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Friday, April 24, 2009

Idle, tweet-worthy thought.

A notice to Seattle's Metro transit system:

If you're going to have a rule saying "Wear headphones", it should come with an implicit corollary: "Don't play your music so loud it's like you're NOT wearing headphones."

Of course, such rules are only as good as the drivers' willingness to enforce them and the extent the passengers care about them...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If it weren't for David Morgan-Mar's large buffer I'd think he was responding to my last IWC post.

(From Irregular Webcomic! Click for full-sized things beyond mortal ken.)

So by all appearances, my theory that IWC just underwent a permanent reboot to the beginning has been shot to hell.

The funny thing is, though, every theme that has had at least two strips since the reboot - Space, Shakespeare, Martians, Cliffhangers, and Steve and Terry, especially Space, Martians, and Steve and Terry (Cliffhangers seems to want it both ways) - has backed up the idea of starting over from the beginning.

So the likeliest idea is that - uh oh - the Irregular Crisis isn't over yet and there's still more madness yet to come.

But I like the idea that the last four months of the Fantasy theme, the entire destruction of the universe, stay in the afterlife, and brief flashback to a tavern, has all been part of an extended flashback sequence and we're only now picking up the plot thread from this strip.

Although... is that the Balrog I see in the last panel? Is Kyros not telling the whole truth?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Random Internet Discovery of the Week

I don't see how this is any different from a spiffier version of this. I mean, it's barely been two months since that earlier RID! The alternative is to get insane, and probably hypnotized.

The Random Internet Discovery is a colossal failure compared to what I originally had in mind for it. I hoped I would have a bunch of interesting sites that would appeal to me and that I would want to disseminate and expose to the teeming masses flooding Da Blog. Back when I had my political series last fall I hoped to bring in whatever interesting political sites I could find. Maybe I could find interesting webcomics or other interesting things.

Instead the RID has been a parade of funny astronomical stuff, cat pictures, other funny pictures, sites that should probably be illegal, religious sites not worth commenting on, interesting lists and tools, and just plain incomprehensible stuff. There have been maybe one or two RIDs worth commenting on since I started it in August or so.

The RID hasn't been part of the "enlighten the world" plan I had for Da Blog at all. Its main value has been in giving me one less day that I have to think about posting. The irony of that is that I had planned to write rather interesting commentary for the sites I actually found relevant and interesting. By and large, the RID has been incredibly disappointing and pointless.

So I've started a new Da Blog Poll, the first since the new year. It'll run for two weeks and ask whether or not I should continue the RID, stop it, or introduce biases into my StumbleUpon account. I ran a similar poll when I started the RID and the consensus seemed to be that I should allow all interests in, and I didn't intend to introduce any biases by flagging it whenever I encountered a site I liked, but that system doesn't seem to have worked that well. "Fixing" RID by introducing such biases could make RIDs slightly rarer, by bringing in sites I would need to actually write something about, but it would also make RID more meaningful to me and to my audience.

Your thoughts?

Monday, April 20, 2009

One of these days I'm going to stop putting these "If you meet me in real life" posts on Da Blog. Most of them, anyway.

If I have to hear someone playing music on their headphones loud enough for me to hear it anyway it drives me right up the wall.

I also go crazy at having to see people's involuntary foot vibrations even though I do it.

I don't think this sort of thing used to drive me quite this insane. Then again, I seem to be noticing it happening more often recently. I think I need to spend a week this summer where I don't leave the house at all except to post the strip.

No sooner does Fox adopt a new graphics package...

...than it may be adopting ANOTHER one.

Day 15 of the BottomLine Watch, though I haven't actually seen ESPN so far today...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rich probably had this strip's title prepared before he even knew much about the circumstances.

(From The Order of the Stick. Click for full-sized reunion.)

The Order of the Stick - with the exception of a living Roy - is in one piece once again. The great, overriding problem driving much of the action of the current book has, at long last and at much cost and after many story months (and a year and a half real time), been solved.

And - with the exception of the heartfelt reunion between Elan and Haley at the end of this strip - it's largely an afterthought, its main purpose seemingly to frustrate Vaarsuvius with another case of a problem being solved without her.

An Order of the Stick split in twain? Anymore, that's child's play. We've got a Vaarsuvius powered up with more power than he could ever imagine... and no place to use it, driving him further and further into the mouth of madness. There's the real story at this point. The reunion of the Order is the end of a story, but V's journey is only beginning, and this reunion is only a part of V's larger story.

This seems to be underscored by what Roy does in this strip: make contact with the two remaining souls spliced to V. They, and V, have kept the Order (except for Belkar, but he doesn't care) unsuspecting of V's new nature so far, and they'll probably do so for a while by the rules of drama. With everyone there, Roy's resurrection seems to be imminent, so if that's going to have an impact other than Roy knowing there are two souls spliced to V, it better have one fast.

I've vascillated for a while on how long V is going to hold on to the two remaining souls - would it last into the next book, or end right before this book did? Paradoxically, when V lost the first splice it moved me from the former camp into the latter, not the other way around, to best make V's story self-contained. But as the opportunities for a lost splice have dwindled recently (and as the reunion of the Order has been treated as an afterthought), I've moved back into the former camp, and depending on what happens next I could still be moved back to the latter camp.

On another note, it'll be interesting to see what Rich does with the remaining 20-plus strips in the current book. Normally Rich ends the book with a relative cooldown from the hot, plot-advancing action immediately preceding, if the past two books are any indication. But there's a lot of space to fill and I don't think Rich can fill it all with talking and resurrection. Rich does often fill this space with set-up for the situation for much of the next book, not just in the final strip, and I'm beginning to think V has one more teleportation in her, considering she still hasn't lost a second splice despite already using a second epic spell.

The Order's back, but Rich is already thinking about the next book.

My departure from Irregular Webcomic may not be long in coming.

(From Irregular Webcomic! Click for full-sized inverse cube law.)

I've been waiting for nearly three weeks for some indication of exactly what happened when the universe was recreated, and I may have gotten my answer.

I wondered for a while if there would be some historical "glitches" that would continue the theme of the Irregular Crisis, until I read the Pirates theme from beginning to end. After that, my main hypothesis was that all the themes that had started in medias res in some way (which is to say, almost all of them except Espionage, with the caveat that Harry Potter and Star Wars are out of order and order of events doesn't matter in other, more gag-a-day themes like Shakespeare) were rebooted from the beginning and would be carried up to about the point when Irregular Webcomic! had taken them up originally.

Death of Inhaling Hatmaking Chemicals' explanation doesn't really contradict that hypothesis, and it seems to suggest there won't be any glitches that require a furthering of the crisis storyline, the "scrambled history" serving as an excuse for any accidental inconsistencies Morgan-Mar may introduce. Like this. Or this.

On the other hand, it could prove to be a case of overconfidence and saying "it's probably nothing" to something that very much is something...

Or it really is nothing, and merely a reference to the influences events on the Infinite Featureless Plane of Death have on the new universe, such as in the new Scientific Revolution theme, or with the Cliffhangers' heroes having dropped to Charon.

Regardless, were it not for the curious disappearance of the Me theme from the list of themes after the white-blue-red-black transition, I'd wonder if a reappearance of Me was in the offing, and perhaps a (possibly fictionalized) account of Morgan-Mar's life up to 2002 in the works... setting up a truly great final strip (whited out to avoid interfering with or otherwise influencing Morgan-Mar's plans):

"Hey, there's comics on the Internet! Ha ha ha! What a waste of time."

Hey, I didn't say it was going to be original...

It's Webcomic Sunday (or is it Monday?) here on Da Blog. Think of it as a makeup for the paucity of posts last week.

(From Darths and Droids. Click for full-sized stupid childish game.)

I have to say, this strip caught me off-guard because I'm only used to the kiddy, making-stupid-stuff-up, "meesa" fun-loving Sally of Phantom Menace.

In a sense, it's a little odd because we haven't seen all that much of Jar-Jar here. The last time Sally showed up, it was to mention how much "fun" the mysterious fantasy game played between movies was from Ben's perspective - presumably, a role-playing game like this one. Was she embarrassed by the stupidity displayed by Ben and Annie in chasing down Amidala's assassin? There's a hint of Sally being ashamed of how she played in Phantom Menace, but she's still making up stupid stuff in the same strip, and she seemed enthusiastic enough when the campaign started, but on the other hand she's had maybe one line in character...

A quick check of Wikipedia shows that Jar-Jar does have an important role in the plot later, as the representative that serves as Palpatine's patsy in granting Palpatine Hitler-like emergency powers. But in the movie, Jar-Jar is merely acting as Senator in Amidala's absense, while they're co-Senators in Darths and Droids, so the Comic Irregulars could - though it's a long shot - have alternate plans in mind. Especially since Jar Jar only makes a cameo in Episode III.

Still, it's interesting to wonder if Sally's disgruntlement with the game here leaves her open to manipulation by the GM later... or even if she deliberately derails the game and the GM's plans and sets up the plot of the next four movies without being present for any of them.

Eventful day in webcomics I follow, as we still have two more posts to go.