postscript to the LSD (& a picture)

Regular readers might remember our recent Laughing Squid Debacle, in which we were presented with a $308 bill from our webhosts after hotlinking of our “Sick” comic blew up our bandwidth past all sanity. Well, our readers came to our rescue with extreme prejudice, erasing the entire sum of our debt in just one day!

And then, the next day, we get another email from Laughing Squid — it turns out that the Earnest Plea we’d written them, begging not to charge us (& offering, we thought, a couple trenchant reasons for it too), did not fall on deaf ears. Against our wildest, most jaundiced expectations, they did in fact decide to waive our entire overcharge bill (and rewrite a section of their terms of service to address the flaw i brought to their attention).

Haha, WHOOPS. Well: 1. Yay; but also 2. We sure as hell weren’t expecting that! And so 3. It appears we have had a (successful) fundraiser for nothing.

After a couple days of cursing/celebrating our ability to present email arguments so salient/pit-enducing that they can alter the very flow of capital, we were forced to address the obvious question: What do we do with all this money? You beautiful people just gave us no small amount of your earnings for a reason, and now suddenly, the Invisible Hand of the internet market has wisked that reason away ex post facto. Clearly, this is an ethical quandary of a caliber unlike any the Playhouse has yet faced, and might even lend truth to Adam Smith’s dictum, “mo’ money, mo’ problems.”

The good news is, figuring out what to do with extra cash is about the best problem we here at the GP could dream up. Our first impulse, of course, is to just give it all back. However, like any usurer worth their cloak of baby skin, paypal tacks fees onto every transaction, so returning your $12 digital donation would basically amount to you giving free money to a corporation — which strikes us as a bit tragic, considering this wasn’t either of our intentions — however, if you donated money and would like it returned, we’re more than happy to oblige.

There are other options as well: such as parlaying your donation toward another noble cause relevant to keeping Gabby’s Playhouse’s comics up & running. For example, our ride to&from the Small Press Expo might have just unexpectedly fallen through, and since this comics event is only a couple weeks away, we’re looking at a choice between a full-retail Dirty Dog ticket, and Just Staying In Ohio. Choosing Option 1 could alone quite easily dispatch with over half of our donation-box!

For the other half, we had all sorts of ideas — art supplies, a backup external drive, printing t-shirts, making some sort of puppet show, paying our federal income taxes. We even thought about buying a bus ticket to some terrifying out-of-the-way place, renting a room for a couple days & drawing a comic about the (probably painfully boring) results.

Or, we could just stow it in a special jar for the next time this website has a financial crisis.

What we’d like to make clear is that, since Laughing Squid doesn’t want their pound of e-flesh after all (and props to them for that), we still consider this bailout fund your money, in a way. If you have any bright ideas for how we should earmark these assets, please let us know in the comments!

But first, here’s a Picture (for sale in the Store):

OH! And we promised we’d put “Sick” up on the Playhouse if it was still standing after last week, and have been working hard to do so — but it turns out this thing is so huge that it requires some special attention just so it doesn’t tank our site again. We even tried making a tumblr for it, but the max image size was way too small. If anyone has any suggestions about how one might go about putting a comic that huge up on the website without Chaos ensuing, we’d love to hear about it.

The internet taketh, The internet giveth

GOOD NEWS!!!!! As of this posting, thanks to the kind, super-rad, completely selfless & genuinely magnanimous donations of you or people like you, we’ve recouped almost our entire losses from the Laughing Squid Debacle [LSD]!!!! We pledge our souls to the following adorable individuals:

Dragon Messmer
Alex Nall
Claire Burville
Nicholas Underwood
Elisabeth Loge
Ian Gabriel
Matthew Cowley
Zachary Allen
Tiago AKL Prado
Kyle Holtan
John Retallick
Thomas Ragon
Leigh Walton
Damien Jay
Andrew Brown
Dan Farrow
Cody Gieselman
Shannon Smith


AND UPDATED at 4:18PM:

Alec Longstreth
David King
Karen Torres
Laila Emir
Candace Carpenter

Thanks to your cumulative efforts, Gabby’s Playhouse lives to futz another day! For another whole month, in fact. We know (all too well) how much effort it takes to release the grip on our own hard-earned portion of pelf, and honestly, we’re pretty impressed with your initiative. Ayn Rand would definitely not approve — but we sure do, and she was on welfare anyway. Thanks also to the kind concerned folks who forwarded or retweeted our distress call.

We’ll take down the donate buttons on the previous post & pick up the last $1.16 in Laughing Squid fees ourselves, to avoid the possibility of actually profiting off of your pity! And, of course, we’ll let you know when the “Sick” comic is up on the site proper, clothed in this new anti-hotlinking wordpress plugin we got.

(PS sorry there’s no images here we wanted to post this as soon as possible so we could take the donate buttons down)

Today’s RDA of irony (and an SOS)

Hello everyone. We here at the Playhouse must indulge in a rare episode of Complete And Desperate Earnestness.

So there’s this webcomic we’ve been drawing over the past year — some of you might know it as “Sick.” For a while we were posting it in episodes on this website. That is, until we realized that the traffic to our site was high enough to draw down bills of up to $200 a month from our pay-per-byte webhost, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

So we switched to Laughing Squid, a host which came well-recommended, & offered a nice cheap plan with a decent ceiling — 25 gigs of bandwidth a month for just $8. In the switch, due to our incompetence, we lost our old database, which contained every line of text and every pixel of art from every Playhouse post ever made. Oh well, at least we were saving money now. Playhouse 2.0 rose from the wreckage. We’ve done alright for ourselves, selling the odd watercolor and book. A month later, everything seemed to be coasting along pretty smoothly.

Then last week, we get an email. It is from the nice people at Laughing Squid, and they seem very interested in talking with us. It seems that, in the single month since we’d started using their hosting service, our website had gone a tiiiiiiiny bit over their usage limit — about, oh, 1600% over. It turned out that, this whole time we thought we were running a modest little vanity website, we were actually the kingpins of a vast entertainment empire, doling out 1,727 GB worth of bandwidth to viewers all over the internet — just a scant 1,702 GB over Laughing Squid’s allotted 25.

Oops.

We couldn’t figure out how this could be so, as, according to our “Google Analytics,” we were only attracting a humble trickle of eyeballs to our website. The culprit, as the web-savvier among you have already guessed, is the dread Hotlink. It turns out that people were reposting the Living Hell out of “Sick,” and using our server space to do it.

Now, considering that “Sick” isn’t even posted on our website, & you could only read it if you knew its secret, special url, this was incredibly flattering. The problem is, we thought we were just giving it away for free. The reality is more like: we were bankrupting ourselves right off the internet just to show people some comics.

While we may know a thing or two about art, it turns out that we here at Gabby’s Playhouse don’t know a single solitary speck of a thing about business — or websites, for that matter. We got the bill from Laughing Squid today:

$308.16. For one month of webhosting.

Now, we’re not sure how big this figure looks to you — but to jobless, broke, artist-cliché us, it’s what we might call Pretty Effing Big.

If we had scuttled ourselves across these rocks of financial ruin through sheer idiocy or sloth, we would just keep it to ourselves & suck it up. But in this case, we thought we’d try a fascinating economics experiment!

Oh denizens of the Internet: we all know that “information wants to be free.” But whom would it rather be free for? Us — or You?

Perhaps as a way of proving our title as Worst Businesspeople Of All Time, we will now evoke the honor of an anonymous public as a means of acquiring financial gain! IF YOU, dear reader — or anyone you might know — especially the millionaires — have enjoyed, at any time, been affected or entertained by the consumption of “Sick” or any other of our comics — if they have moved you to tears, to laughter, to rage, to a quiet contemplation of the fragile complexity of this weird-ass Universe — if you have felt at all enriched, or altered, or pleasantly disturbed — if you think they’re at all worth it — would you consider donating a bit of stupid, useless cash our way? The amount, from $0.00 to the entire GDP of California — is entirely up to you. Literally, and honestly, ANY amount would be revered & considered sacred. No matter how little you toss in our hat, we’re guaranteed to still feel unworthy. We hate to beg, and we know how it is these days for all y’all out there in this New (non-)Economy. But we just couldn’t resist asking, because the idea of this website going bankrupt & disappearing due to the comics we put up on it being too popular is just be too painfully, hilariously, stupidly ironic to bear.

[UPDATE: BUTTON REDACTED, GOAL REACHED, FUNDRAISING WAS A SUCCESS! THANK YOU! SEE HERE]

As a reward for all of you, if this website makes it through it’s latest financial Waterloo, we will put up
all available episodes of “Sick” in our “webcomics” section, so you not longer have to go sneaking around the black market to get your fix. (A finished version of it all will also be published by Secret Arces early next year!) We are also completely enthusiastic about sending free copies of our books to donors who throw down considerably weighty amounts.

[UPDATE: BUTTON REDACTED, GOAL REACHED, FUNDRAISING WAS A SUCCESS! THANK YOU! SEE HERE]

And remember: money is the root of all evil — the sooner you get it off your hands, the better!

[UPDATE: BUTTON REDACTED, GOAL REACHED, FUNDRAISING WAS A SUCCESS! THANK YOU! SEE HERE]

Seriously though, thanks for anything. We promise one day we’ll figure out a way to keep out of the gutter with our comics.

PPS: Laughing Squid has actually been extremely helpful in getting us immune to hotlinking, & streamlining our stupid clunky site in general. We even got to interact with Actual Real Humans during this meltdown. So they are clearly not Evil.

UPDATE, 8/24: We took down the paypal buttons because you people are so beautiful you pooled together enough $$ to pay our huge Laughing Squid bill in just one day! Thank you extremely much. See here for more info on what wonderful people you are.

the latest ooze

There’s a couple more watercolors up for sale at the store. Hmm. We’ve been having trouble classifying these comic-like watercolor objets d’cartoon — are they comics-blog updates? Should they be showcased as Readable Content, or Materializations of Commerce? Is there a way to treat them as both? Art’s fuckin’ crazy, isn’t it. Oh well — it all turns into tumblr in the end!

Which reminds me, maybe we should get a tumblr….

PS We really, really enjoyed painting the lush sunset in that Findley piece. Too bad sunsets are so nice & aren’t all about the Deep Ennui we feel as Tortured Artists, which limits our sunset-painting quota to 1 every 500 days — or two if there’s a dead body in the shot (hence).