October 16; October 18 – 30; Ph.D. Comics Sanctuary

I’m posting the new thread early (and before I’m finished the Saturday comic, alas, though I promise I’m working on it) because the Phorum–the haunt of Piled Higher and Deeper fans–has been overrun with spam and shut down for a week or so.  This sort of thing has happened before, and WoB has always offered up its comments section as a sort of Web-based refugee camp.  Come one…come all…come avoid people trying to sell Viagra and various other products.  Here, there are only virtual cookies and vigorous discussions as to what the bleeding heck is up with Casey lately.  Hurrah!


121 thoughts on “October 16; October 18 – 30; Ph.D. Comics Sanctuary

  1. Wonder how long the phorum is going to go on hiatus for this time around, since it seem the message:
    “The forums have been temporarily disabled for maintenance. Please check back in a week or so. Sorry for the inconvenience!”

    Is just a reuse of the message from last time. Hopefully not too long, although I do wish there was some explanation beforehand.

  2. 🙂 joining and bringing virtual cookies and brownies!

    Passes chocolate chilli cookies around.

    (BTW – I’ve often considered actually sending a box of physical cookies around. Sadly not as easy as the postcard exchange, customs usually don’t like food :-(. )

  3. I can’t read it: I’m still living in denial of my favorite character’s death in the final book. (*It didn’t happen.* I mean, the body was never found, right?) But if I read about someone else reading about it, then I won’t be able to be in denial anymore. Oh well, it probably doesn’t make sense.

  4. You dare to threaten me with cookies? I shall smite you!

    And, on an unrelated note, my computer is being dumb. Again. I am considering the switch from a windows laptop to a mac desktop, and have some questions. They are as follows:

    1) You can get a desktop that can connect to wifi, right? Right?
    2) Are there compatability issues with macs? If so, what are they? There aren’t any hardware compatability issues (a printer, mostly), right?

    Also, anything else I should know? Remember, I can use computers, but I don’t understand them very well.

    And may the Phorum be with you. Eventually. Fairly quickly, one hopes. Without spam.

    Death to spam!

  5. Erwaro: I can’t really answer your questions, though I’m sure some can. I believe it is possible to get desktops with wifi. There are some compatibility issues with Macs; you’ll need to buy all new software, for instance, though once you have the Mac versions of the programs you need, you should be all right (I think). Some programs don’t exist in Mac versions. The printer should be okay as long as you’ve got a Mac driver for it. Correct me if I’m wrong, people.

  6. Hmmmmm…
    Well, now we come to the point where my cluelessness becomes a factor. I have no idea if the printer has a mac driver, although I kinda doubt it. (It was a package deal with the PC). Which is sad; it’s actually been pretty functional, although I haven’t needed it much. I don’t actually have many added programs installed on my computer. But it shouldn’t be a problem if, say, I use the mac version of a program and send my results to work, where they might well use PC’s predominantly or even exclusively?

    (I’m also about to graduate, so in addition to all the old things I do with my computer, I may want to engage in NP on it occasionally. Or, at least, I hope very much that I will have reason to NP on it. I kinda really need a job)

    Failing to close brackets happens. And it adds weight to the post. Leave those brackets open, and let the sun shine through.

  7. Yeah, I use the same printer for the PC as I do for the Mac, just had to download the proper driver. You have to buy Microsoft Office for Mac, but that’s not terribly expensive. It depends what other software you want to try to run. Some of the Macs you can dual-boot as either a Mac or a PC, so if you have super-obscure grad student software you need to run, you can still do it. However, if you want to do that you have to shell out for a version of windows to run on the PC part of the hard drive.

    I don’t know anything about desktops and wifi. You could probably call your friendly local Apple store and ask them.

  8. Maybe it will work if I open the brackets and then close them again? Testing…testing

    If this sentence is still in italics, I apologise for apparently turning the entire comments section italic-y forever.

  9. Just switched to Mac a week ago – as everyone said, had to get Mac versions of Office and SPSS, although I could have run the windows versions in Parallels easily and smoothly (no need to boot in Windows, it just opens in a virtual machine and you keep working in your Mac environment). I love my MacBook Pro so far and it took only a couple of days to adjust (if you’ve got any problem, just google it and you’ll find the answer). No problems whatsoever with the printer, didn’t have to install a driver or anything – it found it straightaway through WiFi. Then again, everybody in my field is on Mac so I’m not likely to encounter compatibility issues.

  10. Hello…this is Kari again. I logged in as administrator, opened my original comment, and FIXED THE DAMN BRACKET. The italics are gone now. Hurrah!

  11. Yes, you can get a desktop that can connect to wifi. What you will need, is a ‘wireless network card’. Buy one from Amazon/Newegg and plug that into your desktop. (since most desktop motherboards don’t come with built-in wireless networking unlike laptops.)

  12. My old (5-year-old) iMac has built-in wifi. I assume the new ones still do.

    As for the printer: most, if not all, Canon and HP printers should be fine. Epson too, I guess. Just look up the model on the manufacturer’s website and see if there are Mac drivers to download. Your Mac will also come with loads of printer drivers already built in, so chances are you won’t even have to download.

    A free alternative to Microsoft Office is OpenOffice (also for Windows and Linux machines, by the way). It works well enough for the handful of times a year I use it, and I guess it will stand up to more intensive uses to.

    I am seriously fond of my MacBook Pro’s trackpad. If your desktop Mac doesn’t come with their “magic trackpad” by default, you may want to consider getting one.

  13. Oh, damn you to the firey pits of syphillis Kem. I’d read Mark Reads Twilight, but I had no idea he’d done Harry Potter too. Now I have to spend the rest of the day reading it.

  14. Hello everyone. I brought some rooibos tea to go with the cookies.

    We should discuss our reading of Marie reading about Mark reading Harry Potter. Just so the meta gets bigger, of course.

  15. 1) You can get a desktop that can connect to wifi, right? Right?

    Well provided that wifi is what I think it is – yes, easily. I run off wireless all the time (pretty much, we have to as the first option)

    2) Are there compatability issues with macs? If so, what are they? There aren’t any hardware compatability issues (a printer, mostly), right?
    Yes there are, depending on the programs you need. If you are going to be swapping back and forth between different OSs then it’s something to consider. I have the old office for mac package and it works fine for me (although, to be fair I rarely use it). I can open anything, even those stupid docx files – I just loose the formatting. The new office for mac does docx so that shouldn’t be a problem. The biggest compatibility problem I’ve hit is my tendency to create files without extensions and then when other people try to open them it causes problems. To fix I just rename with an appropriate extension. I have no problem swapping files between mathematica/matlab from my mac to my other machines, and naturally all my latex stuff is platform independent. Powerpoint can be a bic of a problem, although I’ve found this to be the case swapping between any computers – but I never use powerpoint if I can help it and will instead opt for a pdf slideshow presentation, even if I have created it in powerpoint. What sort of programs do you need to use?

    Also, anything else I should know? Remember, I can use computers, but I don’t understand them very well.
    Macs are really, really easy to use. I can neither use computers nor understand them, but find my mac really easy to work with. I can print, and I believe even got my printer at home running (I’ve only used it a couple of times) – I believe it had a different install disk for windows than mac – but not sure of the details.

    And may the Phorum be with you. Eventually. Fairly quickly, one hopes. Without spam.

    Death to spam!

    Amen! I can’t believe I’m expected to work all week

  16. oops – neglected to mention that I use a laptop – but I think that it’s no problem with a desktop either. Probably is easiest to ask the apple people. BTW – student discounts can sometimes only be used online/on campus. Make sure you can use yours wherever you go to buy one (if you do decide to).

  17. Apple has education discounts at their stores in person and online, too. Definitely buy your mac before you graduate; the discount is worth it.

    I know my friend would make powerpoint presentations on her mac, then open them on PC, and all of the formatting would be slightly different. More of a pain than anything.

    Roeslein: What is this Parallels? Is it free software?

  18. Part of me really wants it now, but I’m not gonna lie, the financial situation is rapidly approaching hellish. My brother is in uni too, and I just had to deal with an 11 millimeter kidney stone without health insurance. Still trying to get the bills figured out. Thanks for all the advice, by the way. I probably won’t be using powerpoint much, if at all, the big one would probably be excel.

    Not only do you threaten me with chocolate chips, but with tea as well? Do you want me to give up strawberries?

  19. Oh, hey, Earthgirl…re. your comment #4: I did think of e-mailing Mark to let him know I had stuck him in a comic, just to be polite; however, there seems to be no way of contacting him privately, and participating in the comments section of that blog is certainly not something to be undertaken by the faint of heart. Ah well.

  20. re. 16 – indeed we wouldn’t want You fumigated in mercury
    (though delaying the Casey story arc You were starting to deserve it :”> – raising tension and suspense over weeks is just mean :-p )

    erwaro: good luck!
    wi-fi: unlike PCs, currently all new iMacs and Mac minis have wireless in-built (for PCs without a wireless card, You can always put in a USB wireless stick – costs a few $ on e-bay, and they tend to work)
    printer: check on the manufacturer website (or google) for a mac driver. there *are* printers that only work on Windows (but they are rare)
    software: check what You use. there are many things that don’t exist on both mac and windows, and even if they do the versions are only moderately compatible. (good software like matlab and of course platform-independent stuff like LaTeX works – anything produced by Microsoft … occasionally)

    If cash is short, look into a mac mini. They are not half bad from what I’ve heard, though of course not as powerful. (But loads better than a nettop.)

  21. Kari — He haunts the comments section of cleolinda.livejournal.com fairly regularly, actually; if I see him around, I’ll let him know. 🙂

  22. Earthgirl: okay, thanks. I would feel pretty silly chasing a guy all over the Internet and going, “Look…look…I put you in a comic! I did!” It’s much less obnoxious if other people do it.

    Why doesn’t the dude have an accessible e-mail address? I suppose that question answers itself; he would receive hundreds of e-mails a day and never be able to get anything else done.

  23. I’m a bad phorumer because I didn’t realise the site was down until I checked the comic this morning (which I apparently do more regularly than I check the phorum these days…)

    At least there is still WOB and chat.

  24. @earthgirl : Parallels is a software that allows you to run Windows in parallel with the Mac Operating system. Its not free. Their website is here http://www.parallels.com/ Basically, it brings up Windows side-by-side with OSX and hence you get to run whatever windows-only app you may need to use.

  25. Let me once more thank you all for the help, although it’s less urgent now. I was freaking out because my home computer wouldn’t connect to the internet, but campus computer people got that fixed. Yay! I still plan to do that switch, just not particularly soon. Wait until I can afford food more consistently.

  26. Goodness gracious me, Earthgirl. How many people read Cleolinda’s blog? I’ve had, like, eighty or ninety people clicking on your link to the Mark comic (I’m assuming it’s your link, anyway) in the last twenty-five minutes. Thanks for the attempt to contact Mark, incidentally.

  27. And in relation to the comic, let me say that I sleepwalk. Recently, I woke up very slightly while sleepwalking. I was convinced, somehow, that I was supposed to take my blankets and put one of them in the bathroom. Why, I don’t know. That’s a pretty disturbing thing to have hanging around your subconscious. Another time I woke up, I was trying to relocate because I dreamed that my bed was in the path of an oncoming train. Up until recently, I thought that I couldn’t open doors with knobs in my sleep, but the recent episode probably disproves that. There goes every reason I had not to fear that I would wake up early one morning downtown in nothing but my underwear…

  28. Kari — many, many people. 😀 She’s the writer of the Movies in 15 Minutes parodies and is quite popular (and incidentally writes a hilarious soap opera about dolls from various movie franchises, including LotR, Twilight, and Van Helsing. Anna Dollerious of the Van Helsing world has sworn to end Edward Dollen. I feel some reverse pimping is only fair). Am glad you picked up some traffic.

    The responses I got to my link are:

    “I have looked into the abyss of the meta, and it is… hilarious.”

    and from Mark himself:

    “oooommmmmmmmmggggggggggg” with a macro of the little kid from “Up” grinning and waving.

    So… there you are. 😀 I feel like you should use these as jacket quotes for the book.

  29. Earthgirl: well, now it has gone critical. I’ve had hundreds upon hundreds of new visitors (for me, that’s quite a big deal). Most of them only stick around for the one comic, of course, but still. The comic has also now made it onto Twitter, Facebook, and Delicious. So…yeah, thanks VERY much.

    I am quite tempted to use those comments on the book jacket. It’s too bad it’s impossible to include the Waving Russell Macro.

    When one gets a wisdom tooth extracted, are the sutures supposed to fall out after the first few hours and the bleeding continue for nearly a full day? I ask merely for information.

  30. whee, i did something! and it had an impact! this is seriously exciting.

    i guess go see your oral surgeon?

  31. Yes, you caused a little Internet Avalanche. Hurrah!

    I live across the street from my dentist, so if the bleeding doesn’t stop soon, I may wander over there.

  32. “unsettling”? I think we are right in the “very disturbing” category already! I really hope that this is just a manifestation of Marie’s worry for Casey and not a representation of things as they are. I am picturing Casey locked in a dungeon somewhere, in complete darkness, huddling in the cold. It does not help that I have just finished reading Nine Princes in Amber, where one of the characters ends up in very much such a predicament.

  33. Don’t forget that Not-Casey doesn’t seem to know who he is.

    I trust I have contributed to your nightmare fuel for the day.

  34. Oh, yes. He does not know who he is – again just like the Nine Princes in Amber, actually… now you are just spooking me out.

  35. Not-Casey is hopefully not Casey’s soul trapped in Ursula or vice versa …

    Now You’re doing this, when I’ll be gone giving seminars running around half of Europe next week and I probably won’t have internet until November :-(.
    Forget the talks, I’ll be stressed all next week just to find out what’s happening on WoB.

  36. mivadar – will you have access to your email? (I’m presuming that email access is less of a hassle than internet access while you travel)
    If yes, one of us could potentially send you the latest comic strip as an image:attachment.

  37. nuttycat, You’re lovely as always 🙂 (I need to get around to those cookie and/or chocolate dispatches one day.)
    If I manage to get to my e-mail, I’ll also have internet I think :-).

    I’ll have to see if I have internet – if not, at least I’ll see a week’s worth of updates all at once so I don’t have to gnaw on my nails day to day ;-).

    (But have to coordinate next time that when there is a gripping storyline I can actually be glued to the computer … :-p it’s just one of those things – after four years we may get a glimpse on what the heck it is with Casey, and I’m on the road.
    You know, it’s just typical life … one day, my ship will come in – with my luck, I’ll be at the airport.)

  38. Rahim is Evil Rahim and Barbara is “I am not Barbara”? Or maybe it’s “I am hot Barbarian”?

  39. Since the phorum’s still down and there’s nobody around, I hope you’ll forgive me for hijacking these comments: what do you when you realize that back when you were 18 you were pressured into making bad study choices, and that now virtually anyone with pretty much any degree can enter your field, but that the reverse is impossible?

    Background: after 5 years of studying subject A and giving up my childhood dream of studying subject B because A was “the reasonable study choice” (read: you get well-paid jobs in industry easily with that degree), and getting good but not great grades doing mostly stuff I didn’t care about (at least during undergrad), I just got told that I’d stand a better chance at entering my desired program in field A if I had a degree in B with stellar grades instead. I also just met a guy with a degree in B who is now successfully working in A after getting an additional master – while all masters in B require a formal undergrad degree in B. (My research topic is cross-disciplinary and deals with both A and B.)

    I feel like I’ve completely messed up and there’s no going back. I went through all of this and ruined my self-esteem (think “humanities person working her a** off in advanced physics classes but still barely passing”) for NOTHING. I wish someone had told me back then.


    I want the ranting thread back.

  40. I think people give too much credits to earlier choices, there are those who know what they want to do in life and go for it, and then there are also plenty of people who choose one thing but ended up (successfully) doing something else, examples of the latter are abound.

  41. I have no idea how it works anywhere else, and doing it that late would certainly be a pain in the ass here, but you could try what I’m doing and get two degrees. You satisfy the requirements for one, and the core requirements, and then the requirements for the other one. Depending on more factors than I can comprehend, it should be possible to add a degree in B in a year or two.

  42. Roeslein – I too have been missing the rant thread. My advice would be don’t panic about what you did in the past – it’s over and done with and really what’s important is what you can do to get what you want now with what you had rather than thinking if only… I’d already have it.

    Here we have degrees that, depending on length, are variably called Graduate Diplomas or Course-Work Masters that are essentially just broad, flexible degrees that you can use to either (a) change fields, or (b) improve in a field you have already studied in. They usually are not research based, although you can often include a research component. Does anything like this exist where you are (sorry, I have the feeling you are US based, but that’s a wild guess)? With these you wouldn’t need to specifically have a background in B and would pick up the necessary undergrad units to get the grounding you want in B. Such degrees are usually 1 – 3 semesters long, depending on what you already have and how much you need. If the degree is what is needed this could be the quickest way to change areas without doing an entire bachelor’s.

    More than anything though, is it possible for you to get to work (study – sorry I don’t recall your aim) in B without a formal qualification? If you just need some grounding in the area rather than a piece of paper, you might be able to look at the option of sitting in on some courses run at your current uni and then incorporate this into postgrad studies technically in A, but shift it so you are more working in B – is this possible? If you really want to change and you haven’t yet started, maybe further study would be the best and possibly even easiest way to go. If it’s not available locally – is international study a feasible option?

    hope you can find some way to move into the area that interests you.

  43. Thank you everyone. I don’t actually *need* a formal degree in B, though – some classes and lots of reading should do, assuming I manage to transfer into a good program. It was more general ranting about having let myself be pressured into “reasonable” study choices back in the day, just to find out it’s not even helping me after all and I could as well have studied something I was passionnate about instead. That’s life, I guess. Still waiting for an answer on funding from the other program. :/

  44. Alas, November is always the Month of Hideous Marking. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to participate in NaNoWriMo. Sob.

  45. Book recommendation (unless you hate cyberpunk-ish SF): John Varley’s novel _The Golden Globe_

  46. It’s still happening. It’s just that I’ve got stuck on the last stage (a small extra that requires quite a lot of Photoshop-related editing). The problem is that I do still have to do the comic itself every two days, and since I mostly work on THAT in the wee hours of the morning, I haven’t found time to finish the damn book. Once I get through this particular extra and make some sort of cover, I’ll be more or less done. It’s just taking waaaaaaaay too long to deal with the end bits. I’m really sorry about that. I did so want to be done by Christmas (my latest pretend deadline), but unless my marking miraculously goes POOF, it probably isn’t going to work out.

  47. hey Kari – so long as you don’t specify which Christmas so long as you finish you’ll meet the deadline.

    and can people please stop asking me when IT is due? I haven’t even started writing and it was due last year – asking me the due date is a waste of time.
    (sorry for the rant, but it’s driving me crazy all these questions from people who should know better)

  48. Yes…it is very stressful to be asked about due dates, whether those due dates pertain to comic-strip collections or That Which Must Not Be Named. I believe there’s an early Ph.D. comic that deals with the taboo of asking about IT.

  49. No pressure at all. Like mer said, since you didn’t specify which Christmas… 😉
    I took (and passed 😀 ) my prelims (aka candidacy exam in some places, similar to quals in other places) about 2 weeks back. I’m now getting bombarded by people who keep asking me when I’m going to hand in my that_which_must_not_be_named and graduate and such. I’m torn between bursting into tears, turning into a raging maniac or simply walking off pretending I never heard them.

  50. Congratulations on the prelims. The torture is only just beginning…

    When I was writing my own You Know What, it got to the point where people knew perfectly well that any mention of the damned thing would send me into hysterics. They would either avoid the topic or cringe as they brought it up. Keep on turning into a raging maniac. Eventually, your friends will learn.

  51. For a second after I didn’t manage to connect to the Comicgenesis website, I was afraid that after the phorum WoB was down too… :/

  52. Congrats on passing the prelims nuttycat – I recommend you choose tears or maniac depending on what will make the other person most uncomfortable.

    I just got invited to a graduation dinner. I really don’t get why they think I’m graduating – I certainly didn’t tell them I was graduating, nor tick the “graduating” box on the leaving forms. Tis odd. Now I have to find out if I’m really invited (it’s a free meal – and a good one at that) or if they made a mistake.

  53. Thanks kem and mer! 🙂 I think raging maniac is the way for me to go forward. *rubs hands with glee, bwhahahahah… just you wait you poor poor person who next asks me when…*

    Go for it! 😉 free food is good!
    I get regular emails from the Alumni association of my current school, because obviously, there are only undergraduates and after 4 years, you will graduate and leave right..? I mean you mean there might be other people on this campus longer? What a shocking concept.

  54. Seems I was deliberately invited, they still don’t seem to get that I ain’t done yet – but I’m happy to take the free food 🙂

  55. Was it intentional that the sign to the “House of Terror” just happen to be pointing at Marie’s head on the first and second panel?

    As a side note I would just like to take this opportunity to curse those responsible for my current predicament, namely the phorum for leaving a big void in my procrastination activity but mainly and most importantly for WoB who just happen to have links to the Erfworld (completed reading) and The Order of the Stick (read ~50%) web comics.
    May you run out of Warding gemstone as those demonic spawns comes knocking at your doors on All Hallows’ Eve.

  56. All of Erfworld and half of OOTS? Damn. Tell me you got some sleep, at least.

    And I don’t get the carrot reference. I miss everything.

    And I’m here over 4 years as well, although here it happens frequently enough that no one assumes you’re done. “Oh, four years in? Good job, how much longer do you have?” Just the one extra term for me, but many people take a long time.

  57. There isn’t really a “carrot reference.” As far as I’m concerned, Marie just got all flustered by her encounter with Caid, completely forgot about whatever costume she was GOING to wear (or didn’t want to reenter her bedroom to get it), randomly opened the fridge and grabbed a carrot, and is now going around claiming she is obviously wearing a costume. It’s sort of the Emperor’s New Carrot. Barbara’s musing on the fact that she wishes SHE had thought to carry around a carrot can probably be attributed to the fact that Barbara is insane.

  58. *Rant Alert**Rant Alert**Rant Alert*
    /might be slightly incoherent, I’m still reeling from this student/

    How the heck can you think that a lab assignment means that you create a circuit that need not be tested?
    You aren’t a freshman for heaven’s sake, you are a year from graduating, and you have the nerve to think that in a lab assignment that says “design x,y,z” I (your TA) won’t want to test your circuit? Especially considering that every lab from the start of the semester has been “design x,y,z” followed by me asking you to demonstrate its working during the next lab?

  59. So basically they didn’t want to prove that he did his homework?

    we had a student ask for an extension on a final paper because she had too many exams- but it was the last week of the term- everyone has too many exams, that’s what finals week is about. no, you can’t have an extension.

  60. well, they apparently didn’t think that I would want to test the circuit. They thought it was just build, they just wired it up (and never tested it themselves either). yeah, I don’t really follow that logic…

  61. sounds like a great way to go through life… I think it will work, so I built it, so it must work. no need to test it or try it, just believe me…..

  62. Maybe I should adopt that style too in grading… 😛 “This is what I believe you deserve.. trust me!”

  63. Speaking of Caid, does it seem a bit “convenient” that he (it?) should appear in Marie’s bedroom, apparently blind and chained to her bed?
    Caid: “You need to change your clothes? Don’t worry I am blind I won’t be able to take a peek, so go right ahead and slip into that little black dress. Oh and my gut instinct tell me that dress would probably look much better without a bra.”

    That’s the most fiendishly perverse thing I have ever heard but what a clever idea.

  64. *rant about people who drive in Halloween costumes with masks that are so bulky that they apparently can’t see where they are going*
    *rant about people who seem to be only interested in pointing out that I’m missing out on all the fun by not getting drunk. I don’t drink by choice, so why do you care if I do or don’t get drunk?*

  65. Both those kinds of people are good to rant about. I really don’t understand why people can’t just accept that some of us don’t bloody well drink, thank you very much.

  66. Happy Halloween!
    Sadly due to bad weather, only a single kid came for trick or treat (wearing a Spider-Man costume with Batman’s mask).

  67. I now have two good excuses not to drink. You can copy them, if you want.

    1) I used to work in a lab, and now the smell of alcohol reminds me of the smell of shrimp that have been dead for five or six years.
    2) Alcohol gives me kidney stones, apparently.

    And, more to the point, it just tastes nasty, I don’t think I’d like being drunk all that much, and my limited experience indicates that it would take a lot to get me drunk, and I’m kinda not willing to spend that much.

  68. I hate having to explain why I don’t drink … I mean, I don’t ask anyone else why they don’t eat leek or go out into the fields every second full moon.
    (When I feel particularly vindictive I actually give gory details to what actually happens to me if I drink alcohol :-p , but usually I just wave it off. The enquiries seem to be worse in the UK than otherwise.)

    Oh, and – I’m back :-D.
    Good job on the comics (can’t wait for the wrapping up of the storyline though 😉 – not a very patient person I am.)

  69. You…you expect me to WRAP UP a storyline? When have I ever done that?

    Re. the drinking thing: my reasons for not drinking echo Erwaro’s. I hate the taste of the putrid stuff, and I don’t like the idea of losing control. I am NOT passing moral judgement on my friends by abstaining. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a moral issue; if you like drinking, you like drinking. I simply don’t.

    On a sad note, Mark has finished reading Harry Potter. It won’t be the same without his daily HP-related freakout.

  70. I think I’m going to use Erwaro’s story (a) for the next time a specific person asks/comments. Said person is rather strict vegetarian. This should get him at least slightly squeamish. bwahaha… here comes nuttycat-in-evil-mode!

    I don’t drink for the same reasons – the stuff smells and tastes horrible to me and I don’t like the feeling of being light headed (let alone advancing to the not being in control stage).

  71. Excuses, excuses, I know the real reason why people don’t drink. It’s because ya are all weak, WEAK I tell ya and in every way possible, mentally, physically, intellectually, psychically and astrally weak, WEAK…

  72. I have used the ethanol smells like work excuse, though really I don’t drink because I don’t like the taste or the idea of losing control. Though since I never went through a drinking phase, I have to admit I am a bit curious and may try to acquire a taste for something sweet in a safe environment…

    Re: WOB
    Ohh! a new background therefore a new room in Davies for me to add to my mental map?

  73. SR the reason you only got one trick or treater is because you live in Oz – as much as Party Town and the like keep trying to get everyone to take up this holiday, it’s very much a non day here.

    re the drinking thing. I generally just say “because I don’t” – most people accept that, or at least just go complain about we elsewhere. I don’t drink because I don’t like the taste of alcohol – and I feel absolutely no compulsion to learn to like it.

    What annoys me is when the only thing offered to drink at an event is alcohol or water. Is a bit of soft drink, or juice too much to ask for?

  74. Look at all the non-drinkers! SR, you’re seriously outnumbered here.

    Mer: I agree about the alcohol-or-water thing. I’ve been at Massey events where hundreds of dollars were spent on alcohol, but if non-drinkers wanted some sort of beverage, they were expected to pay for soft drinks or go fill wine glasses at the bathroom tap. (Admittedly, there have USUALLY been soft drinks. I’m thinking of one evening in particular, a “raclette night” at which there was wine everywhere, plus a keg of beer, but no one even thought to put out jugs of water. Eventually, a few of us who weren’t even organising the event found some jugs somewhere and filled them ourselves.)

  75. How dare you insult root canals like that! They provide incredible long term benefits and pain reduction, as well as boatloads of income for dentists. What do sparkling vampires produce, other than an inspiring performance by my gag reflex once it finally hit me that all these references to vampires sparkling were because someone actually decided that they should?

  76. Ah, Erwaro…you are so very refreshing in your complete lack of pop-culture knowledge. It astounds and humbles me that you have managed to get this far in life untainted by the knowledge of the existence of the Twilight series. I apologise for shattering your innocence. Yes, there are sparkling vampires, and this is a very, very bad thing. (The plaid-clad girl in the comic is actually dressed up as the sparkling vampire’s girlfriend, the reprehensible Bella Swan. I hate this series. I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns.)

  77. I totally missed the reference to Twilight as well. I have heard of this thing (sadly people seem to feel the need to inform me about such stuff) but had no idea this was where sparkling vampires came from – I just assumed somebody had a stupid idea for a costume in order to look different.

    re the events without even water – here that would actually breach the liquor licensing act (if I’ve remembered that correctly), so all our official events have to have water on the table. I did go to one dinner where I was told I had to purchase my own soft drink, but there was an unlimited drinks package (naturally I had paid for this drinks package). I’ve also had staff “top up” my water with wine and then not replace the glass cause she didn’t see the problem.

    I’ve started listing no alcohol under the special dietary requirements bit of bookings now – that way they seem to take it more seriously.

  78. Good point re. the dinners. Massey high tables come with “free” wine. For non-members, these dinners are prohibitively expensive (I’m a non-member now, since I’m an alumna). The price doesn’t include anything BUT wine, though my favourite bartender has taken pity on me and sneaked me a Coke a couple of times. Fortunately, the wine and water glasses are different sizes, and all you need to do to refuse wine is turn your wine glass upside down. People like to sit next to me at these events, as they can get me to request wine and then drink it all themselves.

    Re. the sparkly vampires: yep. It’s Twilight. I haven’t read or watched Twilight (though I have read Mark Reads Twilight), so it’s quite unfair of me to criticise the franchise. I don’t actually care. VAMPIRES DO NOT WORK THAT WAY. GOODNIGHT.

  79. Re: Drinking, I am only trying to be fair to the conservation and imagined what I would say if I was a drinker, that and “What did ya say? I am going to… I love you guys, let’s totally go and do something together… hic.”

    Mer: Regarding Halloween in Australia (I know it’s not technically our tradition, heck so is Thanksgiving or Christmas for that matter), actually there has been an increase in activity over the years (in my neighbourhood anyway) as over the last 2 years or so I have had a dozen or so kids come knock on my door for trick or treat. So it was slightly disappointing that it wasn’t as active this year since I particularly like Halloween and if it wasn’t for the fact that we don’t celebrate it much here I would be one of those guys that go the whole nine yard with decoration.

    Re: Halloween comic, I recognise all the characters (with the exception of Marie, Bugs Bunny?) but I am still perplex by Rahim’s costume. As usual I am also curious as to what the note by the sink say.

  80. Marie is Person Holding a Random Carrot. Her “costume” makes no sense and was never meant to. Rahim isn’t wearing a costume. He usually doesn’t, as the year in which Wendy made him dress up as a clown scarred him permanently. (Last year, he did participate in a minimalist joint costume with Barbara.) However, he is an actual nurse, which explains why he is helping Mr. Sparkly.

    The sign above the sink reads, “This is a communal kitchen. Please respect the other people who live here and who use these facilities. Please keep the kitchen clean. Thank you.” I think that particular sign MAY have been replaced by now, but it was there when I took the reference shot a few years ago.

  81. But if Rahim isn’t wearing any costume, why is his clothes different than usual?

    While we are on the subject of sign, what about the one on the fridge? And is that a note on the cookie jar/squash thingy on top of the fridge?

  82. Rahim is wearing a black shirt. It happens occasionally. I don’t give characters black shirts all that often, but Rahim did have one this week, so I left it on him for the colour comic.

    I don’t know what the sign on the fridge says. I just did squiggles. From what I can remember, it warns Masseyites to label their food and asks them not to take food that doesn’t belong to them. The squashy thing on the fridge is supposed to be a sack of flour; it didn’t turn out so well. It probably says “Flour” on it.

  83. Ooooh poshy, I did not realise that WoB has gone up to the level of “recurring characters that occasionally wearing different clothes” yet, congratulation. This call for extra celebration.

  84. Dude, they wear different clothes all the time. Admittedly, I rarely get more complex than T-shirts, but the T-shirts are sometimes HATCHED, damn it! Occasionally, they’re even CROSS-HATCHED! Take THAT!

  85. Mer: I trust you found some. Barbara had hatched pants (that’s trousers to you, English people) this week, and Rahim had a cross-hatched shirt LAST week.

  86. I started reading twilight with an open mind. By partway through the second it was only the fact that I like my ipod that prevented me from throwing it out the window in rage.

    My experiences here wrt alcohol are all good, most people are pretty understanding and water at least is usually avaliable (I like soft-drinks less than alcohol so that’s not really an issue for me). But when i was in Aus over new year the venue was trying to sell a glass of water for $5. a pint of beer was also $5, wine (in pints) $6. As well as that the venue was overcrouded and very little food was avaliable (the latter at least was the fault of the organisers not the venue) We resorted to drinking water in the carpark, and getting trouble from security over it. Eventually we convinced the venue to give us water but it took a good portion of the night.

    supervisor rant: no notice that you’re going to be out of the country for a week, fine. 2 days instead of 2 weeks to get the work done? I managed to do it. But you agreed to discuss things today, instead you vanish early without once checking to see if I am in. my office is two doors away, I heard you outside a couple of times in the morning but I was putting the finishing touches on my report so that i could actually present the results clearly and reasoned through, so you couldn’t grab me unprepared and want to send me on a wild goose chase like you did on friday. But, childishly, the thing I’m most annoyed about is that now you won’t know how much work I managed to get done on a sunday. look, me! who’s been letting you down for months, is finally healthy enough to work through the weekend and make it into work on monday and have a productive day, and I haven’t crashed yet. major personal milestone and there was no-one around to notice.

  87. ((Aithre)) Congratulations on getting everything done! 😀
    Mer: you aren’t alone. I went back the last two weeks looking for all the hatched and cross hatched clothing I could find on characters.

    /me bows to Kari and offers her some chocolate

  88. No, I already knew about it. It’s actually been a while since I learned anything new about the series. Probably the most recent addition was what was repeated earlier, the “seriously, do not read this thing, it is horrible”. Unless you like the idea of sparkling vampires, apparently. And I’m not going to lie, I do not.

  89. oh yeah – I found some. I found Rahim in a cross hatched shirt on the 13th, then back on the 1st (or maybe it was 8th? can’t recall) I found a hatched shirt, again on Rahim. I don’t think I noticed that until I went looking for it though. I am unobservant when I’m not trying.

  90. Yep I found Rahim in cross hatched on about the 13th, and a hatched towards the start of the month.

    Aithre – pity your supervisor couldn’t see all your hard work, I hated when that happened to me. Re the not providing water – far as I know that’s actually illegal here (it definitely is in WA and Qld). Here there’s a 10k fine for non-compliance as well as another 4k for the manager. If it ever happens to you again ask for their name for your complaint and take down the licence number (it has to be displayed),you should get your water pretty quickly then – but I’d still make the complaint since they shouldn’t be doing it.

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