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I Think This Line is Mostly Filler
Monday — February 16th, 2009

I Think This Line is Mostly Filler

bio_chrisAdam’s away from the drawing board for now and I’ll be traveling this week (New Jersey, represent!), so things will be a bit odder than normal.

Which is a scary thought all by itself.

We’re Walking, We’re Walking

She consulted her clipboard, expertly timing her movements to match her rhythm. Bounce, bounce, bounce. “Ninety-seven hours and… forty-three minutes… doctor. I should be able… to hold my present level… of mental acuity… till the weekend.”

“Excellent.”

Parvo continued reconnoitering her as she bounded off. “Excellent,” he said under his breath, and then had to hustle after Buchanon who was already on the move again, pointing at various doors and rooms as he passed.

“There are some amazing things happening here,” Buchanon was saying. “Blond guy by the tanks? He’s developing a way to teach children intravenously. That team down there? Cold fusion, probably within the decade. That’s Marty – Hi Marty! – he came up with an all-natural breast implant that actually takes on the woman’s DNA. That was a profitable one, there.”

“Yeah,” Parvo grumbled. “You’re saints. You got dental?” Read the rest of this entry »

Plato’s Fun Factory

Parvo was several hallways and two flights of stairs along before it really dawned on him that he was moving. Left foot, right foot, left foot, just like before in those good old days when he had a girlfriend who didn’t lie to him. Had there been clues? More to the point, had there been clues he might have detected despite his near-toxic level of testosterone? How could Kelly have done that to him? His mental turmoil sidetracked slightly as he went on to remember a few of the specific and more pleasant things she had done to him, and so he barely noticed the glares from the assorted scientists around him who were still picking up papers, carts, and other, slightly damaged scientists who had been knocked over during his previous passing. He smiled a grim, somewhat threatening apology at them and followed Buchanon through a magnificent archway and down the smoothest escalator he’d ever been on.

The tram looked like someone had successfully weaponized Disney. They stepped aboard into a gleamng interior and the tram instantly took off at a blinding speed with almost no noticeable inertia whatsoever, which annoyed Parvo for some reason. Try as he might he couldn’t see any evidence of current or historical puke anywhere, making this a very unique subway indeed in his experience. Glitzy place. Was Buchanon still talking? Dammit, he was.

“The Hill Institute was founded by Gene Hill to better the lives of all humanity, Vince,” Buchanon was saying. “Even you. In the last five years we’ve advanced cancer therapy generations past anyone else, found a cheap way to reinvigorate arid soil, and perfected that four-dollar roll of solarphane you use to power your house for a year. We’re good at what we do, and what we do is everything.”

“Are you good at getting to the point? Do you have people that can do that for you?” Read the rest of this entry »

Beating Old Friends

With one stride Parvo loomed over the older man. “I got a message says my new job is here, I had to come see who was peeing into my life this week. I got a job, Buchanan. I don’t need or want your handouts! What I need and want to do is to kick your liver-spotted ass!”

Buchanon touched a few more keys on his desk, tapping the last one with a final flourish. “You had a job. Now you’re working for me. Show some gratitude, I had to practice saying that in front of a mirror for three days before I could do it without throwing up.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Right, sorry. Small words. We. Need. A. Captain. I chose you. Do you still fit into a forty-six regular?” Read the rest of this entry »

When Destiny Comes Dumping

Move past the ship. Sink down through the clouds. (Try not to scream, this is a literary device.) Zip over and approach the western seaboard of the United States. Circle around, observing the regulated flight patterns, until you are silently drifting over San Mateo, California. Head for the coast. There, nestled in what was once a bayland marsh protected by the government to preserve endangered species, lies the magnificent Hill Institute, a rambling collection of gleaming white buildings and relaxing parks. Founded in 2027 by Gene Hill, futurist and biologist, in its first 10 years the Hill Institute was responsible for 341 distinct patents, each one a miraculous innovation that would help mankind. Which, frankly, was more than the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse ever did.

Walking around the Hill Institute made even guests feel vital and connected to something greater than themselves. Scientists competed to work there; you could hardly heave a brick without hitting two or three Nobel Prize laureates, who would then scramble to publish learned papers about trajectories, the histories of impromptu weaponry, and the rise of social barbarism. Every element of the Institute was carefully designed and crafted to be eminently functional and soothing to the soul. Eco-aware, beautiful to look upon, a scientific heaven on earth.

Sadly, a heaven with extremely lax security. Not that it would have helped. Read the rest of this entry »

Hiatus, the Novel

The saga begins…

As we told you last week, Save Hiatus the webcomic is going on, yes, hiatus for a brief time while we retool it to fit into our working lives without having to use index cards to remember the names of our immediate family members.  However, it is vitally important to keep “Hiatus” alive lest the Network think they were correct in dumping it, so I have started a new project: I am writing the novelization of the pilot episode.

This is a huge endeavor. Not only do I have to remain true to the original screenplay by showrunner Manny Ulrich, I have to add motivations and scenes that weren’t seen on screen because written fiction is different from television. There are fewer pictures, it turns out. Knowing the fans as I do, it is virtually certain that not all of you will be happy with my changes. Some of you may feel obligated to inform me of your displeasure, possibly with pipe bombs. I ask that you bear with me, and please keep your criticism constructive and non-lethal. Excerpts will be posted Mondays and Fridays. Once these start piling up I’ll create a page that collects the entire thing so you won’t have to go hunting for earlier passages.

So without further ado, here we go. Hear that? It’s the theme song…

***

Hiatus!

by C. A. Bridges

(Based on the teleplay “Encounter in Forever on the Edge of the City of Tomorrow” by Manny Ulrich)

“Everything has a beginning. And every new beginning is also the end of something else, usually something you’ll miss later when you’re alone and it’s raining and nothing’s on. Moral: I need to drink more.”
– Captain Parvo’s Personal Log

Inky black space, sparkling with gemstone stars, fills your mind to overflowing. The sheer, unfathomable enormity of it threatens to burst open your brain like a child’s balloon. Here and there bright marbles sparkle in the distant sunlight but they remain marbles, easily lost or discarded. Below you is the marble that keeps you alive. Earth is wrapped in a frigid embrace, streaked with blue and green and wreathed in fluffy white fluffiness, but from up here it is chillingly apparent that almost anything — natural disaster, particularly viral pathogen, sufficiently violent political upheaval, asteroid strike, planetary temperature rising a mere 10 degrees — could take that paper-thin ecosystem keeping humanity alive and rip it away, leaving billions of souls gasping and boiling where they fell, even as–

Actually, spaceflight only affects you that way if you stick with classical music. That’s why early spaceflight pilots were awoken with peppy tunes piped in from ground control; enough replays of “Thus Spake Zarathustra” could make anyone want to set their controls for the heart of downtown Houston and fire all thrusters. And the song chosen for inclusion in humanity’s letter-in-the-bottle Voyager launch was The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” which should have served to warn any approaching aliens of both our race’s general crankiness and our love of the double negative.

Judging from the pounding bass line that was just barely audible through the thin air of the stratosphere, the captain of the small two-man Orbhopper ship currently blasting over the horizon preferred to vanquish the terrifying insignificance that space bestows by cranking up “Exhaust Port Woman, You’re a Shot in a Million” by The Walloping Pandroids. Also a good choice.

But music aside, what really helps you ignore the vastness of eternity is to be really, really pissed off.

We’re all geeks on this bus

I’m going to take a moment to link to a fun little interview with Johnny “Leonard” Galecki and Jim “Sheldon” Parsons of NBC’s The Big Bang Theory, a show I avoided when it first came out. Four nerds with a hot blonde next door? Just wait for the hijinxs to ensue! Feh. (Sorry, Joel)

But I caught a few from laziness at changing the channel after How I Met Your Mother and started to really like it, mostly because… they played it straight. The characters don’t come off as nerdy because they’re socially crippled (although that’s certainly present), they come off as nerdy because they so clearly had different priorities than their peers growing up and that remains the case, even if they wistfully look at people who are actually comfortable talking to each other at parties. Yeah, it’s a sitcom with mistaken-identity types of plots, but they still manage to stay unpredictable and reasonably authentic. I can identify with these guys. I am these guys. And, according to Johnny, so is everyone else:

That’s what I learned when being asked about geeks and nerds, and having to define that for the first time in my life, what that meant. I found that it’s all about anyone who’s passionate about anything, and anyone who loves immersing themselves in anything. A lot of rock musicians are nerds, you know? The big, brawny jocks who paint themselves in team colors on their chests and show up shirtless in 20-degree weather for a football game are just as big a nerd as these characters are.

The first season DVD of The Big Bang Theory went on sale yesterday; the new season starts September 22, 8 p.m.

Horrible songs, a Google browser, and Twilight leaked

Dr. Horrible soundtrack! Dr. Horrible soundtrack! Dr. Horrible soundtrack!

Ahem. The official soundtrack to “Dr. Horrible” – as opposed to all the uinofficial ones all of us made within seconds of the videos hitting the Web – is now available at iTunes. And the lyrics and liner notes have been posted at the DrHorrible.com site. Woot!

In other funky download news, Google is preparing to launch their new open-source web browser today, called Chrome. Supposed to be a secret but their explanatory comic (by Scott McCloud) got leaked yesterday. Google’s press conference is set for 11 a.m. PDT today so expect the Interweb to slow to a crawl soon thereafter.

And some sad download news – Stephanie Meyer has announced she will not be publishing the last book in her enormously popular “Twilight Saga” series because an unfinished partial draft was leaked online.  “I think it is important for everybody to understand that what happened was a huge violation of my rights as an author, not to mention me as a human being.” She posted a link to the draft at her site so her fans wouldn’t have to break the law to get what’s already out there. This could be what finally tips the scales on the piracy fight: millions of outraged adolescent girls beating up the entire Internet.

Sheepishly he says …

… sorry! Had folks over to watch the Obama speech, and wasn’t able to get the strip done tonight. We’ll have it posted by tomorrow night, I promise! :)

Like Mad Men? Follow them on Twitter, sort of

Fake people abound on Twitter. Fans tweet as Darth Vader, Malcolm Reynolds, Stephen Colbert — actually, it’s hard to tell with Colbert.

And fans of the hit AMC show “Mad Men” stepped up and did the same, creating Twitter accounts for Don Draper, Betty Draper, Peggy Olson, Joan Halloway, Pete Campbell, Roger Sterling, Bertram Cooper, Paul Kinsey, Salvatore Romano, Harry Crane, Bobby Barrett (and more), and posting in character. It was a fun addition to the show, especially since most of the faux-Men were pretty darn good at it.

And everything was fun… until apparently AMC noticed and asked Twitter to bring them down. The guy who was channeling Paul Kinsey blogged about it.

No big deal, no lawsuits, no one yelling, and the fans knew this was always possible. But then the cool thing happened: AMC let them back in. According to this article, AMC’s marketing people said it was a good idea:

See, in Web marketing parlance, the Twitterers assuming the names of Mad Men characters are actually “brand ambassadors” meant to be cultivated, not thwarted. “Better to embrace the community than negate their efforts,” says a Deep Focus spokesman.

So yay for 140-character fan fiction!

Face Your Manga!

This is so cute!

FaceYourManga.com allows you to manga-ize yourself for a quickie avatar to spread all over your MySpace, FaceBook, Friendster, Twitter, or wherever you spread yourself.

OK, we’re gonna pretend that didn’t sound weird and move on like adults. Hurry over to FaceYourManga.com and try it out before the Cool Internet Fad Deadline runs out and it becomes trite and annoying. I figure you’ve got about 13 hours left.

In the meantime, I did all my friends! Aaaand we’re gonna pretend that wasn’t weird-sounding, either.