Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Holiday Singalong 2018


The 8th annual Christmath parody, "Sequenced", can be found at this link.


Before this past weekend, I hadn't done any drawing for over 6 months. There's been a few reasons for that.

(1) The most recent post here (the one ending Series 9) went up the same day my daughter was born. (Obviously I had it queued up in advance; the little one was induced and arrived in the wee hours of the morning.) So the new family dynamic's been taking up a lot of my time.

(2) My serial site also finished its reruns late that June, and thus what time I've had for writing has been focussed there, cranking out a new part every two weeks based on audience votes. (Four votes is about average, if you want to feel like your vote matters somewhere.) Another priority has been putting effort into "Time Untied", the sequel time travel story for that site, in particular this past November. Oh, and I contribute monthly to The Time Travel Nexus.

(3) I got a Wacom tablet as a gift last May (along with "Painter Essentials 6"), and thought I might start going digital. But my Mac OS hadn't been updated, to the point where even trying to download the current version wouldn't install, and of course it was incompatible with said tablet. Which was another thing to deal with.

I got that last sorted out in mid-September... which incidentally broke "Final Cut Express", so doing videos is going to be problematic going forwards. Also, September was when I was back at work, and so I had no time to play around. I FINALLY started tooling about with it only two days ago, Dec 23rd. I think I have a sense, but obviously ended up hand-drawing and scanning for this update (on the 23rd/24th), as per my usual.

So that's me and my comic, how're things with you?

It's worth mentioning that I'd actually had a couple of students involved with the school holiday assembly ask if I'd be performing again this year, and a few other students make similar inquiries later on. I said I would, and FWIW this year's song parody was mostly completed on Sunday, December 16. I got positive feedback after the fact too. I guess the parody is entrenched in tradition now.

Will there be any updates in 2019? I honestly don't know. I might try doing a few one-shot panel updates. A lot of this stuff does depend on whether there's actual interest out there for it (you'll notice I stopped doing videos even before my new OS broke "Final Cut Express"). So let me know. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and hope you have a wonderful New Year.

Here's a rundown of the past 8 years, with the newest song as the last link:

(2011) "Decimal" (tune of "Deck the Hall")
One of my earlier math parodies. Not much to say about it.

(2012) "A Squared Song" (tune of "Jingle Bells")
The year of my most prolific songwriting, and the first one I performed at a school assembly.

(2013) "O Factor Tree" (tune of "O Christmas Tree")
Also one performed at an assembly. Again, not much to say.

(2014) "Polar Plot" (tune of "Let It Go")
My web serial had folded by this point, but I went all out for the performance. Created a video to go along with both versions of the tune. As of today, four years later, the Idina Menzel version (played at the assembly) has managed 94 views on YouTube.

(2015) "Like a Bell" (tune of Pachelbel's Canon)
My web comic had stared up by then. The assembly was scaling back though, I would have been the only video performance, so I tried without a video. It didn't go that great; bad year to experiment. Someone (a teacher?) prompted people to wave phones back and forth though, so that made it into the video when I did finish it. It presently has 53 views.

(2016) "Do We Have a Square Here?" (tune of "Do You Hear What I Hear?")
I'd largely shied away from religious themed music, but I was on leave from teaching, so gave it a try. No performance (I did go back to the school to watch the assembly) but there was a video, which presently has 36 views.

(2017) "Triangles Rock" (tune of "Jingle Bell Rock")
I was coming off a comic hiatus in part due to medical leave. A colleague asked me if I was doing a performance, and I tentatively put my name forward. I printed out a bunch of lyric sheets this time (no video made at all), and it went well enough to get a mention in the Yearbook.

*(2018)* "Sequenced" (tune of "Sleigh Ride")
I talked about this one above. Hard to believe it's been eight years. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, 18 June 2018

S9.340 - Light Switch

This is the end of Series 9... and the last strip for an undetermined amount of time. That's been the plan since mid-April, because my wife is about to/has given birth, so my priorities are 'switching'. Plus, I got a wacom tablet for my birthday, so maybe if/when I return I'll have gone digital.
Very tentative plan might be a plot in Fractal City. Let me know if there's any interest in that. Or any at all.

Thanks for reading! Peace out.


QELLY: I think we’ve reached a turning point.
QEXPONA: I have none of those.
QSINE: We need processing time.
GAMMA: I could give CS a call.
ROOT: Where are we all headed?
PARA: I’m not sure even TBTP know.
CANTOR: I suspect there will be puns.
SLOPE: Are you trying to get a rise out of me?

Monday, 4 June 2018

S9.339 - One Good Turn

Yes, it’s actually been a deliberate plot point to never draw the characters in profile. Given the name of Series 9 (recall "volution" at the index), and me mentioning that fact in the CTP Discord chat last February, this seemed a good enough time for that revelation. Almost as if I planned it.


QLYN: We’ve finally cracked our code. Observe!
LYN (standing vertical)
LYN (vanishes)
Crowd: ‘What?’ ‘She’s GONE.’ ‘Invisible!’ ‘It’s mirrors...’
LYN (back): It’s a revolution in two dimensional thinking.
MAUD: Let me try that.
MAUD (in profile): ...I hurt something.
QCOTAN: Ahh, a cyclops!

Monday, 21 May 2018

S9.338 - Loose Change

I hope Elly does change it, her headpiece is a pain to draw. So, can you think of any different outfits for the cast?
Also, QQuinn wasn't lying when she said she didn't steal anything... has anyone been suspicious of CanTor since Comic #48?


ELLY: Know what I’ve concluded in the weeks since my return?
CANTOR: Do tell.
ELLY: You put the flaw in Versine’s virus. You got ArcSin’s science stuff to QQuinn, who cured it. You gave Gamma the tourism idea too. CanTor, you're not as innocent as you look.
CANTOR: Nice theories. No proof.
ELLY: That’s why I came to you first. What are you up to, Fractal?
CANTOR: I’m quietly pushing for math to change. Is that so wrong?
ELLY: I have considered changing my hairband.

Monday, 7 May 2018

S9.337 - Coney High Land

The Uncertainty Cone is probably more interesting than the pine cone or traffic cone. Meanwhile, the interesting things you discover as you research comics: A UK Woman has an extra cone cell in her eyes.


HYPER: Do the magic abilities Sigma gives us count as powers? Most ‘tans can’t even interface.
QT: Doubt it. If Nisano’s science doesn’t count, Sigma’s magic doesn’t either.
PARAB: You did once control a cone by yourself.
HYPER: True. Could I gain power over ice cream next? Or cone cells?
PARAB: How about a pine? Traffic? Uncertainty?
HYPER: I would smack you if I could.

Monday, 23 April 2018

S9.336 - Compose Yourself

The notation "f o g" is used for the composition of two functions. ArcCos isn't kidding either, if I start blending functions together, we'll lose half the cast.
Also, we're back! And this is post #300 to the blog! And Angelic Empress gave the comic a RealTime Reaction, so check that out. Current plan is something here every two weeks. Oh, and if you're reading this via archives, you may have missed the Easter Art Special.


COUNT VON BEAT: Thanks for the hospitality. We may come back again.
ARCCOS: Wonderful.
ARCCOS: By the way, do you know anything about personifications gaining powers?
AYEL YEW: CompSci once built mechs. They combine into an adder.
ARCCOS: Anything less artificial?
COUNT VON BEAT: Some of us in music are gifted in composition.
ARCCOS: Math could get lost in that f o g.

Monday, 2 April 2018

S9.335b - Art Aside Easter 2018

Happy Easter!

Today's art is courtesy of an initiative on the StArt Faire Discord channel from back in February. Artists would decorate one half of an egg (or heart) and then the results would be combined. On the right, I elected to have Sine (as president), Versine (as helper/nemesis, either holding the paint or throwing it) and Para (because bunny).

On the left are Tori, Terry and Thea, characters from Tenor's comic: "My Dad is a Magical Girl". You can check that out in StArt Faire, or where it's mirrored on Tapas. (Really, check it out - what if parents knew about what their daughters did? FWIW, Tenor's a parent too.)

As far as updates for this comic go, I may try for every other week? It's weird, this lack of motivation is rather a new thing for me. Has the last six years meant anything? Anyway, as always, thanks for reading.

Monday, 19 March 2018

S9.335 - Spiritual Plane

A steppe being a large, flat, grassland plain (it’s where Maud’s step-sister lives) while they’re a plane, in spirit. More on Hyper’s ZPM at that link (and Stargate’s ZPM there). Thanks to John Golden for the shortest distance comment.

You may have noticed the lack of an update last week. I’m struggling a bit to close off Series 9 properly, plus I want to devote efforts to my serial “Time Untied” before our child is born in June. So updates will be a bit random going forward.


QLYN: Found anything?
LYN: Maybe. I’ve realized our standard form, x - y = 0, is a plane equation.
QLYN: With a z-coefficient of zero. Nice.
LYN: Our Hyper once had a Z-Axis Points Module. That’s what created ParaB. So with Hyper’s notes...
QLYN: We could find the shortest distance to Hyper, if we need her help.
LYN: Might be safer to keep reading up on planes.
QLYN: Sure, one steppe at a time.

Monday, 5 March 2018

S9.334 - Re:Search

Take a look, it's in a book. Though if you have any thoughts on hidden abilities for the various math equations, I'm listening.


PARA: Oh, wait. I did gain flight! ... By almost dying.
QELLY: Elly meditated for her power change.
ARCTAN: Maybe it’s different for everyone.
GAMMA: What will you try then?
 ('Tans look at each other)
QLYN: I’ll go look in books.
GAMMA: Novel idea.

Monday, 26 February 2018

S9.333 - Power Failure

I honestly don’t remember if I’ve used the derivative joke before, but it’s likely. Feel free to refresh my memory.


TESSIE: Sure, we can make something for you. Arts also does crafts.
GAMMA: Thanks!
GAMMA: What’s happening here?
QELLY: Elly says we can gain powers like her.
QLYN: A power-up would make me into Para. It’s the virus all over again.
GAMMA: Our plot’s become derivative?
ARCTAN: No, only our puns.

Monday, 19 February 2018

S9.332 - Faire Game

Today's comic is a shout-out to topics in StArt Faire's "Comic Tea Party" on Discord last Thursday. In case you thought I was working with a buffer. If you missed it, you can see a transcript here. (I'm still open to suggestion.)


QELLY (thinks): Wait... I sense future echoes. How is that even possible?
ELLY: Our history holds the key to our future. Join me.
QELLY: Pffft. The real shipping isn't us, it's Expona with herself.
ELLY: ...What?
QELLY: Shouldn’t our future become formulaic? With added dimensionality?
ELLY: You're missing my points.
QELLY: Oh, Ayel gave me a CompSci soda. Have a C-Plus plus.

Monday, 12 February 2018

S9.331 - Home Economics

Ever feel like no matter how much promotion you do, people only find you through random chance? Anyway, lemmas, Slope’s hunger and tourism all came together nicely at last. Last reminder about StArt Faire's Discord Chat this Thursday, 8pm EST!
By the way, Maud's serving Curl-E fries.


QLOGAN: What’s with all the tourists?
QSINE: We thought your group brought them here.
COUNT_B: That Slope girl seemed to be obsessing about the food you had in math. We thought we’d check the place out, and found all this.
QSINE: We do make a great lemma meringue pi.
COUNT_B: Nice myth about alcohol proofs.

Monday, 5 February 2018

S9.330 - Be Seeing You

There's the mouse rollover message, and then the fact that if GPS were looking at browser history, Latti would be making a more obvious reference to the latest ‘Doctor Who’ special.
(A reminder that the StArt Faire Discord channel will be talking about Any ~Qs on Feb 15th!)


QLOGAN: Good work, Rhys. GPS proved himself, so we’re free.
RHYS: I’m good at more than making tea.
ELLY: Let’s return to math. Maybe I can help other tans to evolve like me.
SIGNUM: You sure you can leave geography?
ELLY: Yeah. I even gave GPS a new super visor.
GPS (wearing Visor): Check out my new add visory services.
LATTI: I love it. Never take it off.

Monday, 29 January 2018

S9.329 - O-Car-In-A Ditch

"Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" is a long way to go for this joke. Hope you felt it was worth the journey.

FYI, if you only click on "next", you would have missed last week's Art Aside, with thanks to those on StArt Faire's Discord server. Related, StArt Faire is doing a Comic Awards Show Feb 10th (2pm EST) and looking at Any ~Qs Feb 15th (8pm EST). Mark your calendars.


RHYS: Listen, we only want our friends back.
GPS: You listen. If you leave now, I’ll see that you get them.
QCUBI: What if we don't leave?
GPS: Watch out. You can’t ditch me. I’ll nag you constantly.
GPS: I’ll stay by your side saying ‘Hey, Listen!’
SLOPE: We could hide?
GPS: I’d find you.
GPS: I have a Navi gate ability.
RHYS: I see his link. We should go.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

S9.328b - Art Aside ParaB

It's a Thursday at the end of the month! Granted, the last Art Aside we had then was at the end of May 2017, but whatever. Recently, I've been participating in weekly comic chats on the StArt Faire Discord channel. This included sign ups for a Holiday Swap in December, for drawing the art of other original characters. I suggested that whoever got me draw one of the Conics, or Logan, should a male be preferred.

Check out the cool drawing of ParaB ice skating, by Ellie!

ParaB by Elliebot

So great! (I think the green gloves and leggings are a nice touch, given her dress. What about you?) Ellie even did a preliminary sketch of ParaB in another pose, which she shared with me as well:

ParaB sketch by EllieBot

You can check out more of Ellie's work at "The Tower". As for me, I drew characters from the comic "My Friends in Distantland", by Jen, and you can see her series at that link. Trust me, this image makes more sense when you have the context of her webcomic:

Cathryn and Van Von Fang

Thanks for checking out another Art Aside. Feel free to comment down below if there's other characters you want to see in the future. Also, if you haven't seen the new 2018 banner for the Facebook Page yet, go have a look (and maybe even like the page while you're there).

Next update should go Monday. I really should work on having a buffer, maybe.

Monday, 22 January 2018

S9.328 - Wait a Spell

The "protec" and "attac" thing is another meme. I should stop overusing those. The better wordplay is on trying to angle late.


SLOPE (to Rhys): He protects.
CUBI (to Rhys): But he also attacks.
RHYS: Oh dear.
GPS: Hey, listen. My hypnotic tones will convince you to turn around.
GPS: Wrong turn. Wrong turn. Wrong turn.
(Slope, Rhys and Cubi all look puzzled)
GPS: Hold on, let me triangulate.
EARTH-TAN: GPS, maybe you should try angle early?

Monday, 15 January 2018

S9.327 - Left Out

Earth-Chan is popular these days, so here's a variation. I'm not sure whether she lives in Geography and visits Science, or vice versa. Feel free to offer up an opinion.


RHYS (to Cubi): Signum said we go this way. Knock out anyone who interferes.
EARTH-TAN: Why this attack?
CUBI: Unauthorized detainment. And your use of the term ‘graphy’.
EARTH-TAN: Well, geography has a superhero. It's Super...
GPS: What a shocking left turn.

Monday, 8 January 2018

S9.326 - Sticky Situation

Math-on-a-Stick is an annual Minnesota State Fair event. Shoutout to @Trianglemancsd for his involvement there - and on Twitter he was also Tangent last Halloween!
If you came here direct from the last comic, you may have missed the Halloween and Christmas posts for 2017. There was also an educational comic roundup. I'm hoping to have regular updates again going forwards.

(Image shot of... fairgrounds?)
QSINE: It’s no math-on-a-stick, but we can amuse tourists.
CANTOR: I’m impressed. Good work.
QPARA (background): Don't dox me!
QSINE: Hopefully QLogan’s crew will bring someone here to see it.
ARCCOS: I’m sure that’s working out.
RHYS: (to Slope) Just heard we’re at war with geography. Take the gazebo in, to get our people back.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Comic Roundup

Last year (2017), Ben Orlin of "Math with Bad Drawings" did a reader survey. One of the questions he asked was “What other web site do you consider most similar to ‘Math with Bad Drawings’”. You can find the results of that question posted at his site. Anything that got less then three mentions was relegated to itemized lists at the bottom, which is where this post of mine comes in.

After 6+ years of personifying mathematics, first as a serial ("light novel"), then as a webcomic, it's felt like an uphill battle to find any sort of audience at all. To the point where I've given up multiple times. Only to return.

Thing is, I'm sure I'm not the only one fighting to be seen by anyone, ANYONE at all. So, I figured, to start 2018, I'd offer a window into some of the other people out there trying to make a go of funny "educational-style" webcomics. Maybe you'll find something you like out of the following list.

Of course, if you're inclined to stick around after, I've also got a huge backlog of talking parabola bunnies here.


Here's the websites that were directly compared to Ben Orlin's blog (and had two or less mentions), which he listed under the category "webcomics". There's some I already knew about, but some I didn't, so you get the full set. Items in quotation marks were taken from the websites' own "about" page. Almost all of them are drawn in single panel or 4-panel style.

1. Indexed
“A little project that lets me make fun of some things and sense of others.” Currently running (since 2006). Left handed artist. Math related.

“A comic drawn by Courtney Gibbons ... updated for 3 or so years before fizzling out. The archives remain for your viewing pleasure.” Began 2006, and despite ending in 2012, it has a few 2017 updates. Math related.

“A webcomic ... that is all.” alternately described as “Strip cartoon about math, science, and geek culture.” Nebulous beginnings. Existed in 2010, it stopped updating in 2014.

“A webcomic focusing on all shades of life, from science to literature, politics to sports, romance to religion, and everything else in between.” Currently running daily (since 2008).

By Matthew Inman, with a Facebook page having 4 million likes. Doesn't really need the publicity, but it was listed. Currently running (since 2009).

“A philosophy comic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also jokes.” Also pretty popular, Facebook page has 375k likes. Currently running (since 2013).

Book compilation is described as “an illustrated exploration of creativity”. Facebook page has 588k likes. Currently running (since 2009).

“Began as an illustrated travel blog, a way to record my global bicycle adventures in comic form.” Currently running (since 2014, began on blog).

“I teach history and when I teach I like to doodle on the whiteboard.” Currently running (since 2013).

“Cartoons and illustrations on wild animals; wildlife, environment and nature conservation.” Currently running (since 2009).

“Comic strip about a guy who lives on a bicycle and works at the Kickstand Cyclery.” Sporadic updates since 2012 after starting (daily) in 2008.


Those above websites themselves had some links going out, which seemed to match the tone of "comics that educate". Plus there's a few I know of that haven't been mentioned yet. So here's a section for those one degree separated from Ben Orlin.

12. 909Sickle.

“My hub for things intended to entertain, inspire, or possibly even induce laughter.” Tech/Science related. Currently running (since 2008).

13. (x, why?).
“A webcomic of math humour, school life and general geekiness.” Math related, with puns. Some anthropomorphizing of numbers/shapes. Currently running (since 2006).

“A webcomic focusing on a group of physics graduate students in a fictional version of Oklahoma.” Has time travel. Pretty sure it’s currently running (since 2012).

“Cultivating curiosity and appreciation for science and nature one giggle at a time.” Currently running (since 2009).

History comics. Started around 2007, seemed to go on hiatus last year as the author does other projects.

Science and nature cartoons. Currently running (existed in 2013, not sure as to start).

A comic about Li and her cat Shoelace. Currently running (since 2009).

Also, Joseph Nebus reads the comics (as in ones you'd see in newspapers) and highlights neat math details on a regular basis. Check that out too.


And then, of course, there's this site. Any ~Qs, formerly Taylor's Polynomials. Began in July 2011, now at entry #325. Facebook page with 33 likes. My comic from October has 8 page views total. My pinned Twitter page from April has 0 retweets. This post may not be much of a signal boost for anyone. ^^;

My comics are returning next week. Because even though others have managed a much greater reception in less time, there's also others who have been at this much longer than I have, who are still at it. Might as well keep falling forwards.

Know of a great hidden gem out there that I missed? Feel free to mention it in the comments, someone may thank you for it. As always, thank you for reading.