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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
Year 15: 8/11/2017 - 8/10/2018

12/14/2018 So much grading

UPDATE - 12/16: It's the last day of grading, Zack hasn't been sleeping the best, I'm worn out, and the next strip is only half done so I'm afraid I'll have to skip one more update. Really sorry. Comics will resume on Wednesday.

One of these days I'll try and figure out what is going on with TWC so I can start updating these bonus comics there again. But for now, here's the new one.

As previously mentioned, I'm in the midst of grading finals which basically means spending all day staring at my computer. I'm making good progress, but there's a long way to go and it tends to leave me burnt out so I'll write more another time.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

12/12/2018 Here goes...

While Zack adjusted to the time zone change pretty quickly, he's been having trouble falling asleep at night and, since getting him to go to sleep is my job, that's eating up a lot of my time that I would normally spend on things like Pebble Version. So no travelogue entry tonight. Sigh... It's always something...

Anyway, starting tomorrow I'll be spending much of my time grading final projects. Once that's done (probably Monday) I'll be fully on vacation...and able to work on other things instead. Seems I never have a time when there isn't something to work on. Oh well, it'll still be relatively relaxing.

Later!

Josiah

12/10/2018 Hawaii Time

We all made it to Hawaii without any problems. PV updates should continue normally for the rest of the trip, though they'll be posted a few hours later than normal due to the time zone. I'll get a travelogue going eventually but, for now, I'm just playing with Zack and showing Connie's parents some places that I've already visited, and written about, multiple times before. So it might be a week or more before I have much to write about. Though I do have a Virginia entry or two that I should get to sometime soon... Can't forget grading finals though, which will start in earnest the second half of this week. At least I got my MFA work done over the weekend.

See you Wednesday!

Josiah

12/5/2018 And I'm off

Tomorrow morning I'll be heading to Hawaii on vacation. Well, half vacation until finals have been submitted and graded. Still have a lot to do before leaving though.

As a note, there might or might not be an update on Friday. I'll have internet access, assuming a flight doesn't get canceled or or something, but I might just be too exhausted after after a long day of travel. This semester has worn me out quite a lot already. But we'll just see how things go.

Later!

Josiah

12/3/2018 Time, time, time...

Just a few days left to get ready for the trip. I do have a travelogue entry or two to write, but I'm short on time at the moment so it'll have to wait. I've got a lot to do and only a few days to do it.

Later!

Josiah

11/30/2018 One more week

One of these days I'm going to have to figure out just what is wrong with TWC since I still can't get the bonus comics updated. Well, here it is instead.

There's one week of classes left. Though I'll need to spend a few days grading finals after that. But I get to do the grading in Hawaii. Which is...nice, I guess? Better weather anyway. Though when I'm just staring at my computer it doesn't matter that much. It will be nice to go on vacation though. Next semester is looking to be just as busy as this one, quite possibly more so. I'm looking forward to relaxing, sightseeing and, hopefully, finally finishing the Aurora's Nightmare demo.

Right now though, I've got a paper to write and some trip prep to do.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

11/28/2018 Revenge of grading

Zack is doing better but I'm still pretty busy thanks to a lot of grading and some other work related tasks that I really need to get done in the next couple of days so, back to it.

Later!

Josiah

11/26/2018 Sleep

I'm running late and Zack has a stuffy nose which is making it hard for him to sleep, which means less sleep for me. So I've got to run.

Later!

Josiah

11/23/2018 Holiday weekend

Still having issues with TWC, so here's this week's bonus comic.

Thanksgiving went very well. We also got to go (and successfully beat) an escape room the day before. I might do a travelogue entry about that sometime soon. Anyway, my brother's family left yesterday evening and my aunt's is leaving later today, so things are winding down. Now there's two fairly normal weeks ahead and then Hawaii. Though, since we're going a little early, I'll have to spend a few days there grading final projects.

Anyway, have a great weekend!

Josiah

11/21/2018 Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all my US readers have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow! As previously mentioned, Connie, Zack, and I have a bunch of guests this week. So far we've done a couple smaller dinners with friends and family and taken Zack and his cousin to the zoo. And today we're going to an escape room. So yeah, fun times, if a little hectic with two toddlers around.

Have a great holiday and I'll see you Friday.

Josiah

11/19/2018 Upgrade

Thanksgiving week! I've got work today, but the rest of the week is off and my brother's family and my aunt's family are coming. Should be a fun week.

But that's about all I have to say right now. I'm running late on stuff.  Over the weekend, Pebble Version, and all the other sites I run and/or manage got moved to a new server. It means more features, reliability, bandwidth, etc. But there were a few complications along the way. I think everything important is working now, though I still have a little behind the scenes work left to do, but I ended up using most of my Saturday night (and stayed up late at that) troubleshooting.

Anyway, got to run.

Josiah

11/16/2018 Suddenly weather

I still can't seem to get TWC to update so here's the new bonus comic. It's a bit annoying though, honestly, it saves me some time, which is nice these days with everything I have going on.

The weather here has been slowly cooling down for a while now, though it really hasn't been that bad. Until yesterday, when we suddenly woke up to somewhere between half an inch and an inch of snow. I'll admit that I hadn't been paying too much attention to the weather forecast, but it really came out of nowhere. It'll probably be gone by this afternoon, but it was a bit of a pain yesterday, to the point where I had to buy a snow shovel (our driveway is on a small slope and I couldn't get the car up it) and boots (I had errands to run and my shoes were getting soaked in all the slush), both things that I hadn't needed for many years. So yeah, that was "fun". Not sure whether or not we'll have any more snow days this winter (there was only around two or so the last couple of years) but at least now I'm prepared. All that said, people here are kind of wimps when it comes to snow. They shut down the universities and everything for an inch or so of snow. Back in Colorado (which I consider my home state), that much snow is barely worth a notice.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

11/14/2018 Back and forth

Last week I had a little more free time. This week, not so much since I've once again got a bunch of assignments to grade. I'm making good progress though and next week is Thanksgiving break, which should be a lot of fun. For now though, lots left to do.

Later!

Josiah

11/12/2018 Air and space

Ok, finally ready to do a travelogue entry. I'll skip writing about a couple of places I wrote about before (the Renaissance Festival and the National Zoo) and just do the new one.

October 28th (Sunday): Air and Space
The Air and Space Museum in DC is one of the more famous and popular parts of the Smithsonian. However, turns out that the building there doesn't have enough room to house their entire collection. So they built a second location out near the Dulles airport. Looking at it, I'm betting they converted an old airfield. Connie heard it was good for kids, so we took Zack and her parents over there for a morning. Anyway, the museum itself is mostly made up of a massive hanger where they keep all sorts of planes, copters, and other flying vehicles. Quite a lot of them are actually experimental prototypes and such which I actually found a bit more interesting than the more ordinary ones they have at the main museum. A side section was dedicated to space craft, including a complete shuttle. There was also an IMax theater, a pretty high end looking flight simulator, and a shuttle bus to something Mars related. But we had Zack with us so I didn't really get to check any of those out. For that matter, I didn't get to look at all the aircraft on display either. I'll have to go back another time to see the rest. So what did Zack enjoy the most? While he did start to get interested in the planes eventually, his favorite part of the museum...was the call button for the elevator. Had to drag him away from it in the end. Oh well, at least he had fun.

Later!

Josiah

11/9/2018 This and that

TWC isn't updating right so here's the new Blooper Reel comic.

Even without a stack of papers to grade, I still seem to find way too much stuff to occupy my time. At least I'm knocking a bunch of assorted stuff off my to-do list this week. Still haven't gotten around to anything travelogue related though. Zack is doing better at night, but actually getting him to sleep is still a bit problematic. Sigh... I'll try and write some more interesting stuff next week.

Later!

Josiah

11/7/2018 Getting back into it

Well, it still seems like I never have enough time for things. But with most of my things set up on the first floor, I was finally able to play DDR for the first time since leaving Hawaii over two years ago (not counting a couple rounds in arcades). I also finally got to spend a bit of time working on the Aurora's Nightmare demo, which I've barely touched since early summer. I do still need to get some photos ready for a travelogue entry or two. Hopefully soon. Fixing Zack's sleep habits (again) has limited the time I have to work on PV related stuff, but that shouldn't last too much longer.

Anyway, I should get some sleep, since that's been a bit lacking as well.

Later!

Josiah

11/5/2018 Another week

We had to do a little more sleep training with Zack over the weekend (he had gotten a mild cold which messed things up a a bit). Fortunately, it's going much more smoothly than last time, but I still lost some sleep and wasn't able to get a lot of work done so no travelogue entry today. Though I will try to have one read for Wednesday. Also, by Wednesday elections will be over, which I'll be really glad about. Well, how happy depends on who wins, I suppose, but either way I'll be glad that all the political ads and such will be over (at least for a while). While I do care about politics, I'm not one of those people who goes crazy or gets depressed if their candidate loses. Though I'm afraid I can't say the same for a lot of people I know. Depending on how things play out on Tuesday, it could be a rather "interesting" week or two on campus. Not to mention Facebook... But enough about that.

Later!

Josiah

11/2/2018 Half way there

TWC isn't working, so here's this week's Blooper Reel comic.

Well, I've still got two class left to grade and a short story to finish writing. Guess it's not going to be an especially relaxing weekend. We did take Zack to the zoo yesterday though, which was fun. He really liked the small mammal house.

Anyway, I should get back to work. Hoping for a more relaxing time next week.

Later!

Josiah

10/31/2018 Grading, grading, grading...

Not too much to say. Zack (and everyone else) is sleeping ok now and I'm managing to keep up with everything, finally. Though it's a grading week so I'm keeping pretty busy. Hopefully I'll get to that travelogue entry on Friday, but we'll just have to see how it goes. For now, I'm just glad things are a bit less hectic. Though it would be nice if my voice would fully recover...

Later!

Josiah

10/29/2018 Staying ahead

And here we go! A normal strip, finally. I do have some travelogue stuff I want to do, but first I need to make sure I stay ahead on comics.

Later!

Josiah

10/26/2018 I'm back...sorta

Nice to be updating again, even if it is just a Blooper Reel strip (TWC is still having issues). I wanted to have a regular strip ready but this week has been tough. Getting Zack used to the time change and sleeping in his crib again proved to be far more difficult than expected. Before, sleep training him never took more than four days. Now, it's been a little over a week and he's still not sleeping as well as should be (though he's a whole lot better than he was a few days ago). So I had some serious sleep depravation going on for a while. And besides that, I had to spend a long time trying to get him to sleep to begin with, which ate up a lot of the time I usually use to work on Pebble Version and other things, leaving me pretty behind. But that wasn't all. Back at the start of the week I got a cold or something. Whatever it was, it was relatively mild and only hit my throat. Doesn't sound so bad...except I then had to give a bunch of lectures at work and that really wrecked my throat and my voice. I haven't totally recovered yet (though I can talk at least, I couldn't really for a day or so). Things do seem to be getting better though so, hopefully, all will be well in a couple more days.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

10/19/2018 Sleep? UPDATED UPDATE

UPDATE 2: Zack's sleeping better (though not quite back to normal yet), but I'm still recovering and behind on a bunch of things as well so, while I really hate to do this, I'm going to wait until Friday to resume updates.

UPDATE: Getting Zack sleep trained again has proven far more difficult than ever before. We're making progress, but neither Connie nor I have gotten much sleep for the past few days. So I don't have a comic done and I don't trust myself to make anything decent in this condition. Plus I've got work today. Yay... Updates will hopefully resume on Wednesday, if I can get enough sleep.

TWC isn't updating for me, so here's the new blooper reel comic instead.

As previously mentioned, Connie, Zack, and my in-laws got here on Wednesday. It's nice to have Connie and Zack back, but I didn't properly account for how little sleep I'd get thanks to Zack adjusting to a twelve hour time difference. Add in a bunch of grading, and I've got a busy and tiring couple of days so I'm off.

Have a good weekend!

Josiah

10/17/2018 The return

Assuming everything is on schedule, Connie and Zack will be getting back today and Connie's parents will be coming with them to stay for a while. It'll be nice to have them back but that'll naturally mean less time to focus on my own stuff. Fortunately, I did manage to finish most of the things I wanted to do while they were gone. There's a couple other things I would have liked to get to, but didn't quite have the time for. I suppose I could have stayed home and worked the past couple of Sundays instead of going sightseeing, but spending three straight weeks working every day would have really left me burnt out. And hey, I got enough done. Speaking of sightseeing, I went back to the Renaissance Festival this past Sunday since there was a lot Connie and I didn't get to see when we went with Zack. Haven't decided yet if I'm going to do a travelogue entry about my return visit or not. We'll see.

Anyway, I've got a full day of classes and grading to get through before they get home (well, technically they'll probably get home a few hours before I do) so I should get to it.

Later!

Josiah

10/15/2018 The World Ends With You

The World Ends With You on the DS has long been one of my favorite video games. Unfortunately, while it did gain a strong cult following, it wasn't a big enough seller for Square Enix to ever make a sequel. Still, it seems that Tetsu Nomura and possibly some others at SE still have a soft spot for it. It got a iOS/Android port, though I passed on that one (I'd rather just replay it on my DS), and then the main characters got a cameo in Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance. I was hoping that would mean that there was a sequel, or at least a 3DS port, on the way. Unfortunately, neither materialized. However, they finally did decide to bring it back, not on the 3DS, but on the Switch. Not a sequel, but an enhanced port with some new content, which is still pretty cool. And hey, if it sells well enough, maybe they will make a second one. Anyway, I've been really looking forward to the Switch version of TWEWY (subtitled Final Remix) and picked it up on on launch day (this past Friday).
So how is it? Well, I haven't had a ton of time to play but I'm nearing the end of the first week (the game is divided into days) and I've gotten a decent feel for things. So how does it hold up on the Switch? Well, TWEWYFR (wow, that's a long acronym) looks great both in handheld mode and on a big screen TV. It looks good enough to be a brand new game. The soundtrack was awesome on the DS and is still awesome now. I also like that there's a menu option to switch between the original DS soundtrack and the new Remix version too (which, so far, is equally good). How about the gameplay? Well, first off, I should mention that the original TWEWY was designed specifically to take advantage of every aspect of the DS's hardware. To that end, it had a unique battle system that utilized both screens and two separate control schemes (touch screen and d-pad) at the same time. Took a while to get used to, but it was incredibly unique and a lot of fun. They naturally had to simplify things for the iOS/Android version and that, unfortunately, is the version they used as the base for the Switch. On the plus side, the main character, Neku's, gameplay is pretty much identical how it was on the DS. In handheld mode you control him with your finger (sadly, my 3DS stylus doesn't work on the Switch, but a finger is almost as good). When the switch is docked, you use a single Joycon to simulate a finger/stylus. Admittedly, I've mostly played in handheld mode. The Joycon worked well enough for the most part, though I had to re-center the pointer more often than I liked (fortunately, all it takes is a single button press). I also had a lot of trouble consistantly pulling off slashing attacks (though I probably just need more practice). Overall, I feel like the Joycon controls worked ok, but even with practice I doubt I'd have the same speed and percision that I do with the touch controls (though character movement was a little better with the Joycon). I appreciate that they were trying to recreate the touch screen controls as much as possible but, as a game designer, I think breaking away from that just a little could have led to a better control scheme. But anyway, over all Neku controls pretty well (just better with the touch screen).
The one real negative with the Switch version (and why I wish they'd gone with the 3DS instead) is that, with the loss of the second screen, they went with the iOS/Android version of the battle system which greatly simplified the role of Neku's companions. Instead of getting their own set of controls, you summon them into battle sort of like an extra attack. You still have to combo attacks between them and charge up special moves, and it's still a very good and fun battle system (and has a gentler learning curve), but it's not quite as good as it was. You lose the unique dual control scheme setup and a bit of depth and complexity with it. They also had to tweak some of the more epic boss battles that really took advantage of the two screen setup (they try to replicate the experience, with moderate success, but it's still not as good). There is a two player co-op mode if you have the switch docked, with a second Joycon used to directly control Neku's partner. It's kind of neat, though it just gives them a couple more attacks, nothing too fancy. And, in case you're wondering, I've tried and playing co-op mode solo is pretty much impossible despite only needing one hand per Joycon. I think the new version of the partner system was a must on iOS/Android devices given the screen size and lack of physical controls, and is pretty good in general. But, even though the Switch only has one screen, I think that, with a little more effort, they could have successfully recreated the original (superior) DS battle system (once again, speaking as a game designer, I have some ideas on how it could have been done).
Finally, while there is new content (an additional day/chapter), I haven't gotten far enough in the game yet to see it so I can't say how good or substantial it is. That's about it though. Unfortunately, they didn't even bother to add full voice acting. It's not really needed, of course, but it would have been a nice addition.
So, I'm a little conflicted about TWEWY Final Remix. On the one hand, it's still a unique and utterly amazing game and in most ways (HD graphics, optional remixed soundtrack, additional content, etc.) it's better than ever. But I feel that the developers' determination to stick as closely as possible to the controls and battle system from the iOS/Android version was a mistake that kept this from being the perfect rerelease. So, at least in regards to the battle system, the DS version is superior (though a bit more complicated). So should you you play TWEWY? Yes, without question. Though if you want to know which version to play, that's a little harder. Don't bother with iOS/Android, unless that's the only one you have access to. There's nothing wrong with it, but the Switch version surpasses it in every way. That said, while the Switch version looks and sounds better and offers new content, tracking down an old DS copy would give you one of the most interesting and unique battle systems to be found in any RPG. But it's an amazing game either way. I'm really enjoying returning to TWEWY on the Switch and I just hope that this time it sells well enough to get the sequel it deserves.

Later!

Josiah

10/12/2018 Hitting the museums

If you didn't notice, there was a big server outage earlier in the week, which is why I didn't update on Wednesday. But everything seems to be up and running ok now. And the new bonus comic is up too, so vote on TWC to give it a look. And now, a travelogue entry...

September 7th (Sunday): Museum Day
With Connie and Zack visiting family, I've mostly been using the extra free time to get caught up on work and various projects around the house. But I wanted to take a day or two to have fun as well. I had a few different options, but on the first Sunday of every month, Bank of America gives people with one of their credit cards free admission to a bunch of different museums around the country. Only one of those museums in near here, but I've been meaning to check it out for a long time so I figured I should finally take advantage of the discount.
Most of the Museums in DC are part of the Smithsonian and, as such, always free. But DC has its share of private museums as well and one of the most popular is the Newseum. In case the name didn't clue you in, it's about the news. Specifically, the history of the news and some especially newsworthy events throughout history. Following the recommended route I started in the basement, watched an intro video, and then took a look at an exhibit about the Berlin Wall, complete with an actual section of the wall. I remember studying about it in history class, of course, but I had forgotten that it really didn't fall all that long ago. Next up was a really interesting exhibit about the FBI, including details about some of their most famous cases and the ways they're adapting to deal with terrorism, cyber attacks, and other modern threats. There was also a small exhibit about newspaper comics. I ended up right near the cafeteria and I hadn't eaten much, so I decided to grab an early lunch before continuing on. Not bad, though there are certainly better places to eat in the area. Anyway, from there I took an elevator to the top floor which featured a nice view of Pennsylvania Avenue, a collection of award winning photos, and a set of current front pages from newspapers from all 50 states and a few different countries. It was kinda of interesting to see how the tone varied between them, even when reporting on the same stories. The next floor was focused on the history of news reporting in the US, from the early days of the country up through modern times, along with a collection of newspapers and the like from the entire period. One thing I appreciated was how balanced it was, pointing out some of the news media's greatest triumphs and biggest mistakes. That applied to the rest of the museum as well...mostly. All the info in the exhibits was very fair and balanced...up until you got to things from the last five or ten years (and especially the last two) and which point the information presented all had a very clear political slant to it. That was annoying, but at least it was only a very small part of the museum. Anyway, other notable exhibits included one on the history of different media used to report the news (radio, TV, and the internet), a section on journalistic freedom around the world, and a section where you could do a faux news report on a greenscreen, to name a few. In the end, it took me about four hours to do a pretty thorough tour of the museum (though I didn't watch all the videos). I can see why the Newseum is popular. It has a number of fascinating (and mostly fair and balanced) exhibits. It's not really good for kids, or anyone who doesn't want to read a lot (though there are a bunch of photos and videos as well), but if you don't mind spending some money to go to a museum in DC, it's certainly worth a look.
I left the museum around 3 and figured that, as long as I was in the area, I might as well go somewhere else for a couple of hours until things started to close. While I was thinking about what museum to visit next, I noticed a building next to the National Gallery that I didn't recognize. Turns out, the Gallery, which I thought Connie and I had explored pretty thoroughly before, has an entire Eastern building that we totally missed so I went in there. If you read my travelogue entry about the National Gallery, you might remember that I really appreciated the fact that it was focused entirely on old classics, without any modern art. Well, turns out that all the modern art is in the East Building. So yeah, looks like Connie and I didn't miss much of anything after all. Anyway, it didn't do anything to change my opinion of modern art. I mean, the giant blue chicken was kind of cool, as were the plaster casts of things you really shouldn't be able to make plaster casts of. And there were works by guys like Picasso where I can appreciate the work involved, even if it isn't my style. Most of the artwork though wasn't just bad, it felt to me like it was both lazy and lacking in creativity. For example, blank canvases with a border, a fiberglass board, and what looked like some props from a toy store. Many of the pieces didn't even have titles, which felt to me like the artist not only couldn't be bothered to put any effort or creativity into their "art", but they didn't even feel like putting in the effort to come up with a name. It was close competition, but I think this one was the worst. It's literally an empty room with a piece of string stretched from one corner to the other. Sometimes I wonder if some of these artists like to get together and laugh about how people spend massive amounts of money on these things, not to mention hours upon hours contemplating them and writing about them. Anyway, the best part of the East Building was the underground passage to the Main (West) Gallery. Not only is it cool and sparkly, but it takes you to where all the good art is. There's a nice cafe down there too.
It didn't take me too long to finish up there, but I wasn't sure if there was really enough time left before closing to go anywhere else. That said, I didn't want to go home yet so I started walking around the National Mall and noticed that I still had a bit over an hour before the Museum of the Native American closed, so I decided to go in and see the exhibits I didn't get to last time such as the exhibits on Pocahontas, the Trail of Tears, and American Indians in pop-culture.
By the time I finished, the museums were all closing and I didn't really feel like staying until supper so I headed home. It was a fun and interesting day, though it reminded me just how many museums and other attractions in DC I still haven't seen yet. But hey, that just means I've got more to look forward to.

Later!

Josiah

10/8/2018 A new week UPDATE

UPDATE 10/10: There was a lengthy server outtage so I'm leaving this update up until Friday so everyone gets a chance to see it.

It's really nice to have all that work behind me. I did some sightseeing in DC yesterday (expect a travelogue entry later in the week) and I'm hoping to finally finish setting things up and unpacking downstairs. It's still work, but it's a bit more fun and something I've been wanting to do for months.

See you Wednesday!

Josiah

10/5/2018 Catching up

You can see the new Blooper Reel comic here or by voting on TWC, or both. Sorry that this week has been so much of a mess in terms of updates. Monday was planned, since it was a holiday. For Wednesday and today though, I was working on stuff that took longer than planned.

So what have I been doing? Well, first I had a new bunch of assignments to grade to avoid falling behind again, which I finished up yesterday morning. But I also had some chores and a few other work related tasks that I needed to get to. Well, I made good progress on the chores (and I'm spacing those out anyway) and I'm down to my last work related task, which I'm hoping to get done today. That'll leave me with a lot of free time this coming week to get some other (more enjoyable) things done and relax a little.

But now, I need some sleep. Have a great weekend!

Josiah

9/28/2018 All the grading... UPDATE

UPDATE: Comics will resume on Friday. I apologize for having to skip two updates in a row. It wasn't planned but I've been extremely busy. More details on Friday.

Sorry for the Blooper Reel Comic today. TWC is working so you can vote to see it as well. Yesterday was divided up between getting my car serviced and grading lots and lots of stuff. I think I got trough something like 60 papers and a few dozen discussion posts but I've got probably another 80 or so papers and some assorted small assignments waiting for me today. Plus I have a paper of my own to write. I'd really love to get it all done, but I think there's a good chance I'm going to have to work over the weekend as well if I want to get caught up. Though that only means I'll be free and ready to deal with a whole bunch of new assignments waiting for me on Tuesday. It's going to be a long several days... Anyway, after all the grading yesterday, I didn't really have the time or energy to get a strip done.

I should also announce that there will be no update on Monday since it's the last day of Sukkot. That's the last holiday for a while though, so I shouldn't have to cancel any more updates after that. At least not for a quite a while.

Well, I need to get some sleep then get back to grading. Later!

Josiah

9/26/2018 On my own

Connie and Zack are going to China today to visit her parents. I, however, have to work, so I'll be staying here. It'll be kind of strange since the longest we've been apart since getting married was about one week. More than that, I don't really like to be away from Zack for too long, given how young he is, but it will be nice to have so much free time for a change. Though I'll probably be spending the first week or so catching up on grading and the like. And after that's done, there's my other projects... Hopefully I'll have some time for fun as well.

Anyway, we'll see what happens.

Josiah

9/21/2018 Sukkot is coming

This week's bonus comic is up here and on TWC if you vote. I was hoping to have a regular strip ready for today but with the high holy days and everything else going on right now, I'm kind of crunched for time. It didn't really help that there's a battle starting, since those strips always take extra long to make. Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to get caught up on things by Wednesday. And yes, I said Wednesday. There will be no update on Monday as it's the first day of Sukkot. Sorry, but that's just the way it worked out this year. There will be one more update I'll have to skip the following week and, after that, things will hopefully stay on track.

Anyway, I'm off. Got a lot of grading to do along with prep work for Sukkot. Have a good weekend!

Josiah

9/17/2018 The high holy days continue

There will be no PV update this Wednesday due to Yom Kippur. And...that's about it. The storm was delayed and hasn't reached this area yet but it's supposed to hit today so we'll see what happens. That said, we're far enough away from the coast that I'm not expecting much. Though I may have to walk back and forth across campus in the rain, which isn't going to be a lot of fun.

Anyway, I've got a lot of work related stuff to do this week (grading and such), and Yom Kippur isn't leaving me with a lot of time to work on it so I'd better go.

Later!

Josiah

9/14/2018 Here comes the rain

As usual, you can use the TWC button to vote and see this week's new bonus comic.

You may heard the news about the big storm that's supposed to hit the east coast this weekend. It sounds like it could be really bad on the coast itself but, as Connie and I are several hours away, it's looking like we're just going to get some rain, and not even a really massive amount. Hopefully things will work out ok for those on the coast as well.

In other news, Connie, Zack and I went to the Natural Products Expo East yesterday. I wrote about it last year and don't really feel like it needs another travelogue entry, but we had a good time looking at different products (mainly food) and trying lots and lots of samples.

Well, have a good weekend and all the best to my readers who are in the hurricane's path.

Josiah

9/12/2018 Ren Fest

Well, it's a little late, but let's get that travelogue entry from Labor Day done.

September 3rd (Monday): The Maryland Renaissance Festival
I heard about the Maryland Renaissance Festival last year, but Connie and I never made it over. This year though, she reminded me about it and we decided to make a point of visiting. Why Maryland? Well, there's a Pennsylvania one, but it's around three hours away. And Virginia? I would assume there's at least one in Virginia, but I don't know when or where (I should probably Google that sometime). Maryland, on the other hand, is only an hour away so it's not a bad drive.
Anyway, we ended up going on Labor Day, pretty early on (the Festival started late August and goes through mid October). The most impressive Renaissance Festival I've been to in the past is the one in Phoenix. A big advantage the Phoenix Festival has over many others is that is has a large dedicated space, meaning that there's not only plenty of room, but that they can build permanent buildings, rather than having to put up tents and booths every year. Turns out that Maryland has a similar setup. It's also in a forest, which not only offers some shade, but also enhances the whole medieval fantasy feel a bit. It's probably not quite as big as Phoenix, but it's still the size of a small theme park and certainly has enough stuff to keep you busy for a few hours to a full day.
Since Connie and I had Zack with us, we didn't spend a lot of time watching shows (though it looked like they had a good variety, including a joust), but we did really appreciate that they had a playground in the back. There was also the usual selection of neat handmade crafts and medieval stuff, along with turkey legs, steaks on a stake, soup in a bread bowl, and a few more "exotic" foods as well (like Japanese). While I wish we could have stayed a bit longer, and watched a few more shows, we still had a fun several hours and Zack really enjoyed the playground and the bubble wand booth. I wasn't expecting to find a Renaissance Festival that could give Phoenix a run for its money, but I'm pretty happy to have one nearby and we'll certainly be going back next year.

Later!

Josiah

9/7/2018 This again?

Well, I was all set to have a new strip (not a Blooper Reel) and a travelogue entry up today. Unfortunately, Zack had other plans and, instead of getting those finished, I had to spend the time trying to get him to sleep. So they'll have to wait until next week. Wednesday to be precise since, because of Rosh Hashanah, there will be no update on Monday.

Sorry about that, but I'll see you Wednesday!

Josiah

9/5/2018 Between holidays

Labor Day is over, but I've actually got several Jewish holidays coming up over the next few weeks. As a result, I'll have to skip a few Pebble Version updates here and there, but I'll announce those as they come. It was a nice holiday weekend though, and I'll have a travelogue update related to it soon. But not today. Zack hasn't been sleeping the best lately, so neither have I.

Later!

Josiah

9/3/2018 Holiday weekend

You know, in my opinion, if you're going to have a holiday during the second week of the semester, you might as well just wait and start classes that week instead. Having a holiday so early really throws things off. That said, I'm certainly not going to complain about a day off. So far, this holiday weekend hasn't been too exciting though. I've been playing with Zack (fun, but not exciting), running errands, and getting assorted work and home related stuff done. Today though, Connie, Zack, and I are off to do something fun. Expect a travelogue entry sometime soon.

Happy Labor Day!

Josiah

8/31/2018 One week down...

Sigh... I really don't intend to make a habit of posting Blooper Reel Comics on the main page (you can also see today's by voting on TWC, of course). But the first week of school has been a bit busier than I expected. Not entirely because of the classes either. Partly them and partly all the assorted other stuff I've been trying to get done. Plus, I've been staying up late way to often and I really need to break that habit. Hopefully I'll be more or less caught up and back on track next week.

Later!

Josiah

8/29/2018 Exercise

The first floor is finally completely fixed so now I just need to put together a bunch of shelves and then I can get all my books, games, and the like put away. I also have my own desk again, which is great.

In other news, the first week of classes is going fine so far. However, they're tearing down one of the main buildings on campus so they can replace it with a new fancier one. That's all well and good, except that there's now a whole lot less classrooms available for the next few years. As a result, some classes that would normally be either in my building, or at least relatively close, are now on the opposite end of campus, so I'm going to have to do a lot of walking this semester. Good for exercise, I guess, but annoying when I've got back to back classes that are really far apart. Well, I'll just have to hope that there isn't any bad weather on those days...

Later!

Josiah

8/27/2018 Maze time

Well, back to work. Here's hoping for a good first week. Anyway, here's a travelogue update.

August 23rd (Thursday): Cherry Crest Farm's Amazing Maize Maze
Connie and I continued our annual tradition of going to Cherry Crest Farm's Amazing Maize Maze. This year, however, we needed to keep Zack entertained. Fortunately, the farm has a lot of activities besides the maze, many of which are well suited for kids of all ages. I never took a really close look at them before, but there was everything from playground equipment, to giant slides, to a play town, just to name a few. There was even a giant sandbox type thing filled with dried corn. Zack's favorite part though, was the goats. He hadn't really interacted with animals much in the past, aside from chasing pigeons in Italy, but he was moderately interested in watching the goats in the petting zoo area. We thought that would be it, but he saw some other kids feeding them and, unprompted, actually went and picked up some food and started feeding the goats himself. He loved it and we spent a while there. He tried to feed a pig too, but it was a little too eager and ended up licking him in the face.
After letting Zack play around for a couple of hours, we finally headed into the maze. This year's theme was board games and, to better fit, they swapped the usual crossword puzzle with some mini-games (dice, spinners, etc.), which made for an interesting twist. As usual, I made a point of fully clearing the maze and finding all the hidden map pieces. It was a pretty good design and a lot of fun to navigate. It took us around 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish, though we had a pretty good run in terms of choosing the correct paths and such so I probably could have knocked 20 - 30 minutes off that time on my own.
We finished a little before the park was slated to close for the day so we drove over to Hershey Farm to let Zack play around a little more and then hit up the buffet, like we've done the past couple of years.
Cherry Crest Farm is always a fun outting and I'm looking forward to next year's maze.

Later!

Josiah

8/24/2018 A little more...

The bonus comic is up on TWC if you want to vote, but it's also here on the main page. Connie, Zack, and I went to the big corn maze on Wednesday (travelogue entry coming soon) and didn't get back till late and then yesterday just ended up being really busy and I didn't have time to get a comic done.

Today should finally mark the end of the various home repair and improvement projects that have been going on. Though I still have a ton to unpack downstairs.

Anyway, I'm off for now. Back to work on Monday, though things shouldn't get too busy for another couple weeks.

Later!

Josiah

8/22/2018 Prepped!

My classes are all ready to go! So what's planned for the rest of the week? A last couple of home improvement projects, some errands, and possibly a day trip (weather permitting). But first, I need to catch up on some sleep.

Later!

Josiah

8/20/2018 One week

Well, classes start in a week so I've got to finish prepping and finish the stuff on my to-do list (almost there). Hoping to have a little fun this week as well, but we'll get to that later. I've got things to do.

Later!

Josiah

8/17/2018 Otakon

You can vote to see the new Blooper Reel comic or just look right here. I'm running a bit late today so I decided to prioritize getting the travelogue entry for Otakon written. Why am I running late? Since Otakon, I've spent most of the week focusing on a whole bunch of assorted around the house type things. We've been here a bit over a month, but that doesn't mean everything is all set up yet. That said, I'm also trying to relax a little. It's been a really busy summer and work is starting up again pretty soon. So I've finally been able to get in a bit of game playing. But anyway, let's get to that travelogue entry.

August 10th - 12th (Friday - Saturday): Otakon 2018
This was Otakon's second year in Washington DC after moving from its long time home in Baltimore. While they handled the move pretty well last year, they smoothed out a few kinks this time around (faster bag check, for instance) for an all around solid experience. As usual, there were lots of panels and videos. Though Connie and I didn't get go to much in that regard. Last year, Zack wasn't doing much besides eating and sleeping. This year, he's down to one nap a day and doesn't like to sit still for too long, which limited our options a bit (that should change in a year or two). He did like looking at the cosplayers and playing with the escalators. Of course, we also spent some time in the dealers' hall and artist alley. So we were able to have some fun with him.
The video game hall was pretty great this year, with a lot of cool Japanese import arcade games. I went by myself Saturday night, so I had time to play around a bit and watch some AMVs.
The big highlight of this year though, was the concerts. I've been wanting to see an official Final Fantasy concert ever since I knew they existed (probably around 10 years or so), but I never managed to be in the right place at the right time. So I was thrilled to hear that Distant Worlds was coming to Otakon this year. And not just with one concert, but two. I would have been willing to spend half the day waiting in line, but fortunately they offered a limited number of VIP tickets a while back which, for a reasonable price, guaranteed a seat. They sold out in less than a day, but I grabbed mine the moment they went on sale so I was good. Connie isn't as into Final Fantasy as I am, and we weren't too sure Zack would sit through a concert, so she graciously offered to do other stuff with him when I went.
Friday's concert was the normal Distant Worlds show, which featured a full orchestra playing a diverse collection of music from Final Fantasy I - XV, along with full video accompaniment. It was amazing with a great set list. It didn't have all my favorites, of course, but I really don't have any complaints about the music selection or arrangements. It helps that Nobuo Uematsu is fairly heavily involved. In fact, here was there! He mainly just popped onto the stage a couple times to say hi, rather than playing any instruments himself, though he did join the orchestra at the end for One Winded Angel. Really, my only complaint about the concert was that, at one hour and fifteen minutes, I wish it were longer. It was awesome and very much worth it for any Final Fantasy fan, or anyone who enjoys good music for that matter.
Sunday's concert was titled A New World. Billed as a more intimate experience, it had only a handful of musicians, no video, and a smaller audience. It also had a mostly different set list (including a Tactics song). As such, it was a much different experience, but still excellent. The string quartet arrangements, for example, really stood out. While not quite as epic as Distant Worlds, I enjoyed it just as much and highly recommend it as well.
The VIP tickets actually offered more perks than a good seat and avoiding hours in line. After each concert, VIP ticket holders got a meet and great with Uematsu and the conductor (Arnie Roth for Distant Worlds and his son Eric for A New World). Basically, we got to say hi, get a photo, and an autograph. So that was pretty awesome as well. Now I've got my copy of Final Fantasy VII signed by both him and Sakaguchi, and I've got an art book signed by Amano. If I could just get Nomura's signature...
Anyway, while Zack kept Connie and I from getting quite as much out of Otakon as before, it was still fun and the concerts were fantastic. As always, I'm looking forward to next year.

Josiah

8/15/2018 It's about time

I haven't had a chance to go through my photos yet, so no Otakon write up today. Been getting a bunch of stuff done now that the con is finished. And today they're finally going to repair the water damage downstairs so I'll be able to get everything unpacked and set up down there.

In other news, poison ivy sucks. I knew that, but I hadn't gotten any since I was a kid, so I forgot just how annoying it could be. Definitely going to be more careful when doing yard work here in the future.

Later!

Josiah

8/13/2018 After the con

Otakon was fun, even though Zack limited what Connie and I could do a bit. Anyway, I'll sort my photos sorted and get the travelogue entry posted later this week.

For now, I've got plenty to do this week. The repairs for the water damage have finally been scheduled as well so, with any luck, I'll be able to finally start unpacking the rest of my stuff in a few days.

Later!

Josiah





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