WoB Talk

December 13, 2010

December 13 – 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kari Maaren @ 8:55 am

I am so very, very, very, VERY tired.



  1. *hands you a mug of your favorite beverage*

    Comment by nuttycat — December 13, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  2. And I cast a magical spell that creates a time dilution around you, giving you an extra four hours each day to sleep/be productive. (I recommend sleep, the four hours are squished in between 4:00 AM and 4:30 AM. Everything else will be very slow during this time, although you could use that to your advantage, if you’ve ever wanted to set a world record for something.)

    And my undergraduate career, which has not be particularly over-long, but which has definitely been overly strange, has concluded. I now begin the desperate job search. Yay…….

    Comment by erwaro — December 13, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

  3. Here something that might cheer you up, I will be going overseas today (in exactly 1 hour actually) so I probably won’t be around here to point out all your blatantly obvious faults until at least next year… probably also your HOLIDAY banner is too Christmasy.

    And damn that Stefan for ruining that perfect bunch of numbers for the comments: 121, 81, 71 and then what should had been 51 turn out to be 52 now. I hope your numbers get +1 too grrrrr…

    So Happy Holiday to all, cause that’s what terrorists would say.

    Comment by SunshineRain — December 13, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

  4. Me too. So very, very tired. I wish it was because I was achieving something useful.

    Comment by Mer — December 14, 2010 @ 2:22 am

  5. Why can’t I spell? Or notice it when I screw up? “been”, not “be”

    Comment by erwaro — December 14, 2010 @ 5:39 am

  6. And in spite of being cruelly tired, you make us a Christmas banner? You’re too kind to your fans!

    Comment by Stefan — December 14, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

  7. Congratulations on comic #800 !!! Whoooooooop!!

    Comment by nuttycat — December 16, 2010 @ 5:32 am

  8. Congrats on No. 800! Is this the Return of the Casey in another shape?

    Comment by nobilis — December 16, 2010 @ 9:08 am

  9. I just saw a T-shirt with
    “Punctuation. Its important.”

    I’m racking my brain to decide if missing the apostrophe on the It’s is an intentional pun or unintentional and stupid.
    (In any case, just seeing “Its important” ruffles my feathers.)

    Comment by mivadar — December 17, 2010 @ 8:38 am

  10. I’m pretty sure that it was intentional, and trying to be funny. I, personally, would have gone with something more obvious, but I’m not a T-shirt designer.

    And speaking of accents, although my accent (Oregon/West coast) is pretty neutral to most people, we apparently suffer from the cot/caught merger, where those two words sound the same. My feeling, and the feeling of most people I’ve talked to, can be summed up as: “Are they supposed to sound different?”

    Well? Are they?

    Comment by erwaro — December 17, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

  11. Re: Monday’s comic.


    Comment by emily — December 20, 2010 @ 2:59 am

  12. Woohoo, I was right! (Or does anyone actually believe that this guy is just an old friend of Casey’s?)

    Comment by nobilis — December 20, 2010 @ 9:56 am

  13. Erwaro: we pronounce the au in caught out here.

    Comment by Earthgirl — December 20, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

  14. Erwaro: I’m from Vancouver. I also pronounce “caught” and “cot” the same way. Of course, I think it’s also a general Canadian thing.

    Nobilis: you realise Nico has been mentioned in the comic twice before, right?

    Comment by Kari — December 20, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

  15. Earthgirl: Where is “out here”? And clearly it isn’t just a general Canadian thing, although it could be a Canadian thing in addition to other things. Washington and Oregon, and California I assume, all do it too.

    I certainly didn’t realize that, although I wouldn’t expect to. I’m bad with names, and tend to skip over things a lot. When I read LOTR the first time, I had to go back and find out who, exactly, these “Merry” and “Pippin” people were.

    Comment by erwaro — December 20, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

  16. I didn’t say it was JUST a general Canadian thing; I said it WAS a general Canadian thing. It’s also a localised American thing. We tend to call the kind of accent that distinguishes between “caught” and “cot” a “twang.” I’m still a little scared by people who pronounce “caught” “cawot.” Of course, when I say “about,” you people hear “abote,” and you make fun of me by claiming I’m saying “aboot.” Accents are funny things.

    Nico has been mentioned only fleetingly, but I’ve actually been preparing for his appearance since 2006.

    Comment by Kari — December 20, 2010 @ 6:10 pm

  17. Nico… he has cropped up in some of these strange phone conversations that Casey has occasionally, no?

    Comment by emily — December 20, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

  18. Emily: in two of them, yes.

    Comment by Kari — December 20, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

  19. Nico has been mentioned already? That doesn’t prove anything, why shouldn’t Casey (being the devil or Marie’s guardian angel or, most probably, some devilish mixture of both) be able to be in two places with two identities at once…
    … But I really need to read all the archive again. Good thing that I’ve got vacations now.

    Comment by nobilis — December 20, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

  20. Nico has been mentioned already by Casey.

    Comment by Kari — December 20, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

  21. Poor Kari. You craft all this careful foreshadowing and your readers just never notice! Must be really frustrating. And none has even mentioned the significance of the green coat!

    Comment by emily — December 21, 2010 @ 4:26 am

  22. I know, right?

    To be fair, I don’t expect people to notice the foreshadowing. I mean, how are you going to remember a name spoken casually in a one-off phone conversation that happened four years ago? Not everyone is as obsessive about tiny details as I am.

    Comment by Kari — December 21, 2010 @ 4:32 am

  23. You just need more obsessive readers.

    Funnily enough, once you mentioned that Nico has been mentioned before, I could recall the conversation, but the fact that he gave his name to Mary did not register with me at all. Of course the same thing happens to me in real life, which is why I never know anybody’s name, but that’s a whole other thing.

    I think the foreshadowing is worth it – it makes re-reading the archive much more fun.

    Comment by emily — December 21, 2010 @ 4:55 am

  24. Wait, Nico was mentioned before? That explains why that name sounds vaguely familiar!
    Darn it kem, now I’m not going to get any rest until I wade through the archives and find the multiple comics in which his name turned up 😛

    Comment by nuttycat — December 21, 2010 @ 6:27 am

  25. Kari: Do you really expect me to trust anything that Casey says? He may have prepared this change of role by mentioning the name of “Nico” in phone conversations (24.03.07 and 21.10.06 – I found them) when he knew that he was overheard. Or: Who tells us that it’s the same Nico, after all? From the phone conversation you’d expect him to be Casey’s brother …

    Like emily, I had somehow not noticed that Nico told Marie his name. But even if I had, I wouldn’t have remembered the aforesaid conversations. I’m neither the author of that comic nor a totally obsessed reader who knows all the old strips by heart.

    I will stick to my theory, just to make this comments’ section more lively.

    Comment by nobilis — December 21, 2010 @ 7:49 am

  26. nobilis – You are making Casey sound more and more like the Doctor :-p.

    But yes, I remembered Nico, it’s not a very common name.
    (And yes, I went through the archive to figure out where on Earth he was mentioned before – curse You WoB for fuelling my pre-Christmas procrastination.)

    Comment by mivadar — December 21, 2010 @ 9:47 am

  27. Oh, hey, I’d forgotten about 24.03.07. He’s actually been mentioned THREE times.

    Okay, okay, I’ll put you out of your misery. The last time was last Christmas:


    Comment by Kari — December 21, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

  28. NOW we are getting somewhere. So Marie has to walk till she’s used up seven pairs of iron shoes and seven iron staves, and then climb the mountain of glass, to redeem Casey. Yay!

    Comment by nobilis — December 22, 2010 @ 7:11 am

  29. Well, I do like my fairy tales. I think you may be the first person who has ever actually noticed that.

    Comment by Kari — December 22, 2010 @ 7:14 am

  30. As long as she doesn’t have to offer up her soul to Casey in stead of Ursula’s redeemed one …

    Comment by mivadar — December 22, 2010 @ 8:28 am

  31. Kari said: “Well, I do like my fairy tales. I think you may be the first person who has ever actually noticed that.”

    Hey, hey! what about my mention about the green coat? I demand credit!

    Comment by emily — December 22, 2010 @ 7:21 pm

  32. I’ll have you know that the fat man walks through the grocery store at 2:30 in the afternoon, not midnight. Yes, Winco is open then (I think), but I don’t really feel like biking that far right now. Especially not in the dark.

    Comment by erwaro — December 22, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

  33. Emily: yep…you get credit for that one. I’ve been waiting for years for someone to mention that damned green coat.

    Comment by Kari — December 22, 2010 @ 9:11 pm

  34. Erwaro: the Mid-Atlantic of the US. I wouldn’t so much call it a twang… ever heard a Long Islander pronounce “coffee”? How I say it is somewhere between that and “cot.”

    Comment by Earthgirl — December 23, 2010 @ 2:25 am

  35. Wow, everyone is way more obversative than I am, I don’t ever recall Nico being mention before. Although I am really good at spotting useless minute detail… and of course faults and mistake Kari has made.

    Comment by SunshineRain — December 23, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

  36. Sorry, staffs (or canes, or sticks), not staves.

    Kari: I think your love of fairy tales has been noticed before. But what about the green jacket? Is it in some Anglo-Saxon fairy tale that I don’t know?

    Comment by nobilis — December 23, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  37. Nobilis: I am not telling – if Kem wants to, that’s her prerogative. But a little googling found it pretty quickly for me. In fact, I was not familiar with this particular version of the tale before I looked, probably because my fairy tale reading used to lean towards eastern Europe, since that’s what was available in the library where I grew up.

    Comment by emily — December 23, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  38. Found the reference, I think. But I have absolutely no clue what to do with it. So Ursula could not wash herself for seven years – or something?

    Comment by Roeslein — December 23, 2010 @ 11:36 pm

  39. Roeslein: yes, you’ve found one of the references (and the main one I was thinking of). There’s a less important Chaucerian correlation as well.

    Nobilis: think German, recorded by well-known folklorists.

    Comment by Kari — December 24, 2010 @ 6:01 am

  40. Oh bother – she will have to offer up her soul. Or murder two expendable undergrads.
    In any case, Marie is in trouble.

    (I did think of that fairy tale, but I wasn’t sure – I mean, there must be a bunch of green jacket references in Ireland of all places … I thought I had a German bias.
    And what is it with Casey’s brood and shiny objects? :-p )

    Comment by mivadar — December 24, 2010 @ 10:13 am

  41. I found the green coat thing. It’s an intriguing story, and I had never heard or read it before! It also reminded me that I’ve got a very pretty edition of those well-known folklorists’ work, illustrated by Anton Pieck. Thanks for the reminder, I’ll certainly start reading bits of it!

    Also: sorry to hear about the Mango Incident. I hope your work dries up soon!

    Comment by Stefan — December 24, 2010 @ 10:38 am

  42. Thanks. I found it. Don’t remember reading that one, but I probably did. I read so many fairy tales in my youth that I now have just a jumbled memory of fairy tale motives.

    My mother has a book “Fairy tales about strong women” – perhaps I should read that again to know all the ways how a women can redeem a man in a fairy tale. (But in these fairy tales, they are always married. A man has to redeem a woman before the marriage, a woman has to redeem a man after the marriage. In some fariy tales you have both. But that’s the way it goes in fairy tale country.)

    … But if Ursula gives the jacket to Casey after the seven years, then he’s the devil after all, and redeeming him might be a rather difficult job …
    And the fairy tale in question lacks the usual motiv of the person who has the deal with the devil getting into trouble. One would expect him to pray the Our Father for a dying person (or to wash to early) and then the youngest daughter to rescue him.

    Comment by nobilis — December 24, 2010 @ 10:41 am

  43. Nobilis: actually, many stories about deals with the devil end with the protagonist winning. Sure, there are plenty of Dr. Faustus-type tales as well, but “outsmarting the devil” is a major motif. One of the reasons this particular story is interesting is that though the protagonist does win his bet in the end, the devil still walks away with two souls…which raises the question of what his endgame was in this particular case. Maybe he was never truly after the protagonist at all.

    One thing I like about the folkloric devil is that he is often quite fair-minded. Sure, he’s out to trick you, but if you beat him fair and square, he honours the deal, and if you don’t actually deserve to go to Hell, you don’t go to Hell. He lets you dig your own grave (so to speak).

    Incidentally, this story may explain Ursula’s name as well. I’m just saying.

    Try to find the Chaucerian green coat. The story itself isn’t as directly relevant, but the portrait of the devil is intriguing; the story is also an indication that the imagery of the green-coated devil got around (and existed as early as the late 1300s).

    Comment by Kari — December 24, 2010 @ 8:04 pm

  44. Kari: Okay, I’m going to chase Chaucer.

    I didn’t exactly expect a devil-wins story, where the devil simply wins by the protagonist’s breaking the rules – often it’s Death, not the devil). But I expected that the protagonist would break one of the rules on the last day (which people in fairy tales do quite often) and then either get another chance by the devil or that he had to be freed by his ladylove to have a happy end at last.

    So Ursula is a she-bear?

    Comment by nobilis — December 25, 2010 @ 11:53 am

  45. Ursula’s NAME means “she-bear.” The “bear” thing relates to the folk tale.

    Comment by Kari — December 25, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

  46. nobilis, I’m not sure if the “fail in sight of the finish line” thing happens much in fairy tales. While reading that tale I expected that, but somehow the tale as is feels more fairy-tale-like. I’m sure Kari can enlighten us some more 😉

    Also: woohoo! Doctor Who Christmas Special! I’ve got some thoughts on that, but to avoid spoiling unsuspecting WoB readers I’ll post about them at the usual elsewhere. Tomorrow.

    Comment by Stefan — December 26, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

  47. You mean Marie still *downloads* episodes? This is so 2005. All the kids watch them in streaming these days…

    Comment by Roeslein — December 26, 2010 @ 10:22 pm

  48. Stefan: where’s the usual elsewhere? I watched the special and would be intrigued to hear what you thought of it.

    Re. fairy tales: the “failing in sight of the finish line” thing would be something I might expect to happen in a moralised literary fairy tale, but not so much in a folk tale. Of course, the Grimms did modify their stories for children, but not THAT much.

    Roeslein: actually, I investigated both the streaming and the downloading options yesterday. Downloading was faster; it wasn’t easy to find a streamed version early on.

    Comment by Kari — December 26, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

  49. I don’t stream – rather, I download the stream (no problems with file sharing blocks and such).
    Reason I download the stream: over here it usually takes about five hours to stream an hour’s worth of content. I don’t mind it downloading in the background for five hours, but watching it live would be maddening.

    Comment by mivadar — December 27, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

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