Monthly Archives: April 2004

Quick Trip to Victoria Before the End of an Era

Where has she gone? This Blog hasn’t been updated in ages! Yes its true. It’s been sparse around here for about a month. Time to reveal the reason: I’ve been settling into my new job. I was a contractor and a freelancer for seven years, so my first salaried position has been an enormously pleasant change. I’m a user interface designer, which means I do the same website programming and Flash work I’ve been doing since I leapt out of animation like a rat leaving a sinking ship in 2002. It’s a living and to tell you the truth I really enjoy it. The name of the company is Trendwest, a timeshare company that has a program I like and some very attractive resorts. The job is a bit far from my house and as I have to battle the nightmarish commute up 405 every morning (which means getting up at 5:30 am) I’ve had no time at night to update this Blog. I’ve concentrated instead on helping Scott see that our comic strip continues to go up at it’s regularly scheduled time every four days. Well into our fourth month I’m happy about its progress, and we’re solidifying plans this week for San Diego Con in July. But now I’ve found a good time for writing the news, and so I can get back to regular updates and shut up about me.

I promised a little information about Victoria… British Columbia’s capitol is one of my favorite places to visit. We made the Victoria Clipper ship at 8:30 am and hit some rising waves along the way, along with getting a good look at one of Canada’s famous sailing clippers. Victoria is in full bloom on a sunny day in spring, and Butchart Gardens was covered with tulips. The gardens were never so perfect, and they never really seem to change. Every time I go I catch the Royal Museum of British Columbia, much of which was closed for a July exhibit. I go for their extensive collection of masks and totem poles, particularly their Haida and hamatsa artifacts. We took a car trip up the Vancouver Island coast, which I’ve never done before, and the views were spectacular from the side of the highway.

I’ve been following the news very closely over the last week. The animation advanced word: a former animator on Curious George reports that the project is problematic and the results will be hideous. The Polar Express is going to be shown on Imax, because surely we were all eagerly hoping to see its jerky 3D humans seven stories high? Shrek 2 looks interesting and I’ll be seeing it next week; opinions from those who have seen it have been mostly favorable. More previews from Shark Tale are out, and although the character designs are still getting a lot of flak, the animation has gotten high marks.

The harbour in Victoria BC The harbour in Victoria BC 
Kwa'kwak'awak Cedar Plank House Kwa’kwak’awak Cedar Plank House 
Thunderbird Park Thunderbird Park 
Stuffed Seals in the Natural History Section Stuffed Seals in the Natural History Section 
Royal British Columbia Museum recreation of old Victoria Royal British Columbia Museum recreation of old Victoria 
Old Victoria Matinee Old Victoria Matinee 
The matinee always plays Gold Rush The matinee always plays Gold Rush 
The museum's gold sifting machine The museum’s gold sifting machine 
A Japanese school girl tour group at Butchart Gardens A Japanese school girl tour group at Butchart Gardens 
Horse statues at the Gardens Horse statues at the Gardens 
The Sunken Garden The Sunken Garden 
Butchart Spring Tulips Butchart Spring Tulips 
The 60th Anniversary Fountain The 60th Anniversary Fountain 
Scott in the rose garden Scott in the rose garden 
Rose Garden Mirror Ball Rose Garden Mirror Ball 
Hanging Basket Hanging Basket 
The Japanese Gardens The Japanese Gardens 
Butchart Bay Butchart Bay 
Postcard Shot Postcard Shot 
Me by the Harbor Me by the Harbor 
The Empress Hotel The Empress Hotel 
Tea at the Empress Tea at the Empress 
Rogers Chocolates Rogers Chocolates 
Entrance to Chinatown Entrance to Chinatown 
Grocery shop in Chinatown Grocery shop in Chinatown 
Fan Tan Alley was a former Opium den Fan Tan Alley was a former Opium den 
Scott adds to his Donald collection Scott adds to his Donald collection 
Victoria Double Decker Bus Victoria Double Decker Bus 
View from the highway along the shore of Vancouver Island View from the highway along the shore of Vancouver Island 
Sunset on the Harbour Sunset on the Harbour 

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter

Staffing Agents

As I blearily send off today’s strip to our e-mail subscribers this morning, I got a question that surprised me. What is a staffing agent? Well, the demagraphic for Scooter and Ferret is mainly professionals between the ages of 20 and 34. Not that other people can’t occasionally find a gag they like, but the basic story is, Ferret and Scooter are X-er age and they deal with X-er problems. Namely, the constant struggle we go through to stay employed. And most of us stay employed through a staffing agent, who fills either contract or temp positions for employers large and small. Microsoft hires most of their IT, designers, and management through staffing firms at least to start with. So did IBM and scores of other large companies. Small firms also do it. Programming professionals in Seattle often go through Volt (most of the IT guys I know at Microsoft were theirs). I have personally done work for Art Source, IDR in Atlanta, and my personal favorite, Big Fish. Big Fish has some great hard working people in it, and my experience with the callous agents is not applicable to them. It’s more applicable to some of Seattle’s other firms, but even more so, the countless temping firms that hire warm bodies for office work and manufacturing.

Scott and I have met many people our age toiling away for agencies while patiently waiting for full-time work they can really count on. We’ve met engineers temping in manual labor, programmers hopping from one company to another, artists taking contracts here and there to make ends meet, and countless numbers of agents. This is not my favorite corporate practice; so many companies these days find contractors so much less of a commitment. Employees have to be provided for, contractors don’t get benefits or the assurance of having a job next week. Two friends of mine have recently lost their jobs and are hearing about how nicely contractors are treated, and I wish it were so. The typical contractor is young, struggling, and I hope, reading Scooter and Ferret.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter

Who Is Watching Cartoons

I’ve been a harsh critic for for the Animation Pimp, but he’s got a new article in AWN that I was able to follow. It makes what sounds like some accurate complaints about the Justice League, but as I read the article, it dawned on me that although I’ve closely followed news about the show, I’ve never actually seen an episode. Which brings me to a larger issue: is anyone watching cartoons anymore? While surfing through channels last Saturday morning, I realized that the shining cartoon world of splendor I once knew from 6 am to noon on the start of the weekend is not what it used to be. I may be a little late on this discovery, I know. I’ve become so enveloped in comics in the last year, a lot of what’s going on in the day to day world of animation has left me behind. Or, I’m beginning to wonder, is it the day to day animation world itself that’s disappearing?

Those who remain stalwartly watching cartoons tell me that Samurai Jack is nice to look at, same with Kim Possible. But my issue with Samurai Jack is that looks appear to be its only concern, and Kim Possible spends so much time settling into Playboy poses that I’m suspicious of its creator’s priorities. I do continue to watch the Simpsons and King of the Hill, even though both seemed to have run out of ideas years ago. Both are still funny, and that’s enough for me right now, with so little else to turn to.

The last strip I put up I was so removed from, I spent the entire morning brooding about whether or not it was funny. I was relieved when I got several responses from people who thought it was, so thanks for that, you made my week.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter