Patrick Alexander's Personal Internet

Lesson materials for English teachers in Japan

This Die Hard lesson is really, really popular

I never got around to posting about this, here on my main website!

For two years, from 2013 to 2015, I worked as an ALT (assistant language teacher) at a senior high school in Utsunomiya, Japan. During that time, I put a lot of extra hours into creating illustrated worksheets, games, and other lesson materials for my classes. I shared some with other teachers and got some enthusiastic feedback, so I started compiling and formatting the materials into PDFs, with full instructions so that any teacher could download and use them.

Those PDFs can be found here, at Patrick-sensei’s gumroad store!

(At the time of writing, there are still some materials yet to be formatted and uploaded. I’ve been busy!)

These lesson materials represent two years of my work as a cartoonist and creator, and include some of the best and most worthwhile illustration I’ve ever done. I even made a board game! So even though it’s not comics, I’d encourage you to take a look, if you follow my work. I feel like this is my humble equivalent of Will Eisner’s army manuals — those actually useful things he made, in between The Spirit and helping to invent the graphic novel.

And along with creating lesson materials, it was also a part of my job to do… The Morning Speech. (Again: Volume 2 yet to come!)

Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius

From February 2016, I worked for one year with Square Enix as the English localisation editor for Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius, one of those smartphone gacha RPGs. How about that!

The game is continuing — the story is serialised, and there are regular events, etc. — but I’ve finished working on it as of the end of January 2017.

My job was, basically, to take the initial English translation and make it prettier. The work ranged from straight proofreading to heavy rewriting, depending on the needs (and priority) of the material. Unfortunately, due to technical and organisational issues beyond my control, not all of the game text was even seen by me, let alone edited, so if you play the game, you’ll find that the text, in places, switches back and forth between professional quality and, uh, less-than-professional quality, with no apparent pattern — a fact that will always nag at me, but oh well. The parts I worked on, I improved, and I’m proud of that.

With a tiny few exceptions, I didn’t have the foresight to take screenshots of Patrick’s Greatest Edits as I played through the game. Happily, however, some players were so pleased with the dialogue in the game that they did. So I’ve gathered some bits and pieces from social media, reassembled complete conversations where possible, and plopped them into a gallery for you here. I don’t know how representative it is, but anyway, it’s a taste. Naturally, I’ve only included text that I edited heavily enough that I feel I can reasonably take some credit (or blame) for it, but remember that all of it is the product of a kind of assembly-line collaboration, from the writers, to the translators, to me.

I did my best to give the characters strong, recognisable voices, and to make the dramatic bits more memorable and affecting, but naturally it’s the bits where I enhanced the humour of a scene, or just straight-up added jokes to boring conversations, that are popular with the internet’s assorted screenshot-takers, AND RIGHTLY SO. Thank you, screenshot-takers!

(More) Tobias and Jube illustrations

*blows dust off website*

*cough cough*

I had an extremely busy 2016, and a quite productive one — just not obviously productive; a lot of it was taken up with a new Tobias and Jube comic that I can’t show you yet (among other projects). But I did manage to squeeze in these two lovely illustrations…

Print available. Tobias and Jube come across a garden of eyes whose attention seems to be anywhere else.

I used a pencil for ‘inking’, here, for the first time, which is something I’d wanted to try. It matches the watercolours and feels comfortable to me. (In fact, no actual pencils or paints were involved — both of these illustrations were done entirely on my ipad pro, in Procreate.)

Print available.

On the whole I take my Christmas thoroughly Anglo, with as many pre-Christian rituals and ornaments as possible bleeding through, but of course also with proper carols, joyful and mysterious, about magic baby God, born to be sacrificed to himself, or, alternatively and ideally, about Wenceslas, a nice king with hot feet. No Santy Claus, no holly jolly jingle dingle, no crooners, no divas. But these are mostly aesthetic preferences; religion and spirituality have something but not so very much to do with it — consequently I’m happy to incorportate whatever ideas and symbols and activities happen to catch my fancy into my personal concept and practice of Yuletide, which is really the only way to do it nowadays, isn’t it?

So what have we got here. We’ve got some carolers who are a bit Peanuts and a bit Dickens. We’ve got some Japanese-style winter illuminations. We’ve got some holly wrapped around an old-as-fuck stone monument of the kind that dot the landscape of Tobias and Jube’s little world. What does it mean? Does anyone remember? And perhaps candles always burn with blue flame at Christmas, which is why no-one’s FREAKED OUT about that. Perhaps it’s got something to do with the Ghost of Christmas Present, or Father Christmas, or whoever it is, lurking in the background there, inspecting the scene with what we should hope is an approving eye. (Or maybe Leroy, the wizard, did it.) The ginkgo tree, like the ones here in Tokyo, is nearly bare at just this time of year. And I wonder if El Bobba, down the front there, is on his way to plop that yuzu into a hot bath, in line with the Japanese winter solstice tradition.

The new Tobias and Jube comic I mentioned earlier? You can meet all the carolers pictured above in that comic. Stay tuned.

Tobias and Jube’s Quality Assortment

On Sale Now 2x4_01 2x4_02 2x4_03 2x4_04 2x4_05

LINE STORE: Tobias and Jube’s Quality Assortment

オーマイガー!! Moderately beloved cartoon double act Tobias and Jube have arrived on Line Messenger! WOW your acquaintances and very professional business contacts with this odd, colourful sticker set, featuring a fun mix of English and Japanese.

オーストラリアから漫画のキャラのトバイアスとジューブ(トバジュー)を紹介!かわいくておかしい生き物だ。永遠な友情を目撃してください。英語と日本語が混在される。

Click right here, or search for ‘Tobias and Jube’ or 「トバジュー」 in the Line Store. おねがいしまーす!

There will be more Tobias and Jube news coming very soon.

Big Steps / Just Resting My Eyes

postcard-054-web postcard-055-web

Technically, these are numbers 54 and 55 in my long-running coaster/postcard project, but the first was coloured partly digitally and I threw out the original because the messed-up colours were so upsettingly ugly, and the second was coloured entirely digitally (and it took bloody hours), so… I feel like we’re quite far removed from the original concept at this point, which was just to doodle Raymondo-type drawings on beer coasters and splash some colour on them later.

Both of these are available to buy as prints via society6 — framed or canvas-ised; big or small; however you want ’em:

DIE HARB / Betsy and Ronaldica

DIE HARB Betsy and Ronaldica

I don’t do a lot of fan art, and when I do I don’t know if ‘fan art’ is a suitable term for it because I’m basically making fun of everything 100% of the time, even the stuff I like. Well, here are a couple of pieces from my sketchbook that I ended up going all the way with. I love Die Hard with all of my heart, and I have mixed and complicated but broadly affectionate feelings about Archie comics.

Both of these pictures are available to buy as prints from society6:

Business Cat Adventures

Business-Cat-Adventures

Marconi secures a major deal with an independent contractor in Thailand — but is appalled to discover his new partner rules a private empire built on murder and slavery!

“Just the same as yours,” laughs Bison. “The difference is, I have no illusions!”

He orders his minions to haul Marconi onto a jumbo jet and fly it into a volcano, but our hero escapes and returns to the dictator’s lair, probably to make a speech about democracy/America and then chop his head off with that sword.

From 2013, for an exhibition. Buy it as a print here!

Insufficient Stories MP3s

Insufficient Stories by Patrick Alexander - cover

Get ’em here! Clickety-click!

I made MP3s of all 32 Insufficient Stories, for you to have, if that is your heart’s wish. Nothin’ fancy; I just ripped the audio from the videos. Close your eyes and believe I’m with you.

You can have them totally for free, or you can pay something for them if you want to show your appreciation for my unique and extraordinary genius. (I’m still a genius even if you don’t pay, though. Just so that’s clear.)

Gunshot McCluskie

Insufficient Stories by Patrick Alexander

Gunshot McCluskie

Jimbo ‘Gunshot’ McCluskie was the quickest draw in a Japanese peasant village in the year 910. He had previously been the likely seventy-sixth quickest draw in the Old West, but he fell through a time portal and now he was number one. Now he was top dog around here, and these heathen chinky-chonks had best pay him mind.

“Watch this,” he said, and took his six-shooter out of its holster and fired a bullet out of it, into a bale of hay. The peasants all thought to themselves, “That is definitely the fastest we have ever seen that action performed. As far as we know,” they thought, “that is as fast as it’s possible to do whatever it was that was,” and they cowered and trembled, very reasonably.

“Y’all like that?” asked Jimbo of no peasant in particular, and shot off three more rounds, into more bales of hay. The peasants threw themselves to the ground and covered their heads in terrible fear.

One young man whispered desperately to his elder: “Uncle, we must do something, or soon all of our bales of hay will have small holes in them!” he said, except in Early Middle Japanese.

“Quiet, you fool,” the old man replied. “Here is a god who holds thunder in his hand. Would you have us die for hay?”

“Uncle,” the young man explained, “as the second son of a lowly peasant in a society where powerful men take multiple wives, I am statistically unlikely to be married. Therefore I relieve myself amorously by means of congress with the bales of hay, and have become emotionally attached to them. I love the bales of hay, Uncle. I love them.”

“If that is so, boy,” hissed the elder, “then our bales of hay already have small holes in them, and few more should suit your purposes ideally. I daresay,” he added, with a sharp-toothed look, “consummately.”

“But Uncle, surely there is a principle at stake.”

While these frantic murmurings continued, Jimbo ‘Gunshot’ McCluskie realised that he had run out of bullets, and had no means of acquiring more. He reflected on this as best his flaccid brain could manage, and after some moments quietly fled. When the peasants finally nerved themselves to look up, Jimbo was nowhere to be seen.

But the next day he came back to the village, looking for food. The peasants had a good laugh and then beat the shit out of him.

Hardly Die

Insufficient Stories by Patrick Alexander

Hardly Die

John McClame, an original character, was sitting in the office of the dad from Family Matters, who had risen to become the boss of all the policemen in America. They were both old, grey, and world-weary, but only John was grizzled, and that was really the only way to tell them apart because I’m not a racist.

“You look like hell, John,” said the dad from Family Matters.

“I feel like it,” smirked John. “Nine-thirty in the morning and I haven’t had several beers yet.”

The dad from Family Matters laughed, and not a sympathetic chuckle like you would expect, but a big, bellowing guffaw, with his head thrown back and his palms slapping the desk, for about 90 seconds; it was startling and weird. Then he said: “How’s Holly?”

John did a sad squint. “She divorced me, Carl. She divorced me again. We’ve been divorced seventeen times now. That means we could get married sixteen times and we’d still be divorced. You got a light?” John had put a tobacco smoking cigarette between his lips and was patting his pockets, but he was only wearing a singlet and underpants so he didn’t have any pockets. “She don’t want nothin’ to do with me. She changed her name to Maximillian Whippet-Sharpener. She moved to France and got a job as the front half of a pantomime giraffe, in a pantomime zoo. They’ve got this… this whole pantomime zoo, Carl. Just people in animal costumes. You’ve gotta see it to believe it.”

The dad from Family Matters listened and nodded with the kindly eyes and simple wisdom of no race in particular. Suddenly fifteen trucks exploded.

“So how about you, Carl?” John said with a smirk. “Still a desk jockey, huh? Couldn’t take the heat?” He leaned out the window and lit his cigarette on a flaming truck that was flying past, demonstrating that he, John McClame, could take the heat.

The dad from Family Matters pursed his lips and looked up at the ceiling, and his hands balled into fists on the desk. You might think, “Oh, he’s inspecting the light fittings, and some mosquitoes landed on his palms so he’s squishing the mosquitoes, and also he doesn’t want any mosquitoes to fly into his mouth,” but actually it means he was sad. John noticed this due to his sensitive side.

“I shot a kid, John,” said the dad from Family Matters. “I shot a kid.”

“Jeez, Carl, I’m sorry man,” said John, smirking as little as possible.

“I just keep shooting ‘em, John. Water pistols… candy bars… yo-yos… tricycles… they all look like guns to me. I just keep shooting kids wherever I go, man. I shot fifteen kids this morning.”

“You’re a good cop, Carl,” said John, barely smirking at all. “You’re a good cop. You gotta believe that.”

“Hands, John. Hands look like guns; you ever notice that? The teacher says, ‘Now children, does anybody have a question for Officer Winslow?’ and blam! That’s twenty-five dead kids. Blam!” The dad from Family Matters put his face into his hands and began to sob. “Blam! B-blam!”

“It was an accident, Carl,” said John, smirking not even once. “Everybody makes accidents.” Gently but firmly he drew the dad from Family Matters’ hands away from his face and dried each tear with the burning tip of his cigarette. Then he put the cigarette back in his mouth and kissed the dad from Family Matters softly on the lips.

For a crucial moment they gazed into each other’s eyes. “Was that an accident, cowboy?” breathed the dad from Family Matters at last.

John pressed his calloused palm against the new friend standing between his old friend’s legs. It was as hard as a leftover twinkie from the 1980s, and bigger than average, though purely by coincidence and not for any specific, innate reason. “Yippee-ki-yay,” he whispered into the dad from Family Matters’ ear, “me-fucker.”

They got naked and made hot love inside each other; rough, determined dick-fucking with an undercurrent of grim patriotism. They were both eighty-five years old. They fucked and fucked until their pendulous old balls had run out of cum and they were shooting dusty air up each other’s arseholes. John was chain-smoking the entire time.

When it was over, the dad from Family Matters said, “America needs you for one last mission, John McClame.”

“No can do,” said John. “I always get unappreciated and I’m tired of that.”

The dad from Family Matters nodded. “I respect your decision and won’t try to change your mind. You’re an old man and entitled to a peaceful retirement. Thanks for coming in, John.” They shook hands and John McClame went home and had a nice, hot cup of tea.