Wii Jerk

Artist's Comments:
I have a Wii, and it is good.
I recently picked up a copy of Mario Party 8. There is a game wherein
you move the controller in a violent masturbatory manner in order to
build up pressure in each characters' can of coke. When time is up, or
the characters are satisfied, I'm not sure which, the cans explode
and the persons whose... fizz... goes the farthest is declared the
winner. The funny almost wrote itself. After running the idea past
the Pontiff, I threw this little number together. Enjoy.

Reverend's Comments:
I had pretty much given up on game systems until Flynn let me try the Wii. It's fun, and funny to watch, as even dedicated non-gamers like G-Fresh and the British Ambassador become spastic flailers when you hand them the nunchucks.

Speaking of the British Ambassador, today is her Birthday! As long as they keep sending us diplomats like her, the Black Vatican will stay on good terms with Great Britain (and it doesn't hurt that Blair is out, either...). Send her Birthday wishes, and check out Flynn's Blog for a wallpaper that gives a glimpse of the sexy she brings to the Black Vatican every day (and I get to live with her!).

Since we're on the topic of my living arrangements, this would also be a good time for you all to go check out the Flock Hall 2.0 blog (would you look at that seamless segue - it's like I'm a trained writer or something...). Today's entree is Squid, served in bite-sized chunks...

While I am flogging other blogs, I might as well help out Doktor Smith too (another flawless transition - damn I'm good.). Currently, the good Doktor needs advice on glasses - go there and vote for your favorites to help him look smooth - and anybody who votes for those thick emo frames is going to get one of my size 12s broken off in their ass.

The Hopeless Romantic gave a link (on his PG rated blog) to this rating service... so I submitted my blog for a rating. I got this...

Online Dating

Due to the presence of the following words:
* gay (3x)
* hell (2x)
* vulva (1x)

Two things immediately struck me. First, I am pissed that I only got an R rating. This is the blog of His Sinfulness himself, for fuck's sake! Have I gotten too cuddly of late? Is there not enough hardcore lobster pr0n, thinly veiled references to hot alter boi one night stands, and cybernetic bodies providing life support for genetically enhanced vaginas? Where's my XXX rating, goddamn it?! Are you not entertained?!

Secondly, why does the word "gay" merit an R rating? The stupid bot has no idea if I am simply referring to someone who is happy, gleeful, and filled with the joy of life, or describing the colors of spring flowers, but the assumption is that I am referring to sexual orientation. It really makes my cassock chafe that any mention of an orientation other than hetero gets you an R rating. I doubt the word "straight" would bump your rating up.

Fucking bullshit, I say.

After that rant, I tried again.

Online Dating

That's a liitle better, I suppose...

Black Vatican #12

Artist's comments:
In this comic, I am especially happy with the first frame. The blurring I put on the back BCPs gave a solid feeling of atmospheric perspective, which is good because I wasn't sure how to accomplish that look with just the solid colors that I use to shade the characters. The last frame in this comic was tossed in well after the comic script was completed. Linus and I had talked about dividing the comic into chapters, and this comic being the last in the introductory series seemed the best place. We talked over a few ideas, and I ended up putting together a kind of 2001 door-of-light cliffhanger. It took some doing; the original frame had a close up of Flynn with the light in his face, but I had some trouble getting it to look just right. Luckily, Linus had the solution, and we ended up using a Neo from the second Matrix look, which I'm very pleased with.

The next few comics will be current events and cover art as we prep for Chapter 1, and we have just recorded a special Pod Cast of the Pope and I discussing how far we've come. In the meantime I want to know what you guys thought of chapter 0...
Comments Go Go Go!

Reverend's Comments:
Chapter 0 has been a growth experience. Like Flynn's hair, the comic is taking on a life of its own...

As for the podcast, I am afraid of what will make it into the final cut. Our conversation ranged from how the comic gets made to cross-dressing in Islam to UFC fighting... I hope Flynn is judicious with his editing.

Strict Machine

If you have some time to kill, go to YouTube, search for contact juggling, and be amazed.

The Outcome (for Mayren)

The struggle was titanic. The earth shook, the air was rent with screams of agony, and wildlife ran to higher ground. At times, both of the gloved gladiators stood and gasped for air for a moment, then returned to the fight with renewed vigor. When two elemental forces such as these collide, there are rarely any survivors...

The long awaited handball match between Flynn and HSBP took place Tuesday at the Half-Acre Gym on the campus of the University of Wyoming. Flynn put up a valiant effort, but the Black Pope successfully defended his winning streak. His Sinfulness remains undefeated in singles in 2007.

In keeping with tradition, Flynn did take a nasty turn-around shot DIRECTLY IN THE EYE. It was so hard that after hitting him with a loud crack, it bounced all the way to the ceiling! Luckily he was wearing goggles this time, and although it was scary for a second, he was fine.

Friday afternoon, His Sinfulness faces off with Vanilla Fresh, and anyone else who wants to have a go. Are you the one who can end his winning streak?

Do ya feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?

Black Vatican #11

Artist's Comments:
This comic was originally meant to be posted after the final strip of Flynn's Lab (which will be up later this week) but after some thought I talked the good Reverend into reversing the order. The next comic will mark the end of chapter one - with a cliffhanger.

Now, about the art... This was another one of those that took more time in character design than usual. I wanted to make sure that the Alter Boi was just right for her debut, and I'm pretty pleased with how it came out. I think that the comic's style is coming more easily now, which means it can only get better from here.

The Reverend's Comments:

When we were discussing characters for the Black Vatican web comic, I knew that I wanted a character who could be a springboard for exploring GLBT issues. I also wanted someone in the Black Vatican who would be young enough to explain to HSBP exactly what those "damn kids" out there were doing, and why. I also wanted a little protege for Nerdy, and Flynn suggested that we needed something cute and fuzzy...

Playing all those roles and more, we give you the Alter Boi - beloved left hand of the Black Pope, pathologically afraid of wookies, and the primary reason we can't have nice things. Like many BV characters, Alter Boi is based on a real person, but we left out Squid's common sense and grace - which is hard to imagine. Also, Alter Boi is much more sexually adventurous than Squid; for example, the real Squid would never get busy with a boy in her bedroom for hours while the rest of the Flock was all in the next room, or just hook up with some random lesbian from out of town on Jim's pull-out couch. Except for that one time...

White Chocolate

...is neither white, nor chocolate; discuss.

(Where is the comic, Linus?)

Since this came up the other day, I thought I'd do some research. Here is what wiki has to say...

(I don't care about wiki - where's the comic?)

"Since white chocolate contains neither cocoa solids nor chocolate liquor (cocoa mass), it does not meet the standard to be marketed as chocolate in many countries. Regulations also govern what may be marketed as "white chocolate": In the United States, since 2004, white chocolate must be at least 20% cocoa butter (by weight), at least 14% total milk solids, and less than 55% sugar or other sweeteners. Before this date, U.S. firms required temporary marketing permits to sell white chocolate. The European Union has adopted similar standards: white chocolate needs to contain not less than 20% cocoa butter and not less than 14% dry milk solids.

Some "white chocolate", known as confectioner's coating or summer coating, is made from inexpensive solid or hydrogenated vegetable fats, and as such, is not at all derived from cocoa. These preparations may actually be white in color (in contrast to white chocolate's ivory shade) and will lack cocoa butter's flavor."

Having just read the above, you might well ask, "Where the fuck is the comic, Linus?"

Did I mention that "white chocolate was first made in Switzerland after World War I? Hebert's Candies was the first to produce white chocolate in the United States, having seen the product made in Europe just one year earlier."

Fascinating, no?

A New Toy

Long time readers will know that I have the attention span of a hyperactive ferret and a penchant for toys that can maim and/or kill. When I acquire a new hobby, I usually bore everyone with it until they either scream at me to stop talking about it, or they try it themselves out of self-defense.

Thus, it is my fault that Big Gay Jim and Squid have hundreds of dollars worth of kites. It is my fault that Squid, Zeus, Nerdy, and Pink Princess have hundreds of dollars worth of boomerangs. It is my fault that just about every resident of Flock Hall has at one time or another had a welt on their sword arm from smatchet fights in the long hallway.

But THIS time, the new hobby is NOT. MY. FAULT.

Big Gay Jim spins poi. He has the soft practice kind, the sock kind, the flag kind, the kind with tails, and the "I'm rolling soooo hard" flashing LED kind. I have watched him spin quite a bit - it's very cool, especially when it's dark and you're a bit too intoxicated to do anything but watch. I've even given then a spin myself, with mixed results. I have had some success, as much Florentine sword work transfers to poi nicely. Unfortunately, poi seemed to lack a crucial component of any hobby that is likely to addict me - it seems almost impossible to actually kill yourself doing it. Sure, I cracked myself in the nuts a few times, and I know you can scorch yourself pretty badly with fire poi, but I really need the possibility of trauma leading to death in order for it to be truly fun in my eyes.

Enter the meteor.

While looking at poi with KT, I stumbled upon it. The meteor, or as some sites call it, meteor poi, is another flexible, spinning toy. It has its origins in the Chinese weapons known as the rope dart and meteor hammer. The rope dart is just as you might guess - a metal dart with a rope attached to it for retrieval and whipping attacks. The meteor hammer is it's big brother; a metal weight on up to 5 meters of rope or chain, made for smashing atacks. When wielded properly it can crack an opponent's skull. Of course, it can also fuck up the wielder quite nicely - hence my interest.

I looked for videos and found a few (all praise YouTube). After seeing this one, I knew I had to try it.

As you can see, the fun version of today is actually a double-ended meteor hammer about 6-8 feet in length. It combines the techniques of staff (one long thingy) with that of poi (two shorter thingies) to create a very fluid style of spinning.

I've constructed a practice meteor out of nylon rope and tennis balls filled with pennies (as instructed in The Meteor Book, by Rhys Thomas) and begun hitting myself in the shins and head regularly. Even while training in hell this week, I have found some time to slip out to the parking lot and spin. Mark and Flynn have also both given it a try, and liked it. Flynn has particular promise - during his first night of spinning, he managed to hit himself in the junk with both ends, simultaneously. That's actually quite hard to do...

I'll be boring you all with updates on my progress. It won't be too long before I may give the fire meteor a try. Look for a flaming Reverend in the near future. (Not that kind of flaming, Jim...)

Language Cramps

Reverend's Comments:
I'm retaining water. I have cramps. My ankles are swollen, my nipples are sensitive, and I'm so emotional that every TV commercial for Huggies or an engagement ring sale makes me teary. I suppose I should be happy - at least I know I'm not pregnant...

I admit it - I've been having a language period lately. The death of proper usage is not something new, but the cycle of my irritation seems to be at a peak right now. Here are a few of my other pet peeves:

"I feel bad about that." NO - you feel badLY. You need an adverb to modify a verb like "feel."

"This is the penultimate example." Which means there is one example better than this one - it does not mean something like, "more than ultimate," or "beyond ultimate." "Ultimate" is a superlative and thus can't be exceeded - but what am I to expect from a country seeking a "more perfect union" anyway?

"Watch your diction." I used to cringe when my choir teacher said this to us. "Diction" refers to word choice, not the precision with which you say the words, which would be "enunciation."

"Your going to the store, right?" WRONG. "You're going to the store" would be correct. There really is a difference between the possessive "your" and the contraction "you're."

There are many others, but I need to excuse myself for a moment - I may have bled through just now. Feel free to share your (not "you're") examples of linquistic malfeasance in the comments.

Black Vatican #10

Artist's Comments:
The BCP comic was uniquely difficult. I didn't have a lot of trouble with the art, aside from HSBP's fanatical editorial demands...
The problem I ran into was every local Flock member had developed their own vision of the BCPs. Unlike the other characters, for which I was given plenty of party photos for reference, I had very little to go on (aside from His Sinfulness' collection of Princess Leia fetish galleries...). Despite this, everyone was more than willing to let me know what they expected to see, and unfortunately no ones' vision was the same...
When all was said and done I ended up doing my own thing. I hope everyone enjoys how they turned out.

Reverend's Comments:
As loyal readers know, we base the comics on actual people and events here at the Black Vatican. To stem the tide of inevitable questions, just let me say - YES. RAKSHA IS REALLY THAT SHORT. When I am seated at my desk, she and I are the same height, which has created some funny moments in bed... but I digress.

As Flynn pointed out, this comic was a bit harder to create than others. Our lengthy development sessions involved technical terms like "martial artsy," "kung-fuish," and "slave girlesque." We also spent hours looking at Ping, Eve, the Chugworth girls, and of course, Princess Leia - it was awful... but we persevered, and I am pleased with the outcome.

Since everyone wants a BCP of their very own, Flynn has posted a lovely wallpaper of a BCP in one of the lower sepulchers on his blog, Flynn Unfiltered. Download and enjoy!


WNG has posted a bit about her ennui. I feel her pain. I feel it enough to take a personal inventory...

- I have a decent job; not the thing I want to do for the rest of my life, but decent, nonetheless, and I just got a raise.
- I have great friends, and an active social life.
- I am playing handball, volleyball, badminton, and now dodgeball every week.
-The Black Vatican web comic is coming along nicely. We have introduced most of the main characters (their are two to go) and the first major story arc is already written.
- I've been a bit lonely in the past year, living alone in my little house, but I'm moving into a communal living arrangement with 4 of my closest female friends (I know what you're thinking, but it's not like that - although I was a "pro playa" at one time, I doubt that even I could wrangle 4 at once, especially under the same roof...). The new house will cut my living expenses by about half - so I will actually have some money again after the move is complete.
- Although I have graduated from college (twice), I am still taking classes. These classes are in Sociology, and will lead to a third bachelor's degree, unless I get into grad school before that.

That all doesn't sound too bad, does it?

I suppose it doesn't, and yet I am still fairly miserable at times. I don't want to be riding a cubicle down the highway of life. I know that many of my readers are students, and thus can't wait to be done with their schooling, but I would like to be a student forever - I hate the 8-5 grind. I want to be in grad school right now, and I want to know that the end of this phase of my life is coming. I want to know for certain that I'm leaving Laramie at some point, and I want to know that it is because I have another opportunity elsewhere. I want to get on with the life I think I am supposed to have. I want the waiting to be over.

So why am I sharing all of this? Because WNG and I can't be the only ones who feel this way.

We all go to school until we graduate, waiting for your lives to start. Then, we go on to whatever we decide to do - more school, or job, or the military, or marriage - and that feeling of waiting for your life to begin doesn't really go away. It just changes. We start waiting for other things, like our tax returns, or Spring, or the holidays, or for something better to happen than what is happening now. Before we know it we have invested 10 years in a job or a relationship or a degree, and yet - we are still waiting.

The sad reality that most of us don't want to face is that this is it. This is the life you are going to have.
You are not going to pitch in the majors.
You are not going to be a rock star.
You are not going to be President.
You are not going to have a perfect body.
You are not going to be an astronaut.
You are not going to win an Oscar.
In fact, you might never win anything, or be anything, or do anything of note.

Let that sink in.

No really - let it hit you squarely.

Now, realize that none of those things means you can't have an amazing life.

I'm not trying to crush any dreams here. I'm just saying that most of us spend way too long waiting for something to happen, for some time in the future when we will be who we always thought we were going to be. The truth is, no amount of waiting will make you the person you thought you'd be. All that ennui you are feeling is our minds' way of letting us know that. Be who you want to be. Start today.

BCP Preview!

Artist's Comments:
It should be noted that the comic was, in fact, finished on time. However, in his infinite wisdom, HSBP has declared that the comic requires more panels, reverse angle shots, action shots, perhaps a money shot... I'm not entirely sure. What I do know is that I've been sent back to the drawing board for some tweaking. Version 2.0 will premiere on Thursday... mostly because by Wednesday, for better or worse, I'm moving on to the next exciting adventure.

Reverend's Comments:
I warned Flynn that using cheap Asian labor might cause problems... he helpfully pointed out that if we don't employ them, they will have to go back to making soccer balls by day and giving handjobs in alleys by night. My conscience was assuaged.

He is right, however; the comic was completed on time, and it was quite good - but our fans deserve the very best. That's right - the delay is for YOU, the loyal reader.

In fact, I think we can blame this whole thing on YOU. If you would all just tithe properly, we could afford to hire more assistants for Flynn...

Peer Pressure

I usually don't succumb to peer pressure - in fact, I am frequently the one dishing it out. In this case however, I caved. All the cool kids did this long ago - I am just now catching up. It was like the time in high school when I wanted those trendy shoes... I saved my money until I could afford them, but by the time I got a pair, they weren't cool anymore. Even on teh internets I am a dork...