Archive for August, 2010

Art Project: 52 Card Write-Up – Jack of Clubs

August 31, 2010

Life affirmations! Hopefully reading this card will make your day. It is the second face card someone picked and it couldn’t have gone any better. This is a perfect example of one of the reasons why I started this project: to get happiness in an easy to carry format. So take a look at this card and remember it when you are feeling down. Joy in our hearts and life indeed.


Humor: The Beatles Bootlegs

August 30, 2010

Being a Beatles historian, in that I was born way after they broke up, so I have only read about The Beatles in history books, I have made somewhat of mission of mine to collect their oddities, their never released songs, basically, whatever was put on the reels at Abbey Road. This has led me many places: the sands of the Sahara (in Las Vegas), London, and of course, Paul McCartney’s garden where he buried many of the tapes. I will list some of the previously unheard songs I have heard with some of observations

“The Telegraph Song” (circa 1959)
-One of the first songs ever recorded by John, Paul, and George (no Ringo yet), it mainly consists of Paul and John trading off “dos” and “dahs”

“When I’m Younger” (circa 1961)
-Paul’s song, one of the first where he is telling a story. Here, a man is aging backwards, becoming cuter.

“Muffled” (circa 1961)
-George takes the lead on this song. Unknown if he wrote it. About being silenced by an angry girlfriend.

“See You Soon” (circa 1962)
-Sung by John, containing some of his acerbic wit. About a man kissing off his woman as he is about to leave. Written in the first person.

“Sugar is Too Sweet” (circa 1962)
-Another Paul song, written about a tea party in someone’s backyard.

“Love is Grand (I Just Hope It Doesn’t Cost That Much)” (circa 1963)
-Probably precursor to “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

“Sad Song (Ringo is Sad)” (circa 1965)
-Probably written after the success of “This Boy” (aka “Ringo’s Theme”) from “A Hard Day’s Night.” Ringo warbles about how his girl left him. Laughter is heard near the end, unknown if the laughter was supposed to be part of the song or the boys taking the piss out of the song.

“The Higher Conscious” (circa 1966)
-Written around the time of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” this is clearly a George song, as he talks about meditation and finding one’s higher being.

“Bollocks to the Singles” (circa 1966)
-Framed as an attack on people not being married, this one minute ragged piece is really John angry with being pushed to record something that EMI can release

“Shake It Out” (circa 1967)
-Notable if only it seems to have been recorded when John’s voice was hoarse with cigarettes so George Martin pitched his voice in tune. Beatles invent Auto-Tune?

“Standing on My Head” (circa 1968)
-A George song about, what else, spirituality.

“Breaking Up is Too Easy/Too Hard” (circa 1969)
-Ostensibly a song about a love triangle between John, Paul and some unknown girl, it may really be about The Beatles themselves. John sings that it is too easy to break up, while Paul holds out hope and says it is too hard. Often, their sections overlap.

“Catharsis” (circa 1970)
-This might have actually been recorded after The Beatles broke up. It is essentially a 12 minute jam session, with each member, even Ringo, taking over a couple of versus and singing some Beatles and non-Beatles lyrics.

Comic: Hollow Oak University – A Sketchy Update

August 30, 2010

Your regularly scheduled Hollow Oak University comic will be delayed this week. So, once again, enjoy some of the early sketches of your favorite strips!

Comic 4:

Comic 5:

Comic 6:

Short Story: Theodore, The Socially Awkward Vampire

August 27, 2010

This is the story of Theodore, the socially awkward vampire. As you can imagine, it is hard to be socially confidant when grooming is a nigh-impossible task, what with the lack of a reflection in a mirror. In high school, he wore braces on his fangs. It made it very hard to suck blood from necks, not that he was doing a lot of necking back then. He was a bit of an outcast, though he was a member of the marching band. He played a brass instrument, because those woodwinds reminded him too much of a stake. The braces, plus the fangs, always made playing the instrument hard and the spit valve of the instrument got a steady workout when Theodore was playing. He once let his spit leak all over the section leader’s new shoes when he was talking to the leader. It was not cool.

He had a high school crush, her name was Mira. Her smile was as bright as the sun, and that hurt Theodore. She sent his bat wings a flutter. But she had a boyfriend, Doug Van Helsing. Oh, how Theodore hated Doug. He was the captain of the football team. He once scored 4 TDs in a game, and rumor had it, reached second base with Mira. Anytime Theodore would start to talk to Mira, he would stutter. Theodore would try to hypnotize Mira into coming to his parents’ place to study, but since he could not keep his eyes from darting around from shyness around Mira, it always failed. After graduation, Mira and Doug got married and had 3 kids.

College wasn’t much better for Theodore. Though he made friends with a small group of goth kids, Theodore still was socially awkward. After a long night of bloodsucking, Theodore was sweaty in his morning class. He smelled and the classmates around him knew it. He was alone in his desk when the TA asked a question. Theodore raised his hand to answer, revealing a pit stain the size of Transylvania. Everyone laughed and Theodore blushed a shade paler.

Theodore once thought a girl he liked reciprocated his feelings in college. They got drunk one night and fell into bed together. Literally, they fell into bed when Theodore and the girl walked into Theodore’s room and he tripped over his shoes. They went to sleep in each other’s arms, cuddling. Theodore was in heaven, the girl’s neck just inches from his fangs. When, in the morning, he awoke and tried for the neck, the girl turned away and said Theodore was like a brother to her and she didn’t want to ruin that by being his slave for all eternity. Theodore was disappointed. Just like the time his roommate fangblocked him with that girl at the party. Theodore was sure the girl was into his ruminations on the differences between Dracula and Vlad the Impaler.

Theodore got a good job at a blood bank after college. The pay is steady and the benefits are unbelievable. He lives alone though, his closet full of graphic t-shirts referencing pop culture from the 80s. All the 80s, 1880s in particular. He plays his CoffinBox at least 2 hours a day, with his online handle being CapedOne2 (CapedOne1 was already taken). He has no complaints about life. And the girl down the hall is kind of cute and she smiles at him every time they are in the elevator together. Maybe next time they are together, he can bring up his collection of action figures (not dolls) from the hit TV show, The 20,000 Dollar Pyramid.

Art Project: 52 Card Write-Up – Three of Diamonds

August 26, 2010

“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!”

“No, Luke, I am your father!”

Okay, so those quotes aren’t from any of the characters referenced in this card. C3PO and R2D2 served more like a Greek Chorus in the Star Wars movies, which leads to funny insights, but very little in way of memorable quotes. At least, in comparison to the other, more famous lines. Then again, I am more of a Trek guy than a Wars guy, in terms of Stars. I’d rather have a phaser at my side than a lightsaber (something that I think even Han Solo would agree with). I do like how the author of this card manipulated the number to get both C3PO and R2D2 onto this card. That is a bit of creativity that is unique to this card. It isn’t changing the card because it is still using the original number in its presentation. Sometimes, you have to think outside the box/card/bun!

Analysis: Lost in My Thoughts: A Lost Dissertation – Season 5

August 25, 2010

Plot: The Oceanic 6 struggle to come back to the Island, Locke leaves the Island, dies by Ben’s hand, and comes back, the other survivors skip around time before eventually settling in during the Dharma Days, Sayid shoots Lil Ben, Juliet detonates a nuclear bomb

Whatever Happened, Happened – Or, fate vs. free will in another form. Are the Lostaways that traveled through time always destined to do so and interact with Richard and the Dharma folk? Did Sayid always shoot Ben, and in doing so, created his own personal monster? Faraday goes from saying yes, whatever happened, happened, to “No, we can change this.” Perhaps this mirrors the more take-charge attitude of the characters that emerges in the final season, when they finally learn why the came to the Island.

You Can’t Escape The Past – Similar to Whatever Happened, but more psychological. The Oceanic 6 have to recreate the original plane crash to return to the Island. Sawyer remarks that he could have left the Island in 1970s and saved his parents, but decided not to. Locke and Sawyer flash back to the night Aaron was born/Boone died and each realize what those moments meant to them. Lost has always been big on how the past affects the present (through the flashbacks, mainly), and here, in this season, we see how the past influences the present, in the actual present (relative to the characters).

Cannot Escape Each Other – The Oceanic 6 are pulled back together through Ben, but also because of their connection to each other. Jack, Hurley, and Kate come back to 1977 and reconnect with a man who has at times been an antagonist (Sawyer) and a woman who was part of a love quadangle (Juliet). Sawyer reconnects with Kate, right after admitting that he may still love her. Time and distance cannot keep you away from the people you are meant to be with.

Black vs. White – from the colors of Jacob’s and the Man in Black’s clothes in the season finale, to the colors of some of the dharma jumpsuits (with beige standing in for white), we get the light vs. dark motif again. The ultimate forces are finally taking sides, with our characters making their own decisions as to who to fight for, sometimes, unknowingly.

Where Did Richard Take a Wounded Ben? – To the pool of healing, which we saw Sayid use in Season 6. And like Richard warned about using the pool, Sayid changed and perhaps that is what made Ben so cold to other people.

Who Went Back in Time and Who Stayed in the Present – It seemed like everyone except Sun from the O6 went back to 1977. However, everyone in 1977 who was an original survivor was a confirmed candidate, either still in the “game” or recently crossed off (like Kate). So, whatever force determined the time traveling reunited all the candidates.

Walt’s Vision – When Locke leaves the Island, he sees Walt again. Walt warns him that he had a dream of Locke, in a suit, being surrounded by people trying to kill him. Walt was kinda correct: Smokey, in Locke’s form, does appear in a suit, and later, after killing Jacob through Ben, is surrounded by Illana’s group, who want to kill him.

Illana’s Role – Talking of Illana, we first see her as a bounty hunter after Sayid. However, her true purpose was to get Sayid back to the Island and protect the candidates. Though not explicitly stated, she seemed to know that Smokey would take Locke’s form immediately upon their arrival on the Island and began to look for the real Locke’s body after the crash.

Jacob’s Death – Did Jacob know he was going to die? I think he had a pretty good idea what the Man in Black was up to and how close he was to finding that loophole. So he made arrangements that the candidates would find their way back to the Island and to their destinies. Remember, Charles Widmore said Jacob visited him after the Freighter incident. We saw Widmore help Locke, even expecting Locke, when Locke appeared off-Island for the first time. Widmore said to Locke that a war was coming and he had to be on the right side, perhaps an allusion to the war between Jacob and MiB. Jacob probably knew the end was near.

Art Project: 52 Card Write-Up – Seven of Clubs

August 24, 2010

This card was the brainchild of my Hollow Oak University cohort. A mathematician by trade, apparently these equations come out to equal seven. Dang if I know if that is true or not. It is not hard for something like this to go over my head as after a brief look at the card, I need to lie down. But I appreciate my partner-in-crime’s effort to raise the the intelligence of the art project. Too bad it probably will go to waste. I think you could find my IQ on one of the cards in a deck. At least, that’s how I feel after this one! Anyone of my more math-inclined readers like to verify that the card is correct?

Comic: Hollow Oak University – #11 – Row, Row, Robot

August 23, 2010

It is very important in engineering to consider all cases where your project may be applicable. Fortunately, Chester thought ED17 through and anticipated many situations where it may be needed. Unfortunately, that means a little water won’t deter the out-of-control robot. Splish, splash, that robot is going to have a blast in the lake. You think Jaws is dangerous in water, what do you think an actual killing machine would be like? Not too pleasant I think. Not too pleasant at all. At least Chester and Berkeley will get a nice tan chasing after ED17.

Last week there was a meeting of the minds, as Sean and I got together. It is a rare treat, living on opposite coasts. Well, I am actually rounding Sean’s location up to the nearest coast, but you get the point. Sean’s visit was more of the working variety. On my end, I got some work done. Of course, it is easy to get work done when all you need to do is run an executable and walk away for a few hours. The only thing that works up a sweat in that process is the laptop. Which is great, cause I hate sweating.

Artwise, we see a lot more of the HOU environment in this strip. It is hard not to go green when you are living in an actual forest. Now, if this strip was colored, we would have to worry about the leaves changing colors and falling off the limbs. But since it is not, just imagine that the forest is a lush green year round. Or that there aren’t seasons in the HOU universe. Y’know, whatever floats your imaginary boat. We can’t do all the work here, people!

Oh, by the way, the thrilling conclusion of The Case of the Golden Engine


Short Story: Knocks the P.I. – The Case of the Golden Engine (Conclusion)

August 23, 2010

The next day, just as Knocks was about to ring up Malory Towers on his portable phone, she swayed her way into his office. She was wearing an outfit to die for, and Knocks reflected that he almost did die just to see Malory in that dress. Malory sat down in the same chair she sat in the day before.

“Can you read minds, Ms. Towers?”

“Only those of the male gender. Of course, they are a bit easy to read. Unlike the Theory of Advanced Propulsion in the Upper Atmosphere.”

Knocks leaned back in his chair. “Funny that you mention that. Last night, as I was doing research, I stumbled upon a book. ‘Variable Geometries in Spacecraft.’ Talked about how these spacecraft can expand or contract upon entry into an atmosphere to either increase its descent velocity or decrease it. Mainly due to the amount of drag on its surface. All automated. Now that in of itself would not seem to be applicable to your engine, but it got me thinking. The main problem you laid forth was that due to internal shocks, your engines had to be designed with a specific area ratio to get them to operate properly. Yet, if the engine started in off-design conditions, it would fail. So then it struck me. Why not design an engine that had variable geometry? Allow the inlet to change its area depending on the conditions you want the engine to run at. It can then swallow any shocks and allow for operation over a wide range of altitudes. And you have this brand new engine that isn’t just an iteration on the old one, but a brand new design. One, might I add, that will have its own set of problems, but it will be bright and shiny.”

Malory smiled widely in the guest chair. She seemed to be bursting with energy. “Yes, that would work! And, as you said, it would open up a whole new field of research, one that I can tie my wagon to for a while and insure I can keep on working at Westview Aerocorp. There might even be a raise in my future because of the work you did!”

Knocks sat up in his chair, “Well then, Ms. Towers, what do you say you take me out to dinner with your future earnings? You can wear that dress, at least for the first half of the evening.” But Malory was already too far gone in her own thoughts to hear Knocks’s proposal. She kept on talking to herself as she got up from the chair and walked out the door. Something about heat exchangers and nozzles.

Knocks leaned back in his chair again. “Women. Why are the good ones always the ones who are thirsty for knowledge? Good thing I am an oasis in the desert of ignorance, so they come to me: Knocks, Principle Investigator.”

Berkeley looks up from the comic book with Knocks on the cover. “Boy, that Knocks! Wish I could emulate him!”

Haiku: Inception (Movie Review)

August 23, 2010

Wowzers, Inception
Dream within dream within dream
Mind blown, great Nolan