Sunday, February 28, 2010

Update Coming Soon

There is a new blog post coming soon. I swear. No really. Cross my heart. You believe me right? I have an honest face. That's why it's so very easy to lie to people. NO WAIT I DIDN'T MEAN THAT!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Of Things Lost and Found, and Speaking of Geeks

From the department of Lost and Found
For a little while there I thought that I had lost my treasured eight gigabyte thumb drive. For anyone who doesn't know me that's a big deal. Like leave my cave and chase after short fuzzy people while muttering about a "precious" or some damn thing, kind of big deal. Not for any bad reason, either; I keep most of my writing on this thing. I don't save much of anything locally anymore. Most of my writing is either done in Zoho Office, or it's done in another program like Celtx or MS Word (though lately I've been thinking of switching to and saved to my thumb drive. With that in mind you can imagine that losing it was a bummer. Also for those who don't already know me, I teach a martial arts class. Well, that night I had to go by the home of my assistant instructor because he had been kind enough to drive that night, and my cell phone had fallen out in his car. I thought something similar might have happened with my thumb drive. My thought was, in my hurry to get ready for class (as I was running late that night) I might have slipped it into the pocket of my training pants, which is something I never, ever do. At any rate, I didn't find it right away so I figured it gone. What bothered me about this more than the thought of losing years and years of writing was the possibility that I'm capable of being so incredibly careless. If I can fail myself to that extent, how might I have failed someone I care about, and to what degree. The question still haunts me. However, I did end up finding the errant flash drive. It had fallen into the laundry bag next to our bed. Since finding it I've undertaken to copy all the writing that is most important to me to a file folder in my Google Apps account. I'll update these files periodically. I've also created a DropBox account and copied my most important files to this folder as well. The question of my potential for carelessness still haunts me, but the story ultimately has a happy ending and a valuable lesson.

Geek Speak
This strip will take a little explaining. A while back I had this really awful dream, the kind of dream that sort of makes you wish you could scour your brain. In this dream I was the kind of guy that might make you long for the days when public hangings of criminals were more commonplace. The kind of guy that the good people of a small town get together to quietly lynch, then bury in dotty old Mildred's petunia bed. In this dream I verbally abused and badly beat my wife, all of which was witnessed by another woman in the room who ran for it to call the cops. To stop this second woman from calling the cops, this dream sociopath version of me gave pursuit with the intention of beating her to death. Charming isn't it? Needless to say I woke up breathing heavily, covered in sweat, my hands shaking, and just repeating over and over, "What the fuck was THAT all about?" Later, though, as I was thinking about it, something funny occurred to me. I know, "beating your wife then murdering the witness, that's fucking HILARIOUS!" stay with me here. Most of the time I think I'm a pretty decent guy. I'd even go so far as to say I'm one of the good guys. If I can have a dream like that, what do bad guys dream about? I mean really bad guys. What do murdering sociopaths who kick puppies have nightmares about? Do they wake in a cold sweat from horrible dreams of...selling cookies at a bake sale? Helping a blind person with their grocery shopping? Quilting? That struck me as kind of funny, which lead me to today's Geek Speak.

Geek Speak

Monday, February 15, 2010

Prima Guide to Webcomics about Aged Dragons and Geek Speak x2

The Book of Dragon Age: Origins
In a fit of frustration and moment of indulging in some retail therapy (always a bad decision, always, even if you do end up buying something your wife really needs), and picked up the Prima guide for Dragon Age: Origins. Perhaps not the best use of $25.00. When I picked it up, it was in the hopes that the video game sages of Prima-who spend their days in unwashed diapers playing PCs and consoles endlessly so that us mere mortals might actually stand a chance of completing one of the damn things-would have some as to the best strategy to defeat the brood mother. Sadly, it was not to be. The book offered the same basic advice I had from the wiki. Which is to say, "this is a tough. fight. Load up on health poultices." Thanks sparky. I'd worked that much out for myself. Unfortunately, it has no recommendations as to the best way to acquire said health poultices. One of the annoying things about the game is the fact that shopkeepers will actually run out of shit. If you've purchased all the health poultices offered by a particular shop, that's it. You're screwed if you ever have to go back. At this point I have to stock up on health poultices the best that I can and return to fight the brood mother. There are two ways this could go that I can foresee.

1. I fight the brood mother. It's a tough battle but my new stock of health poultices help to pull me through.
2. In lieu of tearing my hair out trying to defeat this vomitous bitch queen, I may just change the level of difficulty and move the hell on.

Webcomics worth mentioning
Ever since I was introduced, really introduced to comics in middle-school, I have been seriously into story telling through sequential art, and comic books in particular. As with most thirteen year old boys I was particularly excited about boobies. But that's a different subject, we're talking about comic books. Initially I was particularly fascinated with superheroes, as I think most boys my age were (those who were reading comics, anyway). In recent years I've kind of moved away from that and started seeking out either new spins on the superhero story, or other types of story told using comic books (graphic novels if you feel like gilding the lily a bit) as a medium.

Lately I've been keeping my eye out for webcomics. These are largely self-published, independent stories, told in the form of an online, illustrated serial. The ones listed below are the best I've read to date:
  • Girl Genius - bar none my favorite on this list. Drawn by Phil Foglio and written by his wife, Kaja.
  • Looking for Group - Seriously takes the piss out of the fantasy genre and fantasy gaming, especially WoW. Looking for group is frequently hilarious, but does struggle with its identity. Sometimes this comic is side-splittingly hilarious, other times its run out and buy some HIM albums level of "takes itself seriously."
  • Sequential Art - Written and drawn by the excellent Phillip M. Jackson. This is a more traditional comic strip that is typically updated a couple of times a week.
  • Penny Arcade - Check it out, read the archives, 'nuff said. These guys will be at the Meltdown in Hollywood on the 26th. I'm going to be there.
Geek Speak x2
In light of the fact that I felt it necessary to take down my last cartoon, because you never know who is watching, I'm offering two Geek Speak strips with this post. This first one was done as I was thinking about how an encounter between a bunch of l0w-to-mid level adventurers and a giant might end. This would have to be a party that had been successful enough to get cocky, but not so successful as to stand a snowball's chance of actually taking a giant. Honestly, I'm surprised more encounters don't go this way.

Geek Speak

Click on the image above to view the full-sized version.

This next cartoon came to me when I got to thinking about the infamous smoking beaver shot from Basic Instinct. To date still one of the most boring movies I have ever seen. The action of the movie breaks down kind of like this:
  • Sharon Stone is screwing some guy
  • Michael Douglas is investigating a crime scene
  • Intense dialog
  • Infamous smoking beaver shot
  • Intense dialog
  • Sharon Stone is screwing Michael Douglas
  • Intense Dialog
  • Michael Douglas is screwing some other woman who, I think, is supposed to be a forensic psychologist but delivers her lines like someone who once heard that there was such a thing.
  • Normal Guy is ready to tear his eyes out just to make something fucking interesting happen.
Just before the most famous shot from this movie Sharon Stone asks a bunch of police investigators if they're going to arrest her for smoking. Then she uncrosses her legs in the most unmotivated, gratuitous up-skirt in the history of film. Anyway, her line got me to thinking about being arrested for smoking. Who would do that? The smoking police? What would the smoking police look like, and would they have their own version of S.W.A.T. for handling difficult situations? That lead me to draw this, the second Geek Speak entry for today's post.

Geek Speak

Friday, February 12, 2010

Geek Speak Redacted

It's a sad fact that you never know who is reading these blogs. Sadder still that something I do on my own time, for the entertainment of myself and my friends, could potentially be used against me and the people I work for. Ultimately, I feel this is a risk I can ill afford to take at this time.

My position means that I have to be very careful and self-policing with regards to what I post on these pages. This means that I can never, ever post anything remotely critical about either the world's largest purveyor of operating systems, or the world's leading search giant. Even something that is exaggerated for comic effect, and intended to poke fun at either or both of these companies could offend someone at either company. This could damage the relationship my employer has with either of these companies and ultimately lead to me being dismissed. As a result I felt it necessary to remove yesterday's cartoon. I hope you had a chance to enjoy it.

I think everyone loses out in this situation. Not the least because I feel that these major tech giants should be criticized from time-to-time, when it is appropriate to do so.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Endless Neighborly Dragons Geek Speaking

ragon Age
Yes, I'm still playing this freaking game! It's huge. I mean just monstrous. As a casual gamer you can literally be playing this game for months. Take it from me. I'm currently in the Dead Trenches, which can officially lick sweat straight off a donkey's balls. Holy crap on a communion wafer this level is difficult. I'm not talking run-of-the-mill hard, I'm talking about blood-pressure spiking, snap the controller in half, go kick the entertainment center levels of fucking brutal. Two words. Brood. Mother. The disgusting, flabby, six-titted, whore can't move, but she has all kinds of tentacles and 'spawns' new enemies for you to fight on a regular basis. In a vain effort to find a strategy that worked I did some looking online. Foolish mortal. All of the strategies can be boiled down to, "Have plenty of health poultices," of which I have ONE. I've already bought all of the poultices available from the various sellers in Orzamar, which means I have to leave and try to find health poultices out in the world. Then I can come back and try to tackle her royal grotesqueness.

Being neighborly
We (my wife and I) don't live in the greatest of neighborhoods. This is really nothing new for me, which is actually kind of sad now that I look at it written out. Even so, there are times I find it entertaining, like today. When I left to go teach my eskrima class there were a couple of random derelicts sitting on the cement enclosure that surrounds the front yard of the building next to ours. This congress of cleverness consisted of a man and a woman. As I was walking out the woman was shouting obscenities and ranting in the man's direction. Most of which I don't remember except this little nugget, " not a fucking faggot, you don't say that kind of thing about my nephew mother fucker, fuck you you fucking..."

You get the idea. She continued in that vein for longer than I would really want to recount on these pages, anyway.

Unaccountably, and completely unbidden, the old Sesame Street song, "The People in Your Neighborhood" just popped into my head at that moment. Which made me laugh. In some ways that might actually have made me look crazier than those two.

Geek Speak
(Comic strip redacted)

Geek Speak

(Comic strip redacted)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Pepsi Goes All Natural (sort of) and Geek Speak Debuts

Pepsi-Au Natural-For Now
Look at Pepsi cans right now. They're sporting the classic blue and red logo on a white can, with one new addition. On a bright yellow band that bisects the nostalgic logo the liquid confection container proudly boasts that it is now made with real sugar! For a limited time!

This has got to be the dumbest marketing move I've seen in a while. It just begs the questions "Real sugar? What was in it before? Unicorn blood?" and "So...when you stop making it with 'real sugar' what are you going back to? The crap you've been feeding us for the last thirty years? Is there really so little sugar in the world that you can't keep using 'real' sugar?"

Says the Pepsi Marketing Machine, "There's a sugar shortage, so we're sweetening Pepsi with innocence distilled from baby rabbits. Yes it means cute little bunnies have to die, but it's all in the name of tasty soda!"

Pluto's a Planet, No It's Not, Yes It Is...
Apparently Pluto's status as a planet was restored back in March 2009. I think now we're calling it a dwarf planet. It's a relief really. It's never good to leave a mnemonic device hanging; My Very Educated Mother Just Made Nine...

Geek Speak
So, I've been working for a while now on a series of cartoons. There's a definite tech and geek/nerd culture bend to the humor of it, but I'm not really married to any single theme. I also haven't necessarily developed a cast of recurring characters, but that might happen more or less organically. I've tentatively titled the series of comics 'Geek Speak.' Partly because the majorifty of them will have something to do with geek or nerd culture, and partly because I think of myself as a geek, and these strips reflect things that I think are funny. Many of them will come from my own life, many of them will be things that I've seen or heard, and some of them will seem like they came completely out of left field. Which, I think, is ok.

That said, I present one of the first actual 'strips' that I drew. This character probably will be recurring. I think mostly because I like the idea of following the comic adventures of a woman in the tech industry. Tech is a business that is still dominated by men, and jokes about the tech industry while following a male character are fairly...done, if not trite. A female perspective seems to offer something fresh, while also being a fairly rich playground for finding jokes. I hope you agree.

I'm getting verbose here, so I'm going to stop talking and let you enjoy the first official 'Geek Speak' comic.

Geek Speak
(Click the image to see the full-sized version)

Creative Commons License
Geek Speak by Isaac Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.