this has been the most convoluted ass journey to figure out what’s wrong with me (physically). but despite all odds and many, many months later, i have a definitive(ish) answer: palindromic rheumatism.
“what the fuck is that?” you might be asking. its basically the diet version of an autoimmune disease. proto-rhuematoid arthritis in some cases.
here is the short version: i have an autoimmune disorder similar to rheumatoid arthritis but with a better prognosis: no long term damage to my joints unless it progresses to RA (the stats on this are all over the place). this makes drawing difficult-ish until im on a treatment plan for it. i am not stopping making the comic, but may have to acknowledge that im not going to make deadlines as easily as i once did due to the realities of my health. thank you to everyone who has been a kind ear during this time when ive been extremely anxious about what an autoimmune diagnosis would mean for my job/hobby/passion. thank you to everyone who financially supported me in spite of my unreliability these past few months. i have said this a lot in public lately, because i’m still pretty gobsmacked by it: i genuinely did not realize i was in unusual pain, primarily because i was not aware that how i felt was not normal. i had assumed random aches and pains were part of the experience of having a human body or a result of me doing something wrong.
longer version: ok remember when this was about straightening my leg out. i don’t care about that shit any more. they can turn backwards now, whatever. the timeline of events has been roughly this:
my fucking legs and knees hurt so bad when i climb stairs or walk up a hill. the muscles burn. this is not normal for someone at my age. i need to make sure my circulation is ok or im not getting diabetes.
adam and i watch a video from a video game guy we like who talks about having a mystery illness with annoyingly vague but chronic symptoms: headaches, pains, fatigue, etc. i say “that’s just what it feels like to have a human body. i don’t think doctors can fix that”. adam is baffled by this comment, which i thought was something all of humanity agreed upon: it hurts to be alive and it fucking sucks. i run this up the flagpole and the vast majority of people i talked to do not, in fact, suffer regularly. ummmm. ok. just me then.
get diagnosed with funky shaped kneecap and tight hip flexors. continue to try to do mild exercises but get winded VERY easily and have trouble catching my breath. getting really worried about my heart now. i feel very lazy and stupid for struggling this bad with something so basic when i am reasonably able-bodied.
go on a trip to dc for 3 days and feel the best ive felt in years. i assumed at the time, it was just due to getting out of the house. i have no trouble walking up the shitty hills of DC. hooray!! maybe the exercise is finally working!!!
come home from the trip and make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. i realize on the first bite that im having an allergic reaction to the fucking strawberries in the jam. every night i would make myself a pb+j with strawberry jam as a delicious late night treat. and most mornings i would pour myself a bowl of the special k with the strawberries to get all my vitamins and minerals or whatever. i have been spending the last 6 years of my life, maybe more, in a state of chronic anaphylactic shock. my legs hurt when i climb stairs because they’re not getting enough oxygen. feel even more stupid.
an embarrassing number of problems are solved by simply not eating a fruit that’s actively trying to kill me. my legs are pain free, i can breathe better, my nose doesnt run constantly, i no longer have a chronic sore throat and tight chest. things are great! except since i got back from DC i’ve got this rash on my face and nothing seems to get rid of it. back to the doctor i go.
my doctor asks me if i have lupus. the “house” disease that it never is?? that can’t be right. its never lupus. i look up information about lupus. it kind of sounds like i have lupus, actually. uh oh. in fact, now that i’m actually looking at the places that hurt, they’re kinda swollen.
i get bounced around from specialist to specialist, from another doctor to an allergist to a rheumatologist who confirms via a very extensive blood work test that it is not lupus OR rheumatoid arthritis (RA). i go insane at about this point and i start to understand why “house” was so pissed off at the time. the shape of the rash is VERY specific to lupus, making differential diagnosis near impossible.
the dermatologist gives me a face wash that takes care of the rash overnight. it was a yeast infection that simply decided to form itself in the shape of the classic “malar” or “butterfly rash” universally associated with lupus as a fun prank on me. fucking false flag!!! rash played me like a damn fiddle!
on a call with my psychiatrist to renew my meds, she just fucking drops the answer in my lap after a quick look in her database after excluding lupus and RA. the rheum was right. i don’t have RA or lupus. i have RA lite that doesn’t show up on tests. this is the only thing i’ve ever felt sure of in my life because of the unique presentation of symptoms. she saved my brain from entering the unfathomable dark abyss that is self-diagnosis.
whew! isnt that just the dumbest shit you’ve ever read. the act of not eating a berry should not have had that much impact on my health. but like. man. i dont talk about this stuff unless its funny (strawberry TKO) because 1. its off-putting to everyone but people who revel in the idea of being sick 2. i value my privacy despite sharing all the stupid shit i do lol. i have to talk about this one because it directly impacts my work and i have a very kind and enthusiastic audience to whom i owe explanations for my flakiness for the past months.
my symptoms should come in the form of “flares”; i will be symptomatic for some time in between periods of remission but the duration of these is completely random. i just went through probably the worst flare ive had in recent memory and i probably have a little more time left with it before it finally fucks off. the unique features of PA that make me certain its the one are:
the swelling only last a few hours at most and sometimes it’s only a few minutes.
the swelling is not the same joint every time or consistent. it has favorite spots, like the tips of my fingers or my shoulder but attacks do not follow any pattern or occur after exposure or trauma.
multiple joints can be affected at once
my joints are normal in-between attacks.
transitory inflammation that clears itself up before the lunch hour is over is a really weird beast when you compare it to lupus or RA, which are persistent and damaging. its also impossible to show to a doctor unless i happen to get “lucky” and start bloating while in the office. so i still have one more tedious stop on this healthcare journey: getting a doctor to agree with me, some moron, so i can get the treatment i need. all i need to do is cross this final hurdle, because treatment works. i know because we tried. even strong NSAIDS are enough to keep me from feeling like my ankle is made of rotting wood or my finger tips from throbbing for hours.
ill tell you this, now that i know it’s not normal to feel this way i can say out loud with no shame: it hurts like a son of a bitch.
look, i’m going to be straight up with you: there’s no messy drama or fallout that caused this. no juicy deets or salacious rumors to slurp down. you know if this were the case, i would have erupted across my various social medias in a frenzied rage with all the delicacy of a bull in a china shop partly for entertainment purposes. instead, this will probably be a boring at best navel gaze where i try to walk the line between pragmatically trying to explain why i left and moral grandstanding. because leaving abruptly looks weird externally, i do actually have to explain why instead of just mysteriously leaving during a period of time where i am being an obnoxious asshole. a combination of disdain for the current cultural zeitgeist and a growing culture of disrespect toward audiences has culminated in my online behavior devolving into the online version of grabbing people saying stupid shit on the street and shaking them very hard. this is something an insane person would do. i know.
the commodification and increasingly blatant commercialization of an art format that could once arguablybe compared to other amateur transgressive arts (ex: underground comix, tijuana bibles) is borderline heartbreaking. not to be too dramatic, but i want to start smashing things like im a monster from the rampage arcade game to scare the NIMBYs away before they start building escape rooms where the fetish web comics used to be. there is no place unspoiled by the poison of advertising and sponsorships. except…
trying to make money in comics is a fool’s errand. go make furry porn commissions if you want to make money doing art! you’re completely out of your mind if you go into the arts to make money. full on detachment from reality if you choose comics. they should commit you if you choose web comics.
i think people have a wildly different perception regarding the popularity of A Ghost Story so i have approximate data to give people an idea. having culled the SHIT out of my analytics results to remove bot traffic, i think i have relatively accurate results, i get about 1000 unique visitors a month (generously rounding up lol), about half of them are regulars, and 10% of them donate to patreon (this is, imo, an unfathomably large amount lol. shocking and humbling. thank you for your continued support of me in spite of [gestures]). i feel like a small comic 99% of the time, but man. 1,000 is a big number. i can at least reasonably assume, i’m PRETTY sure, that i was a comparatively small comic in hiveworks.
my monthly payout was roughly $100 a month (and merch sales, if applicable) and their services included web site help, dealing with any merch sales, and site hosting in exchange for running banner ads (which have been a fixture on web comics since the conception of google’s ad program; remember the homestuck bidding wars??). banner ads felt like a small and reasonable compromise to be included in something that felt like a weird pipe dream. in certain circles, a hiveworks invitation was a stamp of quality with prestige; i was very aware of the company i was invited into keep and was initially pretty concerned with how my presence reflected onto them and their work. i was going through some serious brain problems due to a deeply stupid relationship and, as a result, i did my best to keep my head down, stay out of people’s way, and focus on not bringing undue shame to something i was well aware i was completely unsuited for. i had (and frankly, still have) no idea why i was chosen as i had not applied. i cannot stress enough that i was under no delusions as to the quality of my comic lol. my perception was that someone had stuck their neck out to make a special exception for me and i was constantly on the verge of fucking it up and humiliating them.
it was a very off-balance exchange extremely in my favor, and i was aware of this. especially since, being frank and honest here, i was bringing absolutely nothing to the table for them. i don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth, but its a reasonable conclusion that i was more trouble than i was worth, given the infinitesimal worth.
the vast majority of hiveworks readers completely bounced off my comic, which makes perfect sense given the hiveworks audience is i think more interested in the genre they primarily host: fantasy and magical realism. in comparison, “a ghost story” is a slow, slooow burn about federal bureaucracy and being insane with extremely amateur art; i know what i am! and that’s fine! but i became a little resentful (and i tried not to! honest!) after 7 years of perpetually being put on a back burner. it felt like i was being strung along for reasons beyond my comprehension or as the baseline of acceptable awfulness for the website’s quality. someone has to be the “worst”, objectively. it’s not a great feeling to know it, coming to terms with it i think was much healthier than trying to fight it. it was a really good driving force to keep my mind off the nightmare of my life at that point and improve my art a lot.
AGS’ irrelevance was underscored by it being mentioned once over the course of 7 years on official social media networks, upon which a great deal of importance was placed. but frankly, there is nothing worse than dealing with the guy who sucks whining for the spotlight as though they are clueless as to why they are getting the shaft. so i simply achieved enlightenment by getting over it and realizing where i was in the hierarchy and how lucky i was to have so much shit done for me. i was (am, unbelievably. it never gets less wild when i sit down and really think about it) making enough through patreon that the $100 became my monthly fun money while i lived in oregon. it was welcome, but not essential.
a lot of real life, awful things happened that suck and couldn’t be avoided: one of the main points of communication and organization became terribly ill, COVID happened and obliterated shipping and manufacturing rates for apparently all eternity, uhhh the fabric of reality began to unravel lol. it’s been a terrible couple of years. i want to underscore this stuff so that people understand i was not wronged greatly in the grand scheme of things.
there are things that started to chip away at me over time, which made me question if i was a good fit at all. genuinely: the only thing i want to do is to try to live happily within my morals doing what i love to do. even and especially if it means living very broke. that’s the exchange i’m consciously choosing to make when i pick up the pen every day. due to the generosity of the people who support me or have supported me at any time (special shout out to adam, who puts up with this shit for some reason), i am able to do that. i contribute a proportional amount to the household now but tried to be (was??) 50/50 or 25/25/25/25 when i had roommates. i don’t want my one unyielding selfish choice to be anyone else’s burden.
i was told by another artist in hiveworks that my confrontational behavior could be a poor reflection on the brand, which became the tipping point in my choice to leave. to be clear, no one in charge told me this, but even conceptually i was not comfortable representing a company that i felt i was a member of out of obligation or inertia. i didn’t belong there and my presence was an active detriment instead of a tolerated nuisance.
when the offer to leave was presented, i didn’t feel regret, or anxiety, or upset at all. i felt a placid sense of relief. i COULD leave. that’s TRUE. i had been kicking it around on my private twitter for a few months going back and forth with myself over what was more important to me: being able to take care of myself financially or doing something about my own hypocrisy that kept me up at night. if my incessant argument is that advertising based commercialization is a societal poison, then i need to put my money where my mouth is. and if i’m consistently annoying, i need to leave as a courtesy to everyone else.
i don’t regret my time with hive at all, but the overarching transformation from a collection of cartoonists to a brand is not where i want to take my art. i can’t bring myself to work even within the proximity of seven seas, a deeply abhorrent company. i am completely disinterested in wasting time or energy worrying about “the algorithm” because i don’t make comics for the computer’s sake and recognize that there’s a finite number of people interested in web comics in the world and an even more finite amount of money to spend on luxuries (because none of us have any money lol). i don’t want to repeat the familiar cycle of lamenting the death of art as we know it every 6 months.
people who are choosing to spend their limited funds supporting me are making a deliberate choice to elevate my presence in their life. i want and need to keep this in mind at all times, because it drives my attitudes toward what i want to choose to focus on. i want to keep my art (“art”) free with additional goodies being as reasonably priced as possible in the hopes that in this way we scratch each other’s back. making money drawing comics is a ridiculous privilege granted to me by people willing to sacrifice their time and money to me; i need to be thinking more about all that i have instead of worrying about what i don’t.
the thing about criticism is this: you can absolutely think “too hard” about something intended to be light fare and the delicate balancing act of art criticism is about threading various needles to avoid as many retorts as possible accusing you of opening discussions in bad faith. one of the many ways to obliterate trust in your critical audience is to become so derisively nitpicky that your attempts to draw attention to the pre-existing holes in the setting or the structure of the story will look like petty sabotage. i recognize this is the risk im taking when i get set off by the existence of sports luxury vehicles within a fictional universe created entirely to cater to a specific sexual appetite. indeed, there is no type of pedantry more obnoxious than the sexual pedant.
the work doesnt exist in a vacuum. if we’re going to be honest about the work’s intent (or, how the work’s intent explicitly reads to the audience), part of the fantasy is to be completely taken care of. i mean, who among us hasn’t dreamed of this, at least briefly. it’s one of the most fundamental of all human desires. but to be taken care of, in settings which are founded in capitalist societies (everyone groans at my shit), begs the obvious question: where is the money coming from?
author’s note so everyone knows im not insane (hahahaha): i’m not here to argue the virtues of communism over capitalism or imply that depicting capitalism favorably in your comic is a moral failing. it is not capitalism itself that i have a problem with (…in artistic depictions), it is the way that it is invoked within this comic specifically that bothers me; it demonstrates a terminal thread of thoughtlessness that threatens to unravel the entire setting, premise and moral ambiguity of what is being presented as a desirable fantasy. this element is the catalyst that sparks the degradation of the taboo into the unconscionable.
look i’ll be up front: my primary motivation is that this comic sucks and im a hater. the anti-feminist overtones are their own kettle of fish but the runner up contender for most concerning (oooueerrrg, everyone is groaning again) element is the complete lack of class consciousness. look, i mean concerning in the sense of “why has none of this gone recognized by, like, anyone?” every time i show someone a real LO panel they react like i’m went out of my way to fuck with them in an ultra specific way. it has completely recreated the feeling of being the only person in my friend group watching riverdale, if riverdale were the crown jewel of the WB.
to strip the pretension from the phrase “class consciousness” and put it in plain text: the insertion of modern capitalism into the comic has necessitated the creation of an underclass to serve the gods (the focus of the comic). as a result, the comic has repeatedly needed to justify the abuse, exploitation and acts of dominance over the subjugated class in order for the main cast to remain sympathetic. the author is incapable of envisioning a world that does not operate on disparity, in spite of the immutable fact that the gods are the sole arbiters of seemingly infinite creation.
and i’m capable of comprehending that there are times when a work has grotesquely unlikable asshole protagonists on purpose. it could be argued that the fickle behaviors of the gods is SUPPOSED to be detestable and there are obviously times where that is the intended audience read. but this is not “succession” and the entirety of the work does not indicate that it is trying to create quiet commentary by inviting the audience to draw their own conclusions on the characters by simply presenting them with the truth of their actions and deeds. additionally, if the romantic hero also engages in that behavior and it’s unremarked on or encouraged by the author or the heroine, what is the intended audience read?
regardless, all this to say: i do not want to alter the content of the comic, but to verbalize how it reads to me as an audience member. the purpose of criticism is to demonstrate and encourage reflection and to help refine one’s own perceptions.
okay. right. the cars.
this is minthe. i could write 100000 more words about the treatment of her by the comic and, by extension, the author. her introduction is about as subtle as a brick: she serves as the evil whore foil to persephone’s virgin perfection. her introduction as hades’ randomly abusive, hyper-sexual, and cruel younger girlfriend is contrasted with persephone’s naivete, chastity, and sweetness. shes literally smoking a cigar and wearing lingerie. somehow she is not the hero.
like i said, there’s a lot to unpack with her but i need to stay on target. minthe is a nymph, one of many “beast races” (for lack of a better term) that populate olympus and fulfill menial tasks and jobs. for example, this guy runs a modeling agency.
a modeling agency that include car shows. or…dealerships. its not really clear. anyway: she is introduced to hades in a flashback through his brother zeus who sexually harasses her during her shift.
lol uh. or comes as close as he can without becoming objectively villainous instead of “rakish”. as a result, what plays out is all VERY schoolyard behavior.
he executes a 0/10 prank that still kills for some reason.
and then it happens. “it” isn’t a singular event limited to just the example im about to give. “it” is the complete undercutting of the dramatic and logical tension within the story and “it” happens with alarming frequency as the comic introduces more and more modern elements. each additional luxury vehicle or department story or cell phone comes with the artist being forced to depict the people (or in this case, beast races) providing those services. the author cannot imagine a world where luxury is not predicted on service or a product, even or especially when the existence of the service or product does not make sense.
back to “it”…hades poofs away:
if gods can poof and fly (as its been implied some or all of them can), what in the hell is the purpose of the luxury vehicle on olympus? the beast races are sure as shit not buying them as they are explicitly the working class in every single one of their appearances. what does it run on? who pumps the gas? who services the cars? the streets of olympus have been paved so that cars can be driven so this would suggest the city’s infrastructure was centered around the use of vehicles. does he hire someone to drive him around in it, despite the fact that he can teleport? he and persephone clearly use it to get around even though she can fly. these cars are so successful despite having an extremely limited number of buyers, they make enough money to hire booth babes all day explicitly so they can be sexually harassed by the men (of a superior magic immortal race) buying the cars.
why does an entire seemingly unnecessary industry exist within the confines of the universe?
all of the above questions are overthinking a basic logistical problem with the setting for anyone with a moral center: in order to be served, one must have servants. the entirety of the universe in LO is constructed around not a modern re-imagining of the ancient myth, but instead a lazy and depressing hodge-podge of various products and physical items the author places great value on as status items in the real world. and, sadly, this is not as a bit within the universe. this isn’t setting up any message other than the central one of the comic: love and worth can be quantified with a dollar amount.
hades’ department store (staffed entirely by beast races who are delighted and eager to serve their master) offers a purse that two beast race women drool over, only to be informed:
this scene has a direct and obvious purpose: through it, we establish that hades’ store caters to the ultra-ultra-rich. this is a level of rich that is unobtainable to anyone except the pantheon of gods, whose unique abilities maintain the fabric of reality and thus set the terms for the world they unilaterally control. at best, minthe, a nymph, experiences a fraction of this wealth when sugaring for hades. on the other hand, persephone is the heiress to a cereal empire (who is eating the….?………you know what dont even get me started on that whole thing) so she is all but assured to be independently wealthy even if she was temporarily without funds during certain events of the comic.
back to the purse: hades and persephone arrive at his own department store so that she can have a restorative shopping montage. she learns a heart-warming lesson about how its okay to be rich in what i think is one of the most gratuitous and absolute dog-brained moments of the entire fucking comic, thus far, including the part where persephone gets big and accidentally steps on (real, human, ancient greek) people and has to go on the lam. her accidental manslaughters evidently require a tribunal and a trial of her peers, which is odd when contrasted with the justice meted out on the beast races indiscriminately and unilaterally by individual gods who act as judge, jury, and executioner.
granted these are not the nice gods (i can think of an event with demeter, persephone’s confusingly controlling mother, specifically, as seen above), but there’s an echo of this behavior when hades bullies two beast race women into divulging information about persephone. in one example, a woman purchases a hair comb from a pawn shop, ignorant that it was a gift from hades and persephone is the one who pawned it for emergency funds. when hades shakes her down and demands where she stole the comb from, she directs him to the pawn shop and he just…takes it. to give it to persephone again. whether or not she was made whole or is even okay with this is completely inconsequential to the author but left me, the reader, in a total lurch. the complete disregard for addressing this within the narrative is less shocking when taken into total account with everything else ive been talking about.
the sequence in which hades takes her on a shopping spree to both improve her mood and express his love was too grotesque for me on every conceivable level. it is not just the shockingly antiquated “women b shoppin!” stereotype presented as a healing process, but the open and shameless conflation of money and love, net worth and self-worth. what possible message could come from this except to reinforce that within the fictional universe of LO, it is the place of the lesser to fawn over what persephone is ultimately entitled to. it is her birthright as the protagonist/self insert and as a literal goddess who determines the creation of food…and nymphs. the underclass. the gods are responsible for the creation of their servants.
the industries exist because they are 1:1 representations of or conductive to what the author considers to be a desirable luxurious fantasy. i do not think there is a more complex reason than that, as that is the reason why the entire comic exists: as a personal love letter to the author’s tastes and desires. and frankly, that’s the point of comics. ALL comic artists should succumb to this desire. what continues to vex and haunt me however is the complete lack of reflection occurring despite the author putting these elements together and presenting them for an audience who then lapped it up without questioning what, specifically, was appealing about this and why. it is by sheer accident that these elements combine together to paint an unflattering picture of a culture that has created artificial disparity for no apparent reason than personal gratification.
my question, is this:
who fills the pot holes on the roads built exclusively so that the gods can drive their luxury cars? why do they do it? to get hades some pussy????
note: this was originally posted as an article on my newsletter uhhh. this month. lol.
this specific section is going to comprise the bulk of this newsletter. it’s going to come with some caveats: 1. this is very stupid 2. it is on-going and 3. i am involved(ish) and thus, a biased participant. so, read this with the grain of salt it deserves but i’ll be forthcoming about what i did. man, this intro makes it sound like i’m about to confess to a terrible crime and reveal where the severed heads are buried.
this is a long story, so bear with me:
a thread on something awful dot com dedicated to remembering stupid moments in goon history had a previously unknown fact shared with it about the goon mutual aid fund:
user “ass cobra” in cat jail
i’m going to use the op of the mutual aid thread to helpfully label some important things you may have to return back to for clarity. or laughs. this is plinkey.
the mutual aid thread is located in CSPAM, the (ostensibly) shitposting forum for (ostensive) leftists. personally, i think it is comprised of the dumbest collection of self-serving, emotionally-stunted, pathetic, rage-addicted tumblr-circa-2012 rejects that the internet could assemble. it should be no surprise that communists hate each other so passionately.
the first thing i noticed (when i stumbled on this thread ages ago) was the bizarre choice to use patreon as a charity platform. this will become important later for other reasons; at the time i thought it was just a very stupid choice because patreon ends up eating at LEAST 15% of your income. a combination of platform fees, processing fees, transfer fees, VAT, and, as of this year, USA freelance tax will leave you flat fucking broke at the end of the day. source: my bank account.
this might come as a surprise given the comparatively wild west nature of the forum, but the general rule on SA when it comes to salacious gossip is “put up or shut up”. that is, if you are going to make accusations against another poster’s character, you better be ready to back it up. using the (recently repaired) search feature revealed a concerning pattern in plinkey’s post history. get ready to scroll:
plinkey created the fund in nov 2019
this man’s intestinal lining must look and act like a fucking slip-n-slide by now. eating casino food with that much regularity would force the human body to have to adapt rapidly to harsh and unfavorable conditions. it’s possible, and sad, to think this may be the apex of humanity as we know it based on having the digestive prowess of a holstein cow.
if this were it, it would only just be pretty funny that the guy with the obvious gambling problem (who also can’t help but incessantly post about it like anyone is impressed) is the sole arbiter of a fund that gets $3k in income every month. if plinkey exploded tomorrow from overdosing on buffet lobster specials, that $3k would just keep accumulating on patreon forever without anyone else being able to distribute it. it seems kind of reckless to do this and to also be violently defensive whenever anyone brings it up.
plinkey had this to say in this defense:
maybe i’m different, but if there was someone who was demonstrably incapable of having the temperament, empathy, humility, or honesty to run a charity, i would not permit them to run that charity on my website. for example, this post reveals that, at the very least, plinkey will lie by omission.
i guess the novel coronavirus would throw a stick in your spokes when it comes to indulging in your public facing addiction. if only there were a legal way to gamble without leaving the comfort of one’s home…
ppv=pay per view. as in, sports streaming. perhaps to bet on. additionally, user smarxist is in hilary jail.
BUT EVEN THATIS NOT ALL. according to the goonfund sob story, the fund runs out of money around the end of the month. we have no way of knowing this because plinkey stopped keeping public records after doing it maybe twice at the beginning of this venture. which is weird, because plinkey used donations intended to buy community members food and pay their rent on a failed democratic candidate/CSPAM pet project that only won 27% of the primary vote. why would he do that if they struggle month to month? why not save it up for goons who need help in upcoming months?
only after a LOT of people complained
now, i know what you’re thinking: “hey, you can’t use charity for that”. well, you’re right. but plinkey isn’t running a charity, by any standards. unfortunately, this is my contribution to this whole stupid sideshow. imo, there is quite literally only one reason why someone would opt to choose patreon instead of
1. filing the appropriate paperwork to become tax-free and keep your nose clean
2. setting up a charity paypal (not a regular account! they have charity ones!)
3. setting up a donation website with wordpress+a plug in that does all the hard work for you, which is what i suggested.
here is what i said:
user “fun hater” is in cat jail
i said meaner things too, but evidently i didn’t have to try very hard because posting like this has earned me nearly 2 weeks of probation.
user “fun hater” is in hilary jail as well.
it would take too long to otherwise document the absolutely mountainous pile of terrible posts made in defense of someone who acts like he’s the only person in the world who has ever been scrutinized for their behavior ever. inexplicably, he has some sort of psychic sway over the mods that has caused them to completely forget how to interpret stimuli and information. he and his fan club have been given infinite leeway in their attempts to sabotage a new fund being set up in the style of the one for the UK goons. plinkey has refused to provide any real documentation involving numbers and instead keeps posting emails from people thanking him for making the fund (which he specifically said he would not do, lol). meanwhile, an infinite supply of debate club dropouts scream and cry about how mean you are and how they DON’T CARE if he’s stealing. which is frankly, an insane moral choice for a communist to make.
but, dont just take it from me. you can read this all for yourself if you want here:
EDIT: 11/26/22: plinkey has abandoned the pretense of charity entirely, leaving the goons who were dependent on the fund twisting in the wind.
look, this was originally going to be just in a newsletter as a stupid thing that goons are throwing money on that anyone else would immediately clock as an obvious scam. it’s funny how obvious it is and how the mods somehow don’t know what the right course of action is. it’s funny how defensive people in the thread are about it. what’s way less funny is fucking over the people who threw down for you for no other reason than faith in their fellow man. this is a winter where people are losing jobs by the tens of thousands and are sharing tips with each other on how to stay warm without heat. fuck this idiot for real. this is putrid shit
there’s no one smoking gun that directly proves that plinkey is misappropriating the funds. but there doesn’t need to be. a reasonable person can look at all of this and conclude that he is, at best, completely unsuited for a leadership position, especially when there is money involved. as the saying goes: it’s not one thing, it’s everything.
i’m not sure it’s possible to talk about this without sounding preachy, self-congratulatory, and/or smug. no one likes to talk about morality and trying to talk about morality and art with artists is like trying to talk to a really dense brick. the conversation often devolves into juvenile fandom discourse about whether or not it’s okay to jack off to children and i really don’t want anything to do with people who consider this a major concern in their lives. i’m trying to think beyond dicks here (impossible, i know).
one of the main things that alienates me with w/ regards to my peers is my primary effort being trying to maintain some level of moral dignity in a field that is inherently slanted toward exploitation and humiliation. i am aware of “how it sounds” to talk negatively about obtaining money in a subculture (web comics, but also comics in general) that is populated largely by minority artists who view it as an avenue for financial freedom that was once closed entirely to us. but: i have no idea where the perception of online art as a source of financial security came from; an artistic career is famously synonymous with poverty. why would online be any different? why would you not anticipate the years needed to build an appreciative audience for your work? or the years of “making your bones”?
as a result, many people (i’m talking the ones who don’t have external financial assistance from friends/family) obviously struggle to maintain a job based entirely on their own work. as a result of that, there seems to be a general presumption that all methods and avenues by which an artist makes money are virtuous because they provide income to a struggling person (you, the artist). to criticize the ways people make their money (for example, taking work from companies known to be abusive to their employees or encouraging the creation of art with a factory line, quantity-over-quality mentality) is read as an attack on the viability of the profession itself. to express disgust with how someone earns a living is perceived as, in the most dramatic instances, wanting artists to starve, suffer, or die (as if the only options in life are to take bad jobs or die; there are alternatives! come on! its intellectually dishonest to pretend otherwise.). somehow, the same people who are deeply convinced that art works influence reality cannot be dissuaded that the jobs they choose to take have consequences outside of the immediate financial comfort it offers to them, the artist.
i refuse to entertain the notion that a subculture built on mutual support and a DIY punk attitude should become a safe house for the financially driven. i do not believe it is acceptable to expect and defend every instance of an artist making a financially beneficial decision over a moral one. to criticize an artist for their financial/moral decisions is not an act of targeted cruelty unique to them only. i do not support a mainstream web comic scene based on gaining the respect of corporations or finding validation in brands.
freelance artists today are blessed to live in an era where becoming an artist for a living is no longer a empty pipe dream that only a tiny handful of already wealthy and connected people can obtain, but financial success is absolutely not even remotely guaranteed despite the accessibility of the career to new artists. the world at large remains hostile to arts funding and the creation of novel ideas and visuals is not of financial interest to the people providing careers (which i’ll define as “a full-time job where you get health insurance”) to artists. when you choose to become an artist for a living, you are making a conscious choice to prioritize your artistic passion over security. and i understand you, if that’s you.
no one becomes an artist to become rich except for maybe the biggest, most naive dopes on the planet. you would have to ignore over 100 years of american sneering at art and the mere concept of paying for it. you can see it in the naked contempt our peers have for art that is genuinely unusual, off-putting or “undeserving” of its status in the artistic canon (i remember some truly idiotic posts about “the comedian” aka “the banana duct taped to the wall”. no one who hated it bothered to research the artist, his work, and what he’s trying to achieve. i’m being mean now: there’s a gaping void where their intellectual curiosity should be that they filled instead with the emotional equivalent of packing peanuts.)
we choose to be artists knowing that financial stability will never occur unless you win the literal or metaphorical lottery. to be an artist as a living is to prioritize your emotional needs over practicality. AND I GET IT. i draw for a living because i think i would be in a padded cell otherwise. there is nothing i wouldn’t give up to continue doing what i do because it’s fulfilling something nebulous and impossible to define in me that gratifies me more than any meal, any medication, any good nights sleep. there’s something wrong with my brain lol. this kind of attitude is certainly not normal.
there is nothing certain, stable or beneficial to being a freelance artist; you will need to make peace with poverty and uncertainty. you can skip this if you don’t want my life story: i started my comic in 2013 while finishing school and working a graveyard shift at the university library. i graduated and drove a small uhaul of my crap up to oregon where i lived with 3 other people who taught me how to sign up for food stamps and medicare. using government benefits, careful spending, and basically only spending my fun money on weed (lol this part i dont recommend but it made “being alive” better), i lived near portland for 4 years on my own money before picking up and moving to rhode island 3k miles away using my savings i’ve built up since i started working at 15. i’ve been living with adam for 4 years (! wowzers!) during which, for about a year, we made approx. the same amount of money lol. a dual income helped, but we were still scraping by at the time. i used my remaining savings last year to put a down payment on our house. it is literally only this month that i am starting to feel financial comfort but its because of adam’s job (which he has worked crazy hard on. manual labor is a class all of its own). however, with the 15% of my income the u.s. government takes, an economic downturn that leaves our supporters with less fun money to spend, and a society that seeks to reduce art’s virtues down to its financial worth, it is a horrible time to be an artist. i have been realizing that if i were still living with roommates, the current american economic landscape would have made it near, if not entirely, unfeasible for me to have continued working as an artist full time. and i used to work with my gloves and coat on so i didnt have to run the very expensive heat during the winter. i was already cutting a lot of corners.
when confronted with the question “then how do we make money off our art if we are expected to ALSO reject jobs on moral grounds?!” the answer is: you don’t. you already are not going to make a living off of it unless you are willing to chase down major corporations for literal years to get the 200 dollars they owe you. you live in and are arguing for the right to contribute/support, without criticism, to a society that does not believe your work has value beyond making the maximum amount of money possible. if i had to, i would rejoin the workforce at least part-time and do art on the side like literally everyone else on the planet has ever had to do (and as i did when i was building my audience). i realize that suggesting this to artists today is like suggesting they lay in the road and die. but if we are going to operate within reality then we need to accept some universal truths:
no one is too good to work minimum wage.
a practical solution to a problem (no money) is not an argument that your work shouldn’t have financial value.
there’s nothing anyone can do about people not purchasing your work. if it doesn’t sell, it doesn’t sell. there is no guarantee that your work will connect with an audience with spare cash or the desire to fund more. that’s entertainment!
if my options for artistic financial fulfillment were limited to propping up the success of companies i am morally opposed to, i would drop art as a job. i would go back to doing it for my own gratification only and start churning out literally a thousand drawings a year. i’ll work for a company that crushes pigeons into cubes before i’ll ever work for dc/marvel (and let’s cut this off at the head: im not chomping on sour grapes here. i am not jealous of people who work for major comic corporations. when you ask them how union building is going they completely flip the fuck out because they know any sign of solidarity in public threatens their bag. and im supposed to applaud this?? lol)
i have to anticipate this: people will bring up being marginalized as a reasonable excuse and im not really sure what the fuck is up with you that you think life works like a points system and you’re just evening out an unseen scale. fuck you! hold yourself to a better standard!!! don’t throw up your hands!!! is a web comic subculture that revolves around making money, creating algorithmically exploitative works, and sharing tips on how to maximize your output (while doing the least amount of actual work) the community you want to ally yourself with? because i really really don’t and feel mortified to be associated by proxy.
my general negativity and constant stream of criticism (lol i know. i know. i dont like being this way either. i feel perpetually aggravated by the inherent evil of life) causes people to make assumptions about my financial status, my upbringing, my political, and moral beliefs and my racial background (and so on and etc). in fact, i will admit i am still burned abt being called privileged over suggesting that there’s more to life than money lol.i think this is a cowardly reaction to someone challenging you and a frantic flailing attempt to justify yourself to others by forgetting the lesson hammered into you by nearly every single literary, visual and audio artwork ever created. i guess now we have confirmation that art has 0 effect on reality.
i feel like a dick, regardless. complicated.
i dont really know what i want from this except to get it out. actually, i do know: i just need a check on how detached this mentality is from “the scene”. if this is met with universal booing, i can be placed back in my habitat so i stop bothering people who fundamentally don’t agree with me.
but man. the only thing you take with you to your grave is your reputation. when they bury me, i hope they say “she was a rotten bitch but at least she gave a shit”
i haven’t updated this in a few months in order to let some data (for lack of a better term) build up. i have a lot of information, most of which i think i remember. if the point of these posts was to provide information for other people i might have already fucked up. anyway: things are mostly better! today and yesterday specifically have been horrible because i just got back from a trip that involved A LOT OF WALKING. as a result, my hips exploded.
first, back in april, i had another leg appointment! with the leg doctor guy. the ortho. yeah.
after he studied my MRI and x-rays, wiggled my leg around, and then murmured “that’s so strange” multiple times under his breath, the doc gave me a very reassuring diagnosis of “i don’t know, pretty weird!”. if i were paying for this visit i think i’d be mad about how often i get the “pretty weird” diagnosis, but i recognize that it’s a polite way of saying “your life is very bad and there’s not anything medically i can do about that”. sometimes, it’s the honest truth. they’re not magicians. they can’t improve the material conditions of my life or whip up a cure/relief if it doesn’t exist.
thankfully (“thankfully”) i am poor enough to enjoy what literally every other nation on earth has access to: free medical care. and he did come up with a temporary solution for the pain. a knee brace! getting it from the doctor meant i didn’t have to do any of the (extremely daunting for someone who pathologically cannot make small decisions) work of trying to sort through a sea of different braces in a CVS aisle. it fits perfectly AND my day to day pain dropped dramatically. it was immediately evident when walking up stairs; the persistent “pulling” pain in the back of my calf was almost entirely absent instead of being razor sharp. it’s not intolerable pain without the brace, just annoying. now its not a bother at all.
a combination of the knee brace on bad days, doing p.t. when i remember to (my body now craves being stretched with the inexpensive resistance bands i purchased), and taking it easy (hehehe sorry! can’t do shit! doctor’s orders!), i’m starting to notice some nice changes to my gait. i used to walk up the stairs on my tip-toes and now my full foot hits the step. the muscles that were once too tight to do so comfortably are starting to unclench. it’s been nice to get some noticeable results. the worst possible outcome would have been everything remaining exactly the same and realizing that i was just kind of experiencing life as it was intended for me. b-bummer! time to raise that wellbutrin dose again!
my biggest complaints about my current below-the-waist situation (before i ground my hips into dust) were that my pelvic floor was/is so tight that it physically hurt and that my erector spinae muscle that covered the most lower part of my back right above the center of my ass began to feel TERRIBLY tight. it felt WEIRD in an unpleasant way. downward dog or downward facing dog (i think these are the ones) yoga poses have been relieving the ass cramp. the cramp in my nether regions is mostly a result of anxiety more than leg problems. however, the p.t. has been helping with the process of untangling the several decades worth of painful cramping i’ve let accumulate over the years.
there’s new, normal “i’m out of shape” pain in my legs now from time to time, but the pain is manageable with an over the counter pain med and goes away in about a day. it’s a specific and different type of pain from the one in my knees and, now, in my hips. i just got back from a disneyworld vacation and epcot is still designed with the idea that every human being is a long distance endurance runner. that place is horrendous to get around. there was a LOT of walking done two days ago and my joints still feel like someone is grinding glass in them. my knee was actually fine (save the one very painful hill in epcot; i see now my knee problem is triggered by going up in any capacity), which is a relief. one less thing to worry about.
however, i think i will go back to the ortho and ask about my hips lol. [wobbles pathetically like a t-rex out of the room]
stupid bitch that i am, i assumed that the lyrics to several bloodborne soundtrack songs that are widely available online were sourced from somewhere official. it turns out this is not true. what actually happened is that like 7 years ago, random people on gameFAQs attempted to listen to/transcribe the lyrics they heard and no one since has challenged these interpretations EXCEPT ONE PERSON who somehow did a worse job. we’re going to call one set of lyrics “FAQs lyrics” and the other “sheet music lyrics”.
here’s the problems with the FAQ lyrics:
they do not know latin and are trying to transcribe it.
they do not know latin pronunciation is different from modern english.
they did not know there is a difference between ecclesiastical latin (which is what these lyrics are in) and roman latin (classic? i dont care).
most of the words they heard are not even words that exist
the translations are completely different from the original text and seemingly retrofitted to force “lore” into creation.
i am pissed. this is some of the sloppiest dipshit work i’ve ever seen and the fact that it was apparently accomplished by committee is even more infuriating. at no point did people think to do .01 second searches to even check if what they wrote down is a word in any language or to check a translation source other than just dumping it into google translate. the intellectual laziness on behalf of the original creators is bad enough, but seeing them reposted in a million different places as the real lyrics because no one bothered to check is depressing.
i did “hail the nightmare” myself after what felt like an eternity of listening to a song that is not a banger over and over and over and piggy-backing off the original in an attempt to create something that i can say fairly certainly is the most accurate version (not THE accurate version). i took a look at “laurence the first vicar” last night and it’s. goddamn it guys lol. goddamn.
but the thing is, here’s my problem:
i also dont know latin
i have a degree in drawing and a minor in english. at best my spanish is 3/5.
i cant hear shit.
my methodology is probably exactly the same as theirs: listen over and over until you want to die and try to determine what noises a chorus is screaming in a different language. then write down those noises and shuffle them around to make words. i use latin dictionaries and good old google translate because apparently every translation service now that uses them. but it’s the dictionary that makes the difference. and a latin translation guide. thank you so much to youtube nerds. what would we do without you.
this is the most author’s commentary i’ll get about the original guys who attempted to translate this but i would be seriously curious to know which, if any, had attended a catholic mass regularly at any point in their lives. we went on sundays when i was a kid and while the songs aren’t IN latin anymore, the musical structure of the hymns are the same. the original translators heard breaks in words where i heard none. i’ll try to explain more below.
if you want to try to follow along, here’s a guy with the wrong lyrics:
literally from 0:00 it’s wrong. the first line he has as “sic fili scite tibi vi sacramentum” which he’s translated as “so, you imposed the sacrament on the children”. wtf.
right off on “sic”, there’s no “c” sound to be heard (come on, you know “sic semper tyrannis”, the c is not silent) and while the next two are words that exist, they make no sense in the context of the rest of…uhhh. anything. there’s 0 clever little boys in bloodborne, they’re all stupid british people.
im pretty sure the word involved is actually “felix”, as in “lucky”. here’s where i fall apart: is it
conjugated? because all those conjugations sound VERY similar.
involve reflexive pronouns? these songs often address the listener so we get a lot of verbs that end with “-te”
getting munched up with a bunch of prepositions?? (e, et, si, and everyone’s favorite cum)
my best guess is “si felici te” which im fairly certain is closer to “if you are lucky”. but in a church (ecclesiastical) context, it’s more like “blessed”.
if you’re catholic and listening to this maybe you can tell what i mean by “they hear breaks in words” where i don’t. this also leads to them assuming each line is an individual statement instead of all the lyrics being a complete thought.
anyway. “tibi” is a word, good job. i had to triple check here the difference between “vi” and “vis” and it turns out i don’t think “vi” is a thing lol. it turns out it is “vis”. as in “vis a vis”. “strength”.
oh yeah, about the sheet music lyrics. they are very rarely useful as anything but a backup for ideas. mostly because the guy managed to mishear “sacramentum” as
no notes on the next section except ummm you spelled praemium wrong op -_-;;; geeze op.
anyway, my final take is:
SI FELICI TE TIBI VI SACRAMENTUM.
ERIT PRAEMIUM SANGUINE SANCTUM.
IF YOU ARE BLESSED WITH THE STRENGTH FOR COMMUNION
YOU WILL BE REWARDED WITH HOLY BLOOD
finally something that makes some fucking sense. there’s no way my conjugations are correct but this literally feels like someone gave me sliced white bread and ketchup and told me to make spaghetti. i dont think i can do this for all of them.
welcome back. in the time since the last post, elden ring came out. most people have already finished it, but i’m saving it as a very special treat until after i finish several overdue projects. at the pace i’m going, this should only take me until the rest of my life. those who have been following me on twitter know there’s just been a constant parade of things to do that never seem to end. so, of course, my fist move is to shove aside all my responsibilities so i can write about bloodborne for a few hours. (future bea here: i guess i meant “days”)
i’ll start off with something to chew on for da real bloodborne fans out there (i’ll do my best to break it down for bloodborne neonates so it sounds the least incomprehensible): let’s talk about Formless Oedon! the pervert great one.
(future bea here: i dont know why this is 1500 words. what the fuck)
here’s formless oedon.
he’s formless. no file photo available. he is specifically described as a great one who is “lacking form, exists only in voice”. unsurprisingly, the non-entity is also a near total mystery. if you scratch the surface of arianna’s quest, we can at least infer some information and make an educated guess about his role in her pregnancy (hint: it’s exactly what you think) AND his role in the lives of other bloodborne women (hint: see prior).
the first we hear of oedon is when we pick up the “oedon tomb key” after throwing panicked molotovs at father gascoigne until he dies. the key tells us that “…the church is abandoned, and some say that the residents of Oedon have all gone mad“, which i guess might still be a shocking surprise if you’re that early in the game and have never experienced a horror story in your entire life. everyone in this game is completely nuts, that’s half of the game. anyway: the only occupant of the oedon chapel (at first) is the appropriately named “oedon chapel dweller”. we love the oedon chapel dweller; he’s a little sweetie pie. he looks like someone put dog shit on a plate and then threw a towel on it to cover it up but that’s not his fault. he’s just as god made him.
look at that smile!
oedon chapel is a certified safe zone thanks to his hard work. so come on down and bring all your pals! no, really, you can. it’s the only place where you can send npcs and they have a chance at surviving until the end game. they’re not gonna be in great shape, but they will be there. most of them.
the npcs you can bring to oedon chapel are the suspicious man, the old woman, adella the nun, arianna and, if you’re a dummy or a sadist, the suspicious beggar. the only ones of interest to us (and oedon) are adella and arianna, two young women with exceptional blood. adella is a “blood saint”, a woman who has been specifically groomed to produce blood that’s. i don’t know. it’s better, okay. arianna has vileblood.
oedon still makes himself at home in his own chapel; on a balcony you can find the “secret” +4 rune “formless oedon” just sitting around in a chest. the description reads:
Human or no, the oozing blood is a medium of the highest
grade, and the essence of the formless Great One, Oedon.
Both Oedon, and his inadvertent worshippers, surreptitiously
seek the precious blood.
(it means “secretly”, i didnt know.)
the other runes have to be obtained by killing specific npcs. the +1 is found by sendinggascoigne’s daughter to fauxsefka for experimentation. this is the daughter that gives you the music box. the music box shares the same awful melody during the fight with mergo’s wet nurse at the end of the game. mergo is presumed to be oedon’s child with the pthumerian queen (another woman with uncommon blood) due to the queen’s presence near the arena and mergo’s apparent formlessness. i still dont know why the music is the same. it can’t be because it’s a banger. c-can oedon be music as well as voice. i dont know. it’s scary.
anyway, the +2 and +5 runes are in pthumeru and pthumeru ihyllchalice dungeons. the final +3 is obtained from killing the oedon chapel dweller. nothing personal, kid.
now let’s talk about the other oedon rune: oedon writhe.
there are 3 version of oedon writhe. the first is found on adella the nun‘s corpse. the second is dropped by fauxsefka if you kill her before the blood moon. if you wait until after the blood moon, she drops a third umbilical cord with this description:
A great relic, also known as the Cord of the Eye. Every
infant Great One has this precursor to the umbilical cord.
Provost Willem sought the Cord in order to elevate his being and thoughts to those of a Great One, by lining his brain with eyes. The only choice, he knew, if man were to ever match Their greatness.
hmmm. i assume that fauxsefka stole this cord from willem so she could go solo, but now it also clearly reads as her motivations for her off-the-books experimentation. not sure that oedon was really into it though. i’m going to reasonably assume we don’t cut an umbilical cord out of her.
the final rune is in the pthumeru ihyll chalice dungeon. this is the level with both the queen and her screaming baby (presumed to be mergo). defeating her reveals the baby is stillborn. you know this bc you get it as a prize. whoopee.
so to recap v quickly:
formless oedon (for his bros): little girl, oedon chapel dweller, queen yharnam
oedon writhe (for his hos): yharnam again, adella, fauxsefka
“ahhhh!!” i can hear you screaming. “who cares!!” well: i think we can trace the lineage of arianna’s baby directly within the text of the game. like, of course we can reasonably assume it’s oedon because she’s just suddenly pregnant and no one in the chapel is going “holy shit did you see that monster impregnate arianna that was crazy”. also, when you kill her (non-formless, which is odd) child, the umbilical cord description reads:
Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a
surrogate, and Oedon, the formless Great One, is no
different. To think, it was corrupted blood that began this
but why arianna? what made her so different that it succeeded? it can’t JUST be the vileblood; after all, annalise is right there waiting for oedon to give her a fucked up baby eating her vampire cummies or whatever the fuck she’s doing with blood dregs. it’s impossible to say for sure, of course, but arianna did one thing that no one else in the game did.
the chapel dweller is not popular with his fellow yharnamites. every npc ignores him. except…
Ahh, kind hunter. Thank you.
So, that lady, you told’er about this place?
Well, she.. she actually talks to me!
Well, only now and then, and she don’t mince words…
But… she’s a kind one, I can tell.
A good woman! Hee hee…
in hindsight perhaps making small talk with the guy whose god exists as a voice was poor judgement. i choose to believe that oedon exists also as the music box song and that’s why he has a worshipper rune (oedon writhe) in gascoigne’s kid and why that horrendous song shows up during the mergo’s wet nurse fight. can a god make a song be so bad that it forms a living tumor shaped like a baby in your body? bloodborne posits: yes.
arianna goes crazy after giving birth. if you consumed 4 or more of her blood, you get the unusual dialogue “i’ve never been happier…” before she loads up dark_souls_laugh.wav. arianna’s baby is a celestial child, a presumed infant larvae of ebrietas, daughter of the cosmos. these little critters are first encountered in the experimentation hall the choir called “the orphanage”. the purpose of the orphanage appeared to involve caring for the celestial children (which are labeled “kin” by the game, judging by blood color and the damage they take) as well as taking human children and mutating them into celestial emissaries for god knows what reason. honestly, the text in-game seems to suggest they just did it because they could. fauxsefka, a choir member, was attempting to do something similar with the people you send her.
i’m not sure what they were doing in the orphanage but i don’t think it was on the level. i wonder if there’s literally only one “womb that will be blessed with child” when the blood moon occurs, and every great one has to rush to be the first one in like it’s a wal-mart on black friday. maybe the choir was trying to min-max their chances of getting that baby by making the finest wombs in the cosmos. if so, then it’s funny (?) they got undercut by someone who wants to kill their seafood platter-looking baby with a brick.
lastly, i wonder if there’s anything to be gleaned from oedon’s connection with quicksilver bullets and their propensity for slaughtering beasts. all of oedon’s runes up your quicksilver bullets in some capacity, with the item description for the bullets noting that “…ordinary bullets have no effect on beasts, and so Quicksilver Bullets, fused with the wielder’s own blood, must be employed“. the rosamarinus, a device that sprays quicksilver mist, has an interesting description in light of all this:
A special weapon used by the Choir, high-ranking members
of the Healing Church.
Sprays a cloud of sacred mist, created by using blood- imbued Quicksilver Bullets as a special medium.
Arias are heard wherever sacred mist is seen, proving that the mist is a heavenly blessing.
oedon’s chapel repels all beasts because of the anti-werewolf incense, but that same incense is not found in the other churches and cathedrals. very odd…much to think about. perhaps…a rivalry…?
i think that is literally everything there is to say about formless oedon.
dear fucking god.
let’s just get into it.
the pile of laundry on the right is master willem. or “provost” according to the art book and some item descriptions. while his contemporaries split off to form the healing church for blood based worship, willem remained steadfast on maintaining his eyes-on-the-inside doctrine as the headmaster of byrgenwerth. you can’t really tell from the game but apparently he is terminally yucky when you meet him.
it’s not cum
willem facts: his blood is a pale grey. he has mushrooms growing on his back for some reason. and if you punch him enough times barehanded he’ll t-pose with the chair and it’s very funny.
oh yeah, the mushrooms. when we meet willem he’s in bad shape. you find him in his lunarium after obtaining the key with the description:
In his final years, Master Willem was fond of the lookout,
and the rocking chair that he kept there for meditation.
In the end, it is said, he left his secret with the lake.
it reads like he’s super dead. granted, not a lot of people have been to byrgenwerth lately, but i think people would have noticed if the guy in the huge rocking chair with the gold pope outfit died for real. but he’s not dead, he’s right there. rocking away and groaning wordlessly while trying to communicate that he wants you to go jump in a lake.
i’m not sure if we’ve talked about “phantasms” yet so i’ll give a quick descriptor: they are invertebrate familiars of the old ones. they are largely parasites and slugs. they make up a majority of the special arcane items in the game and some of the materials for chalice dungeon entry. they can be found in the lecture building (the augur of ebrietas), the orphanage (blacksky eye, pearl slugs, and a call beyond), and byrgenwerth (pearl slugs and the empty phantasm shell). all places dedicated to the study of the great ones and the evolution of mankind.
what happened to the phantasm in the shell? why does the eye rune willem drops after you atomize him in one hit have all this blue slime on it?
and why does that slime look exactly like the “dubious liquid medicine” blue elixir?
not too sure that’s willem, frankly. i don’t even think it’s anything sapient. just something that moved into a bigger shell when the opportunity arose.
enough of that. let’s get started. the good news about writing all of that is that, maybe. just maybe. the actual entries will be reasonably short.
doll bleeds paleblood
“seek paleblood to transcend the hunt” turns out to be the easiest part of the game. here’s the speedrun:
get killed by the werewolf in iosefka’s clinic
pick up the hunter’s weapon of your choice.
hit the doll*
behold! a paleblood guy!
the palest blood in the game belongs to the doll. it is undeniably and unmistakably #fff white.
it is NOT cum
we already discussed the moon presence and its connection to the phrase/name “paleblood” so i guess we can’t be too surprised when the lady it made turns out to bleed white gunk. its a very literal name.
okay. i am very sorry to inform you now that ahead of time, i wrote a large blood color explainer that doesn’t elucidate anything and only serves to create more questions. but we’re going to go over it now because it does a good job of demonstrating some of the weirder conscious and deliberate aesthetic choices made by the fromsoftware team. the greater purpose of this in the grander scheme of things is to help explain how we differentiate great ones from their distant relatives, kin. it’s not easy. lots of arguing about this still in many places on the internet.
there are 3 kinds of enemy classes: null, beast and kin. these rules largely determine what kind of elemental damage to do against the target, but some very odd and specific choices were made regarding what is considered kin (lesser or manufactured beings not unlike great ones) and what is not. kin tend to have grey blood; humans, pthumerians, beasts and great ones (?!) have red blood. examples of unusual red blood choices include: rom’s body, the brain of mensis (well…it is a legitimate great one after all), ebrietas, moon presence, kos, and the orphan.
“kin” within the fiction ranges from man-made attempts to communicate/replicate the great ones to less great celestial beings. human-made kin were not only intended to facilitate audiences with great ones, but as stepping stones toward the goal of evolving humanity past its current potential. humans can be made kin if they “line their brain with eyes”. the archetypal kin have alien anatomy and arcane powers (for this reason they are often the arcane magic blue in hue). examples include celestial emissaries, the false flower centipede, the crawlers from the nightmare frontier, celestial larvae, and brain suckers.
unusual examples of kin include rom’s head (?), the non-boss amygdalas, winter lanterns and ebrietas again. thats right. she does both. so do all the fish people in the dlc village. i’ll mention that slime scholars “bleed” grey goo but it’s more likely just more goo since they are not counted as kin. they are very failed attempts to transcend…unlike master willem who as far as i know is not classified by the game as kin, but bleeds the same as them.
now, you might be thinking “hold on, what about mergo’s wet nurse? she’s a great one, right?” probably not? she doesn’t bleed anything she just emits like, a black smoke. this smoke is also emitted by the wandering nightmares (canonically, just scrap parts of the nightmare that are running around reality), the “mad ones” conjured by the witches of hemwick and the ghost ladies from cainhurst and the labyrinth.
*okay you might need a point of insight before you do this. in that case either make a beeline for the madman’s knowledge in the sewers or go look at the cleric beast.
“hail the nightmare”, translated
if it isn’t bad enough that bloodborne has lore in the latin lyrics of the boss music, the latin is also terrible and nearly incomprehensible
Chorus: Donum libas You pour out your gift offering,
Solo: Inficimur we are infected!
Chorus: Maledictus bestia O cursed beast;
Solo: Maledictus O cursed one,
Chorus: Pater, do si donas O Father, I am giving, if you are giving,
Solo: Inficimur we are infected!
Chorus: Argentum aquae in tenebris. quicksilver in the darkness.
Chorus: Mater, sanguine O Mother, from the blood
Redemptoris a se of the Redeemer, your people
Exiet, exiet, pleba tua sa—(unknown) shall come forth, shall come forth safe from themselves.
Chorus: Vale, vale,Farewell, farewell,
Solo: Inficimur We are infected!
Chorus: In tenebris aquae. waters in the darkness,
Solo: Maledictus O cursed one,
Chorus: Et argentum aquae. and quicksilver,
Solo: Inficimur we are infected!
Chorus: Et argentum aquae. and quicksilver.
Chorus: Sanguine! In the blood!
Chorus: Sanguine! In the blood!
it’s a good start but even as a layman i can tell there’s problems. like where the hell did the “o”s come from? while he intended to translate with the spirit of the song as he understood it in mind, i believe he has only a passing familiarity with bloodborne. i’m going to take a red marker to this with all the misplaced confidence of a youtube essayist.
Maledictus! We are cursed!
Donum libas! Pour your offering!
Inficimur! We are corrupted!
Maledictus bestia! Cursed beast!
Maledictus! We are cursed!
Mater, do si donas! Mother, I give if you give! (?)
Inficimur! We are infected!
Argentum aquae tenebris! Dark silver waters!
Ave Sanguine! Hail blood!
Redemptoris nostrae! Our Redeemer!
Exiete! Go forth!
Exiete! Flebatur (?) Go forth! something about weeping
Vale, vale! Farewell, farewell,
Inficimur! We are tainted
E tenebris aquae! From the dark waters!
Maledictus! We are cursed!
E argentum aquae. by the silver waters!
Inficimur! We are infected!
E argentum aquae. by the silver waters!
notes: “donum libas” seems a little undersold in the original; “libas” is like pouring something for a sacred ritual. like pouring one out for a homie. “do si donas” isn’t anything, so i must be hearing that wrong. “donas” is like “you gift” and not really “you give” (i think?). that line that’s impossible to hear is truely impossible to hear. i have no idea how that guy got “quicksilver” from “silver water”. i like it, but i don’t get where it came from.
frankly the least comprehensible parts are the silver water bits but that’s def what they are saying. idk where “in” came from in the original.
i have cleaned up a lot of this including finding the right words that made actual sense. i want you all to know i was just doing to copy and paste the other guy’s work, but now it’s 5 am and i’m still hacking away at this latin like i’m a little british preparatory school boy from 1918 and my test is tomorrow. i feel semi-confident with this. why did i do this.
oh my god, this one is easy for real. the dlc sends you back to the time of the old hunters and you can get their special pants as armor. the item description reads:
Old hunter trousers that protected countless hunters from the beasts in an older age.
A widespread belief of the period was that “beast blood crept up the right leg”, and this led to the double-wrapped belt.
there’s two other leg armors that feature the belts. one is the decorative version of the old hunter trousers which are “decorated with brass trinkets.”
At the time, some hunters believed that certain metals would ward off beast blood.
On a night of the hunt, it is no wonder that people would resort to superstition.
funnily enough, the right leg is the one your character slams all his blood vials into. i think i figured out why it creeps up the right leg, guys. the only other trousers with belts are djura’s ashen hunter trousers which are also covered in ash to “ward off blood”. taking no chances, very wise.
i cannot believe he’s wearing black shoes with brown pants. everything about him sucks.
i love imagining gehrman learning about germ theory and getting extremely pissed off.
you know, you might not have thought about it, but there’s another place where beasthood infects: the left arm.
the sullied bandage from your blood ministration places the IV in your left arm. the cleric beast has that one really big arm that everyone makes the masturbation jokes about. check out the sleeves of your hunter armors…they’re wrapped in bandages…! the generic huntsman enemies in central yharnam also have one really jacked up left arm where they have been, presumably, getting their blood drips.
no half of your body is safe from the beast scourge, apparently.
hunter’s rune depicts a hanging corpse
this is the hunter’s rune (or mark).
if you want to go back to the hunter’s dream, just think about this until you die.
the hunter’s mark has ancient origins. it appears in the deepest parts of the labyrinth, including yharnam’s…wedding altar? in her boss room.
this straight up looks like a youtube thumbnail
i’m not getting into marriage in this post. that’s for another iceberg tier and is probably another 50,000 words.
the gravestones in the labyrinths reveal the evolution of the symbol over time: (source)
it used to be much more obvious that it was depicting a hanging man. this method of exsanguination was clearly popular in parts of yharnam; for example, (sources: 123) they can be found in the labyrinth, the fishing village, and old yharnam.
it’s not explicit why this is done. the hunters mark in your inventory essentially kills you (the bold hunter marks, the finite version, do not) and the rune version marks one as a “hunter of hunters” (self-explanatory). i have two theories. this is:
exsanguination as a means of preventing the dead from rising (the locked coffins around yharnam imply this is a big problem lately). i feel like it would be pretty hard to come back from the dead once there’s no blood in you.
exsanguination for yummy blood mm tastey
madman’s knowledge is a slug
rom’s real eyes
rom is gross.
looking closely at her head reveals:
the many eyes dotting her head and back are human (this scans with the in-text suggestions that rom was an ascended student created by byrgenwerth somehow).
she has two primary eyes above her slit nose and leech mouth. forming a face.
rom is a dud. but one of the more impressive pupa they managed to cultivate (her smaller spider-lings and the garden of eyes fly enemies also have human eyes, hinting that they were once human and now are even more fail versions of rom). she was blessed with an arsenal of arcane powers that she can use to near effortlessly send you and mensis reject damien back to your ancestors, but they sort of completely destroyed her brain in the process of making her kafka-esque. when you first enter the boss arena, she doesn’t even react to you until you hit her and then she panics and teleports away (women are always doing this).
the original japanese name is more direct and calls her an idiot. “vacuous” is a good word for english, since it also reflects why she remained useful to the bygenwerth scholars: she’s good at hiding secrets and keeping undead queens you pilfered from a labyrinth hostage.
knowing that there are multiple amygdalas running around yharnam, this image…does something. i was going to say “explains ___” but i realized i had no idea what it was explaining. it explains nothing, it’s just an observable pattern that implies a tenuous connection and invites you to speculate on it. they got me again!
what did she mean by this
winter lanterns have the doll’s body
as described on the tin:
hey dude! i’m a faerie! let me in!
yes, it’s got the brain of mensis as a hat as well. this image doesn’t show the winter lantern’s legs, but they’re just multiple tentacles fashioned into “legs”. another very mysterious repeating motif. what the fuck are “winter lanterns” (we know where the name came from, long story)? were they trial runs for the working version of the doll? are they the remains of the patients in the research hall (they ARE in the dlc after all and seem to be entirely confined to the nightmare)? who is plopping these brains onto a porcelain version of gehrman’s sexual fantasy? are they just doing it to be random?
the world……may never know. good, we need something to argue about sometimes.
eileen and djura once dreamed
kind of a wet fart to end on; it’s simply not a very compelling revelation. maybe it is if you’re still under the impression that the dream is personalized in some way. to be fair, these are very easy to miss; you only hear the dialogs confirming these under certain conditions.
when you’re killed by eileen in the grand cathedral at the end of her quest, she says the following:
You still have dreams? Tell the little doll I said hello.
basically “tell your wife i said hi”. eileen please, im already dead.
djura has two lines of dialog about the hunter’s dream. the first is spoken during his friendly encounter, which you have to activate by sneaking in the back way.
I no longer dream, but I was once a hunter, too.
the second is another kill quote:
I should think you still have dreams?
Well, the next time you dream, give some thought…
the “thought” he’s referring to is the fact that beasts were once people. he’s still reeling from this discovery, somehow. i figured that out the millisecond i saw a werewolf and said “that’s a werewolf”. maybe djura blew his head up one too many times like greg kelly.
when djura realized he was slaughtering sick people (technically i guess, i don’t think they’re getting better dude), he quit the hunt and could no longer return to the dream. eileen became disheartened by the gradual, steady corruption of her former hunting partners from their excessive blood use so she took on the “hunter of hunter” mantle to assure them a dignified death. much more important than your stupid dream. it seems as though the vast majority of hunters kill and kill and kill endlessly until they are killed or driven mad or transformed. only a rare few break the cycle, however they choose to do so.
**NOTE: this was supposed to be a patreon exclusive, but patreon shit the bed as i was uploading it, making all the work i just did pointless. in order to salvage this, i’m just going to post this here for anyone to see. oh well. enjoy.
hi, i meant to write this yesterday but it was my boyfriend’s birthday so i spent it with him instead [everyone boos and throws solid objects at me] i know i know.
these characters are not going to be important enough to dedicate too much of your brain pan to. im not about to dump a bazillion new important randoms on the already big cast, but the process of creating characters within a fictional world involves conceptualizing what kind of people would organically emerge from those conditions. i end up having to create a bare bones back story in my head to feel like i can draw them correctly. i dont think that makes a lot of sense now that i think of it. i feel like people usually draw the character first and then come up with a story for them. i have to think of a character first and then think “what would this character look like, based on this dumb idea i had?”
this problem was amplified ten times when faced with having to populate maxine’s coven because the only people who would choose to practice a defunct means of (what is essentially) house cleaning would be the biggest freaks in the world. it’s like joining a club for churning butter.
anyway, i’ll tell you about the freaks from left to right, as they appeared in the most recent page:
note: most them dont have names and choosing them would just add another thing to agonize over forever until they’re perfect, so some will get nicknames.
name: rosa, after dona rosa who offers a really interesting look at an authentic limpia in ecuador
approx age: late 30s
practices?: white magic, as a curandera. less exotic than it sounds
bio: rosa is a butch lesbian who works as a dental assistant. a lot more people die there than you think. it’s always cheaper to have someone on already on staff who can take care of ghosts big and small, so, you know. it looks good on a resume. even if it means you have to close for the rest of the day to clean up all the unsterilized and unidentified liquids you spit all over a space where people lay with their mouths open.
her specialty: using cigarette smoke to purify a room. it’s called “multi-tasking”.
name: lorena, after this pep torres song. it fucking rips, it’s mexican surf rock
age: late teens
practices?: black magic. uses her own blood.
bio: lorena is all in on this witch shit. it’s more than just an aesthetic, which might be your first impression when she turns around and you see her wearing that one fucking “black flag” (or worse, the “unknown pleasures” album cover) shirt. oh great, you might think, another goth wanna-be here. every time school starts, these baby-bat kids start flooding in to your local morgues and funeral homes and covens looking to boost their credibility by hanging out with some real freaks…only to find an icy reception from an insular and secretive group that protects their own. eventually these posers drop out and find some other way to assert their credibility. lorena made the cut when she opened a vein for her fellow coven member with no hesitation. usually, they just, you know, wait to get to know you over a period of time. but whatever.
age: late 30s, early 40s. lookin good girl!
practices?: white magic, kitchen witchery, specifically.
bio: her mother was in the gottwin coven when maxine’s grandmother ran the joint. now, she’s the day to day operator of the coven (with valdo, but he defers to her when it comes to anything involving magic or the coven itself) since maxine only shows up when she has to or needs to. she has no interest in taking over the coven officially since it’s already hard enough to be a PTA member AND a witch AND a den mother. that’s too many hats and this one is pointy enough.
she found witchcraft to be a less expensive, in the long run, way to keep the house clean of supernatural contamination. much in the same way that clipping coupons is good value even if it takes time to do it.
age: late teens
practices: white magic, not well. trying her best.
bio: jeremy’s girlfriend. going to college and uses the coven as an excuse to see her boyfriend, who up until very recently was spending a lot of time working shitty jobs. brace face late in life. not really taking this too seriously but valdo likes her and thinks she’s a good kid.
name: “gordon”. as in freeman. read on.
practices: he does not.
bio: a grad student studying covens and their functions in a modern society, he has been reluctantly allowed to hover and observe as long as his questions are not intrusive, he doesn’t take photos or video and he does not identify anyone in the coven. so far, has kept this up, possibly out of direct fear of retaliation from either valdo or maxine. as a note: every single grad student on planet earth looks like a gordon freeman clone. it’s fucked up and wrong and we should stop tolerating it.
name: “penny” for penanggalan
age: died in her late 20s, currently tipping 40 years old.
bio: killed in a freak car power window accident, penny is the daughter of an immigrant mother/former coven member. having been brought to coven meetings as a child, penny feels a sense of familial comfort among those whom she grew up with and frequently visits to spend time people she ultimately feels the most comfortable with, despite her upward mobility in life. except uh, sometimes she does have to go upstairs if someone starts experimenting with an extermination technique. its not like they’ll accidentally exterminate her, but it wont feel good and she will make that known. studied hard and became a lawyer, much to her mother’s surprise and joy. she does not represent maxine often due to her being “career poison”.
age: early 80s
practices: oh, a little of this. a little of that.
bio: albert is a hobbyist witch who has spent a long and storied career studying, discovering and fine-tuning some spells from difficult to decipher grimoires. while this never lead to any mind-blowing discoveries, he did make some significant enough to have his name appear in a few research papers and books. albert is one of those guys who will be like “ah, i can use this skill i learned from when i tamed lions in the circus when i deserted the french legion!” and you just have to take his word for it that he probably did that at some point…but its impossible to know if he’s bullshitting or not. legally blind. dont feel too sorry for him, he looked at a lunar eclipse.
“bea dont you mean solar eclipse” no i do not!!! you will read more in the coming pages about the MOON. im annoyed that lunar magic is already a thing that exists but everyone will think im just cribbing bloodborne. a hell of my own making.
currently attempting to make a major discovery before he dies by unlocking the secrets of alchemy using forbidden black magics. the thing is, alchemy is not real. but he’ll show them when he’s swimming in his scrooge mcduck gold vault
name: uh…m-mary? no that’s not it. it’s like uhh, japanese? shit. juri? maybe it was juri. ayami? wait! asami!…right?
age: uh did anyone get this from her? i dont think we asked
practices: definitely black magic.
bio: he’ll be sorry.
penny again. moving on.
age: just a little baby…
practices: only with adult supervision
bio: some kids are just born weird and develop an affinity for things that make absolutely no sense to their befuddled parents. these children might also have a difficult time connecting with other children without beating the absolute fucking shit out of them with their patented HULK HANDS. fatima’s parents are dealing with a certified weird child who has developed an all consuming interest in something that does not have an after school program or any mainstream means of indulging. plus it’s threatening to make her even MORE socially awkward than she already is; who wants to be friends with the kid obsessed with butter churning? valdo, having been a family friend since they moved into town (he’s friends with EVERYONE its SO annoying to jack and maxine) offered to babysit on coven nights. the diversity of mostly successful weirdos in the coven did much to assure fatima’s parents that she was in good hands. maxine had not attended that day. things might have been different if she had.
that’s all for now. there are some not pictured who are joke characters or just haven’t shown up yet. such as:
– a ghost learning white magic to sate his sexual masochism
-a living sex worker learning for the same reason, but as a niche dominatrix.
-a living woman who has “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” and claims to feels pain from the electro-magnetic pulse bombs used in commercial ghost extermination. this is not a thing.
-a man who has emblazoned his hat with the runes ᛚᛗ (WOMEN) ᚾ (NEED)ᛗ (SELF) / ᛚᚢ (WATER BEAST [bountiful]) ᛁᛈ (TERROR) ᛗ (SELF)
-mervin, from the municipal government
well. ill see you soon. i have a page to draw and movie reviews to do. i finally thought of an angle for one of them. it was struggling with how to tackle it bc there was something i wanted to do with it but the framing of it all wasn’t coming together. this is incomprehensible, sorry. well. good night