Archive for July, 2011

Comic: Hollow Oak University – Special – No Science Shall Escape His Sight

July 29, 2011

Usually, when I send script ideas to Sean, I tend to avoid making any pop culture references. Yes, me, the crown prince of Trivial Pursuit, wants to avoid pop culture with Hollow Oak University. It is a twofold reason: one, the comic takes place in a different universe, where a pop culture gag more than likely wouldn’t grow organically out of most situations, and two, I feel a lot of webcomics out there already make pop culture jokes, probably way better than I could, and there are even a few that make those sorts of jokes with nerd humor (a certain series that links together 4 random letters, for example). So, when I talk to Sean about what jokes should go where, I don’t think about the latest movie or the book I just read, I just think about what works the nerdiest.

That’s just a long-winded way of saying this: despite my hesitation about using pop culture, I love that Sean sketched out Berkeley as a Green Lantern here. It was totally unexpected. My last go round with reading comics on a weekly basis was all about Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewat, and Kyle Rayner. So it is nice to see Berkeley has joined their ranks and is probably giving Ch’p a run for his money on the cuteness scale.



Humor: Meet Groucho Beerman

July 27, 2011

A collection of humorous comments in the spirit of Groucho Marx

(At the police station)
Officer: You’re wanted by the police.
Groucho Beerman: Well, it’s nice to feel wanted.

(In court)
Judge: These are some very serious charges.
GB: I know all about serious charges. I have a credit card.

(At a baseball game. Groucho Beerman gets hit by a foul ball)
Umpire: FOUL BALL!
GB: I’d say, it didn’t even ask me out to dinner first!

(At a concert)
Lady: She has a very lovely singing voice.
GB: Too bad the clothes she dresses that voice in are drab.

Haiku: Captain America (Movie Review)

July 25, 2011

Cap America
is a lot of syllables
Simple Review: Good!

Comic: Hollow Oak University – #31 – Not a Rhetorical Question

July 22, 2011

Now that the solution has been found, things can return to normal at Hollow Oak University. Well, relatively normal. Which may actually be relatively INSANE. But things have to reach some sort of equilibrium and that equilibrium is reached when the lights get turned back on. Chrster goes back into a vent, Bryn chides Berkeley, Berkeley remains fairly oblivious to the chiding. All in all a typical day at an atypical lab.

Grinding through the summer months now, aren’t we? Griding isn’t the right word. Sweating is. The other day, it was a 100 in the land where ideas are born. Not my brain, cause that would mean I would have a fever. I meant the land where that brain currently resides, in the DMV area. Which makes my walking to the Metro to commute to work even more strenuous. Cause walking before was a whole lot of exercise for me.

With a return of the lights (and the color), Sean’s artistic skill goes back the norm, too. But there are some interesting wrinkles: the vent, the chair, an actual back of a Dirigible. It is good to see these characters again after the little detour into darkness. Now we have a series of strips coming up that will push the art envelope (which I imagine has a very cool stamp on it) even further.


Photography: Dharma Van

July 20, 2011

A VW Van that reminded me of the Dharma Vans on Lost

Essay: Why I am a Space Case

July 18, 2011

Note: I originally submitted this essay to a website for aerospace engineers that was soliciting this sort of topic so that they could be posted to inspire other to follow us into the field. As far as I know, the essay was never publish.

From a young age, I knew I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. Or as I said back then (and to this day) I wanted to be a rocket scientist. It was important to say rocket scientist, because I would jokingly tell people that I wanted to be that or a brain surgeon, just so I could have a witty retort. I even have a t-shirt that says much the same. So is the reason why I have remained in college, both has a undergraduate and graduate student, for nearly nine years, with the ultimate goal to get a PhD, is that I can be a comedian about my line of work? Hardly. Underneath that jokey façade lies the real reason why I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. I wanted to be a part of something that pushed the boundaries of mankind.

Looking up at the night sky, what do you see? I don’t mean what constellations can you pick out or if you can tell the difference between the North Star and Venus, but rather what do you think about when you gaze upwards? For me, the night sky, space, represents the same thing the Atlantic Ocean did to those explorers of old: a noble and doable, if not challenging, opportunity. Those explorers knew the risk and knew the price, both physically and monetarily, but decided that not only was it worth the risk to explore the unknown, but that man could conquer the seas. But unlike Magellan’s feat, space cannot be circumvented and that is what made it so appealing to my younger self and still enraptures me today. Space is the closest man will get to having something with endless possibilities and opportunities. The universe will always have one more star to explore, one more comet to chase, one more nebulae to investigate.

Certainly, my voracious consumption of all things science-fiction related helped shape my outlook. From Star Trek to Firefly, from H.G. Wells to Robert A. Heinlein, my life has been filled with people who boldly go where no one has gone before, embodying the noble aspect of space exploration, and who treat space as frontier to be settled, embodying the can-do spirit of exploration. Putting aside that space-related science-fiction often includes extraterrestrials, the interesting parts to me were always the bits that were extrapolations on what we had now: the vessels the used to explore the universe and the cities that mankind have set up on distant planets. The technology behind it wasn’t the only thing that fascinated me. Tales of terraforming and wormhole jumping captured my attention as well. To me, all of that seemed possible, maybe not in my lifetime, but it could at least get started now. If only there was a way to bridge the gap between science-fiction and science-fact.

So this romanticized notion of doing something for the betterment of mankind, of pushing the boundaries of what man can do, formed in my head when I was a boy and hasn’t left since. I knew I had to be a part of the space industry in some form. My creative urges and my skill in math and sciences (and my awe of that wonderful technology in sci-fi stories) led me to aerospace engineering. People would ask me if I wanted to design planes and I would shake my head and say no. I was interested in the space part of aerospace. I told them I wanted to work for NASA and to see my work on a launch pad. In my graduate career, I have had the chance to work with NASA and to say it is a dream come true would be an understatement. We may not be launching astronauts to colonize Pluto, but space is definitely on our minds. I hope for the future it will not only remain on our minds, but be evident in the works our hands create and in the spirit that we all share.

Comic: Hollow Oak University – #30 – Shut the Beep Up

July 15, 2011

Correlation is not causation. Just because the lights went out when Berkeley was using the laser doesn’t mean that the laser caused the blackout. Of course, in the end, Berkeley did create the early night with another invention, but the point still stands: Berkeley was fairly right about his actions during his date with Bryn. There’s a beeping, a beeping that indicates the power has been sapped, the lights are out…QED.

Today, I am at a wedding. Yes, another one. No, not mine (again). A coworker’s. So once more, I get to share in the joys of marriage (mainly cake) without dealing with the proverbial ball and chain. I can totally see why the Wedding Crashers did it. It was for the cake right? I only saw the trailer, so I assume it was for the cake.


Humor: Lost Bingo!

July 13, 2011

A fun Lost bingo card I made during Season 6.

Humor: Traveling Light – Observations as I Crossed The Country

July 11, 2011

As I have recently been traveling, I have a lot of things to say. Cause, y’know, being stuck in a two-foot wide seat where the cushion was last actually cushioning someone right around the time the Wright Brothers perfected flight leaves you with a lot of time to think. And stare out the window at some sort of land formation.

I was at an airport which called itself a “Sky Harbor.” Isn’t that an oxymoron? Can we start calling cruiseline ports “Sea Airports”? Train stations “Loco Roadways”? Highways “Car Tracks”? And this place wasn’t anywhere near any water. You are an air port. You have vehicles that move through the air and arrive at this location. Hence, air-port. Not sky harbor. The only thing you are harboring is my money has I pay 12 bucks for a Big Mac. Notice how I don’t name the location this airport. That way, this joke remains geographically independent. People could read this and understand it a thousand years from now when the plates have tectonically shifted and the airport can be in a new location. Where it may actually be in a harbor.

Most airlines allow you to check in 24 hours in advance. Which is convenient and all, but it has me thinking my vacation is ending a day earlier. I’m out, enjoying the sun, what times is it? WHAT? I gotta get back to my hotel so I can check in so I don’t have to worry about checking in tomorrow, when I am leaving. So I gotta leave to prepare for leaving. Wait till airlines allow you to check in for a flight a week in advance. I’d be prepping to return home before I even leave home. That’ll really be convenient.

I don’t know why I book early morning flights. Sure, I get to my destination early, but all I am going to enjoy for the next few hours is my hotel room as I take a nap. And why am I in such a big rush to get home that soon? “Man that vacation was tiring, I really need to get home and relax.” The plus side though of an early flight is you get to see everyone’s bed head. Your fellow passengers’, the flight crews’, the TSA security guards’. It is a really good way to detect any suspicious persons. If they have perfectly combed hair at 6:00 AM in the morning, you know they’ve been up all night planning something.

Why do I always seems to get the maid service that knows exactly when I am in and out of my room and then decides to clean my room when I just entered my room? Can I please get a door card that reads “Yes, now is the right time to clean this room”? But I am a nice person, I leave a tip for the maid service. I know how hard it is to clean up my messes. That’s why I never do. Plus, y’know, I can imagine it is a very frustrating job. I mean every morning it is the same thing: making that bed once again (can’t they sleep on the floor?), replacing those shampoos and soaps (how big is this guest?), and counting how many mini-alcohol bottles are left in the minifridge (one for you, two for me). It is the Mobius Strips of jobs.

Hotels now offer “Quick Checkouts” where they will slip your bill under the door for you to sign or allow you to check out via the TV or phone. Once they took that good luck at you when you checked in, they didn’t want to deal with you again. They want you to leave in the most nondistracting way. If there was a backdoor exit, they’d include that as a special “VIP Checkout” option.

I could write more, but my aero-boat is about to leave from the sky harbor.

Comic: Hollow Oak Univeristy – #29 – Spring Cleaning

July 8, 2011

I guess every cloud does have a silver lining, or at least, Chester can artificially create that silver lining. The darkness gives Chester the unique opportunity to improve the equipment in the lab. By way of destroying said equipment. I mean really, it is like a fire clearing the underbrush in a forest in order for new vegetation to grow, right? Each is destructive but each are employed for the improvement of the system. Of course, in Chester’s case, deception is included in the process. I doubt the fire is going to turn around to the bolt of lightning that generated it and lie about why those plants had to burn. in the analogy, the bolt of lightning is Dr. Harvey.

Moving on from talking about clouds, lightning and fire, I am very proud to say that now both authors of this fine strip are doctors. Not medical doctors, but doctors of philosophy (though we can take a look at that if you want). That philosophy? Being awesome. Sean recently defended his dissertation and passed. Hence why last week’s strip had our names as “Doctor.” Cause we totally are!

Congrats once again to Sean. Who would have thought that over the course of nearly 30 strips, we both would become doctors? And yet, a little part of me is most proud of our accomplishments on Creative Bender than in the lecture hall. Just a little, though. It is still awesome to present research and see my work being referenced elsewhere (as I recently witnessed at a conference).

Nothing to say about the art this week. I mean, Sean continues to do fine work with all the negative space the power outage plotline dictates. I really do like this idea of drawing and defining these characters in different ways: by only their eyes, but Berkeley’s facial hair (in a previous strip) and so on. We are really fleshing out these characters (with the pun definitely intended).