AVALON - By Josh Phillips
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About Cast FAQ


If you've got a question, odds are it's been asked before. So here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Avalon.


What's with the name "Ceilidh"?
    Ceilidh (pronounced KAY-lee) is a Gaelic word, meaning a party or gathering (typically with the requisite music, dancing, and drinking). I chose the name because of it's irony - Ceilidh MacFarlane is not a very social or partying person. She personally hates her name. :-)
[Dec. 4, 1999]

What's with the names of Ceilidh's family?
    The names Pol, Maire, and Ciaran are all derived from the members of an Irish band called Clannad. This is why the names sound more Irish than Scottish. :-) Click here for a site with some info on this venerable contemporary Celtic band.
    Cecil, the name of the MacFarlane's cat, is a bit of an in-joke among my friends. It's derived from an AD&D campaign in which I play an elven character named Ciaran, who has a cat named Cecil.
[Jan. 29, 2000]

There's some resemblance between Ceilidh and Asuka (of Neon Genesis Evangelion) - is this intentional?
    It really wasn't intentional, but it was certainly grounded in the subconscious, since Asuka is one of my most favorite anime characters of all time. So bits of Asuka seem to have just crept into Ceilidh's appearance/personality.
[Sep. 20, 2000]

Do the characters age in real time, or are they going to be stuck in the same grade forever?
    The characters do age in real time. Actually, the strip itself generally takes place in real time (of course, one day in Avalon time usually takes a week or two in real time, but then I just skip a week or two in Avalon time to catch up).
    So the characters will move on through the grades, and eventually graduate.
[Sep. 20, 2000]

What'll happen when the characters graduate from high school?
    My current plans state that the strip will end at that point. Of course, that's still two years down the road... my plans may change. And even if Avalon does end after graduation, that doesn't preclude the possibility of the occassional Avalon "reunion"/mini-series, or the return/rebirth of Avalon in some other media.
    I also intend to begin work on new creative ideas once Avalon has ended. These may take the form of a new webcomic, although I've always wanted to create an animated TV show... :-)
[Sep. 20, 2000]


How does the Ontario education system work?
    There is no simple answer to this one. :-) What follows is my attempt to summarize everything you need to know to make some sense of Avalon's academia.
    Like much of North America, school begins around age 5 with kindergarten (basically a preschool environment). It then goes from grade 1 to 8 in "elementary school" (this is sometimes broken into 1-5 in elem. school, and 6-8 in junior high school). Now, in most of North America, high school contains grades 9 through 12. In Ontario, there is a 13th grade called OAC (Ontario Academic Credits).
    Grade 12 is the last mandatory year of school that an Ontario resident must attend. Afterward, one may move on to college or university for higher education. In Canada, there's a significant difference between college and university.
    A college teaches practical, hands-on knowledge, and confers a diploma. Programs often last 2-3 years, and costs vary wildly (usually starting at $2000 per year).
    Universities teach high-level, theoretical knowledge which is often required for professional careers. A university confers a degree: Bachelor's/undergraduate - 3-4 years; Master's - 2-3 more years; Ph.D. - 2-3 years after that. Undergraduate costs are often relatively high, starting at $4000 per year. Universities also require 6 or more OAC's from high school - these replace SAT's within Ontario.
    A concept which has recently been introduced into public high schools is that of co-operative education ("Co-op"). This is where a student spends a certain amount of time each day (during school hours) to work for a private company. The student is not paid a salary, but instead receives course credit. This is an excellent program which gives students real-world experience and education outside of school.
[Jan. 29, 2000]

What's a dryer sheet?
    A lot of Australians seem to ask this question. :-) A dryer sheet is a thin sheet composed of coarse, paper-like fibres, measuring about 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inches). It's been soaked in a sort of fabric softener, and packaged dry in a box of about 50. When you put a load of laundry in a tumble-dryer, you can add a dryer sheet along with the clothes to freshen them up a bit, and to reduce static cling.
    Ironically, although dryer sheets tend to keep clothes from sticking together after drying, the sheet itself ends up sticking to, or tangled inside, some piece of clothing. :-) Usually by the time you find a dryer sheet sticking out of a sleeve or on your back, you're already at school or work getting laughed at.
[Sep. 20, 2000]

What is "Barq's?"
    This question is pretty much in response to this comic. Barq's is a brand of root beer sold in North America (owned by Coca-Cola). That particular strip was a parody of an infamous Barq's TV advertisement, claiming that "Barq's has bite." I personally can not find the bite they are speaking of. :-) (Many people have since informed me that the "bite" is from the caffeine, which is typically not present in root beer. Whatever, I still don't taste any "bite")
    And if you're wondering what root beer is... it's a dark brown, carbonated soft drink (indistinguishable from cola, by looks alone), with a uniquely indescribable (but sweet) taste. It is not related to ginger beer or ginger ale (or ginger of any kind). It originally involved molasses and various herbs, roots, and barks. Now it's typically made using artificial flavourings.
[Nov. 2, 2000]

Technical Stuff

When are new strips put on the front page? And don't give me that "midnight" crap.
    Well, officially, it's midnight Eastern time. :-) Unfortunately, I'm sometimes caught drawing the next day's comic when midnight rolls by. Usually the comic is no more than an hour late. If a comic is going to be *really* late (ie. a day or more), it'll be mentioned in the news. Otherwise, it's just late, keep reloading. :-)
[Sep. 20, 2000]

How long do you spend drawing the strip, anyway?
    Usually 2 hours per strip. This often breaks down into 1:15 for drawing and 45 minutes for scanning/colouring/uploading. Scripting is usually done ahead of time, and when I'm on a roll it takes mere seconds to belt out the dialogue for a single strip.
[Sep. 20, 2000]

Is it "Avalon" or "Avalon High?"
    The title of the strip is "Avalon." Always has been, always will be. :-)
    The unfortunate reality of the Internet is that every useful domain name has already been taken, so I ended up getting www.avalonhigh.com. Now of course, some sites have linked to Avalon, calling it "Avalon High." If you ever notice that title in a site, please direct me to it so I can notify the appropriate people of the error. I really do appreciate the links, but I'd like the correct name to be used. :-)
[Sep. 20, 2000]

What are those "1:123"-type numbers on the bottom of each strip?
    That's my own anally-retentive numbering scheme. As an Engineering student, proper sequential notation has been engrained in my mind; and so, rather than relying on dates to identify each strip (especially since dates aren't terribly consistent in a sequential sense, and since they may be reprinted on different dates in the future), I use this numbering scheme.
    The first number represents the current volume. Each year of Avalon is its own volume. This was just an arbitrary decision on my part. :-)
    The second number, the one after the colon, is the strip number within the volume.
    For another level of stupidity, one could identify any individual panel out of all Avalon strips by appending another digit to the end of the number, like so: 1:123.2. That refers to the 2nd panel of the 123rd strip of the 1st volume.
    So, in conclusion: the number means nothing. Ignore it. ;-)
[Sep. 20, 2000]


What are "Weenie Points?"
    Often, when a reader has done something exceptional which exemplifies his/her love of Avalon, he/she may be awarded an Avalon Weenie Point. These are awarded because I'm a cheap bastard and can't afford real prizes. ;-) It's intended that one day, when I have an income, these Weenie Points can be traded in for something special.
[Jan. 29, 2000]

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