Alrighty then.  After one of the longest hiatuses in the existence of webcomics (maybe not...but it's close) - here are four of the comics that I'd intended to put back in May.  I am working on the others, which, as you might imagine, all require Photoshop editing.  They will come up in due time.  In the meantime, however, go here to start from where we left off. 



My apologies for disappearing abruptly.  The week I was supposed to update, the power to our apartment cut off, and my roommate's Father ended up having to pay for the electric bill (plus reconnect fee).  Eeek.  Then I became deeply embroiled in rehearsals, the culmination of which is this week (Friday and Saturday, actually).  Unfortunately, next week is the last week of classes, which means I have not only the usual homework assignments, but also an essay, about 50 journal entries, and a take-home test to finish, in addition to studying for exams next week.  I absolutely must do extraordinarily well on one of those exams, because my performance in that class has just dropped down the tubes this semester. 


Thus, rather than keep you coming back here continuously to look at nothing, I'm declaring a temporary leave of absence.  I'll be back on May 20th, after exams are over, at which point I'll upload everything that I have finished.  I realize this really takes the cake in terms of absenteeism, but please understand that I really, honestly, have had zero time with which to work on this comic.  (It kind of happens when you take 19 credits in one semester, work 20 hours a week, and then decide, just for fun, to tack a play on to that.)   



Okay, basically nothing worked out like I thought it would and I (obviously) didn't get that update up.  Things did, however, work out better than I'd hoped elsewhere, which is why I didn't update.  Ahem - I'm in a play.  That's right.  Me.  Nerdy engineering type who generally spends his Friday nights indoors doing homework was deemed a good enough actor to play Theseus in A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Childhood dreams do come true after all, it seems!  Anyway, I'm deep in the middle of rehearsals at the moment, and the actual performance will be from April 25th to April 27th, which just about coincides with the official end of classes, with exams beginning immediately the week after.  Lovely!  But that's okay, because I'm still in play, and I'm still an actor!  Wheeeeeeeeee!!!


Okay.  Anyway.  I basically have about 4 updates finished now, and I fully realize that I owe you people at least nine, if not twelve.  Since I've basically lost count, I'm simply going to get as much done as I can this week, and then proceed to Photoshop everything that I have done on Sunday night at nine, when I get home.  Assuming that I have nine to twelve pieces done, it should take me a good three hours to do so, which means that everything should be up by 3 AM, assuming that Keenspace still has approximate update schedule that it used to.  This means that those of you who prefer to read comics at ungodly hours of the morning will be able to see the updates by 3 AM, while others should be able to see it by Monday night. 


Sorry to have disappointed once again.  I really did bite off a little more than I can chew this semester.   



Ladies and gentlemen, we have a technical setback.  Namely, I neglected (forgot the due date, actually) a rather large essay to be due this Thursday, which is why the comics didn't go up yesterday even though I stayed up 'til 6am trying to get everything (homework, blah) done.  Bright side - I'm pleased with what I do have done.  Dark side - it'll be a while before it shows up. 


Gack.  I think I'll set my nominal schedule back to once a week while still aiming for more.  It seems like I'm always scrambling to do everything on time and always end up doing homework, comics, or both at 4 o' clock in the morning.  I'd initially thought I'd do  that today, but I'm already riding on 3 hours of sleep and can't possibly go with less than 7 tonight if I plan to be at all active in my lab tomorrow afternoon.  I'll have at least three more comics up this Thursday evening (Read: 1 am, most likely), and we'll see about extras going up on Sunday night. 



Everything is not peachy, but it's not horrible either.  Five have been uploaded.  The sixth still needs a little work.  I got *almost* zero homework done over break, but that's okay, because it just means that life goes on as always.  Updates may, once again, all go up at the end of this week - with a little luck, I'll have...oh...seven more completed (the sixth included in that), and we'll also be all caught up in terms of time lag.  Wow.  Isn't that something?  In the interests of not getting so far behind I start dropping comics, I may end up sacrificing a little bit of comic quality (i.e. Rudimentary shading at best - kind of like what you saw for the last five).   



I'm not dead.  Just a bit tired of life.  No, I'm not suicidal, although I am, I think, going through a bout of rather severe depression.  I wish humans could hibernate, because all I want to do right now is sleep for a few months, wake up fresh and ready to tackle my duties again.  If you're wondering, I have finished not a few updates during this time (I have five finished pencils that just need to be lettered), but I'm going to hold out until Sunday before updating.  Just sort of get everything in at once.  With a little luck, I'll get five more done before the week is out, and everything will be peachy at that point.  Except that school will be starting up and I'll likely still be in the depth of "I don't give a damn," which is a bad, bad thing. 



I'd utterly underestimated the absolutely ridiculous amount of work I have to do for the upcoming week - I still have to update my resume for the career fair coming up on Tuesday so I have actually have something to do this fall.  I have the three tests I mentioned on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, one of which belongs to a professor who, looking at last year's exam that he passed out, is fond of giving out some unusually difficult problems, and gives a take-home portion in addition to the in-class portion.  Lastly, I have the take-home tests due on Friday which I haven't even managed to start doing (see above).  In other words, I am getting nothing done this week except hours and hours of studying.  I didn't even have the time to letter the comic that I did manage to finish over the weekend.


Fortunately, the week after next happens to be spring break.  I will resume a normal, healthy schedule at that point...at least until my professors again decide in concert to squeeze all their tests together.   



Yes.  It's happened again.  I'm swamped.  Everything will go up this weekend - Saturday evening at the earliest, Sunday evening (nominally) at the latest.  I've got three tests next week, however, so things are just going to get more unpleasant from here.  Seems like all my professors want to squeeze in as much as they can before spring break rolls around. 


Incidentally - the forum link has been updated to reflect the recent forum changes.   



Alright.  That's up.  I'm still seeing about the final missing comic for this week - as I said, I have a Fluids test on Tuesday, so all three comics for this week (plus the one from last week) may just end up being updated at the end of the week.  I spent quite some time trying to get ahead in my homework, though, and I don't have a Fluids Lab this week, so things may go well. 


I suppose I owe everyone a final explanation, which is long, long overdue, about why my comics are usually late.  I'm an Engineering student at Virginia Tech, now in the second semester of my junior year.  I'm pursuing a major of Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Pre-medicine, a minor in Math, and a minor in Creative Writing, the sum total of which is equivalent to a double major.  I'm taking 19 credits this semester, spread between 8 classes, two of which are labs, in addition to working 20 hours a week so I can afford the apartment that I live in with my roommate.  I generally wake up between 8 and 9 in the morning, and generally don't arrive home until about 8 pm.  At the very least, two to three hours of time from that point on must be devoted each night to homework just to break even with all my assignments.  On a bad night, which usually happens about once a week, that gets jacked up to between six and seven hours spent on homework alone.  Any time I have left after that, I spend doing the comic.  My one saving grace - Tuesdays and Thursdays I can get home by 6 pm.  With homework done then, I can theoretically get a comic done on time.  Intermediate Dynamics on Wednesdays and Thursdays, however, occasionally says no to that.  (And a la Piro, I have gone an entire week on about 14 hours of sleep, doing nothing but homework, not touching a game with a ten foot pole.)


This, of course, brings up the question of why.  Why do I even bother doing the comic on that sort of schedule?  I'm obviously fairly poor at keeping regular updates, and sometimes even at quality control.  Why do I keep doing the comic if I pretty much know I can't always make the time for it?  Well...it's because I love doing it.  I love to draw, and I love to write, and I love what the Seventh Guardian of Midnight has become (at least in my head, because I've carried the storyline quite far in there.)  I'm willing to exchange a few hours of sleep a week, as well as an A for an A- or a B in a few of my classes, to get this comic up.  I want to update more.  I'd love to update more, but that's impossible without sacrificing my grades beyond what I've already stated, and I'm not willing to do that


If you're a regular, and you're still reading this comic, then that means you already know well about, and accept, the erratic update schedule of this comic.  I can't begin to say how happy I am that I have even the readership that I currently do, given how unreliable I've been.  It means that someone, at least, cares about what I've created and is patient enough to stick with it despite all of its flaws.  


So to the final point for tonight: Thank you for just being here, for being patient, and I hope this helps.   



You guessed it.  Another bout of homework cutting me off again.  That and I'm spending a little more time with this one.  However, with a little luck, both this and the next one will be up Friday evening / Saturday morning, and I'll see about getting another one done Saturday night.  I have a Fluid Mechanics test next Tuesday, though, in addition to the usual labs and homework that I have to do, so the Saturday evening update is a little iffy.  I'm going to do my best to make sure the three updates of this week are up by Sunday evening, though. 



Yick.  I'm sorry.  Some things happened this weekend that were rather unexpected and time-consuming...like being drawn into a massive political argument until 5am, a good friend finally returning from his army training, and the sudden realization that the Chinese New Year's party was, in fact, on this past Saturday and not the next one.  I ended up having to stay up all last night just to finish all the unfinished homework I had by the end of everything, and managed the update while I was at it.  Suffice it to say I'm rather tired now, and I still have a lab writeup and a piece of Instrumentation homework to finish.  If I finish the two, I'll make an effort to at least start the first official update of this week.   



Ugh!  Now this is what I call a bad art day.  I see all the discrepancies you do and most likely more, since I tend to be a little critical when looking over some of my finished products.  If you twist your mind just a bit, all of it has a logical explanation.  Really! 



Yes, I know, I know.  That was before I realized just how long these particular sets of homework was going to take me.  Optimally, it should be up tomorrow afternoon by 3:00pm EST, but no later than 11:00pm. 



Alright.  It looks like I can generally make a 3-update per week schedule workable this time, although whether it will be on MWF or THS or whether I'll end up alternating between the two depending on my workload remains to be seen.  I'll post an update.  A-la Piro, I'm going to try and put up a next update and a percent completed chart, just so you might have at least some idea of where I am in this process.  Hopefully, this will help.       



There.  Comic is up.  I have finally managed to keep my word.  This is me happy.   



Dammit!  I'd tried to udpate this via direct update, and it looked like it worked, but then the whole thing got zonked, so my update saying that I was on hiatus didn't even show up.  Grrrrr.  Anyway, we're back for this week, and I should have a comic up by Tuesday evening.  Owing to the fact that there was no comic for a week, however, I decided to put up a few sketches I've been doing.  These will replace the current cast pages.  I only have two at the moment - one is good old Godefrey, and the other is the Malchar Hierarch Leviticus, who hasn't made an appearance yet.  I normally don't like to put up filler art for no-comic days, as they interrupt the flow of the comic, but I figured something is better than nothing. 



Well, it had to catch up to me sooner or later, right?  I'd initially thought to spend some of tonight drawing, but spent about six hours doing dynamics instead.  Point's pretty moot, though.  Remember the hiatus I'd planned for last week?  It turns out it's probably going to happen this week.  Here's the story: I'd promised a piece of work to a friend a long, long time ago.  About four months ago, in fact, and I've yet been able to make good on that promise.  This gnaws at me.  I have an obligation to my readers, and I fully acknowledge that, but this is a friend of mine, and I can no longer find it reasonable to put him second to this comic.  My schedule usually goes "Wake up, school, work, homework, and comic" and any time left I use for other stuff, which usually really isn't much.  Well this week it will be "Wake up, school, work, homework, and drawing."  I may interpose a comic in there if I've just spent four hours doing the drawing, but nominally, this is a no-update week. 


Sorry 'bout that, guys.  This obligation goes a little deeper than my update schedule.  My comic's important to me, but my friends are more so. 



Yes, it's another one.  Will wonders never cease.


As it turns out, I was mistaken on the matter with Party 2002.  The comics are, in fact, up.  I simply wasn't expecting javascript to shuffle between comics.  Teague's brilliance has apparently outsmarted me again, and I shall have to find some way to retaliate.  You may now enjoy another episode of Scorpio getting frustrated in addition to today's comic.  Simply go to Group 5's Party 2002 Page .  That's P-A-R-T-Y 2-0-0-2.  No area code, no extensions, and for most of you, it should be pretty darned free!  You're out of excuses.  Go! 



Okay, I was going to be on hiatus, but ended up not doing so.  It turns out that after being somewhat pleased with my shading job last time, I was somewhat eager to get started on this next one.  It doesn't mean anything!  I'm still an unreliable bastard! 


Okay, that's out of the way.  I'm not terribly pleased with most of the shading on this one, with the possible exception of the last panel.  I've still working on this whole "hatch in the direction of the light, fool" idea. 



Yes, I have updated two days in a row.  Wow.  That never happens.  These were decently large frames, too.  Maybe I'm actually getting better at this.  Anyway, I grow fond of this new way of shading.  Maybe I'll keep it, try to improve my use of it.  School starts next week, and I'll be spending quite a bit of time adjusting to sleeping at not-ungodly hours again.  I've also got certain pictorial obligations to a friend (I owe him a drawing, and a very nice one at that), so this comic will probably be on hiatus for a week.  I'm going to make an effort to put up a buffer so I'm not swamped next week, but it's undoubtedly doomed to failure. 



You're probably wondering what I've been doing the past few days, instead of working on a comic.  I actually have been working on a comic - I took part in Party 2002 this year, a cross-over between SGMidnight, Fusion D, The Adventures of Captain Mooki, and Two Points of View.  These are all outstanding comics in their own right, and I'm extremely pleased to have been able to work with them (thanks guys!)  The pages aren't quite ready yet, mainly because the main page had been late in its creation, but it's being worked on.  You can access Party 2002 by clicking on the link, though it appears nothing has really been uploaded yet.  I'll be posting a javascript dropdown once I finish re-designing the front page.  (Oh yeah, did I mention I'm redesigning my pages?) 


Okay, full explanation.  I'm redesigning the pages because I initially designed everything for 1024x768.  Then I changed my mind and redesigned the archives and the front page for 800x600, but left everything else.  Glancing through them, however, I find that I'm extremely displeased with the way that they've turned out.  I want something that adjusts itself much better for different resolutions, so I'm doing an overhaul of most of the pages.  I'll probably getting rid of all these spiraling curlicues, first off, and replace them with the symbols they were supposed to look like in the first place.  Break's ending soon, and I might switch back to outlines then.  It depends on how good of a schedule I can maintain, I suppose. 


Oh well.  That's about it.  Must go to bed now.  Have to work tomorrow.



Confused yet?  Don't worry - that's to be expected.  (And if you haven't caught on by now, this is a dream sequence that will be concluded next update.) 


Well, I can officially say now that I have lost all track of time in the last few days.  New year's preparations have pretty much knocked me out.  You may notice that these last two updates are shaded.  These couldn't be depicted correctly without some degree of shading / inking, and I'm a bit more experienced with pencil shading, so I decided to go with that.  I was also thinking that despite the non-shaded ones being simpler to do, I'm a little dissatisfied with the quality of the past few updates.  Then again, I've also been dissatisfied with the rate at which the story's been progressing, so...catch 22, I guess.  My apologies for the size of these updates, but I couldn't really find a way of shrinking it without decimating both the layout and the content.  Look on the bright side - it *was* five panels high and two panels wide.  My next update has been lined in, but not shaded.  With some luck, that will be up by tomorrow.  



Ahhh...the splendors of Christmas.  How wonderful it is, wot?  I just got back from Christmas spent at Mom's, and despite a complete lack of things to do except draw and help Mom move furniture around, I enjoyed my stay home.  I did, however, draw so many portraits of kids under age five that my hand's about to fall off (which is actually why I didn't draw more strips during my time home).  You'll note that the past three strips are drawn a bit differently than usual - truth be told, they're a bit sloppier than usual and kind of sub-par.  They are, however, my first incursions into inking with a brush (as opposed to inking with Photoshop).  I've of split minds on this one.  While inking with a brush produces bouncy outlines in terms of varying width, it's time consuming and kind of tedious.  On the other hand, I'll never get better not doing it, and a well-inked comic (using a brush) can be very, very nice.  I'll have to debate this one later. 


Anyway - today's guest star, Bea, hails from Blotto Street, a most excellent comic by the most excellent Maboo (whom we also know as Daniel Milford-Cottam), and which would certainly have been Webcomic of the Month long ago were it not as popular as it already is.  (Sorry Mab, but you must admit that you *are* 35th on the Top 100 comics).  So if you don't already (since I believe most of my readers link from Blotto anyway), go read Blotto Street! 


Oh...and I promise the story *will* start moving soon.  I have a fondness for cheap gags, it seems. 



Gah!  I'm sorry!  I know!  I know!  As it turns out, I did far less well on my last test than I'd anticipated, so I spent this entire time studying for finals.  I've got one more tomorrow, and then that's the end of it.  I'll probably spend the night at her place, which means anything I do probably won't be up tomorrow, but there will be an update by the end of this week.  Everything made up, hopefully, but at the very least one comic (this one's very, very large and a doozy - about 14 panels worth.) 



Alright.  Last Friday's comic uploaded today.  We've finally reached 8/27/2001, which is when I switched to a once-per-week update.  Maybe in a few weeks the date of last update will actually reflect the current date.  Wow!  Anyway, I've got a service project that I have to perform this Saturday, and I'm going home to help Mom rearrange her house (again) this Sunday, so the comics for this week will probably be uploaded around Monday or Tuesday of next week.  I've got three finals the week after that, so anything goes after comics are uploaded next week. 



I know, I know, I'm hideously late.  I got smacked by a bunch of different things at school, at work, and at home.  The comics I'd planned for this week will, most likely, be updated this weekend (nominally), unless the take-home test that I must finish turns out to be considerably more difficult than it appears.  I have the third comic of last week (that is...last Friday's comic) about halfway done, but it's 3 am right now, I've gotten about ten hours of sleep in the last two days, and I still have to get up for class tomorrow before 10am.  Thus, two have been uploaded, and the last will hopefully be up by tomorrow night. 




I got back from Thanksgiving a lot later than I'd anticipated as well.  I should know by now that Mom will always be good at getting me to stay home.  With a little luck, both Friday and Monday's comic will be up Monday evening.  I've got a Thermo test on Wednesday and an essay due on Friday, so things are a little iffy at the moment.  Fortunately, homework has been put on hold by most of my professors due to finals coming up in two weeks, and I got most of what was due done anyway.  This is just an indication that the thrice weekly update may be delegated to a three-comic update during the weekend for the next three weeks.  As usual, however, delayed comics will merely be delayed, not cancelled completely. 



The comic for tomorrow and Friday will be uploaded on Saturday.  I'm apparently going home for Thanksgiving earlier than I'd anticipated (only a day earlier, true, but still a day), and I don't have access to my computer during that time.  Hopefully, however, I'll have penciled in some more while I'm there.   



Apologies for the slightly delayed update.  I was so ungodly tired last night it's not funny.  I'm on Thanksgiving break now, but rather than step up my update schedule, I'm using this time to make up for a few things I've been lagging on.  Like studying my Thermo and Mechanical Behavior of Materials.  Like updating the gallery and the cast page.  Like doing a couple of pieces of artwork that are *LONG* overdue.  SGoM continues its thrice per week update schedule this week. 



Well well, what have we here?  An update?  During the middle of the week?  It must be months since I've last done that.  And the funny thing is...this didn't even take as long as I thought it would.  Actually...truthfully...it took a little bit longer than I initially intended, since I hadn't intended on shading anything.  This particular piece, however, would have lost an enormous amount of its atmosphere without the shading, and I couldn't help myself.  Dammit!  I don't have time to be neurotic! 



Not much to say or add today.  You've spoken (mostly), and (mostly) I'm going to comply with the idea of it.  Let's see how long I keep this one up.  I just have to add that Painter 7 is a damnably difficult program to outline in, and that I think I'm going back to Photoshop for all my outlining needs.  I've also changed the poll, since the old one was huge, ungainly, and I couldn't even check the results without putting in some kind of vote (the results, by the way, were unanimous that I update more frequently.  I had to vote twice just to see what the votes were).  Here is the new one:

A Question About Updates

Should G sacrifice color, shading, and image detail for updates 3 times a week?

Current results

It's still a bit ungainly, but better, no?  I think I'll keep this one up for a while...a month, perhaps, to see the overall spread. 




For those of you wondering...my new computer went kablooey for reasons I'm too embarrassed to say, and since I'd cannibalized a few parts from my old one, I went without computer for quite a few days.  Even after I got my new computer working, I had to spend another three days working the kinks out of Windows XP (not a bad operating system, but the support for it is not wonderful).  Thus, I did not have access to a working copy of Photoshop for a good week and a half.  There, excuses are finished with.  On to business...the poll.  Here it is:


(Well, obviously, I've removed the old poll, since it was at once ungainly, hideous, and not particularly effectual)  - Edited 11/10/2001


Here is, once again, that age old question.  I never got much of a response the first time I asked it, though, and I thought this would probably be simpler.  Once again - if I cut out all shading and coloring, I'll likely be able to step up to a thrice per week update.  This does mean, however, that much will be lost.  On the other hand, it does mean that the storyline will actually start moving at a reasonable pace.  I'll let you guys decide this one...


And since Webcomic of the Week became Webcomic of the Month, it's not updating just yet :). 




Alright...my computer is dying.  It's in its death throes, and I imagine it won't be too long before it conks out on me completely.  With a considerable amount of luck, I just might get my new one up and running before this one kicks the bucket.  I hope I do.  It would suck if my processor turned out to b faulty...again.  Just how crippled is my computer?  Let's just say three programs promptly die upon startup, I can't shut down properly, and Internet Explorer randomly kills itself every so often.  I had to claw and fight my way to get this comic done, since every ten minutes or so Photoshop locked up on me.  In fact, the first time it did that, I was caught so off-guard that I promptly lost an hour's worth of work. 


But no matter!  As soon as my new computer is up, I will acquire a version of Painter 7, which supports layers and has incredibly better support for my tablet than Photoshop does.  And when that comes in, it will also have 512 megabytes of RAM behind it, instead of my current 128 megs, eventually to be upgraded to a full gigabyte as soon as my scholarship money decides to show itself (*Growllll*).  It will also have a me that's more experienced in inking with a camel hair brush / brush pen and more regimented in my daily schedule (I'm finally getting used to only getting about 5 hours of sleep a night).  Soooo...things may start looking up!!!  (Or not.  My estimates tend to be wildly off accuracy, don't they?) 


Annnd...webcomic of the week updates this Sunday, after I manage to squeeze a nice banner for Sea of Insanity to put into the links page.  




As you can see, I've decided to implement a Webcomic of the Week section in a fairly noticeable place.  It occurred to me that there are entirely too many worthy comics out there that have readerships far smaller than they should be.  It's a real shame, because they're putting a good deal of work into something that's beautiful or charming or funny or all of the above, but they just don't have enough people to tell them so.  If the authors of any of those comics ever decide that it's just not worth it, that the time spent doing it is just too much when it seems to unappreciated...well...that's a tragic waste and damn unfair.  So, therefore, I felt that it would be a good idea to try to advertise these more obscure comics a little more (for what use it does - SGoM is obscure enough that anyone who reads it probably reads these as well...but what the hell!  There's always that chance, right?)  


So GO!  YOUR KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO!  CLICK THAT LINK!  CLICK IT!  And don't forget to tell the author that he or she is doing a great job :) 




Is it really?  Do you, in fact, have your monitor tuned incorrectly?  No!  You do not!  (Well, maybe you do, but it doesn't change facts).  The most recent strip of SGoM is, in fact, in full, dazzling 100% color!  And not only in dazzling color, but dazzling color that takes a damn long time to do.  Nevertheless, it's something I'm willing to entertain doing on a regular basis, if not all the time, depending on just how much time, really, it takes to color a strip.  From start to finish, this 3-paneller took me about 3 hours to complete, but I'm thinking if I cut down on the shading a bit, I could reduce that.  Decisions, decisions...




This is me being happy that I've finally found an absolute schedule that I'll be able to keep...even if it is a bit inadequate at the moment.  I'm rather happy to say, however, that had this not been a rather rough week in terms of homework assignments and projects at the places where I work, I could very likely have done more.  Unlike previous updates, where drawing the pencil sketches was the limiting factor, the limiting factor here was the time it took to shade and letter in Photoshop.  


You'll note that this recent update is shaded.  That was done digitally, adding perhaps half an hour for this three-panel update (which is comparatively rare, come to think of it).  I dislike the method of shading that I used, so it'll not likely show up again...ever...but this just proves to me that I can probably shade rather effectively in Photoshop and save a little time.  Who knows...I may even eventually make a transition into completely digitized updates.  Scary, considering I just spent a hundred bucks on a scanner.  Doh!   




Alright, finally managed to get an update in.  Although there's only two of the ones I've done so far, I think I've managed to get organized enough that the next few should be up soon.  Now, you'll note that the format of these is much different from what I usually do.  For one, there's no shading!  That's right - I'm trying to decide what kind of comic formatting will fit this strip best and still allow me to finish at least one strip a week.  The first (7-27-01) if you'll notice, is only a pen outline with simply the dialogue added in.  The basest, most simplistic form that I may accomplish, but also the quickest and a virtual guarantee that I'll finish at the very least the one per week, with more per week highly likely.  For example, the six panel comic you see right there only took me about an hour to finish from blank sheet of paper to dialogued comic, assuming that I've already scripted everything I need to know.  


Number two, which is 7-30-01, has been outlined in Painter Classic for a better outline.  You'll notice the different line weights and the cleaner overall look.  This one takes about double the time of the first, although that number could probably drop to the point where I can completely finish it in about one and a half hours, once I get used to the process of "inking" my pictures in Painter.  Theoretically, if I get extremely organized, I could probably do as many or almost as many of these as the simple picture of 7-27-01, since I'll transition from a pencil sketch directly into inking in Painter.  The only real question between these two, therefore, is "Which one looks better?"  


If I go with pure outlines, I'm inclined to go with the second of the two.  



I still don't really believe it, I think.  There's nothing but rubble where the twin towers once stood...it chills me thinking about it.  So much destruction, so many lives lost in just the blink of an eye.  They say casualties could run fifty thousand or more, which translates to at least five hundred thousand directly affected by the disaster.  I don't know anyone who doesn't know at least one person who had a friend or relative in either the Pentagon or the Twin Towers.  One of my classmates' Father works at the Pentagon, and last I heard, his Mother has received no word.  My heart goes out to him, and to everyone who's suffered a loss today.  It sickens, disturbs, and disgusts me that someone could show such a callous disregard for life, that they aim destruction at the most densely populated areas of the US.  I watched as the second tower collapsed, and I'm never going to forget the giant cloud of dust, the announcer saying he saw people jumping off the building, and that feeling as though my heart had just imploded.  


Please, if you've friends and relatives, people that you love and people that you care about, send a prayer to whatever God you believe in for the families of those lost in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.  If you've the time and are in the US, please go to the Red Cross and donate blood, as they desperately need it.  If you've the compassion, please donate money to the Red Cross disaster relief fund at www.redcross.org.  Every little bit will help buy emergency medical supplies, food and shelter for those displaced from their homes, and aid the suffering of the disaster victims in general.  


I've spoken enough about the subject.  My heart aches whenever I think about that collapsing tower.  


I've as yet been unable to get my lab's scanner to work for me, and buy.com informed me today that they cannot supply me with the scanner I ordered, so they cancelled my order.  I'm going to place another order today, but in light of what's happened, I don't expect it to get here anytime soon.   



Whew!  It has been a while, hasn' t it?  Alright, just a couple of announcements (some fairly important.)  


1) My lab's scanner has shut down, at least for me.  According to Robert, our technician, "It works fine when you're not here!"  I'm taking this as a sign from up above that I need to stop freeloading and get myself my own scanner.  While I'm at it, I'm going to get a printer as well.  My thoughts are that I'm going to get a Canon S600 Bubblejet Printer and a Canoscan N656U, both of which come highly recommended by both site and user reviews.  Of course, anyone who begs to differ is welcome to tell me theie experiences :)  This does mean that late updates from now on will in no part be because I don't have access to a scanner (unless it breaks down, which is another story). 


On to two...


2) School's started up and I've taken on a rather insane workload, including what is termed the "bastard lab," or Mechanical Behavior of Materials, which is turning out to be just an extension of Mechanics of Deformable Bodies, which I positively hated.  Thus, I'm finally forced to admit that Mab was right.  Mab...you're right.  (Screams to the sky, "There, you happy?!")  If you don't know Mab, he's the brains behind the wonderful comic Blotto Street, which everyone ought to go read and vote for, even if he *has* been recently kidnapped by an evil rug.  Go on, click on the link.  No one's interested in what else I have to say anyway.  Go ahead!  I'm already crushed that I had to admit he was right.  *SNIFF* 


Anyway, going on.  It's become too obvious that I just can't handle even a three day a week workload even during break hours (mostly because I have to work and make money), and when you attach that to non-break hours...well...things just go insane.  Thus, I'm reducing this to a once-per-week update.  I will try my damndest to make up for the lost time (again!  *SIGH*) up until August 27th, at which point the switch will take place.  On the brighter side, only having to do one comic *should* mean that I can pay more attention to little details and make that one look nicer!  Yay for me.  


And lastly...


3) The one-day-a-week update isn't set in stone.  I may yet make it more often (though not likely less), should I find that I can, in fact, do more.  As soon as I have access to a scanner again (Grrr) I will scan what I've done between July 25th and August 27th for review.  You'll see what that means when I actually get there.  



I know what you're all thinking.  Where the hell's my comic?  Ummm...just wait a little bit, until I have access to my lab's scanner again, and then I'll have some new stuff plus a question, for those of you interested enough to answer.   


Anyway, in the meantime, I haven't been completely idle.  All the pages are now fully functional.  The cast is intentionally not complete - I will add more major characters as they make their appearances (Genesis will be in with the next batch, as a whole bucket-load of new characters will appear in the next few weeks).  Until then, you can read up about Godefrey, Eric, and Scorpio.  There are a few pictures missing in a couple of the less important pages, which I will upload soon along with some new artwork that I've done.  I will also add some content to the stories page as soon as I'm finished with the next batch of comics.  Stay tuned! 


(Don't worry - SGoM is obviously not going away any time soon.  I'll give plenty of advance notice if I have even a few thoughts in that direction.)     



Updated the remaining five comics that I've certifiably completed.  This officially catches me up to about 4 comics behind, as opposed to about 20, which is a pretty good improvement.  I'm aiming to get those last four up by next Monday, which means that they probably won't be up until next Friday, and due to problems with Keenspace, most likely won't be read by anyone until the Monday after that, at which point I'll have an entirely new batch of stuff ready.  Yay ;) 


There is a discontinuity problem on the transition between July 18th and July 20th that I'm going to try to get fixed with the next update.  For some reason, if you're on the July 18th page, it doesn't recognize the fact that there are actually comics after that date.  In order to read anything after that, should you jump to July 18th, you'll have to return to today's comic and use the calendar to jump to the 20th.    


8/1/2001 (Okay, okay, so I messed up on the date last time...sue me)  

God Almighty I'm tired.  Stayed up until about seven am this morning from last night getting some things done, and now my head feels like it's filled with cotton.  But now, at last, I have an update.  After over a month of hassles, I finally have an update.  I'm terribly, terribly sorry for the long wait, everyone.  Between the combination of my DSL shutting down, my going down to Houston, my lab's scanner acting up, Keenspace acting up, and...yes...a great deal of my own incompetence, things have been extremely unduly delayed.  Now, finally, I'm starting to make things up. 


All comics between June 18th and July 13th are uploaded today.  Several other pieces will be uploaded either tomorrow or the day after, and several of the unfinished webpages should see work this weekend.  


On a more personal note: 


Something feels wrong. 

I don't know how many of you have felt this before.  That odd, almost corrosive sensation when something just seems horribly wrong, but you can't pinpoint what.  I can't describe it any better than that.  Something about the world feels far worse than it did yesterday...or maybe something terrible is about to happen.  It's like all of a sudden, I'm sitting in a horror movie and the music has just stopped. 

I'm terrified, and I don't know why.  


Author Inserted Time-breaking Piece of News: 

Whoa.  I had not realized at all that it was a month, here, that I updated nothing.  Not even the news.  No wonder DeadLander thought the comic was dead.  


Now I have guilt. 



*SIGH* Yes, late updates all around.  Things are coming to a head yet again - my last Organic Chemistry test came up today, I've got one lab report due tomorrow and one on Wednesday, my lab final is on Wednesday, and my official course final is on Thursday.  After that, I'm all clear (Finally, all clear!  Yaaay!).  I can't blame it all on the class, though.  For some reason, I've been completely unable to draw this last strip.  What I really want just keep eluding me.  And the real story's about to start, too...*Double Sigh* 


Oh well.  When I say late updates, however, I mean late updates.  I don't mean cancelled updates.  The comics for last Wednesday, last Friday, today, and everything that I might miss this week *will* be up, even if I have to stay up all of Thursday night to finish them.  In fact, I think I'm going to plan on it, since I haven't been able to do anything of the sort ever since summer school started again.     



Good news and bad news.  Good news is, I managed to get all updates from last Wednesday up 'till this past Monday finished today.  Bad news is, I wasn't able to finish Wednesday's comic in the lab, and since I don't have direct access to a scanner at home, Wednesday's comic will not be up during our regularly scheduled update time.  I ought to just change that time and make everyone happier :P.  


Anyway, my supreme tardiness is a combination of 3 hours of Starcraft on Saturday and Mom saying "Let's redecorate my house today." and being invited to dinner at Kabuki on Sunday.  Kabuki is a reasonably fancy Japanese restaurant where dinner, apparently, takes no less than two and a half hours.  I was able to get a little work done at said friend's house afterwards, when Mom was singing karaoke.  *SIGH* 


Better news, however, is that Organic Chemistry ends next Saturday, which means I have two weeks more open to draw an extra week's worth of comics.  I'm going down to Houston for a week in July, and that means 1) I'll be drawing a lot more down there, since I have no computer access to distract me and 2) I'll be staying up really late week after next trying to make up enough archives for that week.  


Things won't always be this way.  I won't always be using the news to tell you I'm late.  I swear!  



So much stuff to do, not enough time to do it in!   Waaaaahhh!!!  *Breaks down and curls up into a tiny ball on the floor* 

Seriously, though, it seems like all my news nowadays is used to announce that I've got a late update.  I just barely managed to finish yesterday's comic today, and Wednesday's comic probably won't be up until Thursday.  To help make up for all the lateness, though, I've got a little extra something planned for Thursday.  Please stand by!   



*SIGH*  There will be yet another late update for today, possibly as late as an entire day.  I really do apologize for my irregularity, but things have been...disturbing.  I've been recently caught, yet again, in the eternal battle between my Mother and my Father.  I don't feel like going into details - suffice it to say one wanted something the other wasn't willing to give.  I was called in and both ended up upset at me because, apparently, I wasn't trying hard enough to resolve the conflict.  I hate being used as a weapon.  You've probably already guessed at the kind of relationship they have, but let's just say I'd rather hug a kilogram of sodium and dive into the Atlantic than sit with both of them in the same room ever again...


Things are more or less resolved.  I expect Wednesday's comic to update normally.  As we've already seen, however, my expectations don't tend to work out.  I'm extremely tired now - I'm going to go to bed.  



Once again, I write from the past, trying to see ahead.  Most of the following is done anyway, so I don't anticipate any problems.  A couple of minor, yet I think decently important changes since the last news update.  


First off and very importantly, Unnatural but True returns!  Sort of...but anything's better than nothing!  After a two week hiatus, Ed has decided to pick up his pen once again - extraordinarily good news for us fans :)  Its updates are still somewhat erratic, but hey, you have the archives to keep you busy.  Go check out UBT now!


Second, the top and bottom curlicues have been changed!  Links should now be quite obvious, and the net savings of about 80K should be beneficial to those of you not on broadband.  Now all you really have to worry about are the enormous comics I tend to upload :P That, unfortunately, cannot easily be heIped. 


Second, I learned enough HTML to play with style sheets and stop that annoying repeating background on the gallery pages.  Frankly, I consider a black background toward the bottom better than that white line drawing that kept repeating where I didn't want it to.  


Third, I've converted the Berlin Sans FB font to Arial, size 10, as I figure most people have this font and it doesn't look too bad when pushed to a smaller size.  It was unreasonable, I decided, to demand that viewers have to download Berlin Sans FB.  You're here to read the comic and, possibly, look at artwork, not spend time fiddling with fonts.  


Last, you've already noticed the slightly different format for news items.  An extremely minor detail, but makes the page more pleasant to look at, I think.   


Though not really a change, but as a bit of news, I've pretty much given up on Blogger for now.  It simply refused to post what I wanted it to post, and I got tired of wrangling with the code.  Since I'm constantly updating the home page anyway, it serves no real purpose right now.  Maybe when everything is done and I get tired of constantly uploading HTML files, I'll spend a little more time wrestling with the beast.  As a final note, I still haven't advertised this comic anywhere, so anyone reading this does so of their own free will :)  



I'd originally intended to finish a comic this weekend to make up for Friday.  Intentions and outcomes are rarely incident, it seems.  At least I can make good on the second part - SGMidnight will be back to its regular schedule on Monday (no, our regular schedule is not erratic...well, okay, it's erratic, but it's not supposed to be erratic).  For the record, the regular schedule is supposed to be MWF.  If I don't manage to get a comic in...umm...well...I'll surprise you with some artwork or something :) 


The message board is now fully functional!  Yay!  Teri is truly wonderful, I just want you all to know.  I hadn't expected some of the text at the bottom to not show up.  If enough of you complain about the black background, I'll send in a petition to the already heavily over-worked Teri to have it changed.  (Guilt trip, me?  Nawwwww...)  Thus, with the message board up, I can finally get a little feedback on everything.  Feedback?  Anyone?  *Crickets chiping*   



Finally got at least a couple of the pages working.  Once again, I'm writing this news ahead of time, so don't quote me on everything :)  You're probably wondering about the strange dichotomy at the second comic, where one dragon's attacking a building, and then it's suddenly raining fireballs.  Well, that was approximately where the setting of the entire storyline abruptly shifted.  I was writing ahead of time and concluded that that particular line was headed straight for a dead end.  Thus, I changed things, and the one-dragon attack became a veritable Armageddon :)  Hopefully, this sort of sudden shift won't happen again.    



Well, I've finally started work on the rest of the pages, and I've begun to draw the actual comics with passing regularity (imagine that).  A message board has been requested, so any opinions you might have can, fairly soon, actually be made *without* having to open up said e-mail client :).  To reach the links, click on any of the round bulbish things on the top and bottom curlicues.  Only the first page of the gallery is up at the moment, but I'm working hard to correct that...:)


I am, incidentally, using the Berlin Sans FB font.  It looks nice enough, a fair number of people have it, and Times looks inordinately odd on this page, for some reason.  



Fairly massive update today.  New comic up (I hope, as I'm actually writing this news before I finished the new comic...oh well).  The bottom portion of the curlicues, along with all associated (non-working) links has been added.  Next up, I shall be testing whether or not Blogger is functioning correctly (though it means the news since the beginning of this comic will all be removed...aack).  



Finally got that stupid update in, fixed the background (sort of), and am trying very hard to figure out how to get frames into the first page. Aack. Exams are now pretty much in progress, so in a week or so, I might actually be able to start maintaining a normal, even schedule for this comic. Wheeeeeee...   

Hey, exactly 10 days. How about that? New background image, and I'll scan the next update by tomorrow.  Just a slight warning - the background and the foreground *will* clash slightly if you're not looking at this on 1024x768 resolution. I just couldn't bring myself to change the entire top bar again to make it transparent :P  


Okay, things are coming along. I've noted I've gotten a certain number of hits beyond just myself (I *know* I'm not narcissistic enough to to look at my own page 100 times in two weeks). To keep people from wasting time, and as a clarification, I actually didn't expect the page to be up, well, so soon. I was thinking more along the lines of 6-8 weeks rather than 10-12 days. *Roll of the eyes* Lack of preparation will get you every time. Thus, I'm sort of stuck in my last month of school before summer vacation turns up. It's more or less crunch time right now. I update when I can, but the average wait period seems to be roughly 8-10 days between updates. Once summer vacation starts up again and I actually have some free time beyond the occasional fifteen minutes, I'm planning to make this a 3-4 times a week update. 'Till then, hang in there and just drop it every week or so :)     


I've finally gotten, well, *something* up. I'm thinking I'm going to work on a few aspects of how the page looks before I continue much farther with the comic itself, because the sheer incompleteness of the page is eating away at my mind like a swarm of plague-ridden maggots. Hopefully, I'll have the second half of the comic frame and a better background by the end of this week. Anyone who would like to comment on how the page looks so far can e-mail me at yizhang2@vt.edu. (Yes, I know all the links are broken - I'll work on the other pages as I go along. I just want the front page to be up right now). I've done little to no actual advertisement for this comic, so anyone who came here did so of their own free will, and I will take no responsibility for any crappiness that you might encounter *_*


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