Dvorak Diary #3: Introvert

On a recent trip to Trivandrum, India, I decided to try learning to touch-type in Dvorak (after decades of hunt-and-peck in QWERTY). Here I share some excerpts of my “Dvorak Diary”.


Thursday, January first, Two thousand fifteen

Yesterday I awoke with a clear and simple melody running through my head, a really good and catchy one. Then I had breakfast with ____ and it was gone. This is why I am an introvert: I want to hear the music in my head. It’s like a wilderness preserve: clumsy tourists wander off-trail and step on the delicate wildlife, killing it inadvertently. They don’t mean to but the endangered plants and animals don’t care; they don’t survive on good intentions. I miss my melody. It lived so easily in my head yesterday but couldn’t survive another person. Habitat loss. Like the Sitka Deer, much of the life in my head needs a wide range. I am an increasingly grumpy forest ranger, responsible both for the needs of the tourists and the wildlife. The former endanger the latter so I want them to just fuck off. But I need tourists for some reason, like were it not for tourists the forest would be razed for a housing development or mine or parking lot.


Drivin’ That Train

A friend of mine told me she’s dating a guy who works in trains, and among other things can actually drive a train. Naturally I wanted to show her the Casey Jones comic I made for Grateful Dead Comix in 1991, but I couldn’t find it anywhere online. I couldn’t even find it on my own hard drives – apparently I’d never even scanned it. Probably because everyone who worked on Grateful Dead Comix did it as work-for-hire. Well I don’t play that no more, so here for your (and my friend’s) edification and enjoyment are all 8 pages of Casey Jones. The Dead will have to censor this themselves, since I’m not doing it for them.








For super high resolution scans, so high you can see all the little print dots, visit archive.org.



This Land Is Mine

I envisioned This Land Is Mine as the last scene of my potential-possible-maybe- feature film, Seder-Masochism, but it’s the first (and so far only) scene I’ve animated. As the Bible says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Who’s Killing Who? A Viewer’s Guide

Because you can’t tell the players without a pogrom!

Early Man


Early Man
This generic “cave man” represents the first human settlers in Israel/Canaan/the Levant. Whoever they were.




What did ancient Canaanites look like? I don’t know, so this is based on ancient Sumerian art.

Ancient Egyptian



Canaan was located between two huge empires. Egypt controlled it sometimes, and…




….Assyria controlled it other times.




The “Children of Israel” conquered the shit out of the region, according to bloody and violent Old Testament accounts.




Then the Baylonians destroyed their temple and took the Hebrews into exile.





Here comes Alexander the Great, conquering everything!




No sooner did Alexander conquer everything, than his generals divided it up and fought with each other.




Greek descendants of Ptolemy, another of Alexander’s competing generals, ruled Egypt dressed like Egyptian god-kings. (The famous Cleopatra of western mythology and Hollywood was a Ptolemy.)




More Greek-Macedonian legacies of Alexander.


Hebrew Priest

Hebrew Priest
This guy didn’t fight, he just ran the Second Temple re-established by Hebrews in Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile.


Led by Judah “The Hammer” Maccabee, who fought the Seleucids, saved the Temple, and invented Channukah. Until…




….the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and absorbed the region into the Roman Empire…




….which split into Eastern and Western Empires. The eastern part was called the Byzantine Empire. I don’t know if “Romans” ever fought “Byzantines” (Eastern Romans) but this is a cartoon.





Arab Caliph
Speaking of cartoon, what did an Arab Caliph look like? This was my best guess.




After Crusaders went a-killin’ in the name of Jesus Christ, they established Crusader states, most notably the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Egyptian Mamluk



Mamluk of Egypt
Wikipedia sez, “Over time, mamluks became a powerful military caste in various Muslim societies…In places such as Egypt from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be “true lords”, with social status above freeborn Muslims.[7]” And apparently they controlled Palestine for a while.


Ottoman Turk


Ottoman Turk
Did I mention this is a cartoon? Probably no one went to battle looking like this. But big turbans, rich clothing and jewelry seemed to be in vogue among Ottoman Turkish elites, according to paintings I found on the Internet.




A gross generalization of a generic 19-century “Arab”.



The British formed alliances with Arabs, then occupied Palestine. This cartoon is an oversimplification, and uses this British caricature as a stand-in for Europeans in general.




The British occupied this guy’s land, only to leave it to a vast influx of….

European Jew/Zionist


European Jew/Zionist
Desperate and traumatized survivors of European pogroms and death camps, Jewish Zionist settlers were ready to fight to the death for a place to call home, but…




….so were the people that lived there. Various militarized resistance movements arose in response to Israel: The Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

State of Israel



Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/TerroristState of Israel
Backed by “the West,” especially the US, they got lots of weapons and the only sanctioned nukes in the region.


Guerrilla/Freedom Fighter/Terrorist
Sometimes people fight in military uniforms, sometimes they don’t. Creeping up alongside are illicit nukes possibly from Iran or elsewhere in the region. Who’s Next?

Angel of Death




and finally…

The Angel of Death
The real hero of the Old Testament, and right now too.


Note: If you want to support this project, please notice I have Paypal and Flattr buttons. TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donations accepted via the nonprofit QuestionCopyright.org.

Copy Bunny Progress Bar

Our first Minute Meme, Copying Is Not Theft, continues its steady spread online. The two versions currently most shared are QuestionCopyright.org’s “official” version, which we unfortunately named “best” instead of “official” (“best” implying a value judgement) and the arrangement by Willbe which uses my original wavery vocals (hence my unfortunate value judgement – the official/”best” version has vocals by professional Connie Champagne, which save me the embarrassment of hearing my own voice).

On the Willbe version youtube page, I found a pretty good suggestion in the comments: a Copy Bunny Progress bar. That was easy enough to make; here’s a truncated version in GIF format:

I also uploaded all the original .fla files to archive.org, so you can remix and modify to your heart’s content.

"Copying Is Not Theft" PinAlso, did you know there’s a Copying Is Not Theft cloisonne pin? Well there is! And you can buy it.

Sita in Brooklyn this Thursday July 1st

I’ll be there, along with über-talented collaborators Todd Michaelsen and Reena Shah!

The Observatory
No. 543 Union St.
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Date: Thursday, July 1st
Time: 7:30 PM Musical Performance by Todd Michaelsen and Reena Shah of My Pet Dragon
Film screening/Q & A
Complimentary bags of popcorn will be served while supplies last
Admission: $5
Day Four of The Oxberry Pegs Series

Copying Is Not Theft – Best!

At last, our “official” version of Copying Is Not Theft, with a fab new arrangement by Nik Phelps!

All Creative Work Is Derivative

WNYC today at 2pm, 93.9 fm

Smackdown: Open Source or Closed Doors? (click here to listen)

The director of Sita Sings the Blues, Nina Paley, had to pay $50,000 to use old songs in her animation movie. She then put the movie online for free and turned herself into a free-culture activist. Composer Jaron Lanier was a digital pioneer in the ’90s, but in his new book he claims that open-source is destroying creativity and fostering vicious behavior. They join us to debate the pros and cons of free love in art-making.

Sita Sings the Blues site
More about Jaron Lanier [NY Times]

Minute Meme #1: Copying Is Not Theft

UPDATE: high res video file now on archive.org.

This is a “draft” of our (my and QuestionCopyright.org‘s) first Minute Meme. A draft because the audio track is a placeholder, and we’re eager to hear what all you musicians out there can do with it. Also a draft because we need to make a fancier, more informative page than just this post here! But what is the Internet for, if not to hastily post creative work by the seat of your pants?

There are some blank credits at the end for “Arranged and Recorded by” and “Sound Design.” Any interested musicians/sound designers can re-release the whole thing with their own tracks and appropriate credits. Add and remove credits as needed (but don’t remove mine!). If you don’t add sound effects, cut out the “Sound Design” card; if you want to credit additional voices, add a card for them. I used the fonts Gill Sans and Gill Sans Ultra Bold. Be sure to keep the CC-BY-SA symbols on all the credits – you’ll be releasing your modifications under the same license.

Here are the lyrics:

Copying is not theft.
Stealing a thing leaves one less left
Copying it makes one thing more;
that’s what copying’s for.

Copying is not theft.
If I copy yours you have it too
One for me and one for you
That’s what copies can do

If I steal your bicycle
you have to take the bus,
but if I just copy it
there’s one for each of us!

Making more of a thing,
that is what we call “copying”
Sharing ideas with everyone
That’s why copying

This track is 90 (or 180) beats per minute. The animation is 24 frames per second, with one beat every 8 frames.

I <3 Dan Bull

Via Techdirt:


Singing ‘n’ Signing

This is cool.

Weezer gets it right

Content is Free, Containers are not; the commerce in mass art is all in the packaging. Hats off to band Weezer for devising the most brilliant CD packaging ever:

It would be even better without the copy restrictions on the content, but they seem to comprehend that those are irrelevant to making money. It’s all in the packaging, people.

Copying n’est pas Theft

Because I’m in France:

Merci, Daphne!

The Battle of Lanka in 02:30

Thanks, Cousin Phil!