
One big advantage that DC has over Baltimore is the convention center. It's a lot bigger and more modern. While a few of the halls still got a bit congested, for the most part things were a lot more open and it was pretty easy to get around and find seats. Even the dealer's room wasn't too bad. Heck, they had room to spare in there. There were a few little issues here and there. The biggest I noticed was that the convention center required a bag check, which slowed down entry and re-entry, especially Friday morning. Not terrible, but a bit annoying.
Anyway, Connie and I enjoyed the con. We mostly just browsed around, took in the cosplay, artist and market areas, and the like. We did go to some panels and video screenings though, with Zack around, not as many I usually do. I didn't get to spend much time in the game area either (though they had an awesome selection of titles). Didn't get to any of the concerts this time around. Partly due to the timing, partly due to the bands this year, and partly do to the new structure. They partnered with an outside group this time. The plus side being there's more and bigger concerts. The down side is that all of them except the Sunday concert require buying a separate ticket. All in all though, Otakon works pretty well in DC and I still had fun, despite the limitations. As always, I'm looking forward to next time.

Josiah

8/14/2017 After the con

Not much to say today. Otakon was fun, though having Zack around was a bit limiting. Anyway, we were still able to do a lot and I should have a write-up ready for Wednesday.

Later!

Josiah

8/11/2017 Off to Otakon!

It's another one of those weeks where Top Web Comics isn't working right so here's this week's Blooper Reel strip. Hmm... Maybe I should just skip the Blooper Reel on weeks like this and post a regular comic instead. If you have a preference, feel free to let me know. That said, on weeks when I don't have a buffer built up, not having to make a comic for Friday at the last minute is kind of nice. Especially during a big battle, since those strips usually take a lot longer to make.

Anyway, I'm off to Otakon! Well, maybe "off" isn't the right way to phrase it since it's not like I'm going to be staying in a hotel or anything. It's only a 30 - 40 minute drive from here. Hopefully Zack will behave himself...

Have a great weekend!

Josiah





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