So I'm thinking about tomorrow's strip. Whether to create a new strip or post the one intended for tomorrow. Yes, so far I do work in advance. In other news, I moved my post about The Lord's Gym to the Rants section. It probably belongs there. I don't really know why I bothered with a rant on that particular bit of Americana. It falls into the "so funny I need to bring you proof that it really exists" category.
I'd like to point out that - so far - a fair amount of research goes into making each strip of Vexxarr. For example, the flight suit seen here...
comes from the SR-71 picture gallery available over at NASA.gov. I chose this particular picture as my model.
Also, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a picture of an air force Colonel's uniform online. I finally folded and went to the Stargate SG-1 website and copied General Hammond's. Turns out, it was a fairly accurate costume. I couldn't find a good picture of the 'scrambled eggs' on the hat brim so I fudged. Note that I reduced the air force emblem on the front of the hat to an oblong circle.
Also, I must have wasted a good hour plugging 'X-craft' designations into Google until I arrived at a number high enough to be a plausible black project. I didn't want to re christen Vexxarr's command ship the X-45 only to wind up sharing a project number with a sort of unmanned, composite boomerang.
But I assure you it was because I was working on the strip...not avoiding working on the strip. You must understand the rigors of quality control Vexxarr goes through before he is unleashed on the world. First, the site must be visible. I feel that appearing in the visible spectrum is a much-overlooked aspect of successful cartooning. I understand that Penny Arcade has experimented with strips appearing exclusively in the microwave bandwidth but the numbers generated turned out to be somewhat lower than hoped.
Ok, here it is. Out in the open like a naked Echidna. I get my broadcast TV from Bit Torrent. I seek out and download every episodic program I want to watch. I then burn them to CD and play them on my living room TV on a PC of my own construction. I have codecs pouring out of my ears. I have a computer who's sole task is to play multimedia content directly through my home entertainment center. One interesting side effect is the ability to surf the web with company and play web animations and display webcomics to a mass audience - SITTING ON A COMFY SOFA!
But the point of this is not to display my immense cleverness (or my decrepit geekiness) but rather to highlight a dilemma. Most if not all of my TV shows come without commercials (I don't torrent movies - why would I? Walmart sells feature films cheaper than beer - new OUT OF THE BOX!). I am VERY aware that my programming is paid for by broadcast commercials. So even if my torrent activity doesn't conclusively violate any broadcast laws I am circumventing the payment method which allows me to view them. Look I'd download these shows (Galactica redux, SG1, SG Atlantis, Venture Brothers, JL Unlimited, Enterprise) even if they were encoded with commercials by the internet elves who provide them. But even then, advertisers would lose the ability to place ads in the specific markets they are trying to reach. Solution? Heck if I know. But I don't think the answer lies in the prohibition of sharing broadcast television (that is to say television distributed to a mass audience with no discreet control over who watches it) over the internet. Somehow, advertisers and broadcasters alike will have to join the no broadcast model and find ways of pairing their market with the intended adverts.
While Ronald D. Moore worries that file sharing the episodes early will reduce their eventual veiwership in the US his concerns would be better directed at the fact that conventional broadcast of his (Galactica) immensely popular show clearly doesn't satisfy the typical US Sci Fi viewer. Maybe, just maybe Universal and the rest of the American Entertainment Ludites should find a way to distribute, count and tag (advertise on) these file shared children of their creations. Anyone who is familiar with the current bidding model of network television advertising knows that the current standard method is all but utterly ineffective.
So I still download. I'll still definitely buy the DVD's when they come out. And I'll still count myself as a (Galactica, Atlantis, Venture Bros) viewer even though I don't use my Dish to view them.
By the way, I LOVE the new Galactica - I just don't buy the process of re-imagining. This Galactica is simply a brand new Sci Fi show with a hauntingly familiar name.
Ok, so I've had my first late update to Vexxarr. Usually no big news but it still makes me feel stupid. I had to place a service call into Earthlink where a nice man - some twelve hours ahead of me - tells me that Earthlink's DNS tables are either corrupted or need to be refreshed. Well actually he gives me a direct DNS number and from THAT I infer that Earthlink cannot get me a refreshed version of their DNS list...via the standard working method.
Either way, Vexxarr was updated at 12 noon EST making me feel like a slacker. Funny thing. Vexx isn't that tough to produce (so far) so actually creating the comic hasn't been an issue...yet. I am following the K.I.S.S. paradigm for this project. And I will not stray from its sheltered path.
Anyway... New Vexx up. Hope you like it. Email me if you do. Hit the empty (oh so painfully empty) forums if you don't. Either way, let me know what you think.
In one of the current Christmas adds (inexplicably still running) for Dell computers, we get to peek in on a child asking his dad for his dream system from Dell. Dad asks for a "Model number" and his son launches into a litany of geek speak - enumerating the actual components he wishes his dream computer to contain. OK, so far so good. I am that kid for all intents and purposes. Anyone who has built a home PC knows and loves this part. It's the silicone equivalent of popping the hood on your '57 Woody and comparing block sizes. But among the stream of desired components is listed an "Express PCI Graphics card". Ok every geek in the room just made the sour lemon face. This kid wants the sort of system that will make every child in the neighborhood rush over to his house and bask in the warm soft glow of digital sex in the window (my apologies to Mr. Jean Parker Shepherd) yet he asks for a piece of 2nd tier graphics technology.
For those of you who don't know - All PC's - except for the hobbled minimalist systems found in Bank Branches and insurance company cubical farms - have an AGP slot for the graphics card. Think of this as a direct connection between the computer's brain and your monitor. Basically an AGP graphics card - again standard in almost all systems - is a fire hose for pretty pictures. By comparison, a PCI graphics card uses a standard peripheral slot (the PCI slot) to operate the monitor. This means that the monitor is being served its information in line with the rest of the rabble the computer talks to - Ethernet card, dial up modem, fire wire card, USB card and the likes and has to wait its turn. Yes PCI video cards work just fine and dandy for most applications but it is definitely a sub par video adapter for computer gaming and lets face it - from the other components listed in this add, this kid yearns to frag.
So my point is this. We have a cute spot and a good idea but somewhere along the way, the writer forgot to actually ask a geek about the sort of components that actually go into making a 12-year-old's dream system. My guess? I bet the agency that wrote this pimple on the face of add-copy everywhere uses a Mac and simply cut and pasted random components from the Dell website into their script. Look, if you were planning to script an add that was going to air in every major market on Earth, wouldn't you think it prudent to ask your intended market if you got the fiddly details right before you pulled the trigger? I would.