Read comics by Winston Rowntree

I am bored. I must have been bored before, because I remember either putting an ad in the paper or responding to one looking for a collaborator in making comics—to help alleviate the boredom, see? I had just moved to Amsterdam, and was still living in my brother’s way-too-expensive (for my means) apartment—this is somewhere in the year 2000. This guy wanted to meet me at a bar called De Balie on the Leydse Square, which we did. And he wanted to draw in the style of Dave McKean. I think it was Dave McKean—when I looked it up it was all gloomy. Later I remembered Dave Gibson, who can also draw gloomy but not that… Sorry, boring you now? :-)

Anyway. I went home and racked my brain a lot, and came up with a bunch of scripts which in hind-sight are best described as Rhaa Lovely style. Dark, over the top absurdist, comic. Then I forgot about the whole thing. Then I stumbled upon the guy’s phone number and remembered, but could not find the scripts. Then I found the scripts but lost the phone number. And now I’ve lost both.

From what I remember: one strip had a man taking his dog out for a walk out every day, but since the man had lost the use of his legs, his butler had to wheel him around. Turns out, the man had been dead for a while. Why is he still carted around the park every day? I doesn’t say. The strip ends with the dog performing an elaborate ballet.

Another one: two teenage lovers sitting atop a hill, holding hands, enjoying each other’s company. But the hill is slippery, and one of them starts to slide downwards. The other tries to stop him/her, but instead gets caught in the increasingly steeper slide. Turns out, they were sitting atop the arcs of a giant M, and are now gliding towards the middle. Where a meat-grinding device waits for them to turn them into hamburgers. I forgot how this one ended.

What I just wanted to say: when I ran into Winston Rowntree’s excellent (excellent!) comics, they reminded me of something. And after thinking about it a little they reminded me of comics I once wanted to write, except his are in colour. Sometimes he is a bit wordy for my taste; a joke in a comic should not rely too much on words, unless your name is Greg and you’re working on Achille Talon. But I digress—what are you still doing here? Go read! And while you’re at it, read his other stuff too. I especially liked Captian Estar Goes to Heaven.


A hard sci-fi writer who puts an above-average amount of sci in his fi—I guess that’s what hard sci-fi means—asks his readers to help him explore the world of Multiple Personality Disorder by suggesting hard sci for him to read. One of them points him towards … Batman (“Boff!”, “Crunch!”). How about a mind, a consciousness, a personality that’s geared differently to every different situation? Would such a person be insane, or supersane? The Joker’s shrink thinks she may have stumbled upon the answer:

Well, you’ll pardon me for saying so, but your techniques don’t seem to have had much effect on the Joker.

Dr. Adams (Joker’s therapist):
The Joker’s a special case. Some of us feel he may be beyond treatment. In fact, we’re not even sure if he can be properly defined as insane. His latest claim is that he’s possessed by Baron Ghede, the Voodoo loa. We’re beginning to think it may be a neurological disorder, similar to Tourette’s syndrome. It’s quite possible we may actually be looking at some kind of super-sanity here. A brilliant new modification of human perception. More suited to urban life at the end of the twentieth century.

Tell that to his victims.

Dr. Adams:
Unlike you and I, the Joker seems to have no control over the sensory information he’s receiving from the outside world. He can only cope with the chaotic barrage of input by going with the flow. That’s why some days he’s a mischievous clown, others a psychopathic killer. He has no real personality. He creates himself each day. He sees himself as the Lord of Misrule, and the world as a theatre of the absurd.

Here’s what Grant Morrison [the author of this dialogue; bc] said about it:
“The idea of Joker’s “super-sanity” haunted me for years and eventually developed into my theories of multiple personality complexes as the next stage in human consciousness development.”

(John Henning quoting at Peter Watt’s blog.)

Vista is…

Saw this in a comment at Engadget: Vista is Ballmer’s way of throwing chairs at people he can’t reach.

(Explanation: Steve Ballmer is the CEO if Microsoft, who is known for throwing chairs through the room in Gordon Ramsay style hissy-fits. Gordon Ramsay is a bum-kneed football-pro turned cook who is known for his tantrums. Vista is the newest version of Microsoft Windows. Every new iteration of Windows, Microsoft manages to leave all the kinks in, and make it so that you need the heaviest pc money can buy to run it. So a lot of people moan that they’re not going to install this new version, and two years on, when everybody has newer, heavier computers, and Microsoft has patched some of the bugs, all the moaners will be running the new version.)

Sputnik design plans

You can download design plans for the Sputnik, the satellite that kick-started the space race fifty years ago today, at the website of the Arizona Model Aircrafters. The plans exclude the instruments; these are perhaps left as an exercise for the reader.

World maps


“Territory size shows the proportion of all contributions to international food aid programmes that come from governments there.”, where I found the link to the Worldmapper service, displays almost exactly the same map, but there the legend says: “Territory size shows the proportion of all McDonalds restaurants that were open in 2004, that were found there.” (Go spot the differences.)

Take me on

Memo to self: the five bottles of pickles singing A-ha’s Take On Me a capella were to be found at The PAN, which is now hosted by Youtube.

Ewa Wisnierska: “I thanked the angels, but I don’t believe in God”

German paragliding champion Ewa Wisnierska was training for the world championship when she established the world altitude survival record, ascending 8000 meters in 40 minutes of unpowered flight. She had been sucked into a storm that according to one commenter “not even 747s fly through”.

A frost-bitten Wisnierska’s response: “I thanked the angels, but I don’t believe in God.”

Another paraglider was found dead after being caught by the same storm. Wisnierska has gone back to preparing for next week’s world championship.

Hallo? Salut!

Reinder introduces me to Numa Numa dancing. I like it. (Yeah, I know I am catching on late. And don’t bring a webcam near me.)

This is an ex-cabinet

Somebody on lefty blog made this hope-inspiring prediction: a summer crammed full with football, lots of beer and the resignation of the cabinet. We already had two parts, today the last third came through. Balkellende II is no more. It’s gone to meet its maker. It’s pushing up the daisies. This is an ex-cabinet.

Now proofreading: Woutertje Pieterse

Met myn zwaard.
Op m’n paard.
En myn helm op het hoofd.
Er op in! En den vyand den schedel gekloofd,
En vooruit!

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